When it’s time to smoke the hookah, there is no reason to waste your time with an inferior pipe. When a hookah isn’t working properly, you end up fiddling with the hoses and checking all the pieces of clogging, and the enjoyment of the hookah experience has been ruined. The best way to prevent this unfortunate situation is to choose your hookah carefully. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five good hookah pipes and evaluate their quality.
The Royal Treatment
|Pharaoh's Nysa Hookah Set, Green, Handcrafted Glass Base|
The Budget Model
|GSTAR Convertible Series: 18" 1 or 2 Hose Hookah Complete Set w/ Case|
The Lone Ranger
|KHALIL MAMOON Black Shareef 34” Complete Hookah Set|
The Modern Option
|Lit Handmade Original 13-14" All Glass Hookah Set|
The Head Turner
|Luxx Hand Made 15" Premium Borosilicate All Glass Hookah Set|
This is an Egyptian-style hookah, and it’s a little cheaper than most of the others. Still, this is a high-quality piece that would look good in any collection. There is no need to comment on the obvious aesthetics of this pipe.
Unlike some others on this list, this one comes with a good-quality bowl. It is made of thick reddish ceramic, and the air holes are located on the sides of the bowl. This is great because you won’t waste your Shisha by letting it fall into the water. It will also cut down on cleaning since your water will stay clear.
This is the cheapest hookah on our list by a wide margin. However, we can tell that this hookah is cheaply made. Still, it’s a great option for those new to hookah smoking or those who just don’t have much money. It is made in a simple and time-honored way, providing basic functionality without offering anything special.
This model is also cheap because it is comparatively small. At only 1.5 feet tall, this one is perfect for smoking alone or perhaps with a small group. It does come with a convenient carrying case and is, therefore, a good choice for a portable hookah.
These handmade pipes really do look stunning. Because they are handmade, each one will be a little bit different, giving every buyer a unique piece. The roughened look of the long metal stem provides excellent grip when moving it around, and looks both stylish and traditional.
Our main complaint is the fact that there seems to be a little bit of wobble where the stem meets the base. We do see a big rubber seal, and no air leakage is obvious, but we don’t like the fact that there is so much play in the stem. You could fix this issue with some electrical tape, but you shouldn’t have to do that for such an expensive item.
The mouthpiece for this hookah is very thin, but for some reason, it does not seem to constrict the airflow, at least not too bad. Ordinarily, we would probably avoid a hookah with such a narrow mouthpiece, but this company seems to have made it work well.
This is definitely a non-traditional hookah in every way. However, this is one of the best glass hookahs on the market. Of course, quality usually comes at a price and this is no exception. This is one of the most expensive hookahs on our list in spite of its small size.
The best thing about a glass pipe is the fact that it gives you a cleaner smoke with no interference in the taste of the Shisha. You also don’t have to worry about rusting, and cleaning is a breeze. The “bottleneck” shape of this hookah makes it a little more difficult to clean the base, but it’s still much easier to clean than an old-school hookah.
This is another glass piece that looks almost identical to the Lit hookah described above. Like all glass hookahs, it provides the cleanest and smoothest draw possible. They didn’t use a single piece of metal for this hookah. Even the hose plug is a glass stopper.
This is another one-person hookah, but not strictly so. Because of its small size and relatively short hose, it would be ideal for a one-person tabletop smoking session. Speaking of the hoses, they are washable and smooth. This makes them a little more vulnerable to kinking, but silicone is the only substance that won’t add any taste to the smoke.
We are a little concerned when we look at the base of this thing. Although it will be heavier when water is added, the base just doesn’t seem wide enough. It seems that, in attempting to provide a sleek and modern look, they made a top-heavy hookah that could tip over easily. We recommend using a mat with good traction when you smoke this one.
Obviously, you will have a lot more than these five products to choose from. The examples above are only intended to give you a better idea of how you should evaluate a hookah pipe. Let’s consider the qualities and features that you should look for in a good hookah.
As you have already seen, there are many ways to build a hookah. While most hookahs are made from a mix of materials, your choice mostly comes down to this: Steel vs. glass. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
A pipe whose main components are made of steel will obviously be a lot more durable. If the hookah happens to be dropped or knocked over, you stand less chance of losing your investment. There are two main problems with steel, and they relate to one another. First, ferrous metals like steel have a certain taste that many find unpleasant. While the water in the base tends to filter out some of this taste, there is no doubt that the steel will affect the flavor. The other problem comes from the possibility of rust. Remember, this is a water pipe. This means that all metal hookah parts are likely to rust in the long run. These problems are related because rust will absolutely ruin the taste of good Shisha.
Glass is the complete opposite. It will not affect the taste of the Shisha in any way, but you sacrifice a lot in terms of durability. For most people, a glass pipe will eventually be broken because it doesn’t take much. It only takes one accident to turn your expensive glass hookah pipe into a pile of shards in the trash can.
