The beauty of the simple bubbler! It’s among the best ways to get in a quick smoke with the best flavor and smoothness. Using a bubbler water pipe is a great way to consume whatever you’re smoking.
But is a bubbler a bong? Is it a water pipe? Is there a difference? Many call a bubbler a bong, but they are their own type of water pipe with a unique set of benefits. In fact, there is a whole list of reasons why people love bubblers and shop for them, which set them apart from bongs, relating to size, portability, ease of use, percs, and details of diffusion.
To learn all there is to know about bubblers, how they work, how to choose the right bubbler for you, and the best bubblers out there today, read on.
Best Online Headshop to Buy a Bubbler
Whether you’re in the market for a larger, artistic looking bubbler for home use and display or more of a pocket bubbler for everyday use, we have what you need. From the classic Sherlock bubblers to the solid hammer bubbler you rely on, you will find them here. Lab-quality glass bubblers, rustic wood options, and modern, unbreakable silicone selections are all here in our online headshop.
Check Out This Selection of Our Favorite Bubblers
What Is a Bubbler?
A bubbler is in many ways the best of all worlds. It is a smaller glass pipe, and it typically has a bowl that connects to a compact water chamber. The water filters and cools the smoke, although the bubbler can be used dry like a pipe, too.
Imagine a classic spoon hand pipe, only with a water chamber as part of the whole, single piece. For example, Grav Labs makes a Jane West Spoon that is literally a spoon style bubbler. The bowl is built in with a bubbler, where many larger bubbler bong style pieces have a bowl piece with a glass-on-glass fitting instead.
The end effect is like a smaller mashup of a bong and a pipe, with the best functionality of both. You get away with a pocket-sized piece that’s easy to use, though, and thanks to the bubbler’s water filtration feature, you get a much smoother, cooler smoking experience than you would with a dry hand pipe.
What Is a Bubbler Pipe?
The littler, more portable cousin to the classic bong, the bubbler is a sort of hand pipe or water pipe with a chamber that often has a diffuser or percolator. You pack the dry herb in the bowl and light up, sending the smoke through the stem and water. There is cools and gets filtered for a much smoother hit than a traditional dry pipe can offer.
However, the bubbler can in fact be used like a dry pipe. Bubblers often also have carb holes, to enable the smoker to get more from every hit.
Benefits of Bubbler Pipes and Mini Bubblers
Obviously, if you love a deep, rich, smooth hit but don’t feel like trying to carry around a gigantic bong, a bubbler is a great option. The harshness of regular smoke disappears, yet you don’t have to draw attention to yourself or bring extra luggage.
In fact, many cannabis smokers consider a bubbler to be a sort of clutch item, something to have around at all times as either a backup or one of their standard tools. That’s because you can always squeeze in a nice sesh quickly and easily without too much trouble or dry pipe smoke smell.
Bubblers also deliver more intense flavor, and eliminate that nasty resin aftertaste you can get when you smoke with a pipe. Like a bong, a bubbler can help you avoid ash tray mouth (yuck). Then again, if you’re in a hurry or you just feel like a good old smoke, don’t add water to your bubbler and it’s a hand pipe!
Bubblers also offer variety, coming in many styles and materials such as silicone and borosilicate glass. Obviously if you’re a traveler silicone is more durable, but scientific glass is tempered to last and very tough.
Bubblers provide a more high-grade smoking experience. This is because they create a lower temperature, thicker, cooler clouds, and provide lots of filtration. This in turn removes undesirable byproducts of combustion from your smoke, leaving you with silky, satisfying hits that an average dry hand pipe just can’t match.
There are so many benefits to using a bubbler, even for a total noob! It’s a great way to enjoy herbs and oils at home or on the go, with no sacrifice in quality or flavor.
Cons of a Bubbler Water Pipe
There are really just two downsides to the bubbler—difficulty cleaning and bowl size.
The greatest downside to using a bubbler is that it is a one-piece item. This kind of water pipe made from one solid piece of glass is harder to clean as thoroughly as a bong because you can’t take it apart. This means you’ll need to work routine cleaning into your plan.
The other issue is just that with smaller size comes a smaller bowl that probably burns faster. That might be okay solo, but this makes a bubbler harder to pass and puff style share with a group.
What Bubbler Styles Are There?
There are many styles of bubblers out there to choose from, and that flexibility is part of what makes bubbler pipes an essential piece of a cannabis connoisseur’s toolkit.
Hammer bubbler. A hammer bubbler is an upright bubbler shaped like a small hammer, instead of a glass bowl, and has a flat base and chamber, enabling users to rest it on a surface like a beaker bong. The extended handle allows for more smoke creation as well. Some hammer style bubblers feature diffused downstems for optimal filtration. Others pass smoke through various percolators or diffusers for filtration. Grav makes a Marley Naturals version of the hammer bubbler.
Sidecar. Instead of the mouthpiece and stem coming right out as in the hammer, the sidecar bubbler attaches has those coming from the side of the water chamber. The idea is to reduce water splash-back, which can happen with both hammers and Sherlocks. Eyce makes a silicone sidecar, and you can also find these in glass.
Mini bubbler. A mini bubbler is really just like it sounds: a very small bubbler! There is no official size range here, but some are just around 3 inches in size like the Grav Labs Clear Glass Mini Hammer Bubbler.
Recycler vapor bubbler. When you see a product like this listed, you may be looking at more than one kind of thing! You may be seeing a dab rig or oil rig with a showerhead perc or honeycomb diffuser. You may also be seeing an actual bubbler with a showerhead or honeycomb diffuser or some other percolator. Hopefully you’re seeing an option designed for concentrates!
