Bongs and dab rigs are two types of water pipes used for consuming cannabis. While they may look similar at first glance, there are some key differences between these two devices in terms of their design, intended use, and how they function. In this article, let’s explore the main distinctions between bongs and dab rigs and how each one provides a unique smoking experience.
A bong is a water pipe that is specifically designed for smoking dried cannabis flowers or buds. Bongs use water to filter and cool the smoke before it is inhaled. Here are some key features of bongs:
- Cylindrical shape with a long neck and rounded base. Bongs are typically quite large, often over a foot tall.
- Narrow mouthpiece for inhaling smoke.
- Removable bowl piece near the top to hold cannabis.
- Downstem which connects the bowl to the base filled with water. The downstem has holes or slits so smoke can be drawn through the water.
- Carb or hole on the side of the bong above the water line. This is uncovered while lighting the bowl and then covered to draw the smoke into the chamber.
Bongs are optimized for smoking dry herbs. The water cools and filters the smoke, making for a smoother hit. The size of the chamber also allows large smoke clouds to form. Bongs often have percolators or extra chambers and filters to further refine the smoke.
A dab rig is a type of water pipe designed specifically for dabbing, which involves vaporizing concentrates like wax, shatter, or isolates. Here are the main components of a dab rig:
- Small, compact size. Dab rigs are much smaller than bongs, usually only around 5-10 inches tall. This allows for optimal flavor and potency when dabbing.
- Short, wide pipe with a wide base. The short neck helps concentrate vapors.
- Angled mouthpiece for easy access.
- Quartz, ceramic, or titanium nail serves as the heating element. This is attached where a bowl would be on a bong.
- Dome or carb cap that fits over the nail to capture vapors.
- Water filtration system like a bong.
To use a dab rig, you heat the nail on a dab heater, place the dome over it, and then use dab tools to place concentrated dabs of the extract onto the hot surface while inhaling. The water cools and filters the vapor for a very pure dabbing experience.
Now that we’ve looked at the anatomy of bongs and dab rigs, let’s summarize the main differences:
- Size – Bongs are much larger than dab rigs. Bongs can be over a foot tall, while dab rigs are small and compact.
- Purpose – Bongs are meant for smoking dry buds, while dab rigs are specially designed for consuming cannabis concentrates.
- Smoke vs. vapor – Bongs produce smoke, whereas dab rigs produce vapor. Vaporization heats the material at lower temps than combustion.
- Heating method – Bongs use a flame, while dab rigs use an electric nail or heating coil to vaporize concentrates.
- Hit smoothness – Dab rig vapor tends to provide smoother, purer hits than the smoke from bongs.
- Filtration – Bongs usually have more percolators and filtration than basic dab rigs. However, some complex dab rigs also provide multi-stage filtration.
- Draw speed – Bongs allow you to draw smoke at your own pace, while dab rigs require you to inhale steadily as the material vaporizes on the hot nail.
- High intensity – Dabs provide a very concentrated, intense high compared to smoking flowers from a bong.
As you can see, bongs and dab rigs have some overlaps in design, but ultimately serve different purposes and provide distinct user experiences. Bongs are best for flowers, while dab rigs are specially engineered for waxes and extracts. Considering your preferences for material, smoking style, and type of high can help determine which is better for your needs.