How Much Water Do You Put in a Bong?

Water bongs are some of the stoner’s favorite smoking accessories and for good reason. Water bongs allow for fantastic smoke filtration to provide you with those smooth hits, and that’s the case even though those hits can be incredibly big.

Even though a single bong toke can get you sky high, there’s a reason why this is possible without you coughing your lungs out, and that’s the water inside of the water bong.

As you can probably tell by now, water is a key element in the bong, but how much of it do you need?

Today we’ll talk about how much water you need to fill into various types of bongs and why it’s so important. We’ll also talk about why having too much or too little water is not ideal. We’ll finish things off by taking a look at the top five water bongs of the day.

Last update was on: May 26, 2024 6:17 am

Key Takeaways

  • Water bongs take big hits with minimal plant matter, and the properties of a bong allow for good smoke diffusion and filtration.
  • Having either too much water or too little water in the bong can reduce the filtration and aeration capabilities of the bong.
  • Different types of bongs require different amounts of water, which we will discuss further below.

A Quick Look at Our Favorite Water Bongs

Here’s a quick look at the top five favorite water bongs that we will review later on.

  1.     Phoenix Star Glass Square Base Bong: Best Quality Bong For a Beginner
  2.     Session Goods Elegant Glass Bong: Best Designer Bong
  3.     Dankstop Clear Glass Basic Water Pipe: Best Affordable Bong
  4.     Grav Labs Bubble Base Bong: Best 8 Inch Bong
  5.     Nothings Impossible Gold Fumed Percolator Bong: Best Percolator Bong

What is a Bong?

A bong is a special smoking accessory designed to smoke legal herbs and cannabis. It is characterized by a large glass chamber, with the bottom portion being filled with water and the top being left empty.

On the outside of the bong, there is a bowl that houses the herbs and a down stem that allows the air and smoke to flow down into the bong, through the water, and up into the empty chamber.

There is a mouthpiece at the top of the bong through which you put your mouth and inhale through. The suction you create by pulling on the mouthpiece causes smoke to flow down through the downstem, into the water, and up into your lungs.

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Do All Bongs Need Water?

Yes, all bongs need water, as this is one of the defining features. Water is a crucial part of the equation, and there is a reason why these things are called water bongs or water pipes.

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Why Do Bongs Need Water?

Bongs need water for two main reasons. The first reason is diffusion, which means that the water helps separate the smoke into very many small bubbles.

These small bubbles feature a large surface area which therefore helps expose them to increased amounts of cold water, ultimately cooling the smoke down. The cold water helps make the smoke less harsh on your lungs, so you don’t cough as hard.

The second reason why water is important is due to filtration. Various unwanted substances in the smoke, such as tar and ash, cling to the water. The water prevents those substances from making their way to your mouth and lungs.

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Why Does Water Level Matter in a Bong?

Having either too little or too much water in your bong is not ideal. If you have too little water in your bong, there won’t be enough filtration capabilities, and some of that tar and ash will still make their way to your lungs. There also won’t be enough aeration and diffusion, which means that the smoke will likely still be too hot and harsh on your lungs.

On the other hand, if there’s too much water in the bong, you’ll have to work too hard to take a hit. Your lungs have to pull air through all of that water, and that can be difficult. This can also make it difficult to achieve good diffusion. On that note, if there’s too much water in the bong, it can splash up into your mouth, and this gets in the way of taking a good hit.

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Can You Put Any Type of Water in A Bong?

Generally speaking, yes, you can use any type of water in your bong. Tap water, bottled water, and even distilled water worked just fine. You’re pulling smoke through it, not drinking it. That said, if you want to avoid funny tastes and unwanted substances being in the water, we’d probably avoid using lake water, stream water, or anything else of this sort. As long as it’s clean, it should be fine. 

Click here to find out more about bubbler bongs.

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How Much Water Goes in a Bong?

