A hookah has several components, but not all are equally significant. Some components or accessories have a greater impact on convenience instead of the quality of smoke and your user experience.
This guide elaborates on the five essential parts and their attributes to help you find and buy the best hookah for your needs. It is perhaps needless to mention that no hookah is perfect for everyone. Each enthusiast or connoisseur can have distinct preferences.
Select the Hookah Material
Let’s begin with the hookah material. You need a clay bowl and glass base. These two materials don’t have a fitting substitute. The material you may choose is for the stem, aka the core pipe.
Modern hookah stems or pipes are made of stainless steel, brass, wood, bamboo, and other materials, including glass. Many manufacturers combine two or more materials for unique designs. Now, how do you select the hookah material for the stem?
Premium-quality stainless steel is the best. Regular stainless steel is not electroplated on both exteriors and interiors. Thus, the material may rust in due course. If you choose stainless steel, ensure it is of great quality for satisfying sessions, effortless cleaning, and reliable durability.
Brass is another option. Unlike poor-quality stainless steel, brass does not develop any rust over time. However, brass oxidizes, corrodes, and tarnishes rather easily. You will need some kind of protective coating on the brass, which manufacturers usually ensure.
Yet, you must watch out for signs of bothersome oxidation, corrosion, and tarnish. You may have to apply a protective coating and polish brass hookah pipes as they get older.
Wood, bamboo, and other such materials tend to hold on to residual traces, and are not easy to clean. Glass pipes are fragile to an extent, and demand meticulous handling. Otherwise, glass is easy to clean and does not retain any flavor from an earlier session.
Decide the Hookah Height
There is no thumb rule to pick the right height. 18 to 24 inches work for many people, especially those seeking portability. 28 to 32 inches are the standard for most beginners smoking at home. Taller hookahs, 40 inches or larger, are great if you have a dedicated place to set it up.
Mini hookahs don’t generate or hold much smoke. Hence, they are unsuitable if you wish to smoke with a friend. Also, smaller hookahs tend to deliver warmer and poorly filtered smoke due to the short stem and base sizes.
Choose the Right Hose
Hookah hoses are made of various materials. While most may appear to be like rubber or plastic, the specific composition can be worlds apart. Plastic is not the best material, irrespective of its quality and flexibility.
Modern hookah hoses, especially those made by the leading brands, are generally silicone. Like stainless steel, glass, and other materials, a silicone rubber hose may also have varying attributes depending on the quality.
Premium-quality food-grade silicone hoses are the best as they don’t retain flavor, you can easily clean them, and the material does not react with either water or shisha tobacco. Silicone is also dishwasher-safe, so you can clean a hose effortlessly if it does not have any plastic or other material.
Get Natural Charcoal
Quick-light charcoal is more affordable and easier to ignite. However, the instant lighting or ignition comes at a cost. Quick-light charcoal pieces have a chemical accelerant, usually sulfur-based. You will smell and taste the chemical for a while after lighting the charcoal.
Choose natural charcoal. Most manufacturers making natural charcoal use dried and ground coconut shells. In other words, you are essentially choosing coconut charcoal. The natural material takes a while to light up but does not have any adverse effect on the smoke quality, flavor or texture.
A significant disadvantage of natural charcoal is the high cost. On the flip side, you will need fewer pieces for every session as coconut charcoal burns longer and more evenly than instant or quick-light variants.
Find the Best Shisha Tobacco
Shisha tobacco has three core components: the leaves, the molasses, and the flavors. Two types of tobacco leaves are used to make shisha flavors: blonde leaf and dark leaf.
Blonde leaf tobacco is washed and dried before further curing and processing. Thus, the leaves lose the pungent and strong nicotine. In effect, you get milder tobacco. Dark leaf tobacco is not washed before curing and processing. Hence, the leaves retain their nicotine, making the shisha flavor bolder.
Choose between blonde and dark leaf tobaccos based on your preference. The molasses aren’t really something you can choose. Manufacturers have their formulas. Most use honey and glycerin. Other types of natural molasses are also used.
Finally, extracts of fruits and other ingredients are infused to flavor the shisha tobacco. You can choose anything you like, from apples to mints, peaches, mixed fruits, herbs, and spices. The market has hundreds of shisha tobacco flavors for all kinds of palates.