Straight Tube vs Beaker Bong
You’re in the market for some new glass and you’ve decided that a bong is the piece for you. First thing’s first, should your newest acquisition be a classic beaker bottom bong or a straight tube? We’re here to clear up the straight tube vs beaker bong confusion.
The first difference you’ll notice is that the beaker looks quite a bit bigger than a straight tube of the same height. By volume, beakers are bigger. Unsurprisingly, the larger chamber of a beaker means that the beaker will hold more water, air, and smoke. More water in the chamber means more weight at the bottom and a lower center of gravity and a lower chance that the piece gets knocked over. Beakers also allow the user to fill the bong with more smoke before it hits their lungs. If you have a preference for bigger hits, beakers are going to appeal to you. But what about the less obvious differences you can’t pick out by simply looking?
One major advantage of straight tubes is that they clear much more easily than a comparable beaker. Unlike a beaker, the smoke in a straight tube only needs to travel straight up. A beaker has a relatively significant change in that the smoke goes from a fairly large chamber to a much smaller neck, adding some air compression and drag as the smoke/air mixture is forced into a smaller space.
Straight tubes also tend to stack bubbles better than their larger counterparts. With beakers, as you inhale the smoke into the primary beaker chamber, most of the bubbles will end up breaking up and releasing their smoke before it touches the surrounding glass. The walls of the beaker are further away, leaving your bubbles nothing to form against or travel up along the walls. A straight tube’s walls are much closer to the downstem or whichever perc the main chamber has and bubbles will have to travel far shorter distances to hit the wall of the bong. This closer distance allows the bubbles to make contact with the glass and have an avenue to travel up against, stacking the bubbles much better than you’d see in a typical beaker bottom bong.
Another advantage of straight tubes is, in many cases, craftsmanship. A straight tube bong will generally be the same thickness from the mouthpiece to the base, except perhaps the connection points and glass joints. A beaker and a straight tube both start from the same material: a single tube of glass. A beaker needs its tube worked so that it can flare out into its beaker shape. To flare out the base, the tube will have to be worked and stretched out so that it forms the beaker shape. This process can thin the glass, making it more fragile. A well-made bong will not have this issue as the glass blower would have ensured uniform thickness throughout. Unfortunately, not all bongs are made the same and there are many beakers on the market where the beaker part of the bong is much thinner than the neck and mouthpiece of the bong. While this difference does not affect function, it could affect your bong’s ability to take an accidental bump or fall.
At the end of the day, there are pros and cons to both. Each will enhance your smoking experience so you really can’t go wrong either way!