There are 2 ways to heat your shisha tobacco in a hookah bowl: heat management device and foil. Metal screens and other types of charcoal holders don’t work with a hookah because the bowl must have hot air flowing into the packed tobacco to heat it and produce smoke.
Hookahs require convection heat, not conduction. Also, you cannot combust shisha tobacco. Hence, the only viable options are aluminum foils and heat management devices. The foil vs. heat management device debate remains unsettled, so let me talk about the former for now.
What Is Shisha Foil?
Shisha foil is made of aluminum, but it is not the same as those you use in your kitchen. I will discuss the differences below in the shisha vs. kitchen foil section.
Shisha foil is wrapped around the hookah bowl containing the shisha tobacco. You must ensure the wrapping is airtight, poke a few holes in the foil, and place a few thoroughly burning charcoal pieces atop the bowl.
The hot charcoal pieces transmit heat through the holes in the foil and warm the shisha tobacco in the bowl. That’s all there is to shisha foil. Heat management devices serve the same function without a foil. But both these broader categories have different styles and qualities or grades.
Types of Shisha Foil
Shisha foil is manufactured specifically to be used with hookah bowls. Hence, these are sized and shaped to suit different bowls and user preferences. You will find shisha foil in the following sizes or shapes:
- Rolls, etc.
Each shape comes in a few different dimensions. For instance, you can get a round or circular shisha foil that is just a little larger than the hookah bowl. So, you don’t have a lot of excess foil hanging around the bowl.
The square and rectangular foils tend to be considerably larger than the hookah bowl’s rim. You can wrap the material around the bowl. If you have a small bowl on a mini hookah, standard foil may be sufficient to wrap it entirely.
The other feature you will find is premade holes. Standard aluminum foil doesn’t have premade holes. And you are likely to pay a bit extra for this convenience. Shisha foil with holes already poked in are handy but this type ultimately boils down to personal preference.
Shisha vs. Kitchen Foil
Shisha foil is not the same type you use in your kitchen or to wrap foods. Standard aluminum foil used in kitchens or for foods is much lighter and thinner than the variety you get for shisha. Technically, shisha foil is a heavy duty variant.
Thus, you can use only one piece of shisha foil for your hookah bowl. If you use kitchen foil, the thin aluminum won’t be sufficient. You will need two of these pieces. The thinner and lighter foil is unsuitable because it won’t be as reliable to hold the charcoal pieces. Also, kitchen foil would pass more heat than needed to warm the shisha tobacco. You don’t want to burn the material.
Having said that, you can always use two pieces of standard kitchen foil. However, you need to be a little meticulous while poking the holes. You should have all the holes neatly aligned. You cannot have one foil blocking the hole in another. Also, you must not have holes that are larger than necessary. You need to perfectly align the two foils and make neat holes every time.
In contrast, using a single piece of shisha foil, which is also aluminum but thicker and heavier, is a convenient and more reliable option. Besides, you can get shisha foil with premade holes, so you don’t have to worry about the pattern and size.
Shisha Foil Tips
Here are a few tips to remember when you buy and use shisha foil:
- Always get heavy duty shisha foil for a satisfying hookah experience.
- You can choose any shape or size that suits your hookah and bowl.
- If you use standard aluminum foil, you need two pieces for a session.
- Wrap the shisha foil perfectly and ensure the entire seal is airtight.
- Don’t make large holes because charcoal ash will get into the bowl.
- Ensure the shisha foil is absolutely flat and seamless atop the bowl.
- Use a sharp poker to make the holes in the foil for ease and precision.
- Poke holes in a pattern, such as concentric circles starting from the edge.
- Get a guard or something to block the breeze if you are in a windy place.
- Always rotate the charcoal pieces atop shisha foil based on your needs.