Since their invention in the early 20th century, acrylics have changed the world.
People dress in them. Artists paint with them. Industry uses them to manufacture everything from coat hangers to fingernails. Acrylics’ ability to be molded into all kinds of shapes and tinted in limitless arrays of densely beautiful colors makes it an ideal material for bongs and an economical alternative to more traditional models made of glass. Forums on sites such as Grasscity.com and Marijuana.com, among others, have posted threads on the debate which is divided between those who think acrylic bongs look and work just fine and a slim, but vocal majority who consider them vastly inferior to glass.
On the plus side, acrylic bongs are durable and straightforward with fewer accessories to break or lose. Unless someone runs over them over with something as heavy as a car or puts them near something as hot as a campfire, chances are the bong will survive most accidents. This, along with their light weight, makes them ideal for gatherings where they are shared by all or for traveling, where their comparatively simple design means they can simply be bundled up in whatever is handy and stuffed in a back pack. And they are relatively cheap. A personal, economy model can be had for as little as $15, while high-range acrylic bongs rarely cost above $60. This is ideal for those on a limited budget or someone who enjoys having more than one type of bong and doesn’t want to break the bank adding a piece to his or her collection.
On the other hand, critics of acrylic bongs are adamant about the fact that they simply don’t give as smooth or pure a smoking experience as glass. They are harder to milk and have a lot of drag, which tends to waste weed. Some claim that the metal bowl gives a metallic aftertaste to the smoke. Others say the plastic tube corrupts the taste. Most everyone agrees the hit is a lot hotter and harsher. The water gets dirtier faster in an acrylic bong and smells worse when it does, though some claim an acrylic bong with a glass bowl solves both those problems. And acrylic bongs are much harder to clean than glass. Though there are no official studies available on the topic, the higher heat generated by an acrylic bong might cause chemicals contained in the plastic to leach into the water and milk, making it unhealthy to use.
There is an intangible aspect to the debate as well. A bong is a very intimate, interactive device where fit and finish count just as, if not more highly than function. Acrylic bongs look attractive enough, but in a mass-produced sort of way. They work well, but not so well as to achieve a maximum high with minimum effort. For those who view their bong as aesthetic extension of their personality, as well as a vessel intended to enhance the appreciation of great weed, acrylic bongs will always hold second place to hand-crafted, uniquely personal bongs made of glass.
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