What are Percolators? Benefits of Using Them

Some people love the harsh throat hits that they get when smoking herbs or concentrates. Others, not so much. No matter which side you are on, percolators are an excellent smoking tool for anyone to have. But for those who are new to water tools, what are percolators, and just exactly what do you gain from using them? Let’s take a closer look at percolators to help you get started using them in your smoking sessions.

What Are Percolators?

Although the name can sound relatively foreign to new users and experienced smokers alike, percolators refer to water filtration systems that are more complex than the average bong or bubbler. These percolators enhance the water filtration system to provide you with further benefits and a greater experience when smoking your substances.

How Do They Work?

The explanation of how percolators can be quite scientific, depending upon the source that you choose to listen to. Fortunately, this explanation can be condensed down and made easier to understand. When percolators force the smoke or vapors (if you’re taking dabs) to travel through the water in your glass piece, it serves to cool down your hits, moisturize the smoke so that it’s less harsh on your lungs, and filters out the harmful components of your smoke (to a degree). The more complex the percolator, the more you’re going to get out of it.


As you can see from the above, there are plenty of great benefits that come with choosing to use a percolator rather than a basic water tool or using a pipe that contains no water at all. Here are a few of the most notable benefits that come with using percolators.


Inhaling smoke can be hard on the throat, especially if the source of the heat and smoke are closer to the mouth once you begin smoking. Water, especially cold water, cool the smoke down as it travels throughout the device and through the water contained within. Although you’ll still likely cough when smoking, it makes the smoke less harsh when it finally reaches your lips on the other end of your smoking tool.


It’s no secret that smoking isn’t great for you. That said, percolators help to reduce some of the carcinogens found within the smoke so that you’re inhaling a cleaner smoke once it gets to you. This filtration is yet another reason why it can be more valuable to use a percolator than to smoke out of a pipe or even a basic bong.

Types of Percolators

Just like there are a wide variety of designs in regards to glass pieces, there are a wide variety of percolators to choose from as well. Here a few percolators you’ll likely see when you begin shopping around.


Aptly named, honeycomb percolators are extensive filtration systems that contain at least 100 holes in their design. As the smoke travels throughout this intricate design, it is subjected to smaller and smaller holes and air bubbles, which means that the water is having a greater effect on the smoke as it continues through the glass piece. For individuals who want a truly effective product, purchase a piece with a honeycomb percolator.


Tree percs are percolators that have multiple arms and slits to filter smoke as it travels up through the device. The complexity of tree percs will depend upon the number of arms they have as well as how small their holes are. However, this is a solid percolator to choose if you’re looking for similar benefits to the honeycomb perc design.


Inline percolators are similar to downstems, with the exception being that they extend outward in a straight line, allowing the smoke to travel through small holes at the bottom of the tube. The longer the tube, the more holes and the better the overall filtration.


Turbine percs are percolators that feature a disc shape with fewer, larger holes throughout its body. Although this means that the water filtration isn’t as great as other options, it does produce an exciting swirling effect and prevents the water from splashing around as it spins rather than bubbling. Make sure to take this into consideration if you’re looking at a glass piece with a turbine perc.


Showerhead percs feature a flying saucer design that includes holes surrounding a large tube and dome in the middle. Showerhead percolators act like tree percs but don’t produce the best water filtration. However, they may be worth considering if you want something better than the average bong can provide.


Percolators are a great tool to help you cool down your hits, filter out all of the bad stuff, and make your substances more pleasurable to smoke. If you’re just learning about these filtration systems, use the guide above to dive deeper into what percolators are and what types exist.

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