Whether or not you are a seasoned Stoner, or a newbie to the cannabis community, you may have heard the word percolator or perc thrown around when the topic of smoking comes up, and not had a clue what they were.
Or perhaps you know just what they are, but want to know if a percolator is right for you, and where you might be able to find affordable, high quality percolators for your bong or dab rig.
In this article, we will cover:
Alright, let’s dive into everything you need to know about percolators, what they are, how they work, and where to find them!
What is a Percolator?
A percolator is a filtration system that is attached to water pipes. They diffuse smoke to provide a smoother and cooler smoking experience. Typically, percolators are put into bongs, but they can also be added by purchasing additional bong accessories.
Adding a percolator to a bong or dab rig can greatly improve your smoking experience by cooling down the smoke before it reaches your lungs. It also helps to further filter the smoke to make for a cleaner smoking experience.
How Do Percolators Work?
The science behind how percolators work is actually quite fascinating, and simpler than you might think.
The type of percolator you have greatly affects the way it works, but they all work on the same principle: percolation.
First, the smoke starts off in the chamber of the water pipe. From here, as you inhale, you pull the smoke further up through the chamber and into the percolator.
Typically, this area is filled with water as well. The smoke is filtered into the chamber through the tube, and then, the shape of the percolator causes the smoke to then cool and be diffused through the percolators.
As smoke comes through the percolators, it must travel through the water in the upper chamber of the water pipe, creating the percolation effect that causes the smoke to be filtered a second time and cool significantly.
This diagram below should help to illustrate how a percolator works in a bong:
Though the term percolator sounds complicated, the idea behind percolation is really very simple, you are simply cooling the smoke in your water pipe by passing it through an extra layer of filtration and water in a second, separate chamber.
Why Do People Use Percolators for Bongs?
A lot of stoners use percolators in their bongs for a few reasons:
1. They make your bongs hit a lot smoother
We are talking baby’s bottom smooth here. This enhances the flavor by cutting down on the smokey aftertaste you get from most bongs. This can make for a safer way to smoke by reducing the risk of burns on your lungs and throat.
2. They make the smoke much cooler
Using a percolator on your bong also helps to cool the smoke down to the point where it almost has an icy feel to it. There is little to no heat at all, which helps you to cough less, and not have to worry about burning your throat or mouth when taking a hit from a dab rig.
3. They filter out more particulate and carcinogens in the smoke
While water pipes are one of the healthiest ways to smoke, they do not filter out all carcinogens and particulate. Estimates suggest they filter out around 92-98% of all particulate and carcinogens from smoke. Having an extra percolator in your water pipe can help to improve filtration and cut this number down even further.
4. They look insanely cool when you are using them
While the fourth reason may be a bit of a stretch, it is really cool to see how a percolator works right in front of your eyes. Depending on the type of percolator you have, there can be very many different ways that your percolator works, and therefore many ways that they look while filtering smoke.
Top 10 Most Common Types of Percolators
Because smoking has become so popular in the US and abroad in the past few years, glass has evolved with the culture.
This has resulted in some zany and super creative water pipes in the past few years, which will blow you away.
Naturally, as the types of bongs have increased in number, so have the different types of percolators.
All in all, there are well over 15 types of percolators out there to choose from. These are five of our favorite percolators. We chose them based on the following factors:
- Quality of Smoking Experience
- How Easy They Are to Find
We don’t have time to go over all of the different types of percs, but we have put together a list of the Top 10 Most Common Percolators:
1. Tree Percolators
What is a tree percolator?
Tree percolators look like – you guessed it – a tree!
This type of percolator is one of the widest known and most effective percs on the market. They are high quality, and work great. Tree percs also have affordable prices and can be found on a wide variety of bongs and dab rigs.
Pros & Cons of Tree Percs
|Easy to find||Some lower quality ones can break easily|
|Cheap compared to other percs||May not be best for you, depending on your needs|
|Sturdy and dependable|
|Affordable price point – good value|
|Comes with dabber tool and replacement atomizer|
2. Showerhead Percolators
What is a showerhead percolator?
Well, again, this type of percolator is so aptly named because of its showerhead shape.
Showerhead percs are great because they are super simple in terms of design, making them one of the cheapest types of percolators, but they still do a great job at filtering and cooling your smoke from your dab rig or water pipe.
Pros & Cons of Showerhead Percs
|Very simple to clean||Not as creative as some other percs|
|Smooth smoking experience||Doesn’t filter as well as other types of percs|
|Filters and cools smoke well|
|Easy to find|
3. Swiss Percolators
What is a swiss percolator?
