Percolators, also known as “percs,” are the glass structures within the main chamber of a water pipe that work to filter and circulate smoke throughout the pipe. For many smokers and glass enthusiasts, the percolator makes the pipe. This guide takes a closer look at one perc in particular: the stereo perc.
What makes a stereo perc?
The stereo perc is a percolator not unlike the classic showerhead percolator in appearance in design, but in function provides an entirely different experience. Much like the showerhead perc, the stereo perc offers percolation in the form of a glass cylindrical shape. However, instead of the showerhead perc’s flared out slats, the stereo perc has several rows of slats throughout its structure. Sometimes these cylinders can be stacked too, creating what is called a “double stereo perc.”
The stereo perc is a quite desirable perc for both its percolation and appearance. The stereo perc can be found on both classic scientific glass pieces and high-end and even heady pieces. Its design is quite attractive, and so many glassblowers choose to create stereo percs with colored glass to make it stand out. It is found on many Hi-Tech Glassworks pieces.
The functionality of the stereo perc
With the many slats of the stereo perc, the stereo perc works in a way that percolates outwards, instead of downwards like the tree perc. This allows for the smoke and water to bounce and spread against the inner walls of the main chamber, making for a nice and flavorful cocktail for the smoker who prefers the natural flavor of their flower or concentrate. And the stereo perc works marvelously with both; however, due to the connoisseur appeal of the stereo perc, it is used most often with concentrates. The stereo perc doesn’t require much pull from the user, so smokers of any lung function can enjoy it. It does, however, require some maintenance to keep clean if using it with flower, as pieces of ash can clog the slats and make it impossible to use. We recommend an ashcatcher in conjunction with a low stereo perc, although higher stereo percs used in a system of percs should be alright without one.
The stereo perc in action
For a look at the stereo perc in action, take a look at Smoke Cartel’s “The Gauntlet.” In the function demo and product reel, you will notice how the stereo perc circulates the water outwards and upwards to build momentum throughout the whole piece. This makes use of “The Gauntlet’s” secondary perc, a honeycomb perc, as well. You’ll also notice the sizable bubbles that the stereo perc generates. The larger the surface area of each bubble, the better filtration you’re going to get with your smoke. By generating larger bubbles instead of many smaller ones like the tree perc, you’re going to get a nice clean hit while still retaining all of the natural flavors of your flower and concentrate.
Other examples of the stereo perc
“The Daily Driver” is our resident classic bubbler piece, and it uses a single stereo perc to filter your hits. Designed for flower but usable with both, “The Daily Driver” makes it simple and easy to incorporate the stereo percolator into your day-to-day routine. The simplicity of this piece is sure to attract the attention of veteran and introductory smokers alike.
The Hi-Tech “Oil Barrel Splatter” is an iconic design in the pipe industry at this point, but what you may not know is that this piece uses a stereo perc in a slight and minimalist way. The stereo perc is not large and situated in the main chamber, but attached to the downstem of the piece. As the only percolator used on the whole pipe, this offers a light filtration within the piece that is designed for oil and concentrate users due to its emphasis on preserving flavor.
If you are a system percolator kind of person, you’ll be happy to know that the stereo percolator functions wonderfully in one of the best percolator systems on the market in “The Blackheart.” Like in the gauntlet, the lower stereo perc works to build up the momentum in the piece as the water works its way up to the honeycomb perc in the second chamber. Located in the third chamber, however, is a swiss perc, known also for its incredible diffusion and ability to retain flavors. “The Blackheart” is a larger piece and better for use with flower, so it might not be a bad idea to add an ashcatcher to the 14.5mm joint to keep it beastly and low-maintenance as well.
Smoke Cartel always keeps a fresh stock of tree perc pieces available, so keep checking for more in our shop by perc section. And if the tree perc isn’t necessarily the percolator for you, keep checking our knowledge base for our next function guide. Happy smoking!