There is a running controversy in the Cannabis Community between big bongs vs. small bongs. Some Stoners argue that small bongs are better because they are more compact and easier to travel with.
Others argue that large bongs are better because they offer larger hits, better suction, and more room for bong accessories or percolators – leading to a smoother smoking experience.
We aren’t here to take sides. At HelpingPot, we are dedicated to getting to the bottom of things like this and educating our audience to help you guys make the best purchasing decision.
In this guide, we cover:
By the end of this guide, you will have a working knowledge of exactly which type of bong is best for you. Let’s get started!
Small Bongs vs. Big Bongs – The 7 Factor Test
In this section, we compare big and small water pipes to one another based on 7 of the most important factors when purchasing a water pipe:
- Reliable Brand
- Price Range
This will help you to understand what to look out for in a short or tall bong depending on your preference. Knowing what to look for will help you get the best bang for your buck and help you avoid common mistakes when buying a new bong.
1. Percolation – Smoothness is Everything
If you are not familiar with percolators and how they work, then you might want to check out this guide. If you are, you know that percolators are what makes a bong so smooth to hit.
Essentially, percolators are tiny designs within a bong that allow for smoke to be filtered through them in a way that makes it cleaner and smoother to hit, sometimes also cooling the smoke as well.
There are dozens of types of percolators, including percolator attachments for bongs which can easily be added to almost any water pipe in order to improve your smoking experience.
You don’t need to go overboard and have 5 different percs to enjoy your smoke sesh, but percolation does play a large role in how well your bong hits. Generally, smaller bongs tend to have less room for percolation and therefore get a bad rap for not hitting as well. This is not always the case though if you know where to look for the best small bongs.
Do Small Bongs or Big Bongs Have Better Percolation?
At the end of the day, this category goes to big bongs. There are plenty of small ones on the market which have great percolation, but overall, big water pipes have much more room for accessories and percs, allowing them to be smoother on average.
2. Durability – No One Likes Breaking Glass
By far one of the most important factors when selecting a new bong is the durability. How likely is your piece to break?
No one wants to admit it, but any seasoned Stoner has likely broken a bong or two in their day. It’s a real pain in the ass, and in the wallet.
You want to find a bong that is durable and can withstand a few small drops, or temperature changes without being prone to fractures or completely breaking.
Both small and large bongs can break. Sometimes the smaller ones are made with thinner glass, making them less durable. Other times, large bongs can be top heavy, or easily knocked over because of their size, leading to more breaks despite their thicker glass.
Are Small Bongs or Large Bongs More Durable?
For the most part, they are about the same. Some larger bongs may be easier to knock over, but this doesn’t mean that they break easier. The key is to always look for thick glass that is made in the USA by a reputable company. Do that, and you should be fine.
3. Reliable Brand – Companies You Can Depend On
Both of the factors listed above can be compensated for by knowing the best bong brands on the market. This will help you not only find the best bong for you, but do so at very affordable prices.
On top of that, the best companies often are able to design bongs that are the perfect size – not too large, and not too small, so that you can still travel with them easily, but also enjoy a smooth smoking experience.
4. Price Range – Keep it Affordable
A lot of folks think you need to purchase the most expensive bong in the world in order to have a good smoking experience. This is simply not true.
Sure, there are collectors out there who look for intriguing and unique pieces of glass, and that is fine. But if you are anything like us, purchasing a new piece really comes down to its value. Is it worth the price you are paying for it?
Generally speaking, you can find plenty of great bongs under $100. Most of them will even have percolators, ice catches, thick glass, and be made by reputable bong brands.
In the off case, you can’t find what you are looking for under $100, you should still be able to find it and keep your cost under $150. Anything over that, and in our opinion – you are overpaying for a bong (or are a collector, which there is nothing wrong with).
Most of the time, short bongs are cheaper, while larger bongs are more expensive. This is because of the amount of time and materials they take to produce. Typically, the larger the bong is, the more complex it is, but this is not always the case.