Let’s now answer the main question of the day, how much water to put in a bong? Remember that this is somewhat subjective, as some people prefer a little bit more water and some people prefer less, but we can give you some general guidelines.

How to Fill a Small Bong

The main goal for a small bong is to just submerge the down stem. This means that about half an inch of water above the down stem should be enough. If the down stem has diffusion slits, make sure they are submerged.

How to Fill a Beaker Bong

Just like with a small bong, with a beaker bong, you need just enough water to submerge the down stem. If the down stem is submerged by anywhere between half an inch and one inch, you should be fine. Large beaker bongs easily take a good deal of water, but as long as the down stem is submerged, you are on the right track.

How to Fill a Dab Rig

Even though dab rigs vaporize cannabis concentrates as opposed to combusting plant matter, that vapor can get really hot, so having enough water in a dab rig is essential. You want around three-quarters of the down stem to be covered with water.

Filling a Bong with Percolators

Just like with any other bong, as long as the downstem is covered, you should be fine, although, with percolator bongs, there is also a second step, filling the percolator chambers.

To do this, you can either fill way too much water into the bottom chamber and then use your lung power to pull some water up into the percolator chambers, or you can fill water into the percolator chambers from the top, the mouthpiece, although it takes a bit longer.

For the percolator chambers, make sure that all of the diffusion slits in the percolators are submerged.

Filling Stemless Bongs

This is a type of bong that does not have a removable down stem, but either way, your main goal here is to cover the down stem with water. As long as it is covered at least one-third of the way with water, you’re on the right track.

Need help to choose the right type of bong? Check out this guide on choosing the right bong for you.

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Our Top Picks of the Best Water Bongs and Where to Buy Them

Let’s take a look at each of the top five water bongs and where you can purchase them.

Phoenix Star Glass Square Base Bong: Best Quality Bong For a Beginner

Phoenix Star Square Base Bong10 Inches

as of May 26, 2024 6:17 am

The Square Base Bong is not only very beautiful to look at, which is in part because it comes in many different colors, but also very stable. That square base allows for fantastic stability, so it’s hard to knock over. That square base also holds onto plenty of water for fantastic filtration, diffusion, and aeration capabilities.

We also like how this bong is 10 inches tall, as it’s more than large enough to be functional yet also small enough to be portable.

The down stem features a special clip to hold it in the joint so it doesn’t detach accidentally. To make sure that your hits are cool and smooth, there is an ice catcher, so you can put some ice cubes in the neck of the bong. The bong itself is made out of very thick and durable scientific glass, so you should have no problems there.


  •       Durable glass
  •       Plenty of water for filtration and aeration
  •       Down stem has a security clip
  •       Ice catcher to cool down smoke even further
  •       Good size for most purposes
  •       Several colors to choose from
  •       Reasonable price


  •       Not much diffusion

Session Goods Elegant Glass Bong: Best Designer Bong

The Elegant Glass Bong really is a thing of beauty. It might look very simple, kind of like a tapered glass tube with a hole at the top and a bowl at the bottom, but this simplicity is exactly why it is so beautiful. Things don’t have to be complicated to be appealing to the eye, and we think that this is a very sleek and stylish water bong to consider. This truly is an elegant smoking accessory, a piece of art.

It also happens to come in at just over 10 inches tall. That’s a decent-sized chamber, so there’s enough room for plenty of smoke inside. However, the bong itself is also relatively lightweight and not too tall to take with you on the go.

Not only does it look good, but it’s also made out of super-durable borosilicate glass, so it should be very tough and durable. It also comes with an extra down stem and an extra bowl. It doesn’t really have any special features like ice catchers or percolators, but its shape and design allow for smooth and functional hits. You might also appreciate the silicone base that allows for added impact resistance and a non-slip surface.


