What a difference a downstem makes
A downstem is a smoking accessory that attaches to a water pipe via the joint and provides an extra layer of filtration and percolation. Fairly often you’ll find a pipe that has an attached or removable downstem. However, downstems can also be purchased separately and added to any of your favorite glass pieces. A downstem works by filtering smoke through a nail or flower bowl and diffusing it into the water in the main chamber of your pipe. This added layer of diffusion makes for a cooler, smoother, and better filtered hit.
What can your downstem do for you?
Downstems can add a lot to even a simple straight tube or beaker base. With the additional layer of diffusion, you’ll get a completely different chug and taste. Experimenting is the key to downstem use -- different styles and lengths in different bong styles can lead to completely different experiences.
But downstems don’t just add layers of filtration and percolation. They can even completely reinvent the joint on your favorite water pipe. As a glass accessory, some diffused downstems can even work as adapters or drop downs. When this happens, the diffused downstem fits as one gender or size, but extends into a second joint of a different size and/or gender. This is perfect for smokers who want added filtration and a new fit for a different slide all rolled into one simple accessory.
Downstem sizes and styles
Downstems come in all standard glass joint sizes: 10mm, 14.5mm, and 18.8mm. Diffused downstems are traditionally only used on female joints, since male joints are completely external. However, adapter downstems can easily turn any female joint into a male one. Another size to consider is the length of a downstem. Standard lengths range from 2 inches to 7 inches, and the size of the main chamber in your piece will help determine how long or short of a downstem you need.
Additionally, downstems can come with a variety of diffusion styles. Many of these are based off of classic percolator designs. This includes tree-style, showerhead-style, and even honeycomb-style. With so many different options, finding the precise amount of filtration and percolation is a breeze.