Do Small Bongs or Large Bongs Cost More?
Typically speaking, larger bongs will cost more because they take longer to make, and have more intricate designs. The price range for either type of bong is as follows:
- Large Bongs – $80 to $150+
- Small Bongs – $45 to $100+
5. Performance – Overall Smoking Experience
Percolation is important, but it is only one aspect of the smoking experience. In fact, when selecting a new bong, on top of percs, we always like to look for:
Ice catches add more room for customizing your smoking experience, by allowing you to add ice to your bong and get even smoother, cooler, and more filtered hits. Usually, this is a trait you will only find in large bongs, as the small ones do not have thick enough tubing to allow for it.
Diffused downstems add the initial layer of diffusion to the bong, and we typically look for ones that are 2-pieces, as this makes cleaning and set up far more easy. Almost all bongs worth their salt come with a diffused downstem, both large and small. The key is to make sure it is a quality one that will not break and that easily fits most joint sizes.
As far as overall design goes, you want to look for a bong that makes sense. Anything with tubes going any which direction is cool, but it presents a lot of room for cracks, breaks, and clogs. On top of that, some small bongs are known for having their mouthpiece too close to the bowl, which can make for uncomfortable smoking experiences, including burnt noses and eyebrows (trust us on this one).
You also want to take a look at the thickness of the glass you are purchasing. Typically, anything more than 5mm thick tubing is considered to be thick. However, there is still very strong borosilicate glass tubing thinner than this. Both small and large bongs can be made of thick glass.
Which Performs Better, Large or Small Water Pipes?
Overall, this is more about design than anything. We have used bongs that are only 5″ tall that hit just as well as 18″ bongs. Ultimately, larger bongs do have more room for upgrades and percolation, but that does not stop small ones from providing a smooth smoking experience.
6. Size & Shape – It Does Matter
Look, when it comes to water pipes, there is such a thing as too big and too small. Period. If you get a bong that is 3” tall, and you have to struggle to fill it and empty it every single time, constantly burn your nose while lighting it, and might as well throw it away if it gets clogged – it’s too small!
If you have a big bong that is so tall you cannot easily bring it anywhere, it is easily knocked over no matter where you put it, it takes forever to fill, and is difficult to hold in one hand while lighting – it’s too big!
The same goes for shape. There are dozens of types of bongs:
Each of them have their own distinguishing features and functionality. However, there are certain things you should avoid when purchasing a big or small bong. You want to stay away from anything that seems unbalanced.
Often times, the larger the bong becomes, the more top heavy it is. If you are looking for a big bong, you want to make sure that the base is wide enough and thick enough to handle the weight of it. If it wobbles or sits unevenly, or seems to be knocked over easily, avoid it like the plague.
With small bongs, you don’t have to worry as much about them tipping over, but you do have to worry about them cooling the smoke and clogging. In order to make sure that you choose the best small bong that does both of these things right, you want to look for one that has an efficient shape and design.
Tiny working parts, thin tubing, difficult to access chambers, and thin glass should all be avoided. We strongly recommend beaker bongs for those who are into shorter pieces, and straight tube bongs for those who are looking for a tall bong. Both of these types of bongs minimize design in order to provide smooth hits with no complications, while also keeping prices affordable.
7. Type of Bong – Material
Lastly, you want to compare the material that the bong is actually made out of. The main types of bongs are:
There are also metal bongs, but we do not recommend them for a number of reasons. We won’t go into this too much in depth here, because we wrote a complete guide comparing the types of bongs here, but essentially this is what you should know:
- You get what you pay for
- Glass bongs are the best
- Followed by ceramic
- Followed by silicone
- Acrylic bongs are the worst of the bunch
Basically, there is a bong material out there for just about every buyer’s preference. but , you should be aware of how each type of bong affects price, shape, size, performance, and overall smoking experience.
