The downstem is an essential part of any bong. It can be a simple, open hole or a specialized piece with holes that offer different percolations.
Choosing the proper downstem is essential, and it comes down to personal preference and your joint size. Downstems come in standard sizes like 14mm and 18mm for the joint and smaller sizes like 10mm for mini rigs. Below are some different types of downstems explained.
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Downstems are the most basic and effective type of percolator available. They are glass tubes inside your water pipe’s main chamber, pushing smoke through the diffuser before it hits your lungs. This diffusion can help to cool and filter the smoke, resulting in smoother hits.
The best downstems are made of either glass or silicone. Glass is the more traditional choice, but silicone is gaining popularity due to its durability and ease of cleaning. Regardless of the material, downstems come in various lengths and diameters that fit most bongs. You can quickly determine which size downstem to buy by measuring the size of the small opening, called a joint, in your bong.
The downstem is a tube that connects the bowl piece to the main chamber of your water pipe. It filters and cools your hit, so it’s gentle on your lungs, and some downstems even feature slits or holes that help break up your smoke for an extra smooth pull.
While most bongs come with a downstem, you can purchase them separately from brick-and-mortar and online stores specializing in cannabis products. Measuring your downstem is a good idea, so you can find one that fits perfectly and forms an airtight seal.
Silicone downstems are a great alternative to glass because they’re more durable and can withstand heat without breaking, as glass pieces would. They’re made of food-grade silicone and typically include a diffused tip that helps filter your smoke and improve its flavor and potency. They’re dishwasher-safe and can be found in various colors to further customize your setup. While silicone is a bit more expensive than glass, it’s still much cheaper and easier to replace in case of accidental damage.
Tree Perc Downstems
While some smokers might think a downstem percolator is unnecessary, they’re extremely useful and have multiple benefits. For starters, downstem percolators minimize ash build-up that can clog bongs and lower the overall quality of your smoking experience.
This is because downstem percolators are designed with several slits and holes that can help break up larger plant matter particles into smaller vapor bubbles, creating better filtration and cooling. Furthermore, they’re typically built with a fixed or removable design, which can make cleaning easier.
Some of the most popular downstem percolators include the slitted diffuser, which comprises small slits, and the honeycomb perc, which has a flat design and a series of small holes that can provide great filtration. Other popular options are the tree perc, which features many thin vertical arms with slits that can be grouped, or the pillar perc, which can be constructed with a single arm. These all offer different levels of diffusion to filter and cool smoke before it enters the water chamber.
While they do the same primary job as other downstems, fire cut downstems offer a few options that can customize your smoking experience. This type of downstem features a series of holes drilled through the glass rather than slits like in other downstems, and the succession of these small holes helps diffuse smoke even more, giving you that deep, bubbly hit you’re looking for.
They’re also easy to clean and relatively unbreakable. While most downstems are borosilicate glass, firecuts come in various materials, including metal, silicone, and wood.
Most water pipes have a downstem already attached and fixed to the pipe’s joint, but you must select the right one for your piece. To do so, measure the length of your piece from the ground joint up to where you want the downstem to end. Downstems are sold in various sizes and can be found wherever you shop for pipes, including your local headshop or hippie store. They’re also available online and can be shipped directly to your door.
Downstems are necessary for water pipes, as they help pull smoke through the water-filled base chamber for filtration and cooling. They also remove tar and other toxins from your hit, which results in a smoother smoking experience.
Different downstem types exist, including diffuser, tree perc, and firecut styles. Diffused downstems have a large number of slits that filter the smoke, which helps to preserve flavor. Tree perc downstems offer some of the best filtration but require a stronger pull and tend to clog more easily. Firecut downstems add flair to your bong with their distinctive ribbed design, but they offer less filtration than a diffuser. Showerhead downstems are a simple solution that delivers great filtration and doesn’t clog often.
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