how to use an ash catcher

What is the Right Ash Catcher Water Level?

An ash catcher is a bong attachment that you use to help keep your water pipe cleaner longer. It’s especially helpful when you’re having a long session, or are having a grand time sharing your bong with your friends. There’s no need to bring your bong to the sink over and over again, especially if you have a tall one like the Kayd Mayd 3D Big Gulp. However, just like bongs, you need to get the right ash catcher water level to get it to function right

Ash catchers are perfect for tall bongs.

Wait, do you put water in an ash catcher?

Yes, you do. Some may be insane enough to use it without water, but that’s not how the ball rolls with this one. You need to use it with water for it to be fully effective. It’s not going to do anything for you and will act as a deadweight to your bong if you use it dry.

See how the ash catcher works by using it both dry and wet. You’ll notice that your bong will get dirty quickly like before when you use it dry. It’s as if you didn’t add anything functional to your bong. Now, try using it with water and watch the magic happen. Most of the combustion debris will fall inside the ash catcher, and you don’t have to replace bong water as often.

So, what’s the ideal ash catcher water level?

Just like with any other water pipe, you need to have an ideal water level for the ash catcher to work. There are some general considerations to think of to get this right.

Fill it half-way or slightly above

Some fill their ash catchers up to half its capacity to make it work. This is often the case for ash catchers that have diffusers or percolators in them. One common ash catcher that needs a good volume of water is one that has tree-arm percs in them. Why? This brings us to the second thing to watch out for.

You just need to go above the slits to make your ash catcher functional.

Until you submerge all the slits and holes

If we go back to the previous example, tree percs have high slits. According to Percs 101, all the slits should be underwater for them to function. Smoke follows the path of least resistance, and if you have a slit or two sitting above the water, you’re in trouble. There’s going to be a considerable percentage of smoke that’s not going to get any filtration and percolation, making your ash catcher a useless expense. Make sure that you fully cover all the slits so that you filter smoke properly.

A half-inch above the perc

Now, what if you have a low-riding perc like a circ perc or a floating honeycomb perc? There’s no need to have too much water to make it function properly. These types of ash catchers mostly need to have water half an inch or a quarter of an inch above the perc. That will be enough to help you filter your smoke without getting splashbacks.

Speaking of splashback, how will I stop this?

Splashback is different from an ash catcher in a sense that you don’t get it on your mouth – it goes inside your bong. If you fill the ash catcher too much, water is going to travel up the joint and inside your bong. This will result in an increased water level that you’re not going to appreciate.

Before you start lighting your herb bowl, you have to make a pull test first. Draw in and see how much water action you’re getting from your ash catcher. Is the water too quiet or too violent? The good thing about ash catchers is that it’s easy to remove them and take out excess water. Once you got a good hit without increasing your bong’s water level, then you’re ready to light up and start your session!

Getting the right ash catcher water level is the same as with a bong. You need to use it regularly in order to know how it works. Different ash catchers have different water level requirements, but these general tips will help you get it faster. Once you get the right water level, your ash catcher is going to be a semi-permanent addition to your bong or even bubbler.

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Getting the right ash catcher water level doesn’t have to be intimidating. We’ll share some tips on how to get it right easily!

What is an Ash Catcher?

Ash catchers attach to your bong to keep resin and ash from ending up in your bong water. The smoke will first travel through the ash catcher, which is designed to capture debris before it dirties your glass pipe, and your lugs.

Most ash catchers contain percolators for added diffusion to make smoking from your bong easier to inhale and better tasting. It’s like adding an extra filter to your water pipe.

**This post has been updated from a previous post dated April 22, 2017**

Why Use an Ash Catcher?

Now that we know what an ash catcher is, it’s easy to explain why to use one. Have you ever noticed how dirty your water pipe gets after smoking? This not only makes your beautiful glass bong ugly, it also makes it smell very bad. You know exactly the smell we are talking about if you’ve ever spilled a bong. What’s more, trying to smoke out of a dirty pipe can cause drag and cause percolators to get clogged.