Comparing Short Bongs vs. Tall Bongs – Which is Better?
So now that you know what to look for in a new water pipe, and a bit about how tall and short bongs compare in some major categories, which one is better?
There truly is no right or wrong answer to this question, but rather it depends on what your preferences are. Some people swear by small bongs, while others prefer strictly large bongs. More practical people understand that you can enjoy smoking from a bong of just about any size, as long as it is made with care.
Who Are Small Bongs Best For?
For the most part, small bongs are best for people who are looking for:
- A great travel pipe
- Something that is affordable
- A pipe that can easily be concealed
- Something that is smooth, but not overboard
- A durable, long-lasting piece
- Something that can easily be turned into a dab rig
Overall, they are great for keeping a low profile, and are still durable and smooth enough that they make a great purchase for anyone – as long as you know which bongs you can count on.
Who Are Big Bongs Best For?
Big bongs are best for people who are looking for:
- A piece that they usually leave at home
- Something with superior percolation
- A piece that they can easily add bong accessories too
- Something with very thick glass
- A piece that is easy to clean
- Something that is nice to show off
Overall, large bongs are great for just about anyone – as long as you do not have to take it many places, and are not a clumsy one. The most important thing when looking for the best tall bongs is knowing which brands you can trust, and how much you should pay for a new piece.
Pros & Cons of Small Bongs
The table below outlines the advantages and disadvantages of small bongs.
|Lowest price range||Can be harder to clean|
|Hit just as hard||Can be harder to find accessories for|
|Can still have great percolation||Sometimes designed poorly|
|Sometimes more durable|
|Great for traveling|
Pros & Cons of Big Bongs
The table below outlines the advantages and disadvantages of big bongs.
|More percolation||More expensive|
|More diffusion||Can break easily if clumsy|
|More accessories and parts||Not as easy to travel with|
|Usually made with thicker glass||Hard to conceal|
|Usually easier to clean|
3 of the Best Small Bongs
Now that you know everything you need to know about short vs. tall bongs, we wanted to give you a good place to start looking for new pieces. In this section, we will briefly review some of the best small bongs.
- 5” Tall
- 14.5mm Female Joint
- 90 Degree Joint
- Bent Neck
- Beaker Base
- Diffused Downstem
- Fumed Glass
- Male Glass Bowl Included
- Sesh Supply Logo
- 8″ Tall when unfolded
- 9mm Downstem
- Dishwasher safe
- BPA free silicone
- 6” Tall
- Showerhead Perc
- Bubble Base
- Passthrough Chamber
- 45 Degree Joint
- 14.5mm Female Joint
- Maria Rings for Grip
- Thick Glass
3 of the Best Big Bongs
In this section, we briefly review some of the best big bongs on the market. These guys hit hard and are durable, but won’t break the bank.
- 14” Tall
- 18.8mm Female Joint
- 90 Degree Joint
- Sesh Supply Logo
- Straight Tube
- Scientific Glass
- Propellor Perc
- Glass Bowl Included
- Ice Catch
- 14” Tall
- 14mm Female Joint
- Made in California
- Diffused Downstem
- 38mm Heavy Wall Tubing
- Premium Borosilicate Glass
- Comes w/ Glass Bowl Attachment
- 8″ Tall
- 3.5″ Wide Flat Base
- Ice Catch
- 14mm Female Joint
- 14mm Male Glass Bowl Attachment
- Scientific Glass
- Handcrafted Design
Where to Find Great Deals on Small & Big Bongs
Looking for awesome prices on some of the best short and tall bongs on the market?
If you are looking for more information about bongs and pieces before purchasing a new one, check out these helpful resources from our blog:
- Best Bongs Under $100
- Bong FAQ
- Best Dab Rigs Under $100
- Top Travel Pipes in 2019
- Best Bong Brands Ultimate Guide
Or, for even more Dank Deals and awesome content, follow us on Instagram and join our Stoner Community!