How to Use a Bubbler Like a Pro

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Added 13 October 2022

Of all the ways of consuming cannabis, bongs are the go-to favorite of many cannabis users. For one, bongs are fun conversation starters. And, for two, they give you bigger hits that are smooth and less harsh on your throat. 

What’s not to like?

But there’s a problem. Bongs are big and difficult to carry.

What if you want the classic bong experience without the hassle of carrying it around? Enter, bubblers — the perfect alternative to a bong to smoke cannabis.

What is a bubbler, and how can you use it like a pro? Find out in this article.

What is a Bubbler?

What is a bubbler

Think of a bubbler as a cross between a glass pipe and a classic bong. It is small enough to fit in your side pocket and has the benefit of water that cools down your hits. Plus, bubblers are a lot cheaper than traditional bongs.

What makes bubblers so good to smoke cannabis is the water chamber. Just like a bong, the water chamber in a bubbler also helps cool down the hot smoke, leading to better and smoother smoke. When you light the bowl, the smoke goes into the water, cools down, and enters your mouth via the mouthpiece. 

Apart from just smoother hits and its small size, the next benefit of a bubbler is that it does not have a lot of complicated components — bubblers are as simple as they can get!

These small bubblers contain a bowl, a mouthpiece, a water chamber, and a stem that connects the water chamber to the mouth piece. Depending on the variety, some bubblers even come with a detachable bowl for easier cleaning and storing.

Some high-end bubblers have a carb hole on the side of the water chamber, allowing you to control the airflow. 

Types of Cannabis Bubblers

types of cannabis bubblers

Despite being such simple devices, innovations have come a long way to give birth to a variety of bubblers that you can check out. They remain the same but still offer different experiences. Here are some common types of bubblers you can find, apart from the standard bubbler:

  • Double Bubbler

The double bubbler has two water chambers that filter the smoke twice. The result? An even smoother hit of your cannabis bud!

  • Hammer Bubbler

A hammer bubbler is propped up by a stand, giving it a hammer-like appearance. And hence, the name, too. 

  • Sidecar Bubbler

The next popular type of bubbler is the sidecar bubbler, where the mouthpiece branches off the chamber and is angled from the side. The benefit of this bubbler is that the sidecar design prevents water splashes on you (and loss of water).

  • Pendant Bubbler

A pendant bubbler is exactly what it sounds like — it hangs around your neck, like a pendant. It contains a small hole and a string that you can use to hang, and is pretty handy when it’s time to smoke cannabis.

Bubbler vs Bong

Bubbler vs bong

Bubblers and bongs share the same principles of smoking cannabis, but they are quite different from one another. The primary difference is their size. Bongs are way bigger, and their water chamber usually fits a cup of water. On the other hand, bubblers max out at two fluid ounces of water.

Another difference is that bubblers can’t be dismantled like a bong because the downstem isn’t removable. And lastly, bubblers are a lot cheaper than bongs because they are big, designed with stronger glass, and come with more elaborate components like ice catchers or percolated downstems.

How to Use a Bubbler to Smoke Cannabis?

Bubblers have a simple design and an even simpler operation! They are super easy to use, especially if you have experience using water pipes or bongs. Here is how you can use a bubbler to smoke cannabis.

1. Clean the Bubbler

Clean the bubbler

The first step should always be to clean the bubbler. Otherwise, you may end up smoking gunk, residue from the last session, or even mold. So, it is advisable to clean your bubbler before each session. More on cleaning the bubbler later. 

2. Add Water to the Bubbler

Add water to the bubbler

The second step is to add water to the cannabis bubbler. Ideally, you should put clean water until the water chamber is half full to ensure a smoother hit while avoiding water splashes.

You should also try taking a hit without packing the cannabis. If the water bubbles properly, you have added adequate water. If it doesn’t, you can fill the water chamber a little more and try again until you strike the perfect balance.

3. Pack the Bowl

Pack the bowl

The next step is to grind your cannabis bud and pack the bowl of the bubbler. Don’t pack the bowl so tight that it prevents airflow. It should be a little snug, but not too tight.

4. Light it Up

Light it up

The final step is to light it up! Use one hand to cover the carb if there's one, and the other to light the bowl. As you inhale, the smoke from the bowl will enter the chamber, creating a lot of bubbles, before entering your lungs.

Protip: Clean the Bubbler Before Every Use

A bubbler is usually one-piece, so you have to clean it more often than you would a bong to keep it fresh. So, after every use, rinse the water out and lightly clean it to ensure there is no residue that will build up over time.

Additionally, you should also clean the bubbler before every use to ensure you are not smoking any nasty dust or residue from the previous session, which can lead to harsher tokes, bland flavor, or even health hazards from the build-up of tar, bacteria, or mold.

While it is recommended to clean your bubbler before every use, there are other times when you may need to clean it more frequently. For example, if you use it multiple times a day, clean it at least once every day. 

How to Clean Your Bubbler?

Here's how you can clean your bubbler easily.

1. Gather the Supplies

Gather the supplies

  • Isopropyl alcohol (at least 90%)
  • Table salt
  • A pipe cleaner or q-tips
  • And a towel

2. Prep the Bubbler

Prep the bubbler

Now, dump out all the old water and clean out any loose debris from the bubbler. You can also rinse the bubbler with clean water a couple of times and gently tap it on a hard surface to loosen up gunked-up debris, followed by another rinse.

3. Fill the Bubbler with Alcohol and Salt

Fill the bubbler with alcohol and salt

Pour some alcohol into the water chamber, ensuring the stem is half submerged. Then, add some salt to the water chamber, too. Ideally, the ratio between alcohol and salt should be 2:1.

Let the alcohol and salt solution sit for a couple of hours to loosen up any resin or debris.

4. Shake It Up

Shake it up

Now, shake the bubbler vigorously. The salt and alcohol in the chamber will exfoliate the bubbler from within, making it squeaky clean. As you shake, the mixture will start turning cloudy.

You can also use a pipe cleaner to remove any resin still stuck within. 

5. Rinse and Dry

Rinse and dry

Once the bubbler is clean, dump out the alcohol and salt mixture and rinse it throughly with clean water until you can’t smell the alcohol anymore. And then leave the bubbler out to dry for around an hour. 

How to Buy a Good Bubbler?

How to buy a good bubbler

Like everything else, bubblers come in a variety of qualities — some are good, some are great, and some are downright worthless. 

Generally, good bubblers are made of glass. These glass bubblers are cheap and work just fine, but if you don’t mind spending more, you can choose one made of borosilicate glass: heavy-duty glass that can handle high heat and little abuse.

Some manufacturers also make bubblers from wood. This is a good option if you want your cannabis hits to have a woody undertone. But they are also susceptible to mold so they require more upkeep and maintenance to prevent mold.

If you are afraid to use glass, then you can even find a bubbler made of silicone. They don’t break easily and are resistant to mold, unlike wooden bubblers. 

Apart from the build material, you should also consider the style. If you just want a bubbler to smoke without any fancy features, a regular bubbler with a built-in bowl works well. And if you want to share your bubbler with the circle during a session, consider getting a bigger bowl. 

Summary: How to Use a Bubbler Like a Pro

Bubblers are a terrific way to consume cannabis (and, of course, they look so cute!). So, if you want to try a different way of smoking cannabis without worrying about lugging a big bong around while keeping the smoke smooth and fresh, you should definitely get yourself a bubbler.

Bubblers may not be the edgiest or fanciest tools for smoking cannabis, but those who use bubblers know just how fun they are to use. So, get yourself a bubbler and use it the right way. And don’t forget to clean it frequently to enjoy good smoke. 



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