Every cannabis user has their own favorite way to smoke. Some prefer pipes, some prefer a good bong, and others like something a little bit in-between. That's where bubblers come into the equation.
So, what is a bubbler and why do so many cannabis lovers use them? Let's find out.
What Is a Bubbler?
A bubbler is essentially a miniature bong. They combine the portability of a pipe with the function and look of a full-size bong.
Like a glass pipe, bubblers are lightweight and can often be held with one hand. Like a bong, you're meant to fill a bubbler with water to filter your smoke. Bubblers also have bowl pieces like those found on bongs, which you pull to release the smoke once it's collected.
The mouthpieces on bubblers also differ from piece-to-piece. Some have wide mouthpieces like bongs, while the most portable offerings have narrow mouthpieces like pipes.
Some bubblers -- often the smaller, plastic ones -- have a carb-hole for smoke release rather than relying on the bowl. With a carb-hole, you cover it with your thumb while smoking, then remove your finger to release the smoke.
Bubblers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and are often some of the coolest looking smoking devices you can get. Smokers love them for their portability, their function, and their designs. They're also more discreet than large bongs, making them easy to tuck away when non-smoking company is over.
How to Use a Bubbler
Using a bubbler is almost the same as using a bong.
First, you want to fill the bubbler with water. You can do this through either the bowl piece or the mouth piece. Use cold water, as hot water creates steam that can be distracting.
Fill the bubbler just enough so that it doesn't splash back into your mouth or into the bowl when smoking. It's often best to test out the water level before packing a bowl. Just inhale on the mouthpiece to test it and make sure the water level is satisfactory.
With the bubbler filled, the next step is to pack your bowl. Some people like using pipe screens to keep their cannabis from falling into the bowl. This is a personal preference, as you can also pull-through your bowl with a bubbler, too -- however, this will make your bubbler much dirtier.
Pack some cannabis into the bowl, then hit the bubbler like you would a bong. Light up the cannabis while inhaling, then pull the bowl out when you're ready to release the smoke and "clear" the bubbler. If your bubbler has a carb-hole, make sure it's covered when inhaling, then remove your thumb to clear it.
How to Clean a Bubbler Pipe
One of the biggest downsides of bubblers is how dirty they get, and how hard they are to clean.
Bubblers simply don't offer you the same flexibility as bongs and pipes when it comes to cleaning. With larger bongs, you can get cleaning brushes that slide into the bong, making cleaning simple. With pipes, you can fill a piece of Tupperware with rubbing alcohol and let it sit, agitating frequently.
With bubblers, a similar rubbing alcohol method is the best way to keep them clean.
First, get some 99% isopropyl rubbing alcohol. You don't have to use 99%, but it works the best. Over the sink, fill your bubbler up with rubbing alcohol, leaving a little space unfilled.
Let the rubbing alcohol sit inside the bubbler for a while, then give it a good shake. Let it sit another 10 minutes, then shake it again. Repeat this process until most of the gunk and grime comes off your bubbler -- you'll notice the rubbing alcohol change from clear to dark-brown or black depending on how dirty your piece is.
You can empty the rubbing alcohol and replace it once or twice, repeating the cleaning process until it's clean. Give your bubbler a good rinse-out and let it sit for a few hours before using it again.
Bubbler vs Bong
Trying to decide between a bubbler vs a bong can be a tough choice.
The main thing you have to do to narrow down your decision is to consider your situation. If you're looking for something portable, lightweight, discreet, and more affordable, a bubbler might be the way to go. If you're looking for something that packs a bigger punch, has more customizability, and offers a smoother hit, you might want a bong.
At the end of the day, both bongs and bubblers do exactly the same thing. Bubbler bowls burn a little quicker, which some people might prefer. This makes for quicker sessions, perfect if you're looking to smoke a quick bowl then go out.
Most bubblers are less smooth than bongs due to the smaller amount of water. With cold water and a carefully packed bowl, though, that shouldn't be an issue. You'll still get a great, often powerful hit most of the time.
Consider your situation, what you'll be using the bubbler for, and when. Many smokers get a bubbler as a side-piece to the bong. They'll use the bubbler to mix things up, to bring to group sessions, and when their main bong is too dirty.
It's Time to Get Bubbly
So, what is a bubbler? A bubbler is what happens when you cross a pipe with a bong. Bubblers offer you portability, smooth hits, and cool designs, with the only real caveat being that they're harder to clean.
If you're looking for something portable and unique to smoke from, try getting a bubbler. You won't regret it.
Click here to see the bubblers available from Stoned Genie.