Bong Sliders: a complete guide on bowls and sliders for bongs

Bongs and sliders go hand in hand. The bong holds the water, the slider holds the herbs. As you might have guessed, by slider we mean the bong’s bowl. Not just any bowl, but a specific long-stem bowl typically used in combination with beaker-style bongs. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity though; there’s much more than the eyes meet in a slider. In this article, we will share with you all the secrets of bongs sliders and bowls.


What exactly is a slider?

A bong slide or slider is a special type of bowl, that you pull out of the bong while smoking. A different name for a slider bowl is a "lift-off bowl". Sometimes the downstem and bowl are one piece: a long glass (or metal) tube at the end that connects to the bong. This is also called a "chillum" in some places. The slider is meant to pass through the bong’s bowl hole and into the downstem that goes into the water, where it carries the smoke. The downstem’s ending is submerged so that the smoke enters the water, providing the cooling and filtration bongs are famous for. Not all bongs are designed to be used with a slider, though. These sliders are commonly found paired with beaker-style bongs. Other bongs, such as this one, are designed to work with a short bowl.


bong with slider inside

A classic bong with a slide (still inside the bong)


lift off bowl

The slider in action: pull it out of the bong after drawing the pipe full of smoke, in order to let in fresh air and "clear the bong"


Bong Slide vs Carbhole or Kickhole

As stated before, a bong slide is meant to be pulled up out of the bong to let in fresh air and to clear the bong. Clearing a bong means inhaling all of the smoke at once, which gives you a "bong kick": a large amount of smoke enters your lungs very quickly, giving you a "kick" like a joint or blunt never could (unless you use our Bongify Multi Adapter, of course). But you may have heard of the terms kickhole or carbhole. These are a different way of offering you the bong kick, and to allow you to clear the bong. A carbhole or kickhole is nothing more than a small hole somewhere in the wall of the smoke chamber, that you cover with your finger while drawing smoke into the bong. Then, when the bong is full of smoke, you release your finger and the hole opens up. Instead of pulling up the bowl or slide, you simply open the hole to draw in fresh air and inhale all of the smoke. A carbhole and a bong slide are two different ways of reaching the same goal, then. Which is better? That's a matter of pure personal preference. If you get a bong with a carbhole, you can also simply use a carbhole plug to close off the hole and operate the bong by pulling up the slider. Both work, you choose!


Bongs with downstem as slider

Bongs with sliders are traditional-style bongs. They typically feature a beaker shape or a straight tube shape, are quite big and hold a lot of water. These bongs are meant to stand still on a table or on the floor when you take a hit. You can clear the bong’s chamber at the end of the hit by lifting the slider up a couple of centimetres, to let some fresh air in.


Advantages of bong slides

These are some of the advantages of the slider bowl design:

Clean. Tar and ash stick to the slider’s walls instead of ending up in the water, which means you’ll have to change the water less frequently.

Easy to use. Keep the bong in a stable position at all times, and just operate on the slider whenever you want to clear the chamber.

Reaches the centre of the bong. The slider ends right in the middle of the water chamber, at its deepest point. This ensures maximum cooling and filtration.


Disadvantages of bong slides

Here are some of the disadvantages:

Fragile. Glass sliders are long and fragile; they will shatter if dropped. 

Limited number of bong shapes. Due to their shape, sliders are meant to be used with beaker-style and tube-style bongs, and a handful of other shapes.


Bongs without slider

Bongs designed to be used without a slider are a somewhat more modern design. The bowl hole is positioned at the end of a “snorkel”, a glass tube that is part of the bong itself. A bong designed to work without a slider looks like this one. Often referred to as waterpipes, they are usually smaller than their slider counterparts, and are meant to be used for smoking but also for dabbing concentrates.


Advantages of bongs without slides

More versatility. These bongs can be used for smoking weed, but also for dabbing concentrates or in combination with a vaporizer.

More shapes. This design allows for more versatility when it comes to shapes. Some of the coolest recycler bongs, such as this one, work paired with short bowls.

Different percolation types. These bongs feature intricated percolation systems capable of filtering and cooling the smoke very effectively.


Disadvantages of bongs without slides

These bongs come with a couple of disadvantages:

Smaller. They tend to be smaller in size, with limited water capacity and not a lot of room for the smoke to expand. They behave more like bubblers or waterpipes than bongs.

The water gets dirtier. Since the bowl connects directly to the bong’s body, there’s very little surface for the tar to stick to. The tar and ashes will drop directly in the water, so you’ll have to change it more often. Alternatively, you can use a product like SmokeWater to keep your bong clean at all times. 


