How Much Water Do You Put in a Bong?

How Much Water Do You Put in a Bong?

Ever wondered what the big deal with bongs and water is? Or maybe you have a new water pipe and can't stop wondering why you have to put water into it? The biggest mistake you can make when using a bong is not having the right amount of water. Awesome as they are, without the right water levels, bongs can be frustrating to use.

Whether you’re looking to satisfy your curiosity, or you have a shiny new bong and want to get off to the best start, you’re about to learn about bongs and water – most importantly, how much water to put in your bong for the best performance.

What Does Bong Water Do?

Water is what separates bongs from other methods of smoking or vaping herbs. While the water adds excellent aesthetics when you smoke, it plays a much bigger role than that. The water also acts as a filter and percolator. It filters out the harmful toxins from the dry herb and delivers smoother and cooler hits for an amazing and chill experience.

How Does Bong Water Work?

Bongwater has two primary roles in the smoking process. The first is as a filtering agent, and the second is as a cooling agent.

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When smoke passes through the water, it leaves the heat it was holding from the bowl inside the water, creating a less harsh, cooler and smoother hit on your throat.

The water bong is also an effective natural screen that filters some harsh flavours, compounds and particles from the smoke. With the right water levels, the bubbling that occurs when you take a hit removes large particle contaminants and other particles that can cause harsh flavours. The result is a smooth, cool tasting smoke that has made bongs a hit among smokers.  

Why Do Bong Water Levels Matter?

The amount of water you have in your bong determines the quality of smoke you get from the bong. With the right amount of water, you can expect cool, well-filtered hits, not to mention the draws require little effort.

Ideal water levels also make it easier to smoke without coughing in pain. The whole purpose of a bong is to cool the smoke and improve the experience. This is not possible without using the right amount of water.

Can you put too little water in the bong?

It’s possible to add less water than is required into your bong. But if the water level is too low, the smoke will not be filtered or cooled. The result is hot, dry, and harsh hits.

If you add too little water, the bong cannot function as it is designed. If at any time you experience hot, harsh or dry hits when smoking using water pipes, consider adding more water to the bong.

Can you put too much water in the bong?

This is another emphatic yes. It's just as easy to overfill your bong as it is to underfill. An overfilled bong will cause a lot of problems for you. It shouldn't be long before you notice something is wrong.

An overfilled bong makes it difficult for the smoke to filter through. If any smoke makes it through, it doesn’t have enough space to billow and wait to be drawn in when you inhale.

How Much Water Should You Put in a Bong?

There are different types of bongs. Each type is different on how to fill it with water.

Regardless of the type of bong you have, the basic guideline that can direct you when adding water to your bong is to keep ensure the bottom of the downstem is touching the water.

Ideally, about half an inch of the downstem should be under the water. If the downstem is not far enough into the water, the smoke will not filter through the water before you inhale it. If you have too much water, the water will splash into your mouth when you inhale.

How to Fill a Bong with Water

 Now that you know the importance of water in a bong and why the water level is critical, next is to understand how to fill your bong with water. As you already know, there are different types of bongs, and if you don't use the right method to fill your kind of bong, it can create quite a mess.

Here’s a quick guide on how to fill the different types of bongs with water:

Straight tube and beaker bongs

These are simple bongs that only have a downstem. They are the easiest to fill with water. Pour the water through the mouthpiece at the top into the base until the bottom part of the downstem is submerged in water.

Alternatively, you can also remove the downstem and pour water through the stem if you find using the mouthpiece challenging.

Percolator bongs

Percolator bongs are slightly more challenging, especially when the bong has more multiple percolators or chambers. The best method of filling perc bong is pouring the water through the mouthpiece, so it flows through the different chambers down to the bottom. If the water isn’t making it down, blow through the mouthpiece to force it down, or tilt the bong sideways.

Round base bongs

The process of filling a round base bong with water is identical to the one of filling a beaker bong. This type of bong is also simple and easy to fill. You just have to make sure the water level is far enough into the water for it to bubble and filter the smoke.

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If you have an ice catcher, you should also account for the melting ice. If your pulls change because of the melting water, you can pour out a bit of the water.

Silicone Bongs

Unlike glass bongs, where you can see the amount of water you're adding, silicone bongs are coloured and opaque, so you can't see the water level.

Initially, you will have to troubleshoot how much water you should put in by pulling after adding the water. Once you have a sweet spot, pour out the water in a measuring jar.

You can also tilt the bong to the side and fill it until the water covers the slits on the downstem. If the bong has no slits, make sure the water sits half an inch from the bottom.

Bong Water Levels Using Ice

Ice adds an extra cooling layer delivering even cooler smoke. Adding ice into your bong will not affect the amount of water you add to the bong. At least not initially. But as you smoke, you will need to monitor your water levels because the ice will start to melt.

Smoke is scorching in nature and will rapidly melt the ice. The melted ice will add to the amount of water in the bong, and the drags will be harder on your lungs. If the water level gets too high, you might accidentally get some of the bong water in your mouth.

How Often Should You Replace Bong Water

Now that you’re up to speed on how much water you should add into your bong and how to do it, you should also know the intervals at which you should replace bong water.

Bongwater not only filters and cools the smoke but will also affect the flavour of the smoke. For the smoke to remain untainted, you need to replace the water after every three smoke sessions utmost.

Also, avoid leaving water in your bong after smoking. It might be an inconvenience having to refill after every smoke, but it will keep the smoke clean and maintain the natural taste. You will also avoid mould and mildew growing inside the bong.

Frequently changing the bong water also reduces the number of times you need to clean your bong, delivering an overall better and healthier smoking experience.

Can You User Other Liquids in Your Bong Other Than Water?

Surprisingly, there are a few other liquids that experimental smokers have tried that have yielded excellent results:

Warm tea

Ideally, warm liquids are not the best to add in a bong because you want cool smoke. But, warm tea is a great choice to soothe your throat. The best varieties of tea are those brewed with strong flavours like orange, lemon and peach. However, don't add sugar. The hot tea will not only work magic on your throat but also cleans your bong.


Some creative smokers have also turned to wine to add a bit of flavour into their smoke. However, it's important to note that wine has some alcohol content, and some of the compounds of cannabis like THC are soluble in alcohol, and your hits might not be as effective.

Iced tea

Just like warm tea, iced tea is a fantastic alternative to water. Again, avoid sugar in your iced tea. Just brew the tea and ice. The blend adds a heavenly aroma to the smoke, and you have tonnes of flavour to try including herbal and hibiscus tea.

Citrus peels

For smokers that choose to play it safe, you still have some wiggle room to spice things up without changing the experience too much. Adding lemon and orange peels to the water adds a nice flavour and aroma. The acid in the peels also keeps to keep the bong clean and smelling fresh.

Closing Remarks

This simple guide has everything you need to know about water and bongs. There are also some excellent suggestions on other liquids you can use in your bong to spice up your smoking experience and add more flavour. But remember not to add sugary substances into the bong. The sugar will stick on the surface of the bong, and it will be a pain to remove. 

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