This type of percolator has another pretty obvious name, being named after the way it looks very similar to a piece of Swiss cheese.
This type of perc is awesome because they look completely out of this world. On top of this, they work somewhat differently from other types of percs, in the sense that the smoke is filtered quite a bit more as it must pass through a maze of holes of varying shapes, sizes and distances from one another.
Swiss percs are best for people who are interested in both looks and performance when it comes the type of percolator that is best for them. They are typically a bit more expensive than some other percolators on the market, but in our opinion, the extra cost is work the cool look and amazing smoking experience.
Pros & Cons of Swiss Percs
|Very cool looking||Can be difficult to clean|
|Work great – filtered and smooth smoke||A bit more expensive than the average perc|
|One of the smoothest types of percs|
|Do not break easily|
4. Propeller Percolators
What is a propellor percolator?
Once again, this type of percolator gets its name from the way it looks – like a propellor of a plane or boat!
This type of perc is perhaps one of the most creative ones. Not only do they look extremely cool as they spin, ejecting smoke through the water that is filtered and cooled, but they also work surprisingly well.
The design of propellor percolators allows them to rapidly filter more smoke than some other types of percs because it has so many offshoots. Propellor percs are a bit more expensive than some other type of basic percolators, but they are still worth it, and make a great ganja gift for your stoner friends.
Pros & Cons of Propellor Percs
|Look absolutely amazing||Kind of fragile compared to other percs|
|Effective way to cool smoke||Somewhat difficult to clean|
|Best for large bongs||Easy to clog|
|High quality filtration|
5. Faberge Egg Percolators
What is a faberge egg percolator?
Yes, by now you get the trend here, this one also gets its name from the shape of the percolator.
This type of perc is perhaps one of the coolest, and also one of the most effective types of percolators. In turn, it is often the most expensive.
Faberge egg percs are very sturdy, and make cleaning your bong very easy. They are also one of the largest types of percolators, making them very good at cooling and filtering smoke quickly.
On top of that, smoking out of one of these bad boys makes you feel like you are smoking out of a piece sent from Mars to Earth.
Pros & Cons of Faberge Egg Percs
|Very cool looking||Most expensive type of perc|
|Very large||May not be best for your needs/wants|
|Cools smoke very well|
|Fairly easy to clean|
|Durable and high-quality|
6. Honeycomb Percolators
What is a honeycomb percolator?
A honeycomb perc is a type of bong percolator which is shaped like honeycomb. These are typically made in thin disc shapes, and layered on top of one another to provide the best percolation.
Usually, you will find 1-3 of these in bongs that feature them. They work extremely well, are relatively affordable compared to other types of percs, and also are very sturdy.
Because of the tiny holes they have, they can clog easily in some bong designs, but this can easily be cleaned if you know the right steps. These percs look very cool while you are smoking them, producing lots of bubbles and vortices.
Pros & Cons of Honeycomb Percs
|Affordable||Can clog easily|
|Very high-quality percolation|
|Small in size|
|Look very cool while smoking|
7. Matrix Percolators
What is a matrix percolator?
Matrix percs are a type of percolator found in water pipes. They look almost like a window with a bunch of panes. Their design is meant to filter smoke out of the top, after it has passed through multiple layers of glass in an up-down fashion.
This provides a very cool aesthetic, and also delivers a very cool hit to the user. Overall, this type of percolator is very sturdy compared to other percs, and is also very reasonably priced.
Pros & Cons of Matrix Percs
|Looks super cool while smoking||May not be best for your needs or wants|
|Very solid cooling and filtration|
8. Inline Percolators
What is an inline percolator?
Inline percolators are a form of perc found in water pipes that offer some of the best percolation. As a result, they are typically more expensive than other types of percs, and also much more fragile.
Overall, most inline percs are similar in design, looking like the bottom section of this bong in the photo above. The green part in the horizontal bottom chamber is the inline. This bad boy has its own chamber and typically leads up to another percolator above for superior cooling and filtration.
This type of perc is best for someone with a larger budget and who do not plan on taking this water pipe to parties or places where it may risk breaking – as they are very expensive, usually in the $250+ range.
Pros & Cons of Inline Percs
|High-quality percolation||Very expensive|
|Look amazing while smoking||Delicate and fragile|
|Usually coupled with another perc|
|One of the best types of percolators|
9. Cube Percolators
What is a cube percolator?
Cube percolators are a type of perc that are not often found in bongs. They are a middle of the line percolator, having a unique look, but overall functioning about the same as a diffused downstem.
