What is the Difference between a Bong and a Vape Bubbler?

Reading time - 10 minutes - January 6, 2021

With the harmful truths of smoking made clear to the masses, more and more people are turning their heads towards alternative ways of inhaling dry herbs. From bongs, to vaporizers, to vape bubblers, each of these devices attempts to provide a healthier and more fulfilling experience with dry herbs. But which one of these is better? In this article, we’re going to be looking at the physical differences between glass bongs and vape bubblers, as well as the pros and cons of both options. Strap yourselves in. Let’s go! 

Let’s Define Some Terms

Before we begin, it may be useful to quickly define some key terms. All over the internet you’ll see many definitions of bongs and vape bubblers. We often see the following terms being used: glass water bubbler, bubbler bong, water bubbler bong, glass bubbler pipe, vape bubbler, and many more variations. It can be a little confusing to say the least. So to make sense of these terms and for the sake of this article we will describe bongs as water bubbler bongs or water bubbler pipes. As for vape bubblers these may be described as  glass water bubblers. Now, that’s the boring stuff out the way, let’s look deeper into what these accessories actually are… 

The Water Bubbler Bong

Water bubbler bongs come in many colours, shapes and sizes. They’re usually made out of glass or plastic and have a long tube where your mouth fits into, and a bowl piece at the other end where the dry herbs would be placed before being combusted using a lighter. You would then fill the bong with some water with the purpose of filtering the smoke, cooling it down slightly and making it a tad less harsh on the throat. Some water bubbler bongs are made like art pieces, with beautifully decorated glass, whilst others are very simple and plain. Ultimately, they all do the same thing. Bongs cool down and filter the smoke coming from burning weed before inhalation. 

The Design

So, how does it work? Some people’s first experience with a bong may have been by burning a hole in a Pepsi bottle with a bit of water at the bottom, poking a joint through, and smoking it. In this case, the water filters and cools the smoke before it enters your mouth and eventually your lungs. Well, as youthful a memory as it may seem, the science behind home-made bongs  is much the same as proper bongs. Here are the key elements: 

The Mouthpiece

This is where you will put your mouth for inhalation and they are commonly made from glass. The size will depend on the size of the bong, but these are usually circular in shape and allow you to get your whole mouth around. 

The Chamber

The chamber is the long neck which links the mouthpiece to the bottom of the bong, where the water is. It is here that all the smoke collects before inhalation. Again, these can vary in size – the bigger it is, the harder the potential hit. 

The Bowl

The bowl is sat on a smaller pipe coming out of the bong. This is where the dry herb will sit to be burnt and sucked through the rest of the bong.

The Carb

The carb or ‘shot hole’ is the small hole in the bong that, when covered, creates a vacuum. Once the smoke collects inside the bong, you can release the carb, and quickly inhale. Some bongs have sliders instead of carbs, which essentially work the same way. 

vape bubbler

The Glass Water Bubbler

Now onto the vape bubbler. Glass water bubblers are an accessory for a dry herb vaporizer, which allow for vaping dry herbs such as cannabis without having to burn or combust the herb. A dry herb vape makes the process of consuming dry herbs healthier by simply avoiding the combustion process which traditional smoking cannot do without, whilst a vape bubbler ensures that the vapour inhaled by the smoker is cooler and smoother. If you’re interested in a beginners guide to dry herb vaporizers, check out our other articles. 

The Design

As usual, glass water bubblers for vaporizers come in many designs. Some are simple, whilst others look like something from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The consensus is that they are smaller and attach onto the dry herb vaporizer they are designed for. Having said that, most vaporizer mouthpieces are of a similar size which increases the possibility of being able to use a vape bubbler on multiple herb vaporizers. The design and science work much the same as the common bong, however the heating of the herb happens inside the vaporizer instead of inside the bowl. Here are some of the key elements: 

The Mouthpiece

The glass water bubbler might replace your vape mouthpiece or attach to your existing one, depending on the model. 


The vape bubbler has a small reservoir compartment which you can fill with water. It’s usually shaped like a thin tube, so the vape will pass directly through the water reservoir before it is inhaled by the smoker. 

Vape Bubblers vs Bongs

Top Tip For Vape Bubblers

Before smoking through a water bubbler bong or vaporizing herbs via a vape bubbler you need to grind up your dry herbs, in some cases cannabis. The difference with the vape bubbler, is that you will want to avoid your dry herbs being too finely ground. Doing this could reduce the airflow by reducing the amount of space between your herbs where air and vapor would normally flow through. Therefore, less herb grinding time! Some herb grinders are made specifically for vaporizers. For example, the metal herb grinder by Nectar which has been designed with grinding teeth spaced at the perfect distance from each other to ensure the ground herbs are coarse enough to allow for good airflow and fine enough to allow for fast and uniform heating across the herbs, and hence increasing the efficiency of the vaporizer. 