Hoses are normally made of plastic or rubber, and most of them are bound with steel wire. This wire is meant to prevent kinking and deforming, so it’s definitely something you want. However, a lot of hoses have wire on the inside, and this can be a problem.
Once again, this is a water pipe. As such, you are pulling a lot of water vapor through this hose. This will eventually lead to rusting. If you think a rusty stem can ruin your smoking session, just try smoking from a rusty hose! Better yet, just buy a washable version so that you can be sure to avoid this problem.
A good hookah should be well-sealed to prevent outside air from entering. When you try to smoke from a hookah that is not well-sealed, you have to suck a lot harder to get the same amount of flow. If you’ve ever smoked a hookah that required you to hit it really hard, it probably had an air leak.
You can test the seal of the pipe by sealing one hose and blowing through the other. As you blow, take your free hand and move it around the pipe to see if you can feel any airflow. The junctions are the most likely spot in which to find a leak, so pay special attention to two areas: the place where the stem meets the base, and the place where the hoses connect to the stem.
One problem here is that you cannot usually test a hookah in this way before purchase since it involves placing your mouth on the product. However, you can check the two main areas and see how tightly they fit together. Thick rubber seals should make it difficult to remove these pieces. Jiggle the base of the hose a little bit and see if you notice any movement at the junction. If there is any play in the two major junctions, do not buy.
All of the bowls on our review list are made of either ceramic or glass. Both of these materials are able to withstand very high temperatures and add little to no taste to the smoke. Ceramic does tend to be a little more durable than glass, but only if it’s nice and thick. Thin ceramic is actually easier to break than glass.
The main thing to consider is the size of the bowl. If you usually smoke alone, you need a smaller bowl. If you like to smoke with a lot of friends, you’ll need a much bigger bowl. Also, consider the average length of your smoking sessions. If you usually prefer short sessions, it would be silly to buy the biggest bowl on the shelf.
There will also be a difference in the location of the airholes. The standard hookah bowl will have one big hole in the middle. However, there are many types that have multiple holes in various arrangements. A lot of this comes down to different tastes. If you are using a thick and heavy sort of Shisha, the traditional middle-hole design is the best bet. Bowls with smaller holes might very well clog if you use a thick and syrupy brand.
There are some bowls in which the air holes are located on the sides of the bowl. This is a great idea because it takes gravity out of the equation and thus, helps to prevent clogging. It also keeps small amounts of material from being sucked through the holes and collecting in the bottom of the base. However, you will have to draw a little harder when you smoke through a bowl like this.
There are also two-piece bowls, in which a small plate-like piece is inserted into the bowl. This extra piece is meant to absorb and redistribute the heat so that the rest of the bowl doesn’t heat up so much. Or, if you really want something that will not break, spend a little more and get a stone bowl.
Mouthpiece And Downstem
The down-stem and mouthpiece of a hookah pipe are easily two of the most important parts. The down-stem is the part that you hold in your hand and use directly, which means you will have more contact with it than with any other part of your hookah. You need to consider comfort, grip, and weight.
Hookah smoking is supposed to be a relaxing activity. As such, you should be able to hold your down-stem in your hand without a particularly tight grip. It should not be slick, as a smooth piece will want to fall out of your hand as soon as a little sweat comes into the picture. The same is true of down-stems that are excessively large. The extra weight causes you to exert a little more effort to hold them up for long periods.
The hole of the mouthpiece will determine roughly how much smoke can flow at one time. A small and constricted hole forces you to pull harder and prevents you from taking the biggest hit that you could. For some smokers, this is just fine. Some people prefer to take small puffs, both to prevent choking and make the Shisha burn longer. If this is you, look for a down-stem with a small opening. If you want great big clouds that fill up the hookah bar, you need a large opening.
Some mouthpieces are removable, and this is a big plus because it makes them easier to clean. Especially for a hookah that will be used by multiple people, it is desirable to sterilize the mouthpiece with rubbing alcohol between uses. Some other mouthpieces include built-in valves that close when not in use. This is a very handy feature, especially for solo smokers, but it does force you to hit the hose a little harder, so as to create the extra pressure needed to open the valve.
All of these hookahs offer excellent quality, and most of them are reasonably-priced. The glass hookahs may seem kind of expensive, but we assure you that these are actually some of the less expensive versions. We realize that most people cannot afford the absolute top-of-the-line, so we have attempted to limit ourselves to hookahs that the average person can afford.
Overall, we think that the winner of this little contest would have to be the Pharaoh’s Nysa. Its only real flaw is the fact that it is a solo pipe, which isn’t meant to be used with multiple hoses. However, you can remove the plug from the other spout and attach a second hose. The Nysa isn’t meant to be used in this way, but it will work.
We were also concerned that the whole thing was a little off-balance and might tip over easily, but a person will always have to worry about this factor regardless of anything. What we mean is: You should make it a point to be careful with your hookah anyway.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article and that your smoking experience will be both fun and fulfilling.