Buying your first hookah may be an overwhelming exercise, especially if you consider the full spectrum of varieties available. Factor in the various types of hookah bowls, shisha flavors, or the material choices and the process becomes intensely perplexing. Fortunately, you can zero in on a few attributes based on your preferences and budget to find the most suitable hookah.
What are the Hookah Essentials?
A hookah comprises a base or vase, stem, bowl tray, hose, and a pair of tongs. Also, you need hookah tobacco or shisha flavors, charcoal, and aluminum foil. As a beginner, you may or may not want to invest in a heat management device, but it is superior to foils, even the heavy-duty variants. Furthermore, you may choose natural charcoal and a lighter or burner if you want.
How to Compare Hookahs
Dozens of popular brands have hundreds of hookahs, so comparing all available options is a challenge. Ideally, you should simplify the quest by prioritizing your needs and budget. It is unnecessary to spend a lot of money on your first hookah because you are yet to figure out what you may like and dislike. Thus, consider entry-level hookahs for your first purchase.
Not all entry-level hookahs are cheap, as some are made of premium-quality materials. You may have better experiences with stainless steel stems over brass, wood, and other materials. Likewise, a silicone hose is washable and more durable than those made of rubber or plastic.
Hookah bowls have various styles, too. A conventional bowl with a hole at the bottom is not suitable as the juices from your shisha tobacco flavors will drip down into the stem. Consider a vortex or phunnel hookah bowl. You will find such bowls included in many hookah kits.
Straddling all these variables is the size and overall design of a hookah. You may prefer a mini, medium or standard, or a large hookah based on your needs, which is essentially about how many people you might share a session with. If you intend to smoke alone, consider a mini or medium sized hookah. Larger ones are expensive and unnecessary unless you have company.
How to Choose Shisha Tobacco and Flavors
Shisha tobacco or flavors have two distinct characteristics. The first is tobacco leaves. All shisha tobacco is made of either dark or blonde leaves. Dark leaves are bolder, whereas blonde or golden tobacco is milder. You can choose either based on your preference and the flavor.
The second significant attribute of any shisha tobacco is the flavor. You will find hundreds of flavors, from apple to mango, peach, vanilla, berries, and mint, among others. Choose a flavor based on what you may like. Broadly, hookah tobacco is fruity, bold, minty, mixed or combo, and there is a varying degree of moisture content in the pack. Also, the moisture source varies.
Shisha tobacco flavors may contain honey, molasses, glycerin, or all of these ingredients. You can choose any flavor that suits your palate. Everyone needs to try at least a dozen flavors or so to figure out their preferences. Even connoisseurs keep experimenting till they find ecstasy.
How to Choose Hookah Charcoal
You may start with quick-light charcoal that contains a synthetic catalyst to facilitate swift ignition. These varieties are easier to use as they light up quickly in any setting and without a special burner. However, these charcoal varieties tend to have a chemical flavor and odor.
Natural charcoal is better, especially those made of crushed coconut shells. Natural charcoal does not lend any synthetic flavor, aroma, or taste to the smoke, but it needs a special lighter or burner. If you don’t want to buy a burner, start your adventure with regular or standard charcoal.
Hookah charcoal is available in briquettes, cubes, fingers, and other shapes. Most of these will fit atop aluminum foils. You may have to choose compatible shapes if you buy or intend to use a heat management device atop the clay bowl of your hookah, subject to the available space.
Aluminum Foil vs. Heat Management Device
You may embark on your hookah adventure with aluminum foil, as it is more economical and you can use it on any bowl, irrespective of its size. Heat management device is a better option as it ensures uniform heating by countering the influence of breeze and ambient temperature.
Choose the more reasonably priced components for your first hookah, realize your preferences, and opt for upgrades based on your needs. It is unnecessary to select the finest options in every category because your preferences will evolve as you get more familiar with hookah and flavors.