Bong 201: What are the 7 Important Parts of a Bong?

on August 10, 2021

If you’re a regular smoker or even if you’re brand new, you may be interested in a bong. These versatile devices allow for cooler, more filtered hits, even when a large amount of smoke is inhaled.

You might already have a good idea of what a bong is…but you’re curious about the different parts of a bong and its features. That’s what you’ll learn about here in this post.

Also, if you missed Bong 101, go here to learn all about the different types of bongs, how they’re made, and how they work.

Now back to those bong parts. There are seven main elements in the bong:

  1. Bong bowl
  2. Ash catcher
  3. Downstem
  4. Carburetor
  5. Base or water chamber
  6. Percolator
  7. Neck or tube and mouthpiece

Bong bowl

This is the bulbous attachment where the smoker adds dried herbs or flowers. The bowl is also where the dried cannabis will be lit and combust.

Ash Catcher

Though not required, some medical marijuana smokers like to use an ash catcher.

Just as the name would have you believe, the job of this attachment is to catch any ash from the bowl. Typically, they make cleaning much easier for the user. Instead of having to clean your entire bong more often, you’ll simply have to clean the ash catcher.

But it can potentially do even more: some ash catchers add additional percolation benefits to further cool and filter smoke.


The downstem is the bridge that connects the bowl to the base of the bong. Once the cannabis is ignited, smoke travels through the downstem into the water.

The downstem connects to the bong through a joint – which can be a male or female connection, depending on your preference of bowl versus dab rig. However, some bongs have non-removable downstems.


The carburetor – or carb, as it’s more commonly known – is a small hole that allows the smoke to clear the bong, finishing the hit. 

While not every bong will have a carb, some bongs have a pull or slide carb, which is exposed when the bowl is removed; while others have an additional hole in the back of the bong.

By keeping this hole closed with a built-in piece (like the bowl) or a finger, the smoker cuts off air to everything but the bowl. Then, when you’re ready to take a hit, you’ll place your mouth on the mouthpiece and release the carb, allowing an easier inhale.

Base or Water Chamber

The bottom of the bong is the base or water chamber. Aptly named, this is where you’ll add water to cool and filter your cannabis smoke.

The base can take a number of shapes, depending on user preference. Most commonly, there are bubble and beaker-shaped water chambers.


Some bongs may also have additional percolators (or you may choose to add one). These allow additional cooling and filtering of the smoke before being inhaled.

A word of warning with percolators: they will eventually become clogged and need cleaning.

Neck or Tube & Mouthpiece

Finally, the neck or tube of the bong is the long chamber that extends up from the base. It ends at the top with the mouthpiece, which is where – you guessed it – you’ll inhale smoke.

Along the neck, you might also find an additional feature: ice pinch (or catch) or splash guard. Often three triangular spikes are meant to hold ice cubes to cool down the smoke even more. Splash guards help keep any bubbling water from coming up and out of the tube.

Now that you know about the important parts of the bong, you’re well on your way to getting more comfortable using one!

What’s next? Don’t miss our series on 7 Things to Think About Before Buying a Bong.

At Hive Medicinal, we’d love to help with your medical marijuana needs as your local Maine dispensary. Take a look at our current cannabis products or, better yet, stop by in person!

Hive Medicinal

Hive Medicinal is a medical marijuana dispensary with two locations in Maine. You can visit us at 65 River Road in Chelsea, Maine or 210 College Ave in Waterville, Maine.