Pros & Cons of Hookah Bowl Screens and Tin Foil

Written by Jacob - Hookah Enthusiast

Last updated May 11, 2023

Before you can enjoy your favorite, mouth-watering shisha flavor and dive deep into a cloud of hookah smoke, you must prepare your hookah. Part of the preparation process is to provide a layer between the hookah tobacco and the coals using a hookah screen. However, not all hookah screens are the same. You can use either a hookah metal screen or tin foil. And yes, you will notice a difference in the smoking experience based on the one you’ve selected. In this article, I’ll help you make the right choice for you based on your preferences by giving you some useful information on the different types of hookah screens. I’ll explain what a hookah bowl screen is in the first place and share the differences between an aluminum foil and a hookah metal screen. You’ll also get insights into the best hookah screens available on the market.

What is a hookah bowl screen?

Hookah screens, in basic terms, are screens with holes that are a certain number and certain width. They are placed on the hookah bowl and are designed to hold the hot natural hookah coals that are used to heat the tobacco and make the smoking process possible. Shisha bowl screens can be used many times and are a durable solution. The size of the holes and their spacing is different and play an important role in the overall experience.

Hookah nowl screen review

You’ll notice that larger holes usually have extra space between them when compared to smaller holes. This means that they’ll allow additional hot air through certain areas. In other words, hookah smokers will enjoy more heat into the bowl, which is a preferred scenario for sticky hookah tobaccos.

Your hookah screen may become deteriorated and discolored over time but that’s no reason to worry. It will still continue to function normally. Most hookah smokers always have a screen as backup, even those who have a preference for using tin foil.

So how are hookah metal screens and hookah foil holes different?

The difference between aluminum foil and hookah metal screens

There are a few main differences between charcoal holders and aluminum foil that every smoker should know. Learning these differences will help to prepare the best hookah and will prevent unpleasant experiences and unexpected situations.

foil vs metal screen hookah

The tin foil

In my experience, hookah foil is a great solution, but it’s usually more suitable for experienced hookah smokers who know exactly what they’re doing and what to look for in their smoking sessions.

Aluminum foil provides full control of the heat management of the hookah and gives you the opportunity to choose how much heat you want to pass through based on your preferences. You can allow more or less heat to pass through depending on the types and number of holes you create.

 If you create a lot of small holes rather than a few large ones, you’ll get the result of a more even dissipation of heat across the top of the bowl. This way, the heat will reach the tobacco evenly, leading to a gently heated tobacco.

Hookah bowl troubleshoot

Hookah smokers who prefer to smoke with foil rather than a hookah screen use a puncher to create small holes on their foil-packed bowls.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of using foil instead of a hookah metal screen.


The main benefit of aluminum foil when it comes to hookah smoking is the fact that you have more control over the amount of heat you allow.

In addition, the foil is positioned in such a way that it’s hanging outside the bowl. This leads to a perfectly airtight seal surrounding the edge of the bowl, leaving no gaps between the edge and the foil. Furthermore, foil is a cheaper option and requires merely no investment.


A hookah foil drawback that puts off a lot of hookah enthusiasts is the fact that the tobacco burns faster if you’re not careful. It’s also worth noting that it takes a lot longer to prepare the hookah using this method. Metal screens are a relatively faster solution.

Metal screens

On the other hand, a lot of smokers prefer to smoke using hookah screens. Nowadays, there is a vast range of hookah metal screen solutions available on the market that come in different shapes and sizes, allowing you to control the heat better.

These screens or containers are positioned on top of the bowl as an alternative to foil. They allow smokers to adjust how much heat they need. This can be done by either opening or closing the vents.

You can use metal screens as many times as you need as they’re a reusable and durable product. They come with a series of holes in different quantities and widths. If you’ve chosen a metal screen with bigger holes, they’ll have more space between them to allow more heat to reach the tobaccos. Hookah screens can prevent tobacco from overheating. However, if you choose larger holes, it can be more difficult to manage the heat allowed in.


One of the benefits of metal screens over aluminum foil is that it’s reusable and you don’t have to throw it away after one of a few smoking sessions.

It’s a lot faster to get your hookah ready for smoking using a hookah metal screen and they provide a reliable method for heat control. Metal screens ensure that ash doesn’t get in the hookah tobacco. This means that there are no risks of an unpleasant ashy taste or a ruined smoking session.


Hookah metal screens are significantly more pricey than foil, but the investment is worth it in the long term as the product is reusable. In addition, if you choose a screen with bigger holes, heat management could become an issue as it will be difficult for you to regulate how much heat gets in.

The Best metal screens

Now that you know the difference between a hookah screen and hookah foil, let’s see some of the top metal screens that you can use.

I personally prefer smoking with a metal screen as there are a lot more advantages and I can use it over time without having to worry about punching holes every time.

    Lotus Heat Management Screen

    This product is ideal for smokers who enjoy using natural coals. It’s a heat management screen that is the ideal replacement for hookah foil as it fully seals the bowl. It guarantees that enough heat reaches the tobacco from the coal. It’s one of the most well-known brands when it comes to HMD’s because of its quality and reliability.

    Kaloud Lotus review


    As you can see, both the hookah screens and the hookah foil have their pros and cons. There is no right or wrong answer as to which one is better as it all comes down to your personal preference. However, I won’t hide my opinion that hookah metal screens are the better option for me. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the read and you’ve found some useful information in this article.

    Until next time!

      Join my newsletter!

      Other Hookah & Shisha Related Articles

      Hookah Fruit Bowl: Here is a Tutorial on How To Make it

      Hookah Fruit Bowl: Here is a Tutorial on How To Make it

      So what exactly is a fruit hookah head and how can you make it yourself? In simple terms, this is a substitute for a regular hookah bowl but a more fancy version. With a little creativity, you will finish with something beautiful that can make your session even better.

      read more

      affiliate disclaimer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate, I earn commissions from purchases on my website.