Male, Female… What’s the deal? All you need to know about parts.

November 18, 2016

Male, Female…  What’s the deal?  All you need to know about parts.

Working at BC Smoke Shop, online and in the store, one of the most common issues we come across is repairing glass bongs.   A lot of our customers have had their bongs for many years and when a bowl, or downstem breaks they aren’t sure what part and what size is needed.  I am going to try to simplify this for everyone in this Blog post, or at least give it a shot and tell you about the different sizes and genders of these parts.

Feel free to browse our complete collection glass bowls and parts!


First, there are two main styles of bowls for bongs.

This one below is often called a “Slide” Bowl or “Pull-Out” and has a tube that goes into the Downstem (Pictured beside), and a O-Ring on the bowl that seals it when it is in place.  These slides come in two different sizes 9mm and 12mm, and therefore the downstems are either 12mm (to go with 9mm bowl) or 16mm (to go with the 12mm bowl).

The second style of bowls are Glass on Glass, which have a sandblasted end to fit into a glass on glass downstem (Pictured beside). This style is becoming more common these days because they are easier to clean, and require no rubber grommets.  These bowls come in 14mm, 19mm  10mm and can even be male or female.  We will get into the Male vs Female a bit later in this blog.


The downstems are the glass piece that your bowl goes into.  Depending on the style of your bong (Glass on Glass or Slide) you may have a downstem that is secured by a grommet (slide) or one that pulls out(glass on glass).  Downstems also come in different lengths as well diameters.   To figure out what length you need when replacing your downstem do the pencil test.

Stick the pencil down, mark, and then measure.  This will be the approximate length of your replacement downstem.   When finding a replacement downstem, most of the time there will be two numbers in its name.  One to note the diameter (10mm-19mm) and one to represent the length, normally in inches. (3’’-16’’ are most commonly stocked at BC Smoke Shop)

Now lets talk about downstems that are needed for Slide Bowls.   These ones are the ones that are fixed in place and secured to the bong with a grommet. If you are needing to replace one of these it is a good idea to get a replacement grommet for it.   These grommets come in two different styles, Top Hat and Donut, and different sizes 13mm or 16mm.  There’s not that much difference between the two styles.  The Top Hat Style is easier to put in, while the donut shape one creates a slightly better seal.  Either way when replacing the grommet and downstems, its always a good idea to dish soap the items up to ease them in place.

Now’s where things get interesting.  When referring to Glass on Glass, devices have either male or female parts, and therefor the bowls/domes will be the opposite gender.  While there is no set rule, most glass on glass bongs will be female with male bowls.

Here is an example of a male piece.

male cone pullout

Here is an example of a female piece.

female thumper pullout

Hopefully this has been helpful.  If ever you are still unsure, you are more than welcome to bring your piece down to the shop and we can help you find the perfect fit or give us an email.  Open 9-7 Everyday!