First, lets clear something up… the arguments being made for either using a bong or a pipe are based on personal choices and desired results. Pipes deliver a higher dosage ratio of the product being smoked and contain more concentrated levels of the plant. Bongs produce about 50% versus bongs 70% of the product being used in available smoke. The conclusion therefore is that the bong is a stronger, bigger hit.
Advantages of Bong
Bongs are similar in construction and function to the hookah waterpipe but are smaller and more portable. Bongs are said to produce a cooling effect. The water used in a bong is said to help lessen the possibility of the user burning their mouth, airways or lungs. It also allow you to take much bigger hits, which is why most people report getting “higher” with bongs than with pipes or joints.
Bongs have been used for many centuries. In a 1944 edition of the Thai-English dictionary published by McFarland a bong or baung is defined as a bamboo water pipe for smoking Kancha, tree, hashish or the hemp-plant. The amount or flow of the smoke is controlled by covering the hole in the bong during the “toke.” Because particles and debris are filtered in smoking with a bong it is theorized that the method is healthier because the smoke is filtered. Although some THC also gets filtered out.
Advantages of Pipes
Pipes offer many different choices in materials and styles. Glass, stash, cooling pipes, ceramic pipes and many other choices. Pipes can be chosen to reflect your style and offer a unique and functional smoking device. Any product smoked using a glass or glass like material pipe is shown to taste better because glass can be cleaned more effectively than other porous material.
One key benefits of pipes is that they are ( in general ) very portable, most of them fit in a pocket. Bongs on the other hand require water and are more of a hassle to carry.
Your Expectations Matter
The experience you are hoping to have does matter in choosing bong vs pipe.
Amount of smoke desired, percentage of product dosage on intake, filtering of debris all make a difference in the decision of use which device you choose. That being said, most would agree that bongs are better, simply because the experience is much more enjoyable.