How Much Water Do You Put in a Bong?

How Much Water Do You Put in a Bong?

Seasoned smokers know that the perfect amount of water in a bong can make all the difference. Too much water, and you'll take a lungful of liquid – too little and your hit will be harsh and unforgiving.

But knowing the perfect amount of water to put in your water pipes can be challenging if you're not a seasoned smoker.

The good news is that we've got you covered: From how much water to add to finding just the right temperature, this guide shares everything you need to know about filling your bong for the perfect smoke sesh.

What Are the Benefits of Using Water for Smoking?

Not only are bongs essentially created for water-filtered smoking, but pouring water into your glassware offers several advantages over other smoking methods:

  • It filters out impurities in the smoke, resulting in a cleaner hit
  • It reduces the harshness of the smoke, making for a smoother and more pleasant experience
  • It prevents lung irritation from smoke particles like acrolein and acetaldehyde 

So while you don't have to use water with your bong, you will have a much cleaner, smoother, and healthier experience if you do. 

Cold Water vs. Hot Water: Which Is Better for the Perfect Hit?

On the neverending quest for the perfect hit, smokers have tried all sorts of different water temperatures and have noticed a huge difference between the two.

But which one is really the best?

Some smokers swear by using hot water, claiming it results in a smoother hit. And there's something scientific to be said for this: Hot water has a lower viscosity than cold water, which causes smaller, faster-moving bubbles. This action may help break down more particle matter in the smoke, making for an easier toke.

Others prefer to use cold water or ice for several reasons. As the ice melts, it can help cool down the smoke before it hits your throat, making for a more pleasant experience. It's also easier on the bong itself. On the other hand, hot water can cause the glass to expand and contract, potentially leading to cracking over time.

How Much Water Should You Put in a Bong?

Not every bong is the same, so it's essential to know your specific bong and what works best for it. 

And once you've got the perfect amount of water, you'll be able to confidently keep an eye on it and top it off as needed to maintain that ideal level. 

Here's a step-by-step process on how you can determine how much water you should put in a bong:

Step #1. Fill up a Cup of Fresh Water

The first step is to fill a cup with water from the tap. You can skip this step if you have a large enough sink to fit without bumping the bong sideways, but if your sink is on the smaller side, it's best to use a cup to avoid any accidents.

But not just any cup will do: Avoid using ceramic, glass, or other hard materials as water basins for your bong. If you accidentally bump a ceramic mug into your bong while filling it, you could break the glass and the mug. Instead, using a plastic cup or water bottle with a smaller circumference than your bong's opening is your best option.

Step #2. Pour Water Into the Bong

Remove the bowl piece from the bong before filling it with water. Doing this will avoid accidentally knocking the bowl piece off — or worse: Getting water into your smokeables.

It's important to pour the water into the bong slowly. If you pour too quickly, you risk making a mess. If your bong has been even lightly used, any ash and residue in the chamber could splash out, especially if you have a mini water pipe. 

Step #3. Fill the Bong to Its Optimal Level

Generally, it's best to fill the bong's bowl halfway so that the downstem is properly submerged. 

You'll know you have the right amount when you take a hit and the smoke is smooth and tastes great without splashing back or burning your throat like dry smoke.

At MJ Arsenal, we like to make it easy, so we print an easy-to-read water level indicator on every package. This indicator lets you know exactly how much bong water to use from the first hit.

Tips for Using Water in a Bong

If you treat your bong like the important work of art it is, it'll last for years – so always take the time to clean your bong, use distilled or filtered water, change the water after every session, and test draw before each session to ensure you’re on the right track.

Tip #1. Always Start With a Clean Bong

Start every session on the right foot with a clean bong. After all, if your bong is dirty, the water will be dirty too, which means you'll be smoking dirty bong water. No one wants to taste old bong water, so clean your bong regularly.

Tip #2. Use Distilled Water for the Best Taste

While you can technically use any water, what you put in your bong makes a difference.

Distilled water will give you the best results because it doesn't contain any minerals that could affect the taste of your smoke. 

If you have no distilled water on hand, you can also use tap water – but make sure it's filtered with a carbon filter to remove any impurities.

Tip #3. Change the Bong Water After Every Session

Bong water can get pretty dirty, especially if you use it multiple times a day, so once you're done smoking, dump the water out of the bong so you can start fresh next time.

When emptying your bong, it's essential not to splash the bong water on yourself: Bong water has a powerful odor that clings to clothes, hair, and skin. It's not dangerous, but you'll need to throw your clothes in the washing machine immediately — and throw out anything that catches resin stains!

Fortunately, if you change the water and regularly clean your bong, there won't be a chance for the resin to build up inside the glass before cleaning it out. This way, you can enjoy fresh-tasting bong water every time without worrying about accidental spillage. 

Tip #4. Conduct a Test Drag

Before taking a hit, it's always a good idea to test the draw.

Start by putting your mouth on the mouthpiece and inhaling gently so that the smoke passes through. If you can't get any air to come through, the bong is too full of water, and you'll need to empty some before you can smoke.

If the draw is too easy, there's not enough water in the bong. You might also hear rushing air or see that the water is barely bubbling, meaning there's insufficient water to reach the bottom of the downstem. Either way, you'll want to add more water until you find the perfect balance. 

