Stemless vs Stemmed Bongs: Which is Better?

Ten colored bongs in assorted sizes against gray background

Check out any online smoke shop and you’ll see two different kinds of bongs: stemless and stemmed.

You might be thinking: isn’t a bong a bong? Since when are there different types of bongs?

You’re probably familiar with the more common stemless bong. But stemmed bongs are worth considering!

Are you looking for something new to add to your arsenal? Check out the differences between stemmed and stemless bongs and see for yourself what tickles your fancy.

Keyword Alert: What Is a Downstem?

A downstem is a glass piece that functions as a bridge between your bowl and the water in your bong’s chamber.

What Are the Advantages of a Stemmed Bong?

There are lots of unique advantages to the ingenious stemmed bong design. After all, these bongs are popular options at our Denver and Northglenn head shops for a reason!

To start, the majority of bongs don’t have a carb hole. This means you need to detach the herb bowl from the bong to release the smoke. This can easily make your bong break if you take it out at the wrong angle. (Which isn’t entirely unlikely when you’re really high!)

But when you have a stemmed bong, you don’t have to worry when you lift up your bowl. If the stem breaks, it doesn’t ruin the whole bong- you can simply replace it.

You also get to decide what kind of perc you want from your stem. Choices include:

  • Slitted downstem – diffuses the smoke via six or more slits
  • Tree perc downstem – seven arms diffuse the smoke in tiny bubbles
  • Honeycomb downstem – flat base at the end with many holes that make it look like a honeycomb
  • Fire cut downstem – micro holes around the tip of the downstem
  • Showerhead downstem – flattened disc with slits at the end of the downstem

What Are the Disadvantages of a Stemmed Bong?

Something you should do once you get your stemmed bong is measure your downstem. That way you know how long of a downstem to get if you’re replacing it. If it breaks without this measurement, you’re out of luck.

Buying a new downstem can cost a decent chunk of money for people on a tight budget, depending on which online head shop they choose to buy from.

What Is a Stemless Bong?

A stemless bong has a fixed downstem. The stem can be very long, some reaching ⅓ of the way up the bong. You can find stems of varying lengths at our Northglenn smoke shop.

Most stemless bongs have a perc right at the end to help you get a smoother hit.

What Are the Advantages of a Stemless Bong?

Because of the fixed stem, you don’t need to use keg clips to keep anything in place, and you don’t have to worry about the stem accidentally coming out when you lift up the herb slide.

Stemless bongs often have lesser drag, especially when they have short connections. Because of the seamless link, there are fewer air pockets that can get in the way of your drag.

They also have a simpler, sleeker design.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Stemless Bong?

Stemless bongs are high-maintenance. There’s only one piece, so you’re in a sticky situation if the pathway gets clogged. You might end up at our online head shop for a whole replacement if you can’t get it cleaned all the way.

Using a stemless bong is easy, but cleaning it is anything but. You have to be incredibly careful when you shake the bong to make sure you reach all the tubing, while not shaking so hard that you break your bong.

The most common way that stemless bongs break is by lifting the herb bowl incorrectly. If the bowl gets taken out or inserted at the wrong angle, it can create pressure that causes the joint to crack.

Lastly, you can’t experiment with different percs with stemless bongs. You’d have to get multiple bongs with different kinds of fixed downstems to see what effects they create.

So Which is Better?

Luckily, our team stocks both stemless and stemmed bongs in our Denver and Northglenn smoke shops. You can also order both types of heady glass bongs in our online smoke shop. There’s no saying which type of bong is indefinitely better – but personal preference can dictate which is better for you.

If you’re clumsy, a stemmed bong is probably your best bet. Get the measurement of the downstem right away so that if it breaks, you can easily replace it.

Stemmed bongs are also great if you want to be able to customize your perc. You can experiment with different kinds to search for the smoothest hit.

If you’re looking for a lesser drag, a stemless bong will probably be your go-to. Its minimal design streamlines your drag and doesn’t allow air bubbles to form.

And there’s no denying the modern look of stemless bongs. If you’re a stickler for design, stemless bongs are hard to resist.

Final Thoughts

So now you know the lay of the land. Have you made your pick? Are you convinced?

If you’re a marijuana nerd, you’ll love experimenting with all the different kinds of downstems. But if your house is a minimalist’s dream, the beautiful design of a stemmed bong will have your mouth watering.

But the truth is, all we can offer you is the same advice that we always do: try both. You never know which kind you’ll like best until you compare their use in person.

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