A bubbler is a single-piece water-pipe style device, typically made from glass. When you use one of these pipes, you benefit from a smoother hit. There is a lot more to marijuana than merely lighting a joint. Along with the thousands of strains available, various devices and accessories allow you to experience cannabis differently.
Rolling joints and blunts are the traditional methods of using weed. Bong hits also belong to the old-school, but there are new kids in town. Dabbing marijuana concentrates is one way to get very high. However, if you don’t want to mess around with nails and torches, a glass bubbler is an adequate substitute.
What Is a Glass Bubbler?
A bubbler is a cross of a water pipe and a bong. It features a bowl, stem, mouthpiece, and a water chamber, much like a bong. You can also purchase bubblers with a percolator. This is an extra water chamber that helps filter and cool the smoke.
While a bubbler and bong have similar features, the former resembles a one-piece water pipe.
Humankind has used the bong for millennia, and it comes from the Thai word baung. These first pipes were made from bamboo, and evidence of bong use stretches back to 400 BC, at least. Likewise, the humble pipe has been around for eons.
It isn’t easy to pinpoint the precise origin of the bubbler. However, the inventor likely wanted a portable version of a bong. Once glass blowing techniques were perfected in the mid-20th century, it didn’t take long for us to see the first glass bubbler.
Using a Glass Bubbler
If you are a novice, you might find the process of filling your bubbler with water tricky. The easiest way is to fill it through the bowl. We don’t recommend filling it through the narrow mouthpiece because it is hard to get the water in. Also, the shape of the mouthpiece provides a deceptive view of how much water is really in the bubbler.
There is an art to determining how much water can go into a bubbler. If there isn’t enough, it won’t filter the smoke and result in harsh lung hits. If it is too much, you can get stale hits, or else backsplash can become an issue. Ideally, you will fill the bubbler until half the stem is submerged.
Once you have filled the bubbler to the right level, follow these steps:
- Pack the Bowl: Do this on a flat surface or else your marijuana could get wet. Pack the bowl somewhat loosely, or else you will restrict airflow. If this happens, you could find it hard to smoke. However, packing it TOO loosely results in burning your flower too quickly.
- Light the Cannabis: Light the flower and inhale. Make sure you keep your finger on the bubbler’s rush hole to properly light the bowl and get smoke. It is recommended that you light the corners first.
- Enjoy the Hit: Once you are satisfied, remove your finger from the hole and inhale.
- Clear the Bowl: Make sure you clean the cannabis and also dump the water. Leaving water in the bubbler will result in a build-up of bacteria and mold, not to mention an awful smell. Ideally, you will clean the bowl pack after every use and rinse the bubbler.
Pros & Cons of Using a Bubbler
- A glass bubbler is the ‘middle ground’ between a bong and a pipe.
- As these devices are often one-piece models, they are easy to transport. Ideal if you like getting stoned while you travel.
- A bubbler can act as a portable bong. It helps you enjoy refreshing, filtered smoke offered by a water chamber and a percolator. Pipes are also portable but don’t provide the same quality of smoke.
- There are numerous bubbler pipe options, most of which are beautifully designed.
- A bubbler is useful if you have difficulties using a bong.
- One piece means portability and ensures that bubblers are extremely difficult to clean because you can’t take them apart.
- As they are glass, they will break if you drop them.
- While bong users can add new accessories, bubblers are not as customizable.
- Bubblers have small bowls that burn faster than bongs on average. As a result, a bubbler is very much a solo device, whereas a bong is better for groups.
Types of Glass Bubblers
There is no shortage of variety when it comes to glass bubblers, although they all have the following in common:
- Each one has a bowl that varies in size according to the bubbler you purchase.
- Every bubbler has a water chamber, but once again, the size varies.
- All bubblers have a stem with an opening at the end. In this device, a stem is where the marijuana smoke travels through once filtered by the water.
Therefore, when looking at the wild and wonderful glass bubbler designs, remember that their goal is the same. They use water to filter the smoke and allow for smoother hits. Experienced smokers understand the difference between harsh hits and cool & smooth ones. Here are a few common types of glass bubblers:
- Double Bubbler: This device has two chambers rather than one, which means the smoke gets filtered twice. The result is a smooth, clean, and refreshing hit every time.
- Concentrate: This bubbler is for marijuana concentrates and essential oils.
- Sidecar: This bubbler has a mouthpiece and stem attached to the side of the water chamber, which helps minimize the risk of splashback.
- Sherlock: One look at this bubbler gives you a good idea of what to expect. It gets its name because it looks like the pipe used by Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective.
- Pendant: This bubbler option is usually small and has a tiny hole or ring. The design allows you to wear it around your neck like a pendant.
- Hammer: This bubbler looks like a hammer but don’t use it like one!
Things to Consider When Choosing a Glass Bubbler
There is an impressive array of glass bubblers on the market. However, you can narrow down your search by focusing on the following:
- A Solid Base: Ideally, your bubbler will stand up on its own. The design could feature a special base, or else it stands up because the base and mouthpiece are close enough together. When your bubbler can stay standing without assistance, it is easier to store. It is also less likely to leak water when you don’t use it.
- Glass Thickness: Look for 3mm thick glass as a bare minimum.
- Overall Size: In general, glass bubblers are 5-10 inches long and 2-5 inches tall. The difference in weight, portability, and storage is significant when comparing the smallest and largest in this range. Consider whether you want a bubbler that fits in your hand so you can use it when you travel. Alternatively, you may only want one for home use. As a result, you can buy a larger one.
Final Thoughts on Glass Bubblers
When purchasing a glass bubbler, make sure you invest in one made from high-quality glass. Borosilicate glass is a popular material for the water pipe. Bubbler manufacturers use it because it is heat-tolerant, heavy, and extremely tough.
Occasionally, you may see a bubbler made from ‘scientific’ or ‘lab quality’ glass. This is usually a roundabout way of saying it is made from borosilicate glass.
Pretty much everything else boils down to preference. You may want a plainly-designed bubbler or one that looks as if Tommy Chong designed it while incredibly stoned. You can have deep or shallow bowls, long or short stems, or big/small water chambers.
As long as high-quality glass is involved, it should do the trick and last you for a long time in the bargain.
Best of all, you can easily find glass bubblers online for as little as $20. If you want something from the top-end of the market, expect to pay up to $200. While it seems like a lot of money, it is probably the equivalent of under an ounce of weed. Remember, your glass bubbler can give you years of high-quality smoking sessions. Therefore, it is worth investing in something substantial.
Incidentally, there are also wooden bubbler pipes on the market. Some people prefer wood because it is less fragile than glass. However, it is essential to note that the vapor produced by wooden bubblers is not as clean as what comes from a glass version. If you don’t care about this issue, look for a bubbler made from a hardwood such as rosewood or maple.