It’s important to note that neither bongs nor glass water bubblers themselves pose any dangers to health, they are simply devices usually made of glass and partially filled with water. However, many dangers with regards to health are dependent on whether or not the herbs are combusted prior to inhalation. Assuming that a water bubbler bong would be used the traditional way of placing herbs into a bowl and combusting them with a lighter, then we can confidently say there will be a negative impact on health due to the carbon monoxide produced when burning herbs (or anything else which is combusted). However, bongs themselves to not create carbon monoxide and can also be used with dry herb vaporizers by replacing the traditional bowl where weed would be placed with a bong adapter, which would then be connected to a tube with a connection to a vaporizer on the other side. So before you go convincing yourself that bongs are unhealthy, no they’re not, unless you’re combusting whatever is on the other end before inhaling it! See below for a quote on the chemistry of combustion from Iowa State University: 

“During complete combustion, carbon and hydrogen combine with oxygen (O2) to produce carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). During incomplete combustion part of the carbon is not completely oxidized producing soot or carbon monoxide (CO)”

The fact that vape bubblers can only be used with vaporizers and that vaporizers simply heat herbs whilst avoiding combustion, we can also confidently say that carbon monoxide is not created and hence a vape bubbler would have a much lower impact on health. There is a common misconception that the water in a bong filters the smoke caused from the combusted herb and therefore makes it a little healthier, but it’s sad to say that even though a few smoke particles may disappear, all the smoke which is inhaled completely overrides any ‘filtering’ benefits. 


Although water bubbler bongs and vape bubblers can both limit the harsh temperatures of inhaling directly, it is evident that the smoothness of a vape bubbler prevails due to the fact that it’ll be filtering vapor as opposed to smoke. Since dry herb vaporizers produce vapor and not smoke, a glass water bubbler used in combination with a vaporizer will not have much to filter, having said that it will certainly cool down the vapour, particularly if using cold water in the bubbler. Vapor is already relatively smooth, with or without a vape bubbler for a number reasons including the fact that they heat to 240C instead of 900C when compared to combusted herbs, moreover vapor contains a much lower level of toxins, which also contributes to the smoothness. Therefore, we can assume that vape bubblers are more likely to be appreciated by those who haven’t become immune to harsh smoke through a history of smoking and are better suited to those who are more sensitive to inhaling substances.

Bongs on the other hand are more effective at filtering and cooling smoke due to the fact that what they’re cooling burns at a much higher temperature than their counterparts (vape bubblers), and hence the drop in temperature when using a bong (from 900C to 10C; assuming the temperature of the water being used is 10C) is much larger than the drop in temperature when using a vape bubbler (from 240C to 10C). Having said that, since bongs are starting the drop from 900C, the smoke will be much hotter when it reaches the user’s mouth compared to that of the vapour, and hence vape bubblers will cause lower irritation that bongs. 


Both glass water bubblers and bongs are most commonly made from glass, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this could cause some problems. Both can shatter when dropped. Bongs tend to be bigger and grander, whereas glass water bubblers are usually smaller, so the after effects of a catastrophic glass smash will obviously vary. 


The ease of both water bubbler bongs and vape bubblers will depend on who you are, what you’re used to in your smoking experience and whether or not you’ve previously smoked in the past. If you don’t have a dry herb vaporizer then of course bongs will be easier because anyone can use them as a stand-alone item. In fact, even if you do have a vaporizer you might still need a specific glass water bubbler for your specific unit depending on whether the connector piece which attaches the vape bubbler tube to your vaporizer is flexible enough to allow for use with other devices. However, once you have purchased the vape bubbler accessory for your vaporizer or at least found one which has a flexible connector, it may be that the ease surpasses that of a usual bong as they are usually more portable, require less prep, easier to clean and don’t need a lighter.


If you’ve ever been a kid wandering the streets of Camden, or anywhere else high up on the liberal scale such as certain places on the net, you’ll know the price of a water bubbler bong or a glass water bubbler pipe can be as low as a fiver with some bargaining skills. Vape bubblers have obviously not been around for as long as bongs, and whilst you can pick up a cheaper one for around £20, there’s no hiding the fact that they can be a little more expensive. 

vape bubbler

That’s It!

And there we have it: the differences between a bong and a glass water vape bubbler. Both have their differences and similarities. Both have their benefits and disadvantages. One consensus is that they both, in their own way, move away from smoking dry herb in a joint. If you find yourself with a dry herb vape and a glass water bubbler, why not check out: top 10 fun things to do whilst you use a dry herb vaporizer. We hope you found this article useful and most of all educational!

Why not check out our range of vape accessories which include a glass bong adapter and glass water bubbler!

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