A stoner has to choose a smoking device. Do you need a giant bong with a big ice catch and six percolators? Should you buy a small glass hand pipe? For a start, there are tons of glass pieces in the market with different structures and styles.
Bongs are a popular choice but come in different materials, including glass. However, all glass pieces are not identical and are not made equal. They come in different materials, and figuring out the type to choose can be difficult.
While borosilicate glass bongs are the most popular because of their sturdiness and resilience in extreme conditions, soft glass is another glass type in the market.
What are Soft Glass Bongs?
Also known as soda-line glass, soft glass is a glass-blown form dating back to 100 BC. They have been around for more than 2000 years but got into mainstream artistic movements in the 1960s. Professionals often refer to them as the grandfather of the glass market.
Soft glass is responsible for the rise of other glass types in the market today. They may not be as popular as they used to be, but soft glass pipes have been around for ages. Unlike borosilicate glass, they have little thermal resistance.
That makes it prone to cracking or shattering caused by thermal shock. Nevertheless, soft glass has its unique advantages, especially in an artistic way. They come in intricate, ornamental glass designs anyone would be proud to own.
Soft glass is also malleable and comes in vibrant colors. If you are looking for an intricate or ornate glass bong, soft glass is the material to deliver this.
What are Regular Bongs?
As mentioned, bongs come in different materials and the most popular are made with borosilicate glass. Regular bongs are hard and durable. They are made to withstand high heat and abuse.
They have a lower expansion rate compared to soft glass bongs, which makes them durable even when exposed to extreme heat. There are different types of regular pipes, and the materials used in making them determine their durability and effectiveness.
To better understand the differences between soft glass and regular bongs, we will look at the differences in malleability, durability and maintenance, cost, worth, and quality.
- Soft Glass Bongs vs. Regular Bongs: Malleability
The first distinction between soft glass and regular bongs is their malleability in hot temperatures. Soft glass is crafted from large pole blow tubes. During the process, the artisan melts glass in a furnace and sculpts it into a preferred shape.
Because of their malleability, soft glass bongs come in different designs, styles, and shapes. Regular bongs, on the other hand, are not as malleable. Therefore, it’s impossible to craft them into intricate designs and shapes.
However, the malleability of the soft glass bongs affects the final product. The constant exposure of the glass to flames makes it more fragile and delicate compared to regular bongs.
- Soft Glass Bongs vs. Regular Bongs: Durability and Maintenance
Soft glass bongs differ from regular bongs in terms of durability and maintenance. Soft glass has a variable coefficient of expansion compared to regular bongs. That means they are susceptible to breakage, especially during cleaning.
Also, each glass has a distinct COE, which is the rate at which glass expands and contracts when heated or cooled. The number range for soft glass is from 90 to 104 and 30 to 33 for regular glass bongs. What does this mean? Soft glass bongs are weaker than regular bongs.
That is why it is recommended to use coarse-grained salt and isopropyl when cleaning the device. You can also use a soft cleaner for the cleaning. When it comes to maintenance, soft glass bongs are high-maintenance devices. You cannot store them in an area where they can easily get knocked over or close to a heater.
- Soft Glass Bongs vs. Regular Bongs: Cost
In terms of cost, soft glass bongs are also different from regular bongs. Many people buy soft glass bongs because of the lower price. If you are looking to buy a nice-looking device on a budget, soft glass is a perfect choice.
You can get a piece for a little fraction of the price of a regular bong. You will also get them in different designs, shapes, styles, and colors.
- Soft Glass Bongs vs. Regular Bongs: Worth
So, the question is – is a regular hardened bong worth the extra dollars you pay for it? Well, the features of both should answer the question. First, soft glass bongs come at a cheaper price, while regular pieces come at a heavier price tag.
However, when it comes to durability, regular bongs, especially borosilicate bongs are better. Also, a soft glass bong smokes just as nicely as your regular bong but they easily break, and investing heavily in them may be a waste of money.
If you are buying a soft glass bong, it is best to invest in a decent piece for your first purchase. Since they break easily, they also do not come with special features, such as diffusers and percolators. That means you have to buy these accessories separately.
- Soft Glass Bongs vs. Regular Bongs: Quality
Now, the fact that soft glass bongs can break easily does not mean it lacks quality. As a fact, soft glass bongs are quality and exquisite pieces. While they are less durable than regular bongs, soft glass bongs can be a reliable and enjoyable smoking device to last several years if well treated and maintained with extra care.
Soft glass bongs function as the economical version of regular bongs. The higher contraction and expansion rate makes them easier to shape and manipulate into desired forms at a lower cost.
Soft glass is not as durable as its borosilicate counterparts, but if maintained properly and handled with care, it can last many years. You should buy a decent and more affordable option if you are buying it for the first time.