How to Smoke a Bong: Step-by-Step Guide

by Doug

How To Smoke a Bong: Step by Step

There’s nothing like the feeling of packing a bowl with your favorite bud, watching that flame flicker, and seeing the chamber fill with smoke. 

Knowing how to set up your bong for success is the secret to that great pull. Following these steps will teach you how to smoke every bowl the right way, every time. 

Know Your Bong

Why smoke from a bong? What does it have over a pipe or joint? 

Quite a lot actually.

The idea behind any bong is a long distance between where your weed is lit, to where you inhale. This allows the smoke to cool down, giving you a smoother feel, and in many cases, a much more mellow flavor. This allows you to taste the depths of flavor, so if you buy Berry Pie, you really taste those berries. 

Bongs are also simple to use. We know some smokers just don’t have that special touch to roll a perfect joint. While buying pre-rolls are a great solution, bongs give you the option to pack just enough, or even change up flavors as you go. 

The Parts of Your Bong

Before you can enjoy your bong, it’s important to understand what you have, or what you’re buying. 

Usually at the highest point, you will have a large opening which is your mouthpiece. This will need to be relatively sealed with your mouth, so if you have a small mouth, consider a smaller mouthpiece. 

The long wide tube running down is referred to as the neck. This large chamber gives the smoke time to cool, and a place for you to grab. 

The bowl can be found off to the side of your bong and is where you will be packing your bud. Some bowls are removable to increase airflow once you’ve pulled the smoke into the neck, but this isn’t always the case. Removable options are easier to clean.

Downsteps are a small tube that runs from your bowl, down near the bottom of your neck. Since heat rises, this reduces excess heat from entering your bong as you light your bowl. This also forces the smoke down before rising through the water when smoking a water bong. 

While these are the basics to any bong, you may find a variety of added items such as a percolator, ice pinch, carburetor, splash guard, and many more options designed to add to your smoking experience. 

Wet or Dry Bongs 

When thinking of bongs, you can start by placing them into two primary categories — wet and dry. 

Dry bongs work solely on the idea of a long, large chamber allowing the smoke to cool down. These are easy to use and portable, making them great for a smoke on-the-go or at a buddy’s place. Maintenance is minimal, simply cleaning your bowl and occasionally washing the entire setup to remove buildup. 

Wet bongs, often referred to as water bongs, fill a chamber with water that the smoke gets pulled through as you smoke. This cools the smoke rapidly, while then passing through the long large chamber. Some smokers even use ice water to cool the smoker even further. 

Bongs and Hookahs

With the idea of a longer pull being a focus on bongs, you may find yourself curious about the difference between a bong and a hookah. 

Technically speaking, a hookah is a type of water bong which places coals just above the bowl, allowing it to stay lit for a prolonged smoke. Hookahs often smoke at about half the temperature of a standard bowl, burning off less THC.

Hookahs are also stationary, allowing you to smoke through hoses, again adding to the idea of a longer pull for a cooler smoke. 

Can you smoke weed from a hookah? Absolutely, and for some it may be the preferred method. Smoking from a hookah allows you to have a smooth, cool smoke full of great flavor. 

Steps To A Perfect Bowl

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and pack the perfect bowl. The first few times you smoke a bong, it’s important to choose a clean area and lay out what you need. This should include:

  • Weed
  • Bong
  • Grinder
  • Lighter
  • Water (when using a water bong)


Before diving into how to prep your bud, you have to make sure to actually get high quality bud to start with, so don’t forget Emjay’s got you covered for your next smoke session. 

Choosing Weed

To get the most out of your smoke, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re buying. When thinking about the dankest of dank weed found in the 80’s and 90’s, you would be lucky to find 10% THC. When looking at today’s bud, you can find strains above 35% THC. 

Weed is about more than just THC.

Modern growers have found methods to control the THC and CBD levels within different strains, resulting in some strains having high CBD and no THC, while others have high THC and no CBD, and strains meeting every point in between. 

This means if you want a mellow high with all the health benefits found with CBD, you can choose a strain that meets your wants to a T. 

Prep Your Weed 

It’s important to note that you don’t have to grind your bud when smoking a bong, although it’s recommended to get a full burn. 

First, you’re going to take one of your buds and break or cut it into chunks. If you look at your bowl, it should taper down — you want pieces that will sit towards the bottom, but not clog the end.  

Next, you will grind the rest of your bud, but note that you don’t have to go crazy with the grinding. 


If you’re smoking from a water bong, you’ll want to add your water now. If your bong has a fill line, be sure to get close to that point. Overfilling may cause you to suck water into your mouth when smoking. 

If you don’t have a fill line, be sure to fill above your downstep, but not higher than your bowl. The water will travel up your sidestep and overfilling could cause it to leak. 

Take a test pull to make sure everything feels right. You should have a bit of resistance — adding water will raise this resistance, and removing water will allow you to pull easier. 

Packing A Bowl

Pro-tip: drop a couple of large pieces into the bowl first. This will help resist small grindings from making their way past your bowl. This isn’t always necessary if your bowl has meshing, but may help the bowl mesh last longer. 

Next you will add the ground weed, pressing down lightly to help it pack. This pressure is often preferred, as a tighter pack will cause a harder pull, and burn slower, while a looser pack will cause a quicker pull that burns quickly. 

Always take a test pull to double check that your bowl’s not packed too tight. 

Take A Couple of Breaths 

Bongs are about the big hits. 

Taking a few breaths will get your lungs ready for that long hard pull. This helps you check there’s not a tickle in your throat and will help prepare your body for smoking soon. 

Lighter Selection

Should you use a torch to light weed? 

Simple answer: No. 

THC is released around 320 degrees Fahrenheit, which is extremely easy to accomplish with any flame. Once you reach around 390 degrees Fahrenheit, the THC begins to boil off and become damaged. 

With that in mind, a standard lighter burns at around 3,590 degrees, and a torch lighter burns around 4,610 degrees fahrenheit. 

When smoking, you’re actually receiving THC from just behind the cherry. Adding too much heat will damage and release THC, which is why you find a 60% loss with bowl, bongs, and pipes.

Hitting a Bong

It’s time. 

Grab the neck relatively firm and keep the entire bong upright. 

Take a deep breath, now breathe out. 

Seal your mouth around the mouthpiece while lighting the bowl, and take a deep breath to your lungs. 

Hold your breath for a few seconds to ensure the smoke can deliver the THC. 

Exhale, sit back, and relax. 

Feel That? 

Bowls are a great way to smoke your favorite bud, giving you a different depth of flavor and new enjoyment outside of pipes, joints, and your other usual methods. 

Better educating ourselves with the possibilities of cannabis allows you to buy the right product the first or 100th time and have it delivered straight to your door with Emjay

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