Percolator Ash Catcher
A percolator ash catcher

A part of a bong or dab rig that diffuses smoke. This process further cools and filters smoke, making it easier to inhale. They come in a variety of designs, each of which produce unique types of bubbles and filtration. 

“My rig has a honeycomb percolator.”

“My percolator is hard to clean.”

Different types of percolators

Percolators come in many different sizes and shapes.

  • Honeycomb percolator: A round disc(s) with many small holes that sit in the main tube of the bong. It does an excellent job of diffusing smoke, creating a barrage of small bubbles that quickly cool smoke.
  • Tree percolator: An collection of rods within the main tube. Within each limb there are several holes to diffuse smoke. 
  • Inline percolator: Basically a downstem, an inline percolator is simply a tube with holes in it. 
  • Fritted disc percolator: A more complex honeycomb percolator, it has more holes than most percolators and produces an intense bubbling and diffusion. 
  • Showerhead percolator: Directs and diffuses smoke through the main tube. Bongs with showerhead percs often utilize additional percolators in the main chamber. 
  • Spiral percolator: A simple coil that helps cool smoke as it passes through.
  • Turbine percolator: These are best known for their appearance, but they do a great job of filtration. They move smoke along the outside of the inner chamber. 

How to clean a percolator

Intricate percolators are a pain to clean. Even with a small wire brush, it is pretty difficult to get in there to scrub away leftover resin. The best bet is to fill your bong or rig with isopropyl alcohol and salt, and let it soak for a few hours. Be sure to give it the occasional vigorous shake to help scrub off that resin.

There are also cleaning solutions specifically designed for bongs, however, these are basically isopropyl alcohol and salt. Be mindful of where you empty out your bong after it’s done soaking—that resin loves to stick to sinks and toilets.