Do an internet search for stemmed bongs and then do one for stemless bongs and you’re liable to be confused. In many cases, it’s hard to tell the difference. You might find it equally difficult to discern the difference between the two if you stop into our Parker headshop to see some in person. Both have water chambers, both have long necks with a mouthpiece at the top and both have bowls sitting atop tubes whose other end extends to the water chamber. So what’s the difference?

Comparing Stemless and Stemmed Bongs

Here at the Smoking Buddha vape shop, we get a lot of questions from customers wanting to know what, if any, advantages stemless bongs have over stemmed bongs. To help you make an informed decision here are the key differences between the two bong designs.

The Stemmed Bong

The stemmed bong is a classic piece of cannabis paraphernalia that was, quite frankly, the only game in town for decades as far as bong designs go. The stemmed bong often takes the shape of the classic beaker bong, although it might have a bulbous water chamber instead. Stemmed bongs have the advantage of familiarity. That is, they are the only type of bong many long-time stoners have ever used. But that is not their only advantage.

Advantages of the stemmed bong

  • Better flavor: This is a hotly debated notion but many fans of stemmed bongs will swear on their stash that stemmed bongs produce a better-tasting smoke. A quick poll of the staff at our Parker smoke shop indicates opinions are about evenly split on this issue. But for those who believe it to be true, it’s an important reason for sticking with the stemmed bong.
  • Enhanced filtration: The reason for using a bong and not smoking joints or simple glass pipes is that bongs allow you to filter impurities from the smoke before it reaches your lungs. With stemmed bongs the stem juts directly into the water which, in most cases, means the smoke travels through more water than it will in a stemless bong before traveling up the neck to the mouthpiece.
  • Financial considerations: If you break the stem on a stemmed bong replacing it is a fairly straightforward and affordable prospect. (Given, of course, that the bong is not an exotic one-of-a-kind design.) On the other hand, if you crack the fixed stem on a stemless bong you have to replace the entire bong and, well, ka-ching, ka-ching.

Disadvantages of the stemmed bong

  • Potential damage: If your stemmed bong does not have a carb (some don’t) you will need to remove the stem to release the smoke. If by chance you do not remove the stem carefully you might break it, which would necessitate taking the bong out of action until you can replace the stem.
  • No percolator: It is rare for a stemmed bong to have a percolator. At most, the downstem might have a few slits in it that provide a bit of diffuser action. But without the percolator, the smoke won’t be as cool as it could be. Not that it will be hot, mind you. Just not as cool as it would be with a percolator.

The Stemless Bong

The stemless bong is a relatively recent innovation that has quickly gained in popularity. These days we sell just as many stemless bongs in our smoke shop as we do stemmed bongs. Like stemmed bongs the stemless design has its advantages and disadvantages. Those include:

Advantages of the stemless bong

  • Simple design: Some people appreciate the simplicity of the stemless bong. There aren’t as many pieces that need to be removed and cleaned and not as many that could potentially get lost or broken.
  • Percolators: Most stemless bong designs include percolators, which is something you won’t usually find on a stemmed bong. The percolator helps you achieve the coolest possible smoke, which is something a lot of stoners, used to gag on monster hits from traditional stemmed bongs, appreciate.

Disadvantages of the stemless bong

  • Cleaning can be difficult: Because you are unable to remove the stem cleaning a stemless bong can present a significant challenge. Especially if you are not the particularly patient type.
  • Financial considerations: When it comes to stemless bongs “financial considerations” mean that if you break the part of the bong that acts as a fixed stem you need to replace the entire bong. With a stemmed bong if you break the stem all you have to replace is the stem itself.

Visit the Smoking Buddha Smoke Shop in Parker

As you can see both types of bongs have their advantages and disadvantages. Which is right for you will depend on what you want from your herb experience, and in no small part, how much time and energy you’re willing to invest in cleaning your bong.