When it comes to using your bong, there are several parts to the device. The first is the actual water pipe itself that makes up the bong. This consists of a bowl-stem, the water container, and a drawtube. There’s also a tobacco container, and a pipe rack with two holes for the tobacco container and water pipe.
There is also a component called a downstem that can help you with the smoking process of using your bong. Downstems extend from the joint of the pipe to the main chamber, and often contain smaller holes to cool down the smoke you are inhaling, giving you a cleaner and cooler hit. Downstems have a lot of benefits for your bong and the items you put in it.
Here are some of the benefits, as well as some of the different types of bong downstems that you can use.
What Is The Purpose Of A Bong Downstem?
A downstem is designed to give you a hit of airtight suction as you inhale through it, and it ensures that your hit of cannabis will be filtered through the water. Instead of you inhaling bits of leaves or debris. The downstem only draws the smoke up to give you the full ecstasy. They can also be diffused or have a perforated end to make sure that the smoke is broken up and cooled down.
Male Or Female Bongs and Downstems
Much like babies, joints and bongs and downstems have genders. Every single part of the bong has a male and female gender. The Male bongs taper at the end and you need to put accessories over it. Plus, all of the bowl pieces and nails and such are female.
If your female smoking device has a joint that has a wider mouth and accessories, then you need to insert accessories into it, and then all of those accessories are male. It’s a lot like your typical sex-ed class, the male goes inside the female, and the female goes over the male.
Additionally, you can make changes to your bongs and downstems and change their gender with glass adapters or dropdowns. You can make sure your bong or downstem is the correct gender, and then you can get it working.
Different Types Of Bong Downstems
For such a simple purpose, there are quite a lot of bong downstems in the world that you can use. The first type of main difference between the bong downstems is the size. There are three different types of downstems that you can use with regards to size, and the three main sizes are 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm. Each of the different Bongs extend to 2-7 inches in length and you need to make sure you get the right size for your bong.
If you don’t have an airtight suction, then the downstem won't work. The diameter of the downstem needs to be made for you, because the width determines the function of your bong. If the bong is too short, it will not reach the water, and if it is too long then the suction will not work.
The 10mm Downstem Joint
While most joints are typically labeled with their size, there’s a few ways to find the size of your joint if you are unsure. A dime or a pencil will not fit into the mouth of a 10mm downstem joint, so you can use those materials to test the width.
The 14mm Downstem Joint
A dime will not fit into the joint opening of a 14mm downstem joint, but a pencil will fit into the 14mm opening. Additionally, some 14mm joints will be smaller at the end with an 18mm exterior joint coming out of it, but this will depend on the bowl joint.
The 18mm Downstem Joint
Ironically, what is called the 18mm downstem joint is actually measured at 18.8mm. This means that you might get recommended a 19mm downstem joint instead, but you are basically getting the same product. A dime will go down the joint easily, as will a pencil. The one that you use will depend on the size of your bong.
What Is Your Downstem Made Out Of?
There are two main types of downstem materials and you can either have it made out of glass or silicone. Glass is very delicate and cannot be machine washed, so it’s harder to clean and will need to replaced if accidents happen. Silicone pieces are dishwasher safe and also heat resistant.
However, both of them are easy to clean, come in a variety of colors, and they both work the exact same way. It’s more a matter of personal preference than anything else, but either one will work for you. You can pick everything you need and create your custom downstream that will work with your custom downstem.
Do You Need A Fixed Or Replaceable Downstem?
Fixed downstems are attached to the bong whenever it is blown and are permanently fixed to the bong. Replaceable downstems are removable and can be replaced if accidents happen or you need to remove it for separate cleaning.
If you want a downstem that fused to the bong and won’t have any risk of being broken, then you should purchase a bong with a fixed downstem. If you want one that is removable, then purchasing a removable downstem is also something that can work for you. Replaceable downstems are very easy to unclog and clean, and you can have a lot of diffusion and percolation.
Slitted Vs Tree Perc Downstems
Slitted downstems are very simple in design, and they are very easy to use. The slitted downstems diffuse smoke through six or more slits at the bottom of the downstem. There’s also another type of downstem called a tree perc downstem. This is a downstem with multiple arms these items have 7 arms that can diffuse smoke in small bubbles, and each of these arms have two slits that have holes at the bottom. This gives you better flavor and cooler smokes, along with a lot of filtration.
