Percolator bongs are a popular choice of water pipes for many people. There is currently a wide variety of different percolators to choose from and the different range of percolators is growing at an incredibly  fast rate.

Each style of percolator will aim to diffuse and filter the smoke. Depending on which percolator you go for depends on the level of diffusion and filtering that the smoke will go through. Sound confusing? Don’t worry, we have you covered.

How Does A Percolator Work?

A percolator bong works by using differences in pressure between its top and bottom outlets. The user then inhales, which forces smoke through the water. As the smoke is forced through the water, it bubbles due to the pressure.

The image below offers a visualization of the process:

How a Percolator Works

In short, this process makes the smoke cool. Surface bubbles that are created come into direct contact with the water this is where there is an exchange of heat between the hot smoke and the cool water. This exchange of heat cools the smoke and allows for the smoke to rise evenly.

The tree percolator design (pictured above) incorporates a number of small openings into its design. This allows for the smoke to be diffused into a larger amount of small bubbles. In turn, this increases the surface area of the smoke and increases the efficiency of the cooling process.

It also traps certain components that are within the smoke itself. This filters out the smoke which makes it cleaner, filtering out any insoluble components.

A perk (no pun intended) of using a percolator bong is that because the smoke has a higher humidity, any irritation that may be made to the upper respiratory tract will be reduced.

Okay, enough science. Let’s get to the many different types of percolator bongs there are. That is why you’re reading this after all!

The many types of Percolator Bong

There are many different types to go through below. The reason that there is so many different varieties is simply because of how popular percolator bongs are. The most prevalent designs that you will find on the market are the Dome and Tree percolators. All other designs exist, but are uncommon. The majority of the time, you will find percolators in Glass bongs. It is rare to see percolators in Acrylic bongs.

Tree Percolator

Three Arm Tree Percolator

Tree Percolators, generally speaking, utilize between 1 – 8 individual flow paths, or ‘arms’. This can range to as high as 19 arms.

The more arms a design has the more intricate the glass work that is required – these high end tree percolators are extremely difficult to manufacture so they are rare.

These flow paths are paths for the smoke to enter the water. This is where the smoke is then diffused, cooled and filtered.

More recent variations of the tree percolator include bent arms and twisting trees.

Dome Percolator

Dome Percolator

Dome percolators use a singular glass dome to direct smoke to the bottom of the water column. Dome percolators can diffuse the smoke in many different ways.

These have varying designs and can have slits that are triangular, small holes around the base of the dome or even just a few larger holes to let the smoke pass.

Manufacturers usually have colourful art applied to the dome percolators and add interesting designs to them.

Coil Percolator

Coil Percolator

Coil Percolators function the same as a tree percolator. The only difference here, is the trees have been bent. The coils direct the smoke into the water chamber, where diffusion occurs.

Coils generally have a long drag and can sometimes suffer from performance issues if purchased cheaply.


Dewar Percolator

Dome percolators face a problem and Dewar percolators fix that problem.

The issue that most dome percolators face is that the vacuum that is created also creates back pressure, which in turn pushes water back into the bushing.

The Dewar percolator solves this by simply jacketing the dome. This stands up off of the bottom of the chamber which eliminates the issue of water being pushed back into the bushing.                     

Ring Percolator

Ring Percolator

Also known as a Halo percolator, the ring percolator is a variation of the tree percolator.

The variation is the single bent up stem which is attached to a U-Bend. This U-Bend wraps around the up stem and contains either small holes or slits.

Ring percolators are generally found in shorter bongs because these tend to have a longer drag. This is claimed to provide the user with a smoother hit.

Pinwheel Percolator

Pinwheel Percolator

These are extremely rare. These are not common and only a few are known to have been made.

Pinwheel Percolators combine a Dewar Percolator with low set arms. These are the set into a swirl pattern. The Pinwheel is essentially a re-engineered version of the ring percolator, above.

These are said to have a slow draw, which is supposed to provide several benefits. None of which have currently been proven.

Multiple Action Dewar

Multiple Action Dewar PercolatorMultiple Action Dewar percolators are jacketed Dewar percolators. Inside there are round or compressed spheres inside. At the top of these spheres, holes allow smoke to surge intensely. The smoke then channels out of the slits at the bottom of the percolator.

This type of percolator essentially acts as an air diffuser and a water percolator in one piece.

Inline Percolator

Inline Percolator

Inline percolators are similar in the ways of the Dewar percolator. They are also similar to the tree percolator.

The way these work is there is an arm which is encased within a jacketed Dewar. The inline percolator contains slits down the arm and is usually found in the first chamber of the water pipe.

The slits of the inline can vary with diameter. This can cause visually entertaining bubble patterns and can also increase diffusion.

Honeycomb Percolator

Honeycomb Percolator

Honeycomb percolators are known for being efficient percolators. The singular traps could have upwards of over 100 holes within a singular honeycomb.

This makes use of the discs flat surface area. Whilst these types of percolators may require more frequent cleaning, the increased number of holes on the honeycomb percolator enables a large amount of percolation to occur.

These are also usually smaller in size due to the size of the traps.

Fritted Disc Percolator

Fritted Disc Percolator

The Fritted Disc percolator is a disc of glass fragments which are bound together, leaving extremely small spaces between each fragment. This results in a very large number of holes for the smoke to pass through.

These holes become venues of percolation and diffusion. As with the Honeycomb Percolator, the Fritted Disc percolator does require more frequent cleaning due to its number of holes.

To partly solve this problem, an ash catcher may be a solution to reduce the need for solvent cleaning.


So there you have it, ten different styles of percolator. Trust me there are a lot more out there! Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Cup
  • Showerhead
  • Waffle
  • Inverted Arm
  • Showercap
  • Swiss
  • Skull perc
  • Gridline

And many, many more. There are literally hundreds of different percolators out there, each have their own drawbacks and pros. This post has tried to explain the differences between the main types of percolators out there so you can make a better, more informed decision when purchasing your next bong or water pipe.

I hope that this has helped clear up any questions you may have had. If this isn’t the case, click here to be taken to our contact page and ask away! I will gladly answer any questions you may have.