These days, smoking weed is more popular and more socially acceptable than it has been within living memory. And with an ever-growing number of states now legalizing the herb, a mind-blowing variety of different strains, concentrates, and paraphernalia is becoming available.
Thanks to all the hype that marijuana has been receiving in recent years, it is no surprise that new and ingenious ways are constantly being dreamt up to consume it. And, thankfully, it is no longer necessary to check up and down the street for people you know before furtively ducking into your local head shop to pick up a new piece.
Today, we are exploring a modern take on a classic smoking method: The silicone bong. But are they all they’re cracked up to be? Could they even be a better alternative to glass? Read on to find out…
What is a Silicone Bong?
Silicone is a compound known as a polymer, and it is made by combining silicon with hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Silicon is a chemical element, although it is not found in isolation in the natural world. Silicon mainly exists in the form of silicon oxide or silicate, which is one of the components of sand. However, silicon is among the most plentiful elements on our planet and makes up around 25% of its crust!
In addition to being readily available, silicon is exceptionally versatile. It can be used to manufacture glass, concrete, bricks, and enamel, as well as silicone, which is found throughout our homes. Silicone is in everything from bathroom sealant to cookware. It can even be used to make medical devices as it is unreactive and hypoallergenic.
Another useful feature of silicone is that it is resistant to both heat and cold. It can withstand extreme heat up to 600°F/315°C without losing its shape, and that is part of the reason why it is perfect for making items such as bongs!
So, what are the key features of silicone bongs? Could they really be a better alternative to glass? Let’s take a look.
Why Silicone Bongs Might Be a Better Alternative to Glass
The word bong comes from the Thai word baung, meaning a tube or pipe made from the stem of the bamboo plant. However, while the original bongs may have been from bamboo, most people now associate the word ‘bong’ with glass, and there is no doubt that this is the material of choice for many.
Glass bongs come in many shapes and sizes, are safe to use, and some can even be considered works of art. So, why is it that silicone bongs are becoming so popular? What advantages could they possibly have over glass? As it turns out, quite a few!
1. Silicone Bongs are Almost Impossible to Break
Probably the most desirable feature of silicone bongs is that they are virtually indestructible. This will come as welcome news to anyone who has ever experienced that sickening feeling of hearing their favorite bubbler crack as they knock it off the table or pass it, only to have it slip, slow-motion style, from their hands and onto the floor.
No matter how high-quality your glass bong is, or how thick; glass is fragile, and there is still a high chance that it will break if dropped. Silicone, on the other hand, has a rubber-like texture and is pretty much impossible to break. Therefore, if you drop it, the worst that will happen is you’ll have some dirty bong water to clean up. It could definitely be much worse!
2. Silicone Bongs are Perfect for Travel
Because of their rubbery texture, silicone bongs can be folded, twisted, and bent without causing any permanent damage. This feature means that they are great for travel as they can be packed into luggage without taking up too much space.
Silicone bongs are also fantastic for parties. Not only are they going to stay intact no matter what happens, but they can also be transported to and from your destination far more discretely than glass.
And if you enjoy an al fresco toke, you’ll be impressed by how lightweight silicone bongs can be. This makes them ideal for keeping in your day pack for long hikes or camping trips, all without the fear of finding them smashed to pieces at the end of the trail!
3. Silicone Bongs are Easy to Clean
One of the worst things about any bong is keeping it clean. Fortunately, silicone bongs are much easier to clean than their glass or acrylic cousins.
Because they are flexible, it is easy to get into every nook and cranny of your silicone bong and clean it with warm water and mild dish soap. If your bong needs a deeper clean (or if you are feeling super lazy), you have two further options for cleaning a silicone bong.
Since they are heat resistant, silicone bongs can be easily cleaned in a dishwasher. And since they are also resistant to cold, they can be placed in a freezer for up to 12 hours and then twisted, allowing any frozen residue to crack and fall off.
While the freezer method is excellent if you have been smoking concentrates, it may be less effective if you have been smoking bud. This is because marijuana flower tends to leave a tarry resin on the inside of the bong, which may persist even after freezing.
4. Silicone Bongs are Affordable
Glass bongs can be incredibly expensive, depending on how fancy you want them to be. You can pick up a basic bubbler for under $50, but the chances are that it won’t be all that great. For a decent glass piece, you are probably looking at around $100, but they can stretch up into thousands or even millions of dollars for those with deep pockets and impeccable taste.
Silicone bongs tend to be far more affordable, though. There are many options available for under $50, making these bongs great for anyone on a budget. Even if you decide to spend a little more on a really special silicone bong, at least you know it won’t end up smashed on the ground after a few uses!
5. Silicone Bongs are Available in Various Shapes, Colors, and Sizes
Silicone can easily be molded to different shapes and sizes and comes in a wide range of vivid colors. Some silicone bongs are classy and understated, while others go for an all-out hippie, tie-dye vibe. You can even buy glow-in-the-dark silicone bongs for a truly cosmic experience!
Are Silicone Bongs Safe?
One reservation that many people have about silicone bongs is safety. This is because silicone looks and feels similar to plastic which, of course, you wouldn’t want to smoke. However, silicone bongs should be perfectly safe, providing you pay attention to a few things.
Firstly, look for a bong that has a non-silicone bowl. Even though silicone is heat-resistant up to 600°F, it cannot withstand a naked flame, and so you should take care to only heat the non-silicone parts and not the bong itself. If you are using a silicone dab rig, we recommend a glass drop down, which will keep the heat source further away from your piece.
Secondly, ensure that you choose a bong made from food-grade silicone, which is non-toxic and BPA free. Food-grade silicone should not leach into your bong water or emit any toxic gases, making this the safest choice by far.
Finally, purchase your silicone bong from a reputable supplier and read plenty of online reviews before committing to a product. Not all silicone bongs are created equal, and although it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option available, that probably won’t be the best. Since your silicone bong could end up lasting you years, you might as well invest in a product that is going to stand the test of time.
Final Thoughts on Silicone Bongs: Are They Better Than Glass?
Some people believe that glass is the best material for bongs and will never be convinced otherwise. However, for clumsy stoners or those who like to enjoy their weed outdoors in nature, a silicone piece could be a great alternative.
Silicone bongs may never be considered an art form in the way that some glassware is, but they do have an awful lot going for them. They are durable, affordable, and easy to clean, not to mention that they come in a variety of cool designs.
What we want to know is whether you have ever used a silicone bong and how the experience was for you. Are they worth the hype or still not a patch on glass? Let us know in the comments below.