Egyptian bowls are a traditional design that has been around for as long as the contemporary form of hookah we know about and use today. Phunnel bowls are a relatively new style that has become immensely popular for a few practical advantages.
That said, Egyptian bowls continue to be a class apart owing to its distinct features that no other design possesses, including phunnel and vortex bowls. Here are the main differences between Egyptian bowls and phunnel bowls.
Egyptian Bowls Have Holes in the Base, Phunnel Bowls Don’t
Apart from the evident color difference and subtle variations in shapes, the first physical feature you will notice about Egyptian bowls is the set of 5 holes. Phunnel bowls don’t have holes in the base. Instead, there is a raised spire or shaft with an opening on top.
The holes in Egyptian bowls are usually in a circular pattern. Some designs may have fewer or more than 5 holes, but that’s not common. Also, these holes are tinier than the one single raised opening inside a phunnel bowl.
Egyptian Bowls Are Earthenware, Phunnel Bowls Are Stoneware
Both Egyptian bowls and phunnel bowls use clay as the primary material. But Egyptian bowls are earthenware, which is basically clay fired in a kiln. Phunnel bowls are stoneware. A mixture of clay is the foundation but the temperature at which this material is fired in the kiln is higher.
The much higher firing temperature makes stoneware stronger than earthenware. You are much more likely to break or damage an Egyptian bowl than a phunnel bowl. The relative fragility is a reason for some Egyptian bowls breaking or rims chipping in transit.
Egyptian Bowls Aren’t Glazed, Phunnel Bowls Have Colorful Glazing
Egyptian bowls that sport a reddish hue are not glazed. You get only the clay earthenware. But phunnel bowls are glazed, often in a bright and colorful shade. Glazed hookah bowls are easier to clean as you can wash them without worrying about the porosity of the clay mixture.
You can get glazed Egyptian bowls, but that’s not the traditional approach. Glazing is essential if a hookah bowl has to be nonporous and washable.
Egyptian Bowls Are Better for Drier and Sticky Shisha Tobacco
The multiple holes at the base of Egyptian bowls enable them to circulate the heat throughout the packed shisha tobacco. Hence, the entire stuff you pack in these bowls gets heated. This is useful for drier tobaccos and dense packs that would otherwise not heat uniformly in phunnels.
But the holes in an Egyptian bowl should remain unclogged when you pack. If a hole is jammed, you won’t have any smoke flowing through it. Another concern is the probability of shisha juices flowing into these holes, causing a mess in the stem.
Phunnel Bowls Are Better for Moist or Juicier Shisha Tobacco
Phunnel bowls are ideal for moist or juicier shisha tobacco flavors because there are no holes at the base. The juicy glycerin and molasses simply accumulate at the base of a phunnel bowl and the heat continues to extract the flavors.
On the flip side, a dense pack may be hard to heat uniformly if there aren’t enough air pockets in the bowl. There’s only one raised hole at the center, a bit lower than the rim. So, the heat from your charcoal pieces won’t really travel down since there’s no suction from a hole in the base.
Also, phunnel bowls may cause aluminum foil to sag if the latter is not wrapped perfectly. The raised hole at the center causes a strong suction and the draft may pull the foil downward.
Phunnel Bowls Are Compatible With Heat Management Devices
Egyptian bowls aren’t typically compatible with heat management devices. You have to use foils. But phunnel bowls are readily compatible, and some even have lips for you to set up a heat management device conveniently. Of course, you can also use foils with phunnel bowls.
Phunnel Bowls Rarely Have Manufacturing Defects or Fitting Issues
Last but not least, phunnel bowls are less likely to have manufacturing defects. Egyptian bowls are handmade so there’s a lot of room for human error. Sometimes, the holes at the base of the Egyptian bowls are blocked or not exactly formed. The rim may be uneven or misshaped.
Compatibility with a hookah stem is another concern. Phunnel bowls have universal ports or bores for specific sizes. While Egyptian bowls can also have universal ports for every size, the handcrafting of these bores create the possibility of errors, so you may have a fitting problem.