diffuser downstems

What are downstems? 

If you are new to smoking weed or have just started recently, you might have heard someone talking about a diffuser downstem.

Regardless of whether you’ve heard of it, it’s vital for you to familiarize yourself with the term and know what it means.

Anytime you can improve your smoking knowledge you are going to be better off as this will allow you to have better smoke sessions, and that’s exactly the case with learning about diffuser downstems.The rest of this guide will tell you all you need to know about diffuser downstems so that you can improve your stoner vocabulary and improve your smoke sessions. 

What is a Diffuser Downstem

A diffuser downstem is a type of percolator, and a percolator is something that cools and filters the smoke from your bowl. The reason that this type of percolator is called a diffuser downstem is that this percolator is located on the downstem of the rig, dab, or bong. Not all diffuser downstems are the same, however, as there is quite a large variety within them. And although they all have the same function, some people prefer certain downstem diffusers over others. 


How to Use a Diffuser Downstem

If you’re wondering how to use a diffuser downstem, you’re in luck, because there isn’t really anything for you to do. As long as you have a diffuser downstem and it’s in the right place it will do everything you need it to do. Just make sure to clean it regularly as you should with all your smoking device parts’. If you don’t want to have to clean very often then look for a diffuser downstem with an opening at the end of it so that air can pass through, this will allow the ash to pass through easier and it won’t clog. Other than cleaning it just make sure that you actually have one. Some devices come with a build in diffuser downstem while in other cases you will need to go out and buy one and then attach it yourself.  

Types of Diffuser Downstems

As mentioned previously, there are many types of diffuser downstem. The first thing to note is that there are three sizes of diffuser downstems, which correspond to the standard sizes for glass joints: 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm. In addition to size, another fitting factor in diffuser downstems is which joint sex they connect with. Typically you are going to connect your diffuser downstem to a female joint but if you happen to need to connect to a male joint you can look for specially made diffuser downstem or buy an adapter. 

Other than fitting differences, diffuser downstems also have a few different diffusion styles. The most common diffuser style is the slitted shaped diffusers. As it’s name suggests, these diffusers have slits all along the downstem that allow the smoke to escape towards the water. This model is popular because it doesn’t clog often.  

Another diffusion style is for the diffuser to simply have holes along the bottom of it (showerhead model). This creates extra bubbles and a lot of flavor. Many people opt for this diffuser because they enjoy the tasty hits they create, however these models clog easier. 

Last of the common diffuser styles is the four armed diffuser. These diffusers have four small arms that branch out from its base with each of the arms containing slits in them. This model attempts to provide the taste of the showerhead model without clogging. The main issue with these diffusers is that they tend to be pretty fragile. 

Advantages of Diffuser Downstem

Although you know now what a diffuser downstem is, how to use it, and the different options available, you might be wondering why exactly you need one.

The answer to that is to have cleaner, smoother, and potentially tastier hits. Adding a diffuser downstem to your bong or rig will significantly cut down on the amount of non-THC debris in your smoke. This will make your smoke easier on your lungs and throat to inhale and you won’t find yourself coughing as much or having to struggle with a burning sensation. In addition to that, the smoke being cleaner means you are doing your body a favor.

When you smoke and inhale tars and other foreign substances they can damage your lungs, and this is exactly what happens if you don’t use a diffuser downstem. Lastly, most people prefer the taste of their smoke when using a diffuser downstem. And while some people might enjoy the flavor of tar and other debris, most don’t, most prefer to taste pure marijuana.

cleaning downstem

How to Clean a Downstem Diffuser

After you’ve enjoyed smoking with your diffuser downstem a few times you are going to need to clean it. Isopropyl alcohol, which is used to clean most all smoking devices, will come in handy. The first thing you should do is remove the downstem diffuser from the bowl. After that, soak it in your alcohol and add in a pinch of salt. Make sure that the diffuser is completely submerged. Let it set for a few hours and then rinse it off thoroughly. Rinsing it off is just as important as any other step, as this will ensure that you don’t end up inhaling alcohol or salt into your lungs. Lastly, just let it dry for a few hours and then you are ready to smoke with it. If you don’t have a detachable diffuser downstem then you can likely just submerge the whole smoking device (depending on what it is) in the mixture and achieve the same results. Plus, this will clean your device too! 


A diffuser downstem is a type of percolator that is located on the downstem. It’s job is to filter your smoke and remove unhealthy and unpleasant tasting toxins and debris.

Some diffuser downstems come attached with your smoking device when you buy them and others are detachable and need to be added separately. It’s up to you to check and see if your device already has one and add one if not. Diffuser downstems typically have three different diffusion styles: slitted, showerhead, and four-armed.

The slitted style is popular because it doesn’t clog while the showerhead offers the most flavor. The four-armed design tries to offer similar tasting smoke to the showerhead model without clogging but it sacrifices durability in the process. The reason you need a diffuser downstem is because they offer you cleaner and smoother smoke. And lastly, to clean a diffuser downstem you just submerge it in an alcohol and salt mixture for a fews hours and then rinse it off. Now you know everything you need to about diffuser downstems– go check if your device has one and go out and get one if not! 

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