Have you asked yourself what is a percolator, but been too afraid to ask? We’ve got you covered.
Photography by Georgia Love for Herb
There are probably some bong novices out there wondering exactly what this word “percolator” means and whether or not it actually does anything. A percolator is a contraption for your bong or water pipe that helps to cool down smoke. This helps smokers achieve a smoother hit and cough less in the process. They come in all different shapes and sizes and have different designs for different bongs.
Not to be confused with the coffee brewing device, the cannabis percolator usually comes in the shape of a dome, but can be found in a variety of designs. It is basically an additional water chamber for your bong and usually lives in the tube of the bong. It contains water to offer another level of filtration and makes for smoother hits.
After you pull the smoke from your bong, it interacts with the water in the bowl. Then, when it’s traveling up the tube, the smoke interacts with the water for the second time, but this time in the percolator.
There are two ways that this process cools and filters the smoke more efficiently. Firstly, the smoke has another opportunity to make contact with water, which is naturally going to cool it down, and allows for a greater surface area of smoke to reach the water.
It also works by breaking down the bubbles into smaller sizes, due to the pressure in the percolator. This, again, helps to make your bong hits cooler and smoother.
Percolators are undoubtedly successful at cooling your smoke down, which makes the smoke noticeably easier to inhale. So, if you have trouble hitting a bong, try one with a percolator—you’ll more than likely find it easier.
The more important question is whether or not it affects your high. Some people think that the percolator increases THC absorption, but this is likely a myth. In our experience, the percolator doesn’t make you any higher than a regular bong. It could be that people are just taking bigger hits thanks to the smoother smoke.
In actuality, slightly more THC is lost in bongs with percolators than in bongs without. Although the added water makes no difference (THC is not soluble in water), slightly more of the psychoactive cannabinoid is lost to the glass of the extra chamber. Have no fear, however. The difference is so slight that it won’t impact your high at all and most people claim it’s worth it for the smoother hit.
A diffuser is yet another device you can add to your collection of bong gadgets, and it adds an additional layer of cooling. This device goes into the shaft from which you actually smoke the weed. It has little holes at the end of it, which means the smoke is sucked through those holes before it hits the water. This allows the smoke to reach the water in smaller quantities, allowing a greater surface area of the smoke to hit the water. This means a cooler, better-filtered hit, too.
People swear by using these two gadgets together, as it’s the way to create the smoothest possible bong hit.
All in all, a percolator is a good thing to have in your bong. It makes for smoother, cooler smoke making it all around much more enjoyable. There are no real negative effects on your high for using it, so why not give it a try?