How do you know what to purchase when you walk into your local smoke shop? What's the difference between good and bad glass? What products are best to smoke out of? There's a lot that goes into one's opinion on purchasing glass. For instance, if you're strapped for cash but still want to smoke a smooth hit from a bong, then maybe buying the clearance bong isn't such a bad deal for you. However, if you're walking into the smoke shop looking for your next piece of art, you'll want to look at a few things: Is the piece made of borosilicate glass? If it is, you're in for a treat. Borosilicate glass is a much higher-quality glass. It's a type of glass with silica and boron-trioxide as the main glass-forming constituents. It is able to withstand heat a lot better than other types of glass. This makes for a great piece.
Are there any scratches or breaks in the glass?
Headshops usually order glass from a number of manufacturers; some being local and other's international. Sometimes one may find that there are imperfections with a good deal of international pieces. Sometimes the neck isn't quite right, it doesn't sit evenly on the table, and sometimes it may not even work! There have been instances where users purchase a piece and the glass is defective or even leaks water, so always be sure to thoroughly examine every inch of the piece you are looking to purchase. If it's not borosilicate glass, what is it? You don't need to know the exact type of glass every piece is made out of, so if the shop clerk doesn't know the answer, that's okay. Just look at the piece. Does it feel light? If it does, does the glass look thin and cheap? There's no shame in buying a cheap bong or pipe, but you want to know what you're buying. Sometimes there are pieces that catch the eye, but upon further inspection they don't hold up to your standards. If the glass feels light and fragile, chances are it's an international piece and should be priced at the lower end of that spectrum. If it's thick and durable, and not borosilicate glass, it still might be a good quality piece.
What Makes a Good Bong?
A lot that depends on your perception. How it looks and how it feels are key factors in determining which bong to take home. However, there is one thing to look for when determining the quality of a bong. Percolation.
Percolators are those weird looking glass ornaments inside of a bong. Sometimes they are shaped like trees, spirals, pyramids, stereos, and many more. In most cases those center pieces aren't just there for looks. They are there for percolation. Percolation helps reduce the amount of carcinogens you breathe in by filtering the smoke through water before being delivered to your lungs. Many bongs over $100 will have multiple percolators. You can also find cheap pieces for $25 that come with some kind of percolator in it.
So whether you're smoking out of silicone, glass, or acrylic, check to see if the bong has some way to diffuse the smoke you plan on pulling through it. Glass will typically run you a higher ticket than silicone or acrylic, and most often it's going to be a better experience as well. What kind of bong do you smoke out of? Drop your comments below!