  •       Very sleek and elegant
  •       Extra bowl and stem
  •       Durable borosilicate glass
  •       Silicone non-slip base
  •       Portable


  •       Expensive

Dankstop Clear Glass Basic Water Pipe: Best Affordable Bong

If you are looking for something super affordable and basic, then this is it. Here you get an 8-inch tall bong, which we personally like because it’s more than small enough to be portable. However, for most people, it should also be large enough to allow for some really big hits, and one reason for this is thanks to the large water chamber at the bottom.

The chamber at the bottom takes the shape of a ball, around the size of a large grapefruit, and only a portion of this is filled with water, therefore leaving the rest of it to be filled up with smoke.

Just because the bong is not tall doesn’t mean that it does not allow for really big and smooth hits. It is made out of durable borosilicate glass, so you shouldn’t have any problems with durability. Other than that, however, it does not have any special features whatsoever.


  •       Basic but effective
  •       Compact and portable
  •       Durable glass
  •       Allows for big hits
  •       Affordable


  •       No special features

Grav Labs Bubble Base Bong: Best 8-Inch Bong

Here we have another one of those bubble base bongs, with a base roughly the size of a grapefruit. This allows the bong to hold onto plenty of water for fantastic filtration capabilities, even though the unit as a whole is only 8 inches tall. Therefore, even though it has great filtration and aeration capabilities, it’s still not so large that it cannot be portable.

For easy cleaning, this bong features a removable glass downstem. It also comes with an ice catcher, so you can fill the neck with some ice. This allows you to cool the smoke down to the point where it won’t hurt your lungs or throat. The Grav Labs Bubble Bong is made with high-quality scientific glass, so it is heat and impact resistant. Other than that, it’s a pretty basic bong, although it does come at a reasonable price.


  •       Ice catcher included
  •       Removable down stem
  •       Easy to clean and fill
  •       Good filtration capabilities
  •       Built tough
  •       Not too expensive


  •       Could use more diffusion

Nothings Impossible Gold Fumed Percolator Bong: Best Percolator Bong

The Gold Fumed Perc Bong is also quite the stylish unit, as it features a variety of colors and a unique shape, almost like a pear with a bowl and a mouthpiece at the top. It is available in a number of colors.

This bong comes in at 10 inches tall, which we think is an ideal size for most purposes, both for functionality and portability. Something we appreciate here is the special texture or design of the neck that allows for a very easy grip and a secure hold.

Another special feature here is the showerhead percolator located in the main chamber, which comes with plenty of diffusion slits. This allows the smoke to cool down significantly so it’s not too harsh, and it also allows for fantastic filtration capabilities. If you are looking for super smooth hits, this is likely the best water bong on the list today.


  •       Good filtration
  •       Great diffusion
  •       Looks nice + multiple colors
  •       Easy to hold
  •       Good size for most purposes
  •       Decent price


  •       Not the most durable

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Final Thoughts

The main takeaway for the day is that as long as the down stem is submerged in water, there is enough water in the bong. If we are talking about percolators, make sure that all of the diffusion holes or slits in the percolators are submerged. Water is, of course, crucial for diffusion and filtration, so make sure that you always have enough in your bong.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s quickly answer your most frequently asked questions about this topic.

What is Bong Water?

This is simply the water that you put in your bong, which helps with filtration and diffusion.

How Often Should You Change Your Bong Water?

How often you change your bong water depends on how frequently you use the bong. If you use your bong several times a day, you should change the bong water daily. As soon as it starts to smell and get discolored, it’s time for a change. Cleaning your bong regularly is crucial too.

Can You Get High from Drinking Bong Water?

No, drinking bong water does not get you high. The cannabinoids pass through the water and into your lungs, which is why smoking a bong gets you high. If the bong water filtered out the cannabinoids, then smoking a bong would be useless.

What Happens If You Drink Bong Water?

If you drink bong water, you will likely feel nauseous and suffer from gastrointestinal upset. It also tastes absolutely horrible.

Is Bong Water Good for Plants?

No, bong water is in no way good for your plants, so don’t give it to them.

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