If there’s a real difference here it’s that the bubbler is one piece and smaller. The bubbler version also has a flat bottom for stability, like its larger cousin. The more filtration and circulation you like, the better some more elaborate piece like this is—but be sure you’re up for the cleaning!
Double chamber bubbler/double bubbler. This is just like it sounds, a bubbler with two chambers and two diffused stems or percolators. This way you achieve the mildest possible hit thanks to twice as much water filtration and diffusion. The smoke is silky smooth and very cool.
Sherlock bubbler. Yes, these bubblers are like the hand pipes based on that classic Sherlock Holmes design. So there’s a sort of dropped bowl, curved, handle, and a classic, vintage pipe look to these bubblers, plus the water chamber, of course. Because these aren’t the old school pipes, they’re not wood, and are typically made from borosilicate glass. Some Sherlock pipes can stand on a flat surface, and some include variations on filtration options, such as a circ perc rather than the standard downstem diffusion.
Pendant bubbler. Yes, it’s a bubbler you can wear! This is handy for those who might smoke enough to set something down and forget it (raises hand). This style of bubbler is also perfect for events and camping trips. The Blunt Bubbler is a good example of this style.
Themed bubblers. You will find themed bubblers of just about any kind. From the President to Sasquatch and everything in between, themed bubblers can run the gamut in price and typically show extreme attention to detail. Look to MJ Arsenal for some cool examples of themed bubblers, not to mention glass bongs.
Scientific bubblers. We will go into the difference between scientific and worked glass bubblers a bit below, but a scientific bubbler is about function more than form, and therefore usually is made from clear borosilicate glass. For someone who prizes optimal function above all else, scientific glass bubblers are ideal.
Worked bubblers. Worked glass bubblers are sort of the opposite idea to scientific bubblers, although of course they mostly work based on the same principles. They might come in unusual shapes, and are made with colorful art glass.
Worked Glass Bubblers vs Scientific Glass Bubblers
Let’s clarify the difference between worked glass bubblers and scientific glass bubblers for a moment. In theory, they all work exactly the same way! But for many worked bubblers the form does influence the function.
Worked glass refers to any glass that an artist blows or manipulates to create an ingrained design. When you see two-tone class, speckled glass, dichromatic glass pieces, designs with embedded glass art, glass pointillism, or colorful glass “tubing” embedded in a bubbler, this is often glasswork, or worked glass.
Worked glass is beautiful! It can also be functional. However, it can be difficult to clean. Note that themed glass bubblers, such as a bubbler designed to look like an animal or something, might be worked glass OR borosilicate glass.
Wood bubblers are inferior to glass bubblers in terms of smoothness and clean taste of the vapor. On the other hand, many smokers love that the wood from the bubbler contributes flavor, so they consider this a bonus. Look for hardwood such as maple, rosewood, or walnut, or bamboo, which is not a wood, but also works well. Remember: wood is less durable and these do not last as long as glass bubblers.
How Do I Choose the Right Bubbler for Me?
When it comes to picking out the right bubbler, it really comes down to taste, style, and preference. However, there is a huge selection of glass bubblers and other devices out there, so actually developing preferences is easier said than done. Still, there are definitely a few things to keep in mind.
First, consider size. Most bubblers are fairly compact, but there’s definitely a range out there. Do you need to be able to pocket your bubbler, for example? Are you used to pocketing a vape pen or something? If so, smaller is better for you.
Another issue is what you’ll be smoking. A bubbler with a joint might accommodate both a dry herb bowl, or a quartz banger or other dab nail, and a classic bubbler with just the built in bowl has a built in bowl—meaning it is limited to dry herb only. If you’re a concentrate vaporizer person, those bubblers aren’t for you.
Bubblers are also designed in so many styles! Shop for hammer bubblers, sidecars, Sherlocks, and more, depending on your aim. How much filtration do you like? What looks do you prefer? All of this will factor into your decision.
How Do I Use a Bubbler?
Although they are typically fused in one piece, there are three basic parts to a bubbler: the bowl, the water chamber, and the mouthpiece. You can use a bubbler to smoke just like you would use a water pipe.
First, get your herb into the right shape with a grinder, and load the dry, loose leaf herb into the bowl.
Light the bowl, covering the carb if there is one, and inhale through the mouthpiece.
If you have covered a carb, release after you inhale. Smoke will collect in the chamber as the herb burns, where the water cools and filters the smoke.
How Much Does a Bubbler Cost?
What’s the average cost of a bubbler? Honestly, there is no real average as there is so much variation in features, styles, and materials. You could pay under twenty dollars or over $300 for a high-grade bubbler.
However, overall, bubblers are low-cost and very affordable. There is no reason to pay more than $100 for a best selling, high-quality bubbler that delivers awesome flavor and performance for years.
Does a Bubbler Get You Higher?
In a word, maybe, in that a bubbler gives you a smoother, better tasting hit.
Water bubblers just filter and cool the smoke in ways that hand pipes can’t, and this means smokers hold that smoke in longer and deeper. If you want a longer, stronger smoke session, but you don’t have the bandwidth, time, or energy for a full-scale bong day, a bubbler is ideal.
Are Bubblers Better Than Bongs?
That really depends on your goal!
Bubblers are lighter and smaller, so they are far more portable than bongs, yet their smoke is just as smooth.
Bubblers need less water than bongs, which is easier to deal with.
Bubblers are easier to smoke and hold with one hand.
Bongs are more fun to share
Some larger, more intricate bongs are unmatched in terms of performance, filtration, and flavor
What Is the Best Bubbler
We have been shopping around for years at this point, and here are the bubblers we like the most:
Final Thoughts on Bubblers
Bubblers are in many ways the best of many worlds. They blend the function of the larger, more complex bong and the convenience of a handheld glass pipe. Beautiful, serviceable, and fun, glass bubblers are an ideal way to smoke.