Overall, they improve your smoking experience, but are not as intense as honeycomb or inline percs. They get the job done and provide cooler hits at a decent price, and are one of the more affordable types of percolators.
They can be hard to find, but make up for it with a sturdy design that is not likely to break or clog easily.
Pros & Cons of Cube Percs
|Very durable||Not the best percolation|
|Affordable percolator||Can be hard to find|
|Do not clog easily|
10. Spiral Percolators
What is a spiral percolator?
A spiral percolator is a type of perc commonly found in high end, tall bongs. The reason being is that they are intensive to make and are typically large in size, requiring a big bong to hold them.
This type of percolator is amazing for cooling and filtration, making it one of the best types of percs in our opinion. They can be a bit hard to find and are usually more expensive than some of the other types of percs out there.
However, this is one of the more durable types of percolators as long as you purchase from a reputable brand and keep your piece nice. Overall, the smoking experience with spiral percs is amazing, and they are really cool to watch in action.
Pros & Cons of Spiral Percs
|Very good percolation||Can be hard to find|
|Durable design||Usually expensive|
|Usually found in large bongs|
Best Percolator for the Price
Here are links and brief descriptions to some of the best percolators for their price on the market. All of these can be found in our online head shop for discount prices!
Its features include:
- 4.5″ tall
- 4-armed tree ashcatcher
- 45-degree stem
- 14mm and 18mm male and female size available
- 3 color options: blue, green and clear
This percolator is a great bong attachment for any stoner who is looking for an easy way to upgrade their bong without spending too much money to do so.
Let’s take some time to answer some frequently asked questions about percolators.
Q. Do I need a percolator for my dab rig?
Honestly, we aren’t going to sit here and tell you that you must have a percolator to enjoy your smoking experience with a bong or dab rig.
However, we would be lying if we said that it didn’t greatly improve the smoking experience by cooling the smoke and making it much smoother to breathe in, while simultaneously filtering out more particles and chemicals.
Percolators aren’t for everyone, but for the smoker who enjoys relaxing and mainly smoking out of a water pipe or dab rig, percolators are one of a few must have bong attachments.
Q. Which type of percolator is the best?
Just about any type of percolator will get the job done, but some stick out above the rest. Here are our picks for the best type of percolators for different things people look for in the smoking experience.
As far as looks go, in our eyes, either the Propellor Percolator, or the Faberge Egg Percolator get the gold medal. They are also great performers in terms of function as well.
In terms of performance, the Swiss Percolator and Tree Percolator work best in our opinion. The other ones work very well too, but these guys seem to have just a bit of an edge in terms of smoothness while smoking.
When it comes to value, you want to be finding the best percolator in terms of performance compared to what you are paying for. For this category, the gold medal goes to either Tree Percolators or Showerhead Percolators for sure.
Q. Do you put water in a percolator?
Usually yes. Sometimes, no. This really all depends on the design of the bong itself. Typically, bongs that come with percolators require you to fill them with water, otherwise, they don’t really work – as they filter smoke through water using slits in the glass. Percolator attachments also usually require water. Some types of percs are built into bongs and do not need to be specifically filled with water because they will fill up with the bong itself.
Q. Do percolators make a difference?
Yes. Percolators make a noticeable difference in your smoking experience. On top of making hits smoother and more filtered, most percs also have a significant effect on the cooling of the smoke.
Q. Are percolators worth it?
Yes. To elaborate, you will want to look for one that has good value – that is made with thick glass and won’t easily break, but also that is not ridiculously priced. Typically, this depends on knowing the best bong brands.
Q. Which percolator is best for bongs?
There is no right answer to this question. All percolators work relatively the same, just with different designs. Depending on the size and shape of your bong, certain types of percolators may work better. However, if we had to decide on one percolator to rule them all, we would probably choose either tree percs or honeycomb percs because they are easy to clean, and do not break easily.
Where to Find the Best Percolator Attachments for Bongs and Dab Rigs
Looking for some great deals on percolator attachments or bongs and dab rigs with percolators built in? We’ve got you covered. At HelpingPot, we work hard towards becoming the best online headshop for our community.
Browse our selection of high-quality water pipes and dab rigs. Or, you can also check out our percolators and ashcatchers. If you are looking for even more information on some of the smoothest bongs and dab rigs out there, check out these guides:
- Best Dab Rigs Under $100
- Top Bong Brands 2019
- Best Bongs Under $100
- Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Bong
- Water Pipe FAQ
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