Bongs vs Dab Rigs

Bongs vs Dab Rigs

So, you're staring at your screen, reviewing the massive array of glass pieces available from Beefy's Bongs Australia. As you gaze over your options, you find yourself wondering what the difference is between a dab rig and a bong. Sure, they both look similar, but are they the same thing?

What's the difference between a bong and a dab rig? Which model is the better choice for your smoking or vaping experience?

Going with glass is a great idea, and both options provide you with a powerful blazing experience. This post unpacks the difference between bongs and rigs, read through the info and choose the best choice for your next smoking or vaping session.

Selecting the Right Glass for Smoking or Vaping

Bongs and dab rigs serve similar purposes. Both options allow you to enjoy your favourite legal herbal remedies. However, the key difference is that bongs are better suited for smoking dry flower, while dab rigs are the better choice for vaporizing concentrates.

With the bong, you're packing a bowl with dry flower, using a flame to ignite the plant materials. With a dab rig, you use a torch to heat the "banger" or "nail" (both are interchangeable terms for the same item). You'll heat the nail, put out the torch, and drop your concentrate onto the nail, where it vaporizes under the intense heat.

So, essentially, we can round off the difference between the two as bongs for flower and dab rigs for concentrates.

Nails Vs Cone Pieces

As mentioned, you'll heat the nail or "banger" when prepping your hit on the dab rig. Nails come in various materials, with quartz and titanium being the preferred options.

Quartz heats easy, providing a more consistent surface temperature across the nail. However, it's a fragile material, and dropping it on the floor results in a shattered banger and broken dreams of the oil you were about to enjoy.

Titanium nails are durable, and they'll survive that drop. However, they require somewhat of an expert touch to manage the heat across the entire surface of the nail. The titanium also heats and cools faster than quartz, requiring a deft touch to get the temperature just right.

cone piece might resemble a nail, but it's a totally different tool for your smoking experience. The cone piece is typically a glass piece in high-quality bongs. Cheaper models may use brass cones.

Unlike the nail on a dab rig, you're not heating the bowl itself. Instead, you're using the torch or lighter to ignite the plant materials in the bowl. The smoke travels through the neck of the bowl, releasing the smoke into the water.

Typically your bongs cone piece will have a male joint, seating into the female joint on the body of the bong. Traditional dab rigs are the opposite, with the rig featuring a male joint and the banger slips over the fixture. The newer generation of dab rigs now typically come with female joints and male accessories. There are exceptions to this rule, depending on the glass studio producing the bong.


The percolator is an addition for bongs, and you'll find them in various configurations. Some of the more popular models include the following.

  • Diffused Down stem Percolators.
  • Inline Percolators.
  • Honeycomb Percolators.
  • Tree Percolators.
  • Showerhead Percolators.
  • Swiss Percolators.
  • Matrix Percolators.
  • Barrel Percolators.

The idea behind the percolator is that it splits the smoke entering the primary chamber, pushing it through an intricate weaving of smaller pipes to refine and cool the smoke, smoothing it out before it hits your throat.

The result? A fresh, clean hit that removes the possibility of your choking on the smoke, especially with big rips. A percolator setup for your bong is a must-have if you can afford the extra cost of these models.

Interestingly enough, percs are not good additions to dab rigs.

Adding percolators to your rig may end up reducing the potency of your dab – and that's not something may dab-heads are interested in achieving.

When the vapour contacts too much water during the process, additional vapour percolation removes some of the bioavailable compounds. As a result, you don't get the full dabbing experience out of your concentrates.

It's for this reason that you're likely to see most pro dab rigs without any percolator, or they might have single-stage perc that won't interfere with the transition of the vapour through the water to your lungs.

Sizing Your Bong or Dab Rig

When it comes to sizing your bong, bigger is always better. Choosing a 12 inch (30cm) model is a great starting point for beginners. The longer the neck of the bong, the bigger the rips you can take without choking on the smoke.

Short bongs also have issues with the back-pulling of the water in the chamber, especially in straight-necked models. The last thing you want to happen is to suck down water as you pop the cherry on your bowl – that's a recipe for choking disaster. As a result, you have to pull slower on shorter bongs.

If you to give yourself a challenge, try taking a monster rip from a 4-foot bong – it's a real lung-buster.

Dab rigs tend to be much shorter and smaller than bongs. The reason being that you want to get a clean hit, with the water simply cooling the vapour before it hits your lungs. Instead of focusing on removing impurities like you would with a percolator bong.

Can You Use a Bong or Dab Rig Interchangeably?

So, now that you understand the difference between bongs and dab rigs, you're probably wondering if you can use them interchangeably. Sure, you can do anything you like with your glass; you own it.

If your bowl or banger has the right joint to fit your bong or rig, then give it a try.

However, you'll quickly find out that each glass piece has a specific purpose, and you won't get the full experience you're looking for when chopping and changing between bowls and nails and rigs and bongs.

We suggest using separate water pipes for your legal dry herbs and your legal concentrates. The reason behind this is the burnt material in the bong will always tend to leave a certain smell behind and when you are dabbing you are looking for those delicious flavours to shine through.

Both the rig and the bong are merely vehicles. Think of it like this, would you use a bicycle or a motorbike to make a 100-mile journey?

It's sort of the same principle with bongs vs dab rigs. Using the right tool for the job ensures you get the best experience possible.

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