If you clean your water pipe regularly it will certainly help with these negative smoking experiences, but nobody has time to clean their bong all the time. Adding an ash catcher to your water pipe makes cleaning and maintaining your bong a million times easier. It also comes with many added benefits that a lot of smokers are unaware of.

One of the biggest benefits of using an ash catcher is you will spend a lot less time cleaning your water pipe and more time smoking out of it. If you have a smaller piece or one that is very easy to clean you may not need an ash catcher, but if you have a larger piece with tons of percolators an ash catcher can be a real life-saving accessory to have.

Ash catchers are optional water pipe upgrades and thus sold separately from the water pipe itself. To ensure you get the right ash catcher for your water pipe you will need to know the joint size of your pipe so that you can get the correct joint size ash catcher. Most ash catchers are male joints and meant to be combined with female jointed water pipes. If you have a male jointed water pipe, no worries you can always get a glass adapter to make it fit. Ash catchers range in price depending on the complexity of their design and size.

Your ash catcher will attach to your water pipe the same way you take your bowl in and out. Your bowl will now go into the ash catcher instead of directly into the water pipe. When you take a hit the burned ash will get trapped in the ash catcher instead of passing into the water pipes main chamber. Be sure not to add too much water to your ash catcher or the dirty water will flow into your water pipe. You may want to consider purchasing a K – Clip to secure your ash catcher to your water pipe. A K-Clip is a small plastic clip that locks the ash catcher into your water pipe so it does not come out when removing the bowl.

Choosing the Right Ash Catcher for your Bong

Now that you have decided you want to add an ash catcher to your water pipe it’s important to make sure you get the right one! As previously mentioned the first thing you will want to look at is the joint size of your water pipe and the joint size of the ash catcher you want to get. You need to make sure that the joints will fit together properly so the ash catcher and your water pipe function correctly.

The next thing you need to consider is the angle of the joint on your ash catcher. Most ash catchers come in either 45 or 90 degree angles. The 45 or 90 degrees is referring to the angle at which your ash catcher will attach to your water pipe. Depending on the angle of your water pipes stem you will have to decide which works best for you. You will also need to make sure the ash catcher will not hit any part of your water pipe, this is usually easy to do just by imaging what the ash catcher would look like if attached to your bong. You want to make sure you will be comfortable smoking with the ash catcher attached to your water pipe and make sure the bowl is not at an angle that could cause you to either burn yourself or make stuff fall out of your bowl. The last thing you need to consider is if your water pipe is strong and sturdy enough to hold the ash catcher you want so that it will not tip over when you are not using it.

Last but not least you need to decide what kind of percolator you want your ash catcher to have. It could have a tree, inline, showerhead, or honeycomb perc. If you already have a water pipe with tons of percs you will probably want just a basic ash catcher to collect ash that will not add any drag to your piece. If you have a basic water pipe and are looking for more diffusion than you will want an ash catcher with more percs or more chambers. Most ash catchers are only one chamber but there are some that have two chambers that each contains percs for a lot more added diffusion. Below is an example of a two-chamber ash catcher with several different percs and on the right is a basic ash catcher with one chamber and one perc.

Final Thoughts

If you have the money to spend, an ash catcher is a must have accessory for any water pipe. It will surely make your smoking experience more enjoyable and will definitely make cleaning your bong way easier. Make sure you browse our selection of ash catchers to find the perfect one for you. Most ash catchers range in price from $20 – $60 depending on the complexity of their design and colors. Cheaper is not always better especially when it comes to glass. If you see an ash catcher for like $10 chances are it’s very thin glass and will likely break sooner than later.

Ash catchers attach to your bong to keep resin and ash from ending up in your bong water. The smoke will first travel through the ash catcher, which is designed to capture debris before it dirties your glass pipe, and your lugs.