How to Use a Bubbler to Smoke Weed or Dabs: A Complete Guide

Brie Lowrey

A bubbler is any cannabis fan’s best friend. Get ready to impress your smoking buddies or even yourself with your bubbler skills. We’ve broken down everything – and we mean everything – you need to know about using small water pipes, also known as bubblers. Learning how to use a bubbler to smoke weed or dabs is pretty simple, but it can take some practice. Let’s dive in!

What is a Bubbler? How Does it Work?

A bubbler is a small, hand-held water pipe that filters smoke before you inhale it. You might also see a bubbler called a bubbler pipe or a bubbler water pipe. Bubblers come in all shapes and sizes, but they should all have one commonality: the bubbling sound they make when you inhale. 

That bubbling sound comes from the percolator and water used in the pipe’s body. A percolator is another piece of glass inside the pipe that forces the smoke to slow down and filter through the water as you breathe in. 

Smoking out of a water pipe with a percolator is, in many cannabis lovers’ minds, one of the best ways to smoke weed. It allows you to take cooler, gentler hits of smoke that taste much cleaner than they would without filtration.

Get to Know Your Water Pipe / Bubbler

Let’s demystify your water pipe or bubbler and learn its parts and pieces. Take a look at this Glass Water Pipe from Honeybee Design as an example. 

As you can see, there are six main parts of your water bubbler that you should be familiar with. Let’s break things down a bit more.

  • Bowl: This is where you’ll pack your flower for smoking.
  • Downstem: This piece helps smoke travel from your bowl to your bubbler’s chamber.
  • Mouthpiece: This is where you’ll place your mouth to inhale.
  • Chamber: This tube carries smoke from the base to your mouthpiece. 
  • Ice Catcher or Pincher: Not all bubblers have this piece. It catches and holds ice to help cool down smoke as it travels. 
  • Beaker Base: This is the bottom of your water pipe and helps it stand upright. 

Your bubbler might look a little different than this one, but it should still have the same parts. However, some smaller bubblers might not have a downstem. Instead, they should have a fixed bowl built into the bubbler itself. 

Bubblers vs. Bongs

Sometimes, “bubbler” and “bong” are used interchangeably. But a bubbler pipe is more like a smaller version of large water pipes, or “bongs.”

Bubblers are a popular alternative to larger glass pieces because they’re easier to use – they can fit in one hand – and come in many materials and styles, making it simple to smoke wherever you are. 

Weed Bubblers vs. Dab Bubblers

You may have noticed in our example above that there is nowhere to place or hit dabs on most bubblers. While you can use a bubbler pipe to smoke weed and dabs, you’ll need to make sure you have the right kind. 

Some bubblers may come with or be the right size to use detachable dab nail pieces, which allows you to use concentrates when you smoke. But if your bubbler has a traditional bowl piece, you won’t be able to smoke dabs out of it. Instead, you might want to invest in a pipe specifically for dabbing. 

How to Use a Bubbler to Smoke Weed

Using a bubbler to smoke weed or CBD flower is easy once you get the hang of it. In fact, setting things up may be the hardest part. Follow these steps to smoke out of a bubbler properly every time.

1. Fill Your Bubbler with Water

Your bubbler wouldn’t be itself without space for water and, in most cases, a percolator. It’s your job to add the right amount of water to your bubbler’s base. Add enough water so that your pipe bubbles as you inhale, but not so much that the water splashes into your mouthpiece. This might take some trial and error to get right.

2. Pack Your Bowl

Start by grinding your bud or gently tear it into smaller pieces with your fingers if you don't have a grinder. Then, transfer your ground flower to your bowl.

If your bowl detaches from your bubbler, it may be easier to remove it while you’re filling it. If not, carefully pack your bowl until it reaches a point you’re happy with.

Get a full rundown on how to pack a bowl for smoking here.

3. Light Up

With your bowl ready and placed inside your bubbler, ignite the flower using a lighter. Ensure the flower begins to burn and the smoke hits before you pull your lighter away.

4. Cover the Carb Hole and Inhale

Some bubblers have what’s known as a carb hole, or just “carb.” It’s a little hole on the side of your bubbler that you’ll need to cover for the smoke to build up. If your bubbler has a carb, cover it with your thumb as you inhale. 

