Smoking Shisha Basics: How to Choose the Right Hookah


First off, welcome to the world of exotic flavors and intoxicating smoke that elevates get-togethers! Shisha smoking is an ancient social custom in Arabic tradition, and we’re glad you’re now a part of the shisha Dubai culture.

Second, let’s understand the basics.


Many people confuse the term “shisha” with “hookah.” So, let us clear it out for you. Shisha is the mix of tobacco, molasses, and flavor smoked, while hookah is the apparatus used to smoke it.


In its simplest form, a hookah is a three-component apparatus consisting of a bowl to hold your shisha, a base for the water, and a pipe (hose) for the shisha smoke to travel through.

The shisha is heated with hot coals in the bowl. Its smoke then passes into the base. The water in the base filters out the smoke, which then travels through the hose to the mouthpiece.

It is considered that smoking shisha is a better alternative to cigarettes because of this filtration process, and it is generally more enjoyable due to the exotic flavors it offers. Additionally, some flavors also come nicotine-free.

So, how do you choose the right hookah to smoke shisha?


Contrary to popular belief, the size of your hookah or the hose does not affect the quality of the smoke. What affects the smoke’s flavor are insufficient heating or overheating of the shisha, the cleanliness of your hookah, the way you put your shisha in the bowl or the coals on it, and of course, the quality of your shisha. You can choose from a myriad of premium shisha online, so that part is taken care of.

Let’s come back to the size of your hookah. There are usually three sizes:

Large Hookah

The big size is ideal for smoking shisha in bigger groups, like during get-togethers or parties. It is also a good option if you want to flaunt it as a centerpiece when it is not in use. Select an aesthetic one that blends well with your interiors, and you’ll have a two-in-one hookah!

Medium Hookah

Neither too small nor too big, a medium-sized hookah is the most preferred one due to its flexibility. Its size is perfect for a couple or a single person to smoke shisha and is convenient to store. Medium-sized hookahs are also available in various aesthetic options, so they can serve as a piece to flaunt just as well!

Small Hookah

A small hookah is highly convenient for single-person use, especially during travel. In addition, it is easy to carry, and some even come with a travel bag.

Now that you understand how the sizes of hookah matter for shisha sessions, let’s move on to the next aspect.


While traditional hookahs were made with heavier metals like brass, copper, iron, and sometimes ceramic, the popular materials in recent times are glass, stainless steel, and aluminum. 

Glass-based Hookahs 

With their transparent and clean structures, glass-based hookahs can be an aesthetic beauty, but they are also a little challenging to maintain.

Aluminum Hookahs

They are perfect for a reasonable purchase when you’re just starting and want to explore smoking shisha and its various intricacies. Aluminum hookahs also come in a variety of bright colors and are lightweight.

Stainless Steel Hookahs

They are ideal for people seeking a premium shisha smoking experience. Heavier in weight than aluminum, stainless steel hookahs have a better finish and are also more expensive. They are also sturdy, long-lasting, and resistant to corrosion and oxidation. However, the more popular variety of stainless steel hookahs are ones with a glass base. This variant gives a perfect balance of both materials.

Another aspect to consider when choosing the right hookah is the hose.


Many hookah models also allow you to add more than one hose. 

Multiple hoses are an excellent option for smoking shisha in larger groups, so you don’t have to wait too long for your turn. A catch, though, is that attaching multiple hoses to a single base may dilute the flavor of your shisha and cause it to run out faster. You will also need a larger hookah altogether for a better experience.

We recommend using multiple mouthpiece tips instead, with a single hose. It will keep the flavor intact, and though you would have to pass the same hose and wait a little longer, it will also ensure better hygiene.

Moving on, let’s explore the varied types of shisha bowls available.


The most common shisha bowls are dome/vortex bowls and phunnel bowls.

Dome/Vortex Bowls 

These bowls have holes in the bottom for the smoke to pass through. A minor disadvantage dome/vortex bowls pose is that they can allow the liquid from your shisha to drip into the stem, affecting your flavor and making cleaning more tedious.

Phunnel Bowls

As their name suggests, phunnel bowls are shaped like funnels and feature a large raised hole in the center for the shisha smoke to pass through. This form keeps the liquid from dripping.

Both dome/vortex and phunnel bowls are popular in ceramic/clay or silicone. Silicone bowls rule out breakability and are easier to clean, but they don’t perform as well as ceramic/clay bowls.


While you can heat your coals with a stove or a blow torch lighter, the best way is to use an electric coal burner. Electric burners provide more even heating and prevent damage. 

You can use aluminum foil to cover your bowl with shisha and place the coals on top or use a Heat Management Device (HMD). HMDs are a one-time investment that’s well worth it, as they protect your coals from temperature fluctuations, provide better heating, and, therefore, better flavor.


And with that, the basics of choosing and setting up a hookah have been covered. But if you’re in two minds on whether you want to invest in a hookah, here’s a better alternative – rent it out! 
Top-notch services like Shisha Art provide shisha on rent with premium shisha online. They’re a one-stop destination with high-quality hookah and other apparatus and a wide array of exotic shisha flavors from top brands like Al Fakher. You can place an order online and schedule a delivery at any time of the day. For parties and get-togethers, you can also try out their shisha catering services. They deliver all across the UAE and are among the best services for shisha Dubai can offer.

Scarlett Watson

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