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One Perc to Rule Them All: Which is the Superior Perc?

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To perc, or not to perc? That is the question. Well, I know the answer to that question! Everyone should own at least one good percolator bong. That is unless you want to cough up all of your hit and make your lungs cry. So, you already know that you want a bong with a percolator. The question you should be asking yourself is what type of perc do you want? One of them, all of them? Tree percs, dome percs, honeycomb percs, UFO percs, with so many different percs to choose from how do you know which one is the best? Is there a superior perc?

What Does a Perc Do?

If you’re new to the whole thing and don’t know what the purpose of a percolator is, then sit back and listen because this is your quick crash course! Percolators serve to cool and filter your bong hit as you inhale, thus improving the taste and overall experience of smoking from a bong. This also helps to mitigate some of the damage smoking does to your lungs. Some percs also look really cool in action.


There are a ton of different types of percs out there. All of them perform the same function, but each has a different way of achieving that function. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of the various percolator types. Perhaps we can determine which is the superior perc.

First Up: Tree Percs

Tree percs were some of the first percolators to evolve from the bong, so it would make sense that they would be first on this list. A tree perc consists of a tube that extends through the middle of the chamber, which then branches out into separate smaller tubes, which act as the arms. Water comes out through the ends of the arms and pushes back into the bong.  Each arm has usually 1-3 slits for extra diffusion. Tree percs hit pretty smoothly, look pretty cool and they certainly get the job done.

Tree percs are not without their issues. For one, they clog much easier than other perc types. Those long skinny arms that provide so much diffusion tend to get bits of weed stuck in them, among other things. The best way to prevent this is to A) rinse out the bong after every bowl, taking extra care to clean out the tree perc, and B) get an ash catcher or precooler to prevent sucking unsmoked herb and ash into the bong. I am of the opinion that every bong with a tree perc should come with an ash catcher, because you know you’re not going to want to rinse that out after each use. Not after smoking a fat bowl of Gorilla Glue or equally chill indica.

The other issue with tree percs is that they are quite easy to break. Sometimes all it takes is setting the bong down the wrong way at just the wrong time, or shaking it a little bit too vigorously as you’re cleaning it. Suddenly you have a broken tree perc and your bong has been rendered pretty much useless. Tree percs are fun and bring back a lot of nostalgia for people, but a superior perc they are not.

There’s Also Inline Percolators

Inline percolators work very similar to diffused downstems, except they sit horizontally in the waterpipe and the slits go all the way up the side of the tube, to offer even percolation throughout. Inline percs are most common in bongs with a fixed downstem. Often times in order to accommodate the space of the inline perc the tube will be widened, giving the bong a “submarine” type appearance.

What are some cons of inline percs? Like tree percs, they can clog fairly easily and are a bit difficult to clean if you let them get past that point. Ash and bowls that you have sucked through can get stuck in the perc, so again it’s recommended that you use an ash catcher. Conclusion: inline percs are great, but they’re not the superior perc.

Don’t Forget about Showerhead Perc

The showerhead perc, which is also referred to as tire perc or UFO perc, is basically a reverse tree perc, minus the arms. Water comes up through the tube and back down through a larger tube and through the bottom. They work similar to tree percs, but you don’t have to worry about keeping the arms clear or them breaking on you! That’s already a huge bonus there. It’s not enough to make showerheads the superior perc.

Last, we Have Honeycomb Percs

Honeycomb percs are among my favorite of the various percolator types. They don’t clog anywhere as easily as tree percs, and they take up far less room than inline percs. There’s also the durability. Think, when was the last time you saw a broken honeycomb perc versus a broken tree perc. The best news, they hit smooth as hell too! All of those tiny little holes make it so there is practically no drag.

If you ask me, the honeycomb perc might just be the superior perc. This is all of course my own opinion. You may have a reason that you prefer the showerhead or the tree perc, and that’s ok! We haven’t even covered some of the newer styles of perc, like for instance the sprinkler perc, or the rocket perc. We’ll cover those in the Superior Perc: Advanced Edition coming soon! Stay tuned!

Image Source: Instagram/grasscityheadshop

Which perc is the superior perc? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!