Types of bong slider

While essentially being a glass tube, bong sliders come in various design, sizes and even materials. Read the following paragraphs to learn more about sliders and their functions.


Glass. Standard sliders are made of glass. The best ones are made of borosilicate glass, a type of glass designed specifically to withstand heat. Glass sliders are very popular because they are easy to clean and don’t affect the flavour of your herbs is any way.

Metal. Metal sliders are durable and are meant to last. Compared to glass sliders, they are less popular. Some users say that the flavour of the herbs is somewhat affected by the metal. In general, metal sliders, such as this one, are recommended as a back up or for people that drop things when stoned.

Aluminium. Aluminium is a very popular metal when it comes to sliders and even bong bowls. Aluminium does alter the taste of the weed to some extent; that’s why many users prefer glass over metal.

Other metals. Other metals suitable for sliders include medical grade stainless steel and titanium. Anything lower than these two metals contains impurities, and could release unwanted fumes when heated.


One-piece sliders. One-piece sliders have their downstems directly integrated in the bowl. That is, bowl and downstem are one single piece. 

Two-piece sliders. Two-piece sliders feature their downstems separated from the bowl. In this case, the bowl is a standard waterpipe-style bowl that fits onto a downstem. The downstem then goes through the bong and into the water.


Don’t be fooled by appearances; bong sliders can pack quite a bit of technology despite their simplicity. The better the slider, the greater its ability to divide the smoke into several small bubbles without affecting the airflow too much. In the paragraphs below, you’ll learn more about slider functionality.


A diffuser downstem has the ability to divide the smoke flowing through it into several tiny bubbles, thus increasing the surface in contact with the water. This ensures better cooling and better smoke filtration, two of the most impactful factors when it comes to smoking pleasure. 

Slits. Slits are cuts on the final part of the downstem, perpendicular to its length. The number of slits may vary from one to five per side of the downstem. The idea behind slits is simple: divide the smoke into many bubbles without affecting the airflow too much.

Fission. Fission percolators work in a similar way to slits. In this case, the final part of the downstem features several holes, a couple of millimetres max in diameter. Compared to the slit diffuser, fission diffusers offer greater filtration at the cost of a slight reduction in airflow.

No percolation/straight

The most basic type of downstem slider, with just a straight hole. It offers the best airflow, at the cost of some cooling and filtering power. While still being a great option, straight downstem sliders are less popular nowadays, as users tend to go for fancier alternatives.

Integrated screen

Some sliders feature an integrated screen at the bowl. The best integrated screens are made of glass and feature many small holes to let the smoke pass through. Glass screens reduce the amount of ash that reaches the water, thus the water in the bong will be cleaner for longer.


How to use a bong with a slider

To use a bong with a slider, follow these advices:

Traditional-style bongs

  1. Pack the bowl and insert the slider in the bong
  2. Light up the bowl with a lighter or with a hemp wick
  3. Pull slowly and steadily
  4. If you feel that you are out of breath, cover the mouthpiece with one hand and take a break
  5. Once the bong’s chamber is filled with dense smoke, lift up the slider and inhale to clear the chamber


  1. Pack the bowl and insert the slider in the waterpipe
  2. Light up the bowl with a lighter or with a hemp wick
  3. Pull slowly; in this case the smoke will fill up the chamber very quickly, before you are out of breath
  4. Continue to pull
  5. Stop whenever you want, or when you have cleared the bowl


Slider maintenance: how to take care of your slider

To express their full potential, sliders have to be cleaned regularly. Treat your sliders well, and they will take care of you for a very long time. To do so, follow these simple rules:

Between one bowl and the next one

  1. Allow the slider to cool down for a one minute or so after taking the hit
  2. While it’s still warm, but not hot, get rid of the ash by scraping the bowl with a toothpick
  3. Finish cleaning the bowl with a paper tissue
  4. You are good to go

Deep cleaning

  1. Scrape the ash and the gunk from the bowl with a toothpick
  2. Submerge the bowl and slider in high-proof alcohol (ethanol if possible)
  3. Leave in alcohol for 15 minutes
  4. Wipe the bowl clean with a paper tissue
  5. Clean the downstem with a pipe brush
  6. Rinse everything under running water
  7. Dry with a paper tissue

Bong hacks

Use an all-natural alternative to water, such as Bongify’s special SmokeWater for bongs to keep your bong shiny and clean for longer.


bong bowl slide

A different example of a bong slide (still inside the bong). This style of bowl is also called a "push bowl"


bong slide for bong kick

Lift up the bowl to inhale all of the smoke inside the bong at once, for the real "bong kick" effect.

Copyright © 2018 Bongify. All rights reserved.