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Everything You Need To Know About Stemmed and Stemless Bongs

Everything You Need To Know About Stemmed and Stemless Bongs

You are probably familiar with various sizes and designs of bongs. You may also be aware of a few types of percolators and styles. However, all such bongs can be broadly classified into two categories: stemmed and stemless. 

Both stemmed and stemless bongs have some advantages and disadvantages, so you might be interested in comparing the two to make an informed decision. This guide highlights everything you need to know about stemmed and stemless bongs.

What Is a Stemmed Bong?

A stemmed bong is the traditional style most people get acquainted with first. This type of bong has a downstem. The downstem is a glass fixture that goes into the bong, effectively connecting the bowl and the water chamber. 

Let me use the example of a classic beaker bong. The water chamber is at the base of a beaker bong, and there’s a spout for the downstem. The protruding end of the downstem is a female port or joint. You place the herb bowl atop or into this female connector of the downstem. 

Any style that uses this type of downstem is classified as a stemmed bong.

What Is a Stemless Bong?

A stemless bong doesn’t have the typical downstem. So, there is no 45° angular sprout with a glass stem to hold the bowl. Instead, there is a 90° connector or joint at the base of the bong with a separate glass fixture to hold the herb bowl.

Hence, a stemless bong is like a traditional style except for the absence of the downstem. And the glass fixture serving as the herb bowl holder and conduit for the smoke is similar to a branch rather than a stem.

This fundamental difference in design paves the way for many distinct features.  

Stemmed vs. Stemless Bongs

Stemmed bongs were once the default choice for many users. But the increasing popularity of stemless bongs has changed the status quo. The two styles have different prices, of course. However, let me prioritize the functional advantages and disadvantages for users.  

Advantages of Stemmed Bongs

The most noteworthy advantage of stemmed bongs is the removable downstem. A detachable downstem essentially means that you can replace it if it cracks or suffers some kind of damage. 

Glass bongs aren’t the most durable smoking apparatus, especially the downstem that you will constantly toggle with due to its interaction with the bowl. It is not uncommon for users to crack their bongs’ downstems while placing or removing the bowl and often wiggling it.

If you have a broken downstem, you can get a new one and continue to use the other parts of the bong. From this perspective, a stemmed bong makes a lot more sense because you don’t have to buy a new bong if an essential component is broken or damaged.

Another significant advantage is the ease of cleaning and maintenance. Since you can detach the downstem, you can clean it separately. Also, stemmed bongs don’t have many percolators, at least not the complicated ones. So, the cleaning routine is easier and quicker. 

Disadvantages of Stemmed Bongs

Stemmed bongs rarely have advanced percolators. The downstem is a simple fixture. At best, the downstem may have a few slits to serve as a diffuser. The percolating effects are almost nonexistent. The bong or the main chamber itself may have a percolator, splash guard, etc.

Therefore, the downstem of these bongs don’t have much role to play in the quality or flavor of the smoke. The texture is usually not as smooth unless the bong itself has a percolator or two.  

Advantages of Stemless Bongs

Stemless bongs have a permanent fixture attached to the base or water chamber. These bongs usually have one or more percolators. You can choose the percolator style based on your needs or preferences. Also, you’ll find percolators in the bong or water chamber and the attachment.

The glass fixture holding the bowl and serving as the conduit to the base can have one or more percolators. Also, some stemless bongs have percolators and diffusers. As a result, the smoke quality, flavor, and texture are invariably better than what a stemmed bong delivers. 

Disadvantages of Stemless Bongs

On the downside, stemless bongs don’t have a detachable and thus replaceable downstem. So, if you damage any fixed part of a stemless bong, you have to get a new one. Of course, you can use different bowls with such stemless bongs, but you use them in the same conventional way.

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