How to Buy the Best Hookah: First Time Hookah Buyer's Guide

How to Buy the Best Hookah: First Time Hookah Buyer's Guide

Posted by Zachary Hinson on Aug 01, 2018

Hookah has become a popular pastime for many people modernly, and historically. It is an extremely social form of smoking, that is fruity and quite a bit stronger than traditional methods of consuming tobacco. Shisha is the tobacco that is smoked in a hookah. It is roasted slowly by the heat of simmering coals, cooled in water, and inhaled through a long hose. This article is intended to educate and ultimately serve as a hookah buyer's guide to help you find the best hookah.

History of Hookah

The hookah is a historic smoking device originating from India in the 15th century. It quickly spread in popularity throughout most of the middle east shortly after the proliferation of the East India Trading Company. The tobacco used inside of the hookah is known as shisha. Shisha was traditionally tobacco soaked in molasses, mixed with natural herbs and spices. In fact, there is a company still producing these natural flavors named Afzal, which they call "pan" flavors. Modern shisha varies greatly in terms of ingredients and it's methods of production.

Hookahs have maintained their use in many ethnic communities and have begun to increase in popularity recently as a social pastime. Hookah bars can be found in almost every major US metropolitan city. But people want to enjoy a hookah in the comfort of their home. This blog will help navigate the process and choose the right hookah for you.

Hookah can be found in many different variations of size, style, aesthetic, and amount of hoses. This makes it hard for people to know which hookah setup is right for them. So it is valuable to have a framework to act as a hookah buyer's guide for deciding how to choose a hookah.

Choosing the Best Hookah

First, it is important to understand how the hookah will be utilized most frequently. Whether it will be multiple people smoking at all times, or if occasionally one person will want to use it by themselves. This is an important thing to know because it determines the number of hoses you should get. If two people will always be using it together a two hosed hookah might be beneficial.

However, if one person will use it more frequently than the other, or intends to use it alone frequently, one hose would be preferred. This will narrow the options quite a bit and allow for an easier decision.

Once you have decided how many hoses you want your hookah to have, you must decide on a size. This is a decision based solely on preference, and the choice should be based on the draw the user desires. A smaller hookah in the mid-size range will provide the user with a slightly quicker, looser, airier draw. A taller hookah will be more stern, however, the smoke has more time to settle and can be smoother. It is also important for a hookah buyer to decide the size of the pipe and how much space will be devoted to the hookah

Choosing the Best Hookah Bowl

Next, decide upon the type of hookah bowl needed for consuming your shisha. Most hookahs come with a standard Egyptian-style bowl. This will basically be a small ceramic dish with several holes in the bottom. This allows for the shisha to be packed in on top of the holes and smoke to travel downward into the hookah.

The next type of common hookah bowl is called the funnel bowl. This type of bowl has one large central hole, with a wall around it and a moat where the shisha is packed. This allows for slightly more unobstructed airflow than the Egyptian-style and is typically considered an upgrade.

There are other, less-common options, such as the Syrian bowl, which is quite similar to the Egyptian bowl, but we will only discuss the most common options.

Choosing the Best Shisha

It is also important to examine the types of shisha you will be using as well as the coals. Both the coals and shisha can drastically change the flavor and outcome of your smoking session. Al-Fakher shisha tends to be a more traditional smoke, while Starbuzz is very fruity and flavorful. Starbuzz is considered by many to be slightly more Americanized. Al-Fakher is typically mixed with multiple flavors. For example, my personal favorite is Al-Fakher Rose mixed with Al-Fakher Mint Gum. The two together provide a nice refreshing smoke. Starbuzz tends to be pre-mixed into flavors named things like “Blue Mist”, “Pirates Cave”, and “Queen of Sex”. The best way to pick a Starbuzz flavor is simply by smelling them, as some of them are hard to distinguish based on name alone.

Choosing the Best Hookah Coals

Coals are also an important decision when smoking shisha because they determine the intensity of the smoke and the longevity of the burn. Natural coals such as Starlight bamboo coals, or Starlight coconut coals, provide a longer burn time. However, natural coals can be more difficult to light without an electric coil stove top. This is the reason many people buy a mobile electric coil burner. There are also many Starlight quick light options that can be started with a small butane torch. This makes for a convenient and quick smoking experience as opposed to natural coals, however, there is some flavor loss.


Overall, smoking hookah is a highly customizable experience that can be done in a wide variety of ways. This makes it very popular both socially and privately. The consumer can decide how many people can smoke at a time and the length of the smoking session. Consumers can now choose from a wide variety of hookahs and shisha flavors at or at one of our 13 Waterbeds 'n' Stuff locations. Hopefully, this article served as a good hookah buyer's guide, so grab a hookah and some shisha and enjoy this popular pastime.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

**The beliefs and opinions expressed in this blog are not those of Waterbeds ‘n’ Stuff.