Buying a Hookah: Everything you should know

Written by Jacob - Hookah Enthusiast

Last updated May 11, 2023

Buying a hookah is an exciting process, regardless of whether it’s your first time or you’ve had a few hookahs before and you’re now on to the next one. However, for beginners, it could be a bit overwhelming and making the right choice may not be as easy as it sounds.

There are many factors that go into the hookah buying process and it’s important for you to have as much information as possible before spending your money. After all, the type of hookah you purchase and its quality will define how pleasant your hookah smoking experiences are for the next couple of months or even years.

In this article, I’ve prepared a practical hookah buying guide. I’ll show you how to buy a hookah like a professional and enjoy peace of mind knowing you’re smoking from a high-quality product. The right hookah for you won’t always be the most expensive alternative you can find online. It could sometimes be a basic, affordable hookah that completely answers your expectations and needs.

After going over the basics of what makes hookahs different, you’ll be able to make your choice and confidently embrace the world of hookah smoking.

What are the key points to consider before buying a hookah

There are some brilliant hookah designs out there and you mind find yourself tempted to make a purchase decision based on looks. I completely understand that as I’ve been there as a beginner too.

But I advise you not to.

There are a range of factors that must be considered when purchasing a new hookah. Some of them include the materials used, the hookah size, the price, the functionalities it offers, and more. All of these will determine how durable the product is, what smoking quality you can expect, how accessible it is for you, and will have other important implications.

For starters, it’s important to note that there are numerous hookah types and each one has its own set of characteristics. If you’re looking for a hookah to buy, you’ll probably land on either an Indian, Syrian, Egyptian or modern hookah.

So where do you start when buying a hookah online?

Old hookah on the floor

Materials used for making a hookah

Buying a hookah online depends entirely on your needs and preferences. Let’s start our exploration by looking at the hookah materials. The materials used for the hookah creation will determine how long-lasting the product will be and how satisfied you’ll be when dividing it into your next hookah smoking session.

Some of the most popular choices for hookah materials include:

  • Brass – A lot of experts believe that solid brass is the top choice for hookahs. Brass is durable and resistant, heavy, and a stable option. Plus, it offers some of the best and most solid pipes. However, it could be a hassle maintaining the good aesthetics of your brass hookah and the material quickly loses its shine. Bras can oxidize but there’s no risk of corrosion.
  • Stainless steel – Stainless steel is another popular choice of material. If the quality of the stainless steel is good, your hookah will be safe for a long time. It’s a very durable and reliable material.
  • Glass – A glass hookah may look like something out of this world but it’s extremely difficult to care for. It’s fragile, difficult to transport, and requires a lot of dedicated maintenance.

Hookahs can also be created using aluminum, copper, crystal, bamboo, resin, and even wood.

Syrian hookahs

Consider the size when buying a hookah

A lot of newbie hookah smokers are also concerned about the size of the hookah. Does it really make a difference? Can you experience a horrible smoking session just because of size?

The short answer is no.

The height of the hookah won’t really make a difference in terms of the quality of the smoke but there are a few things you need to know before buying a hookah.

Tall vs small hookah

Think about how you intend to use the hookah. Are you someone who travels a lot or likes to embrace different environments when smoking? If you’re planning on moving the hookah for your smoking sessions, it may be best to opt for a smaller product that is safe and easy to carry around. On the other hand, if you plan to use your hookah mostly at home, it’s safe to say a tall hookah is the better option.

For me, my personal favorite is a hookah that’s anywhere between 28 and 32 inches tall. It’s a perfect solution for easy transfers and maintenance. Keep in mind that the taller the hookah, the most smoke the vase can produce.

Hookah hose ports factor

Another interesting point to cover is the number of hose ports available on your hookah. Not a lot of people pay attention to this when buying a hookah but it’s definitely a factor worth looking into. Especially if you’re a social animal who loves to share the smoking experience with friends, a hookah with one hose only won’t be able to do the trick.

A single-hose hookah is best for someone who is planning to use the product solo. However, if you intend to organize hookah parties, you definitely want a hookah with at least two hookah ports. A four-hosed hookah is the top choice for people who appreciate hookah smoking as a social experience.

It’s worth sharing that the number of hoses your hookah has will make a difference in your smoking experience as they can drag the hookah down. If you’re not using every hose port, make sure to block it to prevent power loss.

Multi-hose hookah

Price factor when buying a hookah

We’ve come to the part that most people are concerned about – price. When most individuals start looking to buy hookahs, they already have a budget in their heads. Still, doing a bit of research can help you get a clear understanding of what the normal prices are and what quality you can expect.

Hookah prices dramatically vary and depend on the factors that we’ve looked at including materials, size, type of hookah, and more. If you’re shopping for a hookah online in the U.S. and find a product for $30, let’s just say you’re not going to get a high-quality hookah.

Good hookahs are normally priced at somewhere around $100. Especially if you’re looking for a durable and reliable option that you can use for a long time, I advise that you think of $100 as the minimum budget.

Different styles of hookahs as a decision factor

I briefly mentioned that there is more than one type of hookah available on the market. So what makes them different and what can you expect to see from each type? Let’s see:  
  • Indian hookah- They are usually hand-carved and traditional in design. Most Indian hookahs are created using metal and carry fine engravings and Meena work.
  • Syrian hookah – A rare gem to find for sale, Syrian hookahs are also handmade and designed with perfection. They’re cast, manually engraved, and pulling air is a bit harder due to the limited size of the hose connector holes.
  • Egyptian hookah – A traditional and natural-looking product, these hookahs are handmade and are tall with slender stems. Their wide downstems mean nice draws and they’re mostly created using metal, stainless steel, brass, or copper.
  • Modern hookah – Modern hookahs stand out from traditional designs with completely glass-made exteriors and aluminium alternatives.

Buying a hookah – Q&A Section

What is the best size hookah to buy?

Ideally, I would recommend going for a medium-size hookah that is both easy to carry around and stable enough to rely on for indoor smoking sessions. My top size for hookahs is between 28 and 32 inches.

What should I buy for my first hookah?

If you want to buy a hookah today, many of the offers you are looking for are hookah sets. This means that you buy everything in one in order to set up your hookah from a to z. However, some offers on the market include only the hookah itself. When you buy just your first hookah you should consider buying the following accessories:  
  • Bowl – some hookah sets do not include a hookah bowl in the package. This is essential for smoking your first hookah so make sure you buy one
  • Heat management device (HMD) and coals – in order to set up your hookah properly you should heat the shisha with coconut charcoals and a heat management device placed on the top of your bowl. Alternatively, you can use aluminum foil.
  • Tongs – small details always matter. Without tongs, there is no way to transfer your coals from the stove to your bowl.
  • Mouth tip – hygiene is always important. Especially if you do a shared session with friends make sure you buy a package of mouth tips.
  • Shisha – last but not least, you should pick your favorite shisha flavor tobacco and pack it in your bowl

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