Percolators are designed to offer a smoother hit in percolator bongs (then what a basic bong bubbler can provide.) With so many percolator types out there, we shed some light on the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Diffused Downstem Percolator
A diffused downstem may contain one or more slits to provided basic percolation and is a common feature of many bongs. Modern percolator designs such as the honeycomb perc, tree perc, and shower perc typically combine diffusers to enhance both the percolation and visuals.
Most diffusers are removable, and are normally found on the bottom of downstrems. Diffusers are common in beaker bongs.
Pros - The downstem percolator is cheap and affordable and comes standard on almost every bong.
Cons - Your not likely to get great percolation from a diffuser. However, many designs will stack diffusers with more percolators for an amplified effect.
Drag - low, most diffusers will have fairly large slits for increased flow. However the slits may be smaller on mini sized water pipes
Diffusion - low to moderate. Larger size slits will help create bigger bubbles, but the effect is not as pronounced without combining with other percolators.
Keep in mind that not all downstems contain these slits. Cheaper bongs may come with an open ended downstem with no diffuser.
Drag = How much sucking pressure you need to inhale your smoke
Diffusion = How well the well the smoke mixes with water and is "percolated" and cooled. Higher diffusion will increase the smoothness of the hit. Lower diffusion will increase the flavor but smoke may come out harsher(more coughing).
Note: a combination of multiple percolators can change the results
The Turbine percolator consists of tiny angled slits which will produce a vortex when used.
The visualization is beautiful and functions as a natural splash guard against water sips
*Drag - Moderate
*Diffusion - low (you will be able to taste the flavors of the herb better but smoke may run a bit harsher)
The Honeycomb Percolator is one of the most common percolator types.
The honeycomb percolator is typically stacked and can come in double, triple, or even quadruple stacks of honeycomb percolators.
Tiny holes separate and diffuse the smoke into tiny bubbles for a filtration effect.
Pros - This is one of the most efficient percolator types known to the market very sturdy and harder to break.
Cons - despite a large number of holes -Typically only 70% of the honeycomb percolates due to smoke taking the path of least resistance.
Drag - low (Note that multiple stacked honeycomb percs will increase drag)
Diffusion - High (for cooler smoother hits yet the flavor may suffer)
The Fritted Disc Perc
This perc is one of the best when it comes to pure raw percolation power.
Fritted disc percs are similar to the honeycomb percolator. Hard to break and consists of many tiny holes for bubbles to form.
Yet where similarities begin - similarities end... fritted disc percs fire all bubbles at once offering tremendous percolation!
Pros - Fritted Disc percs offer one of the highest levels of diffusion and percolation available on the market to date. Exceptional diffusion and cooling ability.
Cons - the fritted disc tends to require more cleaning than standard percs so definitely might want to consider investing in a reliable ash catcher.
Note: it would be wise to only smoke herbs with fritted disc pers. Concentrates tend to cool and clog the perc pores. Terrible for concentrates but exceptional at herbs.
Drag - Extremely High (Your going to have to huff and puff to smoke through this!)
Diffusion - A ++
One of the rarest of percolators - A mixture of both bubbler and recycler... the Ball Percolator uses a Ball to break and diffuse the smoke and water...
Seems to feel more like a bubbler but we figured we include it if we are building an all-inclusive list!
Drag - Low drag makes for a nice clean efficient rip without blowing out your lungs
Diffusion - Low diffusion preserves the herbal flavors for a potentially harsher rip.
The Swiss Percolator
The Swiss Percolator is very decorative and is said to resemble swiss cheese.
Uses multiple split sections to diffuse smoke. Very ineffective in percolation but when combined with another percolator is said to create one of the greatest hits.
Drag - Low, you can take very large chugs with this piece!
Diffusion - Low but when combined with another percolator creates the ideal hit
The Faberge Egg Percolator
The fab egg takes the swiss perc to an entirely new playing field where the entirety of the bong virtually functions as one large recycler. Very juicy hits.. very effective. Very Impressive.
Drag - Low
Diffusion - Excellent
As the name suggests the tree percolator resembles a tree and uses arms to filter and diffuse the smoke.
The arms can come in variations of multiple arms. The downside is the tree perc is fragile by design and may break more easily.. especially when cleaning.
Pros - provides an adequate job of smoke filtration. Aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Cons - classically thin arms make the piece easily breakable
Drag - moderate
Diffusion - Good (many slits for the smoke to mix with the water for a smoother hit)
The dome percolator as the name suggests is a percolator shaped like a dome with tiny slits on the bottom that can be combined with other percolators for an overall effect. Very durable and may help as a splash guard.
Diffusion - Basic Diffusion due to lack of slits
What can be better than taking a dank shower! The showerhead percolator resembles a showerhead and looks much like the drum percolator.. often combined with a dome percolator which leads to our next one:
The UFO Percolator is basically the same as a showerhead percolator and very similar to the dome percolator.
The ufo percolator has a more bulbous shape can be said to resemble a ufo.
The round dome structure helps prevent splashback and a very stable shape makes it harder to break then the tree perc during cleaning.
The Drum percolator resembles the showerhead percolator - the drum percolator is a thicker version that uses multiple slits to break up the smoke.
The Matrix percolator (also known as a birdcage) is an advanced take on the shower percolator and drum percolator. The matrix percolator is a bit larger than the showerhead and uses both horizontal and verticle slits to filter the smoke.
The percolator is admired for its visual aesthetics.
Pros - provides an aquadate job of smoke filtration
Cons - smoke follows the path of least resistance, so typically only the top portion of the matrix percolator filters any smoke. In the end, the matrix perc is not significantly better than a showerhead perc at filtration - but provides decent percolation nonetheless.
Stereo/Double/Stereo Matrix Percolator
The stacked matrix percolator is just as it sounds.. two matrix percolators stacked back to back.
The spore perc is an interesting and rare percolator.
A cluster of glass dots break up and separate the smoke while still maintaining the integrity and flavor of the smoke.
Looks almost like an inverted tree perc. In fact, there is not much difference in design from the sprinkler and tree perc. The sprinkler perc can have any number of arms and tends to flare out. However, due to its design, it's much easier to pull and its outward diffusion, to the body of the pipe, leads to more diffusion.
Pros - Aesthetically pleasing and does a decent job at filtration
Cons - many rods makes this piece easily breakable
Drag - Moderate, the outward style arms make it easier to pull smoke then the tree perc
Diffusion - Good, the smoke is diffiused throught smany small holes and can bounce on the glass for further diffusion
A classic perc, by all means, the inline percolator contains tiny slits to allow basic smoke diffusion.
The Gear perc resembles tiny gears and uses slits to perform percolation. A rare perc the - the gear uses many tiny slits to generate tiny bubbles that disperse and filters smoke.
Uses Forced air to rotate propeller percs into perfect smoke circulation!
The spiral perc also known as a coil percolator uses a spiral to diffuse smoke.
Pros - Visually appealing
Cons - not as effective as other percolators
Diffusion - Good, the longer distance forces the smoke too cool down
Drag - high, expect to pull your longs deeper to suck smoke through its long journey
To be Continued..