What are the Different Types of Hookahs – Basic Knowledge

Written by Jacob - Hookah Enthusiast

Last updated May 11, 2023

If you’re planning to try hookah smoking or you already have some experience but you want to try different things, you’ve come to the right place. Hookahs have been used for centuries, offering a purified and more pleasant way to smoke tobacco and other herbs.

Hookah smoking is also an activity that you can share with friends and family members while relaxing in the evening.

To help you get the most of this experience, we’ve prepared some useful information for you. In this article, I’ll briefly introduce you to what is hookah and we’ll look at the different types of hookahs in more detail.

Why are there different types of hookahs?

Before we dive into the different types of hookahs, it’s worth looking into what is hookah in the first place. In terms of pure definition, a hookah is a multi-stemmed instrument for heating or vaporizing to smoke tobacco and other herbs. The smoke travels via a glass water basin before it reaches the smoker. Although this explanation is pretty simple to understand, the real confusion comes when we start seeing Indian hookahs, Egyptian hookahs, Syrian hookahs, and other hookah types.

Why are there so many types of hookahs and where did they come from?

Well, hookah smoking is nothing new. In fact, it dates back to the 16th century in India and has slowly made its way into other parts of the world. Different countries started producing their own hookahs, which were somewhat embedded into their culture and traditions. Today, there are unique differences in the different hookah types and there’s a good choice for everyone’s taste.

Some are extremely easy to draw air from, others make it rather challenging, while third types are simply brilliant to look at.

To get an understanding of some of the main differences and types of hookahs, we’ll look at the three main types of hookahs – Indian, Egyptian, and Syrian.

Most common types of hookahs

1. Indian

When looking at hookah types, it’s only natural to start with the Indian hookah. The first hookah as we know it stems back to India in the 16th century. During this time, Indian glass manufacturing became popular as a result of the glass exporting in India via the British East India Company. As tobacco smoking was a popular practice, more people wanted to purify the smoke via water in a class base that was referred to as “shisha”. This is how hookah originated. Indian hookahs today are finely hand-carved, usually mental, and often have engraved Meena work by hand to create a truly attractive look and feel.

2. Syrian 

In contrast to other hookah types, Syrian hookahs are rather rare and not so easy to find. They’re considered a true piece of gem as they’re difficult to locate. Syrian hookahs are eminent for their beauty, majesty, and style.

They’re often created in small batches and take longer to make as they’re also handmade. The techniques used for their manufacturing is different to other hookah production methods. As opposed to turned on a lathe, like Egyptian hookahs, Syrian hookahs are cast. All engravings are hammered manually by a craftsman for the final touches.

Compared to other hookahs, Syrian hookahs are a bit more difficult to pull air from as the air path’s openness is limited because of the size of the hose connector holes.

3. Egyptian

Egyptian hookahs are among the most traditional and natural-looking options of all the hookahs available today. They are truly special and unique as oftentimes, they’re handmade. Although this does mean that you can sometimes spot weld spots and tiny imperfections, dedicated smokers appreciate the true value of Egyptian hookahs.

They’re different from others with their tall, slender stems, and wide downstems that offer a nice draw. They can be designed with metal and tri-metal, stainless steel, brass, and copper. They’re extremely classical in terms of style and valued thanks to their brilliant performance, guaranteeing a nice experience.

4. Modern

These days the hookah market can not be compared with anything from back in the days. Now modern hookah design is preferred by hookah enthusiasts around the world. Although the way that hookah works haven’t changed for centuries, the design meets some innovations. With a vast variety of sizes and beautiful designs, you can choose from 100% glass-made hookahs to amazingly shaped aluminum ones.


The four types of hookahs listed above are only a few examples of a vast range of alternatives you can find for sale. However, we’ve selected these three to share with you as they’re the most popular types in the hookah world and originate in the locations where hookah is believed to originate in first.

As you can see, there are a lot of differences and the right choice of hookah will mostly depend on your tastes and preferences. Don’t be afraid to be bold and try new things. Share the moments with friends and see for yourself which type of hookah works best for you.


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