If you don’t have a carb hole, go ahead and inhale as normal for a few seconds.

5. Uncover the Carb Hole

Continue inhaling until your bubbler fills with smoke. Then, release the carb hole (if applicable) and take a deep breath to bring all the smoke into your lungs. Exhale, and you’re done!

How to Use a Bubbler to Smoke Dabs

Using a bubbler to smoke dabs looks a little different than smoking weed. Remember, not all bubblers are set up for dabs. But if you have a dab nail attachment or a bubbler made for dabs, you can follow the same general guidelines to take a hit.

1. Add Water

You’ll still need to add water to your bubbler for dabs. Fill your bubbler until you hear bubbling noises when you inhale. Again, ensure there’s not so much water that it splashes into your mouth as you breathe.

While you get set up, clear the area you’ll be using. Keep any combustible materials far away from your dab bubbler.

2. Prepare Your Dab

Using a dab tool, scoop up a small amount of concentrate or dab product of your choice. Set the tool aside somewhere safe so that it’s ready to grab when your nail is hot.

3. Heat the Nail

This is no job for your favorite lighter. You’ll need a small butane torch to ensure your dab nail reaches around 500-570℉, the best temperature for standard dabs

Turn on your torch and aim it toward the nail's head (or base). Make sure the flame isn’t directly touching the nail. Gently move the flame around the edges to ensure the whole piece gets hot. 

It can take around 30 to 60 seconds to reach your ideal temperature. Some practice with different timings can help you determine what works best for your setup. 

If your nail begins to glow red, it’s time to turn off the torch. No matter how long you heat the nail, let things cool down for at least 10-20 seconds before moving on.

4. Add Your Dab and Inhale

Use your dab tool to apply your concentrate to the inside of the hot nail. Touch it lightly to the surface and slowly swirl it around so that it melts entirely. As you do, take a slow, deep breath until you can’t see any new vapor forming in the bubbler.

That’s all it takes to successfully use your bubbler for dabs. Make sure you start slow when dabbing. Concentrates are incredibly strong; the last thing you need to do when learning the ropes is take too much too fast.

How to Clean a Bubbler (The Right Way)

A clean bubbler is a happy (and functional) bubbler. It’s important to regularly cleanse your pipe because sticky resin, old flower, and other grime can build up over time, potentially causing pieces to stick together or become clogged. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do some quick TLC.

  1. Grab Your Supplies: You will need your bubbler, of course, as well as isopropyl alcohol (91-99%), some salt, and a plastic bag. Set your supplies next to or in a sink to avoid messes.
  2. Prep Your Bubbler: Remove your bowl piece or dab nail and downstem. Set them aside for a separate cleaning. Dump out any water in your bubbler. Then, do a quick rinse with some warm water.
  3. Add Alcohol and Salt: Place your bubbler into a plastic bag. Next, place that bag into your sink. Pour isopropyl alcohol into your bubbler – about half the usual amount of water you’d use – and then add some coarse salt through its mouthpiece.
  4. Shake it Up: Shake the salt and alcohol around your bubbler to catch all the gunk. Your plastic bag should help you avoid spilling the mixture. If your pipe is especially dirty, you may want to let it sit for up to 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse and Repeat: Remove the bubbler from the bag and dump the alcohol. Rinse it with warm water. Repeat the shaking and cleaning steps as often as needed to get a crystal-clear finish.

Need more tips? Check out our full guide on cleaning glass smoking pipes.

Where to Buy Bubblers, CBD, THC & More

Look no further than The Green Dragon CBD for quality products to help you achieve the cleanest and best smoke sessions. Check out all of our water bubbler pipes and discover your dream glass. Or, if you’re looking for some gnarly bud, concentrate, or other CBD and THC products, head to our full shop to score great deals. 

Not sure where to get started? We can’t blame you. We know navigating all of your options can be a headache. You can always reach out to our team for a free consultation to get some insight on the best picks for your needs. Now, get out there and put your bubblers to use!

How to Use a Bubbler to Smoke Weed or Dabs: A Complete Guide
If you're ready to enhance your high by using a bubbler for flower or dabs, you need to read this article! You'll learn how to use a bubbler and other tips!
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How to Use a Bubbler to Smoke Weed or Dabs: A Complete Guide
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