A bubbler is effectively a water pipe and is a single piece 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 simply 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, but if you don’t want to mess around with nails and torches, a glass bubbler is a fine substitute.
What is a Glass Bubbler?
The easiest way to describe a bubbler is to say it 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 weed smoke.
While a bubbler and bong have similar features, the former resembles a one-piece water pipe. The bong has been used for millennia and comes from the Thai word baung. These early 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 is difficult to pinpoint the precise origin of the bubbler, but it is clear that the inventor wanted a portable version of a bong. Once glass blowing techniques were perfected in the mid-20th century, it didn’t take long for the first glass bubbler to be created.
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, and the shape of the mouthpiece provides a deceptive view of how much water is really in the bubbler.
There is also an art to determining how much water can go into a bubbler. If there isn’t enough, it won’t filter the smoke and can result in harsh lung hits. If there 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, grind up some weed, and pack it on the bowl. If the device has a carb, cover it with a finger and put your mouth over the mouthpiece. Light the weed, draw the smoke smoothly and inhale. Take your finger away from the carb and inhale the remaining smoke in the chamber.
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 function as a portable bong as you get the cool, filtered smoke associated with having 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 a good option for a relative newcomer who struggles to use a bong.
- One-piece means portability but also ensures that bubblers are extremely difficult to clean because you can’t take them apart.
- As they are made from glass, they will break if you drop them.
- While bong users can add new accessories, bubblers are not as customizable.
- Bubblers have small bowls which 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 which 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 it has been filtered by the water.
Therefore, when looking at the wild and wonderful glass bubbler designs, remember that their goal is the same: To use water to filter the smoke and allow for a smoother hit. 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 specifically used 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 which allows you to wear it around your neck like a pendant.
- Hammer: This bubbler looks like a hammer but should not be used as 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 and bubbler manufacturers use it because it is heat-tolerant, heavy, and extremely tough. Occasionally, you may see a bubbler described as being 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 the device is made from high-quality glass, 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. When you take into account the fact that your glass bubbler can give you years of high-quality smoking sessions, it is worth investing in something substantial.
Incidentally, there are wooden bubbler pipes on the market. Some people prefer wood because they are less likely to break the bubbler if they drop it. However, it is important to note that the vapor produced by wooden bubblers is not as clean as what comes from a glass version. However, if you don’t care about this issue, look for a bubbler made from a hardwood such as rosewood or maple.