There are also Fire Cut downstems, which are cut from then downstem using a hydrogen torch. The microholes are forged out from the torch ahd are smaller and more evenly and easily distributed.
Diffused Vs Honeycomb Bong Downstems
The holes inside of the downstems are designed to give you a better hit of whatever you’ve placed inside of the pipe. This is called percolation- where the smoke is filtered through a variety of holes through the bong water, increasing the amount of contact the smoke has with the water.
The result is a smoother hit, and the more holes inside of the downstem, the more potent the effect will be. Diffused downstems offer the most basic forms of percolation, with swirls on the bottom of the downstem. The honeycomb design puts the holes in the center of the downstem, as well.
If you can get a downstem with more holes inside of it, then the smoother your hit will be. The extra holes are able to help with the better hit, and you need as many as you can.
Add-Ons For the Downstem
Of course, a downstem isn’t anything without the accessories that can enhance its effects. Here are some of the best accessories that can be used with your downstem.
The first is an ash-catcher. As all the water and smoke are going through the main water apparatus, the ash-catcher sits at an angle that gives you another layer of filtration and keeps all the gunk and extra stuff out of your lungs.
Much like the bong downstems, the bowl can be either male or female, and if you have a bong bowl, then you can use your bong! Some bowls come with handles to help you remove the smoking bowl, and there are several types of bowls that you can use. There are standard bowl shaped bowls and also dab nail cylinder bowls.
Bong bowls can also be 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm, and the joints will need to match them. There are several different bong bowl pieces that can be used by you, including some of the following bong bowl pieces:
- The Snapper Bowl: This bowl is also called a martini bowl and allows you to enjoy a single large hit all at once, and the glass gives you a cleaner smoking experience than other materials.
- A Metal Bowl: Metal bowls do not shatter at all but can be prone to overheating themselves.
- Oversized Bowl: These bowls are both wide and deep, and are designed for a side by side smoke. You can fill two containers with weed and smoke it all side by side with a friend or loved one.
- Custom Bowls: Custom bowls can be designed to look like animals, or like a piece of art. You will find one that suits your personality without any trouble, and it will certainly become a joy to smoke from every single day.
If you have a dabber or oil reclaimer, then the oil reclaimer collects the unused oil that falls out of the oil reclaimer and allows you to reclaim it . Then the extra oil can be reused to prevent waste. You can attach the oil reclaimer to the bottom of the bong and then easily remove it if you don’t need it.
How To Clean Your Downstem
Since a downstem is so well used, and you are putting your mouth on it, you need to make sure that it is properly cleaned and maintained as you use it more and more often. A silicone downstem can be placed in the dishwasher and cleaned that way. If you own a glass bong and downstem, then you will need to follow these steps to clean it.
First, remove the downstem from your bong and give it a quick wipe down with your paper towel. If their is a lot of buildup, consider soaking the downstream in a bag with rubbing alcohol for a few hours to break it down. You can also cover the end of a tube and then pour in some salt and rubbing alcohol. Place both fingers on each end and then shake the item back and forth until the majority of the gunk has been cleaned out.
Finally, you can use an alcohol soaked q-tip to get into the downstem and clean out any gunk in the crevasises. You should clean your downstream every couple of weeks to every week depending on how often you use it, and always keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t get too dirty. If you are using your downstem with someone else, make sure to clean it immediately after use.
Where Should You Buy A Downstem?
In order to make sure you get a downstem that is of the highest quality, it’s not so much about where you buy the downstem, and more about the type of downstem you buy. You need the type of downstem that will fit your bong exactly, because if it is too long or too short it will be less than effective for you and your smoking needs.
You just need to make sure that you get the right fit, and everything else is all about your personal preference. If you want glass, or silicone, a bong, oil rig, or vaporizer, then you can make those selections. Just get the correct Downstem size, and then everything else is all good.
A downstem is a wonderful device for your bong, no matter what you choose to smoke, and they can only increase the great times you have while using it. As long as you get the right size across, then nothing else matters. You can use your bong and downstem how you please, and you just need to focus on keeping it maintained and well kept. Everytime you want to have a smoke, you can do it in your new bong!