Tip #5. Toke Up and Enjoy!

Now that you know how to fill your bong with water, it's time to enjoy a nice, smooth hit. Follow these tips, and you'll be sure to get the perfect hit every time – but don't forget some much-needed accessories to enhance your smoke sesh, like dab trays or buckets and carb caps.

How to Clean out Bong Water Properly

Cleaning a bong is vital to ensure the best possible smoking experience.

A clean bong will provide fresh-tasting bong water and smooth hits every time — plus, the taste of a filthy bong can be downright disgusting.

No one wants to smoke from a bong caked with resin and old bong water, but fortunately, cleaning a bong is easy, so here's what to do:

Step #1. Empty and Disassemble the Bong

The first step is to empty the bong water and disassemble the bong. This strategy will give you access to all those percolator openings that need to be cleaned. 

Most glass bongs are just a single piece with a removable bowl, but some percolator bongs may also have removable downstems or detachable neckpieces. If you're working with a percolator bong, clean these parts separately from the main bong body. 

Step #2. Pour Water or Cleaning Solution into the Bong

Once the bong is disassembled, it's time to fill it with hot water or a cleaning solution. You can use either, but hot water is usually sufficient for most bongs. Some people even use hot or warm tea!

If your bong is filthy, you may want to use a cleaning solution, but beware that not just any household cleaner is suitable for this task. You'll want to use a cleanser for bongs and pipes containing isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is effective at dissolving resin and doesn't contain harsh chemicals that are unsafe to consume.

Let the bong soak in hot water or cleaning solution for at least 30 minutes to give the cleaner time to work its way into all the slits, nooks, and crannies of the bong. In this time, it'll dissolve all the resin. 

However, if there are large chunks or extra-tough spots of resin, soaking the bong for as long as 24 hours can help combat stubborn deposits.

Step #3. Use a Pipe Cleaner to Scrub the Inside of the Downstem

Once the bong is filled with hot water or cleaning solution, use a pipe cleaner to scrub the inside of the downstem.

If you don't have a pipe cleaner, a small nylon brush will do the trick. Don't use steel wool or a metal brush since these can scratch the glass.

Step #4. Rinse the Bong Again With Warm Water

Once you've scrubbed the bong with a pipe cleaner, rinse it with warm water to remove any residual cleaner and residue. Be sure to rinse the bong well, as you don't want any cleaner left behind when you smoke. 

If you still see brown water or small black pieces coming out of the bong, rinse it again until the water runs clear, then inspect the inside of the bong for any remaining residue. Continue these steps until the bong water runs clear and the glass is sparkling clean. 

Step #5. Allow the Bong to Cool at Room Temperature

Once the bong is clean, set it aside to cool at room temperature for a few hours. Avoid putting the bong in the fridge or freezer since this can cause breakage. If you're eager to use your bong soon, dry it with a lint-free towel to avoid unwanted cloth fibers.

Are There Different Types of Water Pipes?

From a percolator bong to a beaker bong, there are several different types of water glassware – and the best part is that all of these handheld pieces offer the same cooling sensation with even less water, making them perfect for any smoke session by yourself, with friends, or even out of the house.

Glass Bongs

Glass bongs are the most popular type of bong, especially because they’re among the easiest glassware to pour water into.

Glass bongs are easy to clean and consistently provide smooth, flavorful hits. They also come in various shapes and sizes to your preference with rounded water chambers like a beaker (called a beaker bong) or straight tubes down to the chamber (called straight tube bongs).

Hand Bubblers

Hand bubblers are small, handheld water pipes that offer portability and convenience, making them an excellent choice for those who like smaller pieces. Want to make it even better? Pair your hand bubbler with a carrying case for easy on-the-go smoking. 

Dab Rigs

Dab rigs are another type of water pipe explicitly designed for dabbing concentrates. Dab rigs often have percolators to cool and filter the smoke, giving you smooth hits every time. Pair dab rigs with many accessories, from bangers, terps, and much more. 

Blunt Bubblers

MJ Arsenal's signature blunt bubbler is one of the newest innovations in the world of water pipes. The blunt bubbler is a water pipe with a particular cone-shaped female joint designed to water-cool your rolls. The blunt bubbler's filtration gives you bong-like rips off a blunt you can pass around in any smoking circle.


Knowing how much water to put in a bong is easy once you get the hang of it, but there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind to enhance every smoking session: 

  1. Don't use a glass or ceramic cup. Instead, use a plastic cup or a water bottle to fill the bong with water so that if you bump against the piece, there's no chance of breakage. 
  2. Slowly pour the water into the bong downstem. You want to do this step slowly so that you don't overfill – it can be annoying to get extra water out, but it's easier to put more in.
  3. Ensure that the water is filled properly. Ideally, the water height should only be filled halfway in the actual chamber so that the downstem is completely submerged. 

What's even better is that MJ Arsenal is your one-stop shop for all of your smoking needs.

We carry a wide selection of bongs, other glassware, and accessories to make your smoking experience more enjoyable. Our lineup elevates the ordinary smoke sesh, whether you're enjoying a dab rig at home, hitting a blunt on the go, or searching for that trusty new bong attachment.

Check out our extensive glassware selection and find exactly what you're looking for.