Hookah users don’t have identical preferences for shisha tobacco or similar smoking styles. You may prefer mild and juicier shisha flavors with or without nicotine. Someone you know may want to smoke a bold flavor with dark leaf tobacco. Plus, the approach to smoking a hookah varies.
Some users smoke alone, so they don’t need a large hookah. Those sharing a round with one or more people will require a sizable hookah, especially the bowl and the water chamber. Then there are the sizes and types of all the essentials and accessories to go with your hookah.
With hundreds of hookah designs, you may have a tough time shortlisting a few or zeroing in on that singular set that will cater to your smoking style. Hence, I list the most important factors that will help you to pick the perfect hookah for your preferences.
Beginners Should Consider an All-Inclusive Hookah Kit
Suppose you have no familiarity with the various components of a hookah and the various types available. In such a scenario, the safest bet for you is an all-inclusive hookah kit. You will get the components and necessary accessories in the kit. Plus, the parts will be easy to assemble.
If you buy hookah components separately, especially from different manufacturers and multiple shops or sites, the parts may not fit perfectly due to subtle design elements. The bore of a pipe may not be a perfect fit for a hookah bowl. Likewise, the other ports may have some issues.
The most straightforward way to ensure that you get all the hookah components fitting flawlessly is to buy an all-inclusive kit. The parts will typically be machine-made, so there will be little to no room for error that is usually prevalent in handcrafted hookahs. You’ll get cleaning brushes, too.
Connoisseurs Should Assemble a Customized Hookah
Connoisseurs and hookah users with reasonable experience know what they like. Such users should assemble a customized hookah. But even if you have some familiarity, make sure you select compatible parts. Standard sizes aren’t always identical.
Minor fitting issues can cause air leaks. Egyptian bowls made by hand don’t always fit all types of stems. Likewise, many handcrafted bowls are not compatible with heat management devices. A bespoke hookah is great only if you can fit all the components without any teething issue.
Prioritize the Cost, Materials, Size, and Type of Bowl
Whether you buy an all-inclusive kit or assemble your hookah to suit your smoking style, you will have a budget, a required size, and a preference for certain materials. Use the following tips for the corresponding attributes:
- Budget: go for sturdiness over style if you have a stringent budget
- Size: small to medium hookahs for single users, large for groups
- Materials: tempered or toughened glass for the base, glazed clay for the bowl, steel for the stem, and silicone for the hose
Don’t use an unglazed bowl as the material will be porous. Steel is easier to clean than brass, so choose a stem that will be simpler for you to maintain. Silicone hoses are washable, so don’t opt for the traditional ones with metal coils inside if you want to clean them with water.
You may take a step further and choose rubber grommets over plastic. Most plastic grommets won’t last as long as rubber. However, grommets are inexpensive, so you may not prioritize them. Having said that, grommets are vital for airtight and perfect fitting of all the main parts.
Select a Hookah Bowl for the Shisha Tobacco You Like
Like the hookah hose, you need the right kind of bowl. While glazed clay bowls are a staple for most hookahs, you can choose among different designs or styles, especially the following:
- Egyptian: the traditional style with the holes at the base, suitable for drier shisha tobacco flavors that need to heat up uniformly throughout
- Phunnel: a contemporary style with one raised hole in the center, ideal for juicier shisha tobacco flavors
- Vortex: a contemporary style with holes at the base but on the sides of a platform or spire, a nice balance between the Egyptian and phunnel designs
Don’t get an Egyptian bowl if you only smoke juicy shisha tobacco flavors. Don’t get a phunnel or vortex if you are new to packing a hookah bowl because a wrong approach might burn the upper layers before heating the entire stuff you load.
Select the Essential Accessories for Your Smoking Style
Last but not least, get heavy-duty aluminum foils that are specifically made for hookahs, and use natural charcoal instead of those instant-light variants coated with chemical accelerants to burn or ignite quickly. You may consider a heat management device whenever you need one.