Difference Between a Dab Rig and a Bong

Dab rig vs bong 23 - Difference Between a Dab Rig and a Bong

You’re looking at your screen and you see the many bongs that Beefy’s Bongs Australia has to offer. You start wondering what the differences are between a dab rig and a bong. Even though they appear similar, are they really the same thing?

What separates a bong and dab rig? And, more importantly, which one should you choose for your smoker or vaping experience?

There are many great reasons to go with glass, and both bongs and rigs provide a powerful smoking or vaping experience. This post compares the two options so you can choose the best one for your next session.

Selecting the Right Glass for Smoking or Vaping

The key reason people use bongs and dab rigs is to enjoy their preferred legal herbal remedies. The main distinction between the two is that bongs are for dry flowers while dab rigs work best with vaporizing concentrates.

A bong is packed with dry Flower, and the plant material is set aflame. A dab rig uses a torch to heat up the “banger” or “nail”. Torching of the nail continues until it’s red hot; then, The concentrate is dropped onto vaporizes from under its intense heat.

So, in short, bongs are for flower and dab rigs are for concentrates.

Difference Between a Dab Rig and a Bong

Nails Vs Cone Pieces

When you’re preparing your dab rig, you’ll need to heat the nail or “banger”. Nails come in various materials, with quartz and titanium being the preferred options. Quartz heats quickly and provides a more consistent surface temperature across the nail. However, it’s a fragile material, so if you drop it on the floor, it will shatter.

Unlike other materials, titanium can take a beating and still survive. Even though they’re durable, however, nails made of titanium require someone with heating expertise to make sure the entire surface is heated evenly. Also, because it heats up and cools down more quickly than quartz,, nailing that perfect temperature is even more difficult.

Although a cone piece may look like a nail, it serves an entirely different purpose during your smoking experience. The cone piece is usually made of glass in high-quality bongs; however, cheaper models might use brass cones instead.

Unlike the nail on a dab rig, you’re not heating the bowl itself. Instead, you igniting the plant material in the bowl with a torch or lighter. The smoke then travels through neck of the bowl and into the water where it is cooled and filtered.

The cone piece of a bong typically has a male joint that fits into the female joint on the body of the bong. Traditional dab rigs are reversed, with the rig having a male joint and the banger fitting snugly over it. The newer generation of dab rigs now commonly come with female joints and male accessories; though there are always exceptions to this rule depending on which glass studio produced the bong.


The percolator is a type of bong that comes in many different shapes and sizes. 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 design of the percolator is such that it evenly distributes smoke throughout the primary chamber, pushing it through a series of smaller pipes. This refines and cools the smoke, making it smoother and easier on your throat. The result is a crisp, clean hit with no smoke that eliminates the possibility of you choking, especially when taking big rips. A percolator setup for your bong is an investment you won’t regret if you can afford the extra cost of these models.

Many people are surprised to learn that percs actually detract from the effects of dab rigs. Adding a percolator may reduce the potency of your drug, which is certainly not something those looking to use this product want.

When the vapour produced from your dab rig contacts water, this dilutes some of the active ingredients. You might not get as strong of a hit from your concentrate if there is too much water involved in the process. This is why you will see that most professional rigs do not have any percolators attached, or they might have single-stage percs to prevent interference with how the vapour transitions through water and into your lungs.

Difference Between a Dab Rig and a Bong

Sizing Your Bong or Dab Rig

If you’re new to bongs, a 12 inch (30cm) model is ideal. The longer the neck of the bong, generally, the bigger rips you can take without having to clear smoke from your throat.

Not only does the water in shorter bongs’ chambers back-pull more, but this is especially pronounced in straight-necked models. If you pull too quickly when taking your first hit of a bowl, you run the risk of sucking up water and choking. Therefore, with shorter bongs, it is best to take slower pulls.

If you want to really challenge yourself, try taking a massive hit from a 4-foot bong – it’s sure to test your lung capacity.

Dab rigs are shorter and smaller than bongs because you want to get a clean hit. The water cools the vapour before it hits your lungs, rather than focusing on removing impurities like you would with a percolator bong.

Can You Use a Bong or Dab Rig Interchangeably?

In summary, bongs and dab rigs are not the same. You’re probably wondering if you can use them interchangeably though. And while yes, technically you can do anything with your glass; it’s yours after all- we don’t recommend trying to fit a bowl or banger onto a piece with the wrong joint.

However, you’ll quickly realize that each pipe has a different purpose. You rig won’t give you the same experience as your bong.

Its always a good idea to have different water pipes for your legal dry herbs and concentrates. The reason being, is that the burnt residue from smoking will leave a smell behind which can ruin the flavours of your dab.

It doesn’t matter whether you use a rig or bong–they’re just methods of transport. It’s like asking if you would take a bicycle or motorbike to make a 100-mile journey.

The same concept applies to bongs versus dab rigs–using the correct tool for weed smoking creates the optimal experience.

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