What is an Ash Catcher?

Bong Pre-Filters – Ash catchers come in various designs and sizes, but they typically look like mini water pipes. They have filters that trap much of the ash and debris that would otherwise end up in your pipe’s water chamber or stuck to the inside surfaces of your bong. Those that have percolators will pull the smoke through water to cleanse and diffuse the smoke for a smoother hit. Consider this an extra filter that will make the smoke produced by your pipe or bong easier to inhale.

how to use ash catcher

When you use an ash catcher, you can expect to spend less time cleaning the main chambers of your bong or pipe between uses while enjoying cooler, smoother smoke that is less likely to leave you in a coughing fit. 

How to Choose an Ash Catcher

If you decide to add an ash catcher to your water pipe, how do you select the best one for your piece? The following steps will help you make that choice so that you don’t buy an accessory that doesn’t work well with your pipe.

Look at the joints on the ash catcher and your water pipe.

You need to make sure that the joints will fit together to create a solid connection. This is easier when you shop through online headshops because they will typically tell you the joint size for each ash catcher. Some online shops will also tell you what size joints each ash catcher will connect to, so you only need to determine the joint size on your bong or pipe to select the perfect ash catcher.

Consider the angle of the joint on each ash catcher.

You will have to select between ash catchers that sit at a 45 or 90-degree angle from your water pipe. 45 or 90 degree angle refers to the angle of the stem that comes out of the bong where your bowl goes. The decision is often easy when you look at the design of your pipe and imagine how the ash catcher will fit onto the unit. You want to select the angle that will keep your overall piece comfortable to hold during smoking sessions and stable enough to rest on a table when not in use.

Select a percolator that will add enjoyment to your smoking experience.

You can find ash catchers with all types of percolators, including inline, tree, showerhead and honeycomb designs. The style that you select will determine how much diffusion your ash catcher provides, but you may also choose based on the aesthetic style. There are some exciting designs that can give your bong or water pipe a distinctive look.

Consider the weight of the ash catcher.

If it’s too heavy, it could cause your pipe to tip over or make it uncomfortable to hold during smoking sessions. The lighter the glass and smaller the piece, the less likely it is to cause problems. If you’re attaching it to a large bong this will matter less than if you’re attaching to a smaller pipe, and a bong or pipe made from strong scientific glass will reduce the risk of it breaking if it does topple over.

Look at the extra features offered on some ash catchers.

For instance, some are designed with a kickstand to reduce the risk of your pipe tipping over and breaking. Others may give you a choice of accent colors, allowing you to coordinate the accessory to your pipe or just make it more fun to use. You’re more likely to find these options on higher-priced pieces from desirable brands.


Ash Catcher Terminology & Definitions


The byproduct produced when you burn tobacco or any dry herb. The water in a percolator will collect the ash, creating dirty black water that interferes with smoke quality. This is why an ash catcher is used to keep the water in the pipe or bong as clean as possible.


A water chamber that filters and cools smoke before it reaches your mouth. Some water pipes come with built-in percolators, but you can also add them as accessories. When an ash catcher has a built-in perc, it becomes a filtration tool in addition to an easy way to keep your pipe clean.


This is the process of breaking up heavy smoke so that it’s easier to inhale. This is one benefit of using an ash catcher with a percolator, but you will also find that some water pipes are designed for superior filtration while others allow for harder hits.


This is the small connector that allows you to attach accessories to your smoking piece. A male joint has an extension that you can insert into a piece with a female joint. When purchasing an ash catcher, it’s important to find one with the opposite joint type than your pipe or bong so that they can fit together. Some ash catchers now come with male and female connectors for maximum functionality.


This is a term used to describe any water pipe accessory that cools the smoke before it hits your throat. Many people use “pre-cooler” and “ash catcher” interchangeably because an ash catcher does pull the smoke through water and that does have a cooling effect. The difference is that someone buying a pre-cooler may not intend it to keep their pipe clean and someone buying an ash catcher may not think of it as a way to cool the smoke.

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