Components of a Hookah

John Guccione

Components of the HookahThis article is only intended for those who are 18 years old and older.

Every hookah is unique, to understand the proper way to use your hookah be sure to familiarize yourself with all of the components of your specific hookah.

The Hookah body (stem or shaft):  The hookah stem connects the various sections of the hookah: the bowl, the hoses and water base.  This is typically the most solid handling point for the user.  All hookahs have a down-stem which connects below the level of the water in the vase.  

Water base (Vase):  What makes a hookah a hookah, is the water filled base container or vase. Smoke passes through the down-stem and bubbles through the water base to humidify the smoke resulting in a smooth and cool draw of tobacco. 

Hookah Bowl: The bowl is the head of the hookah, and is the container, which holds your coal & tobacco. The bowl is usually made out of clay, marble, or glass. Once a bowl is loaded with tobacco then covered by a heat management device (HMD). The user can then light the coals that are placed on top, of the tobacco to heat for smoking. 

Components of a Hookah | The Hookah Bowl

Hookah Wind Cover: The wind cover is placed upon the bowl area and possesses air holes which keeps wind from increasing the heat of the coal, and maintains a consistent burn. The cover also prevents ash from being blown out of the bowl.

Hookah Hoses: Hoses are tubes that allows the smoke to be drawn for a distance, the distance from the bowl cools the smoke before inhaling. The hookah hose end is always fitted with mouthpiece providing a comfortable draw for the user.

Purge valve: Most hookahs are equipped with a purge valve (clearing hole) located on the water jar, This to purge valve clears stale smoke that remains. The purge valve acts as a clearing mechanism.

The Hookah Plate: The plate is essentially an ashtray that sits just below the bowl to catch ashes falling off the coals.

Components of a Hookah Plate

Hookah Grommets: The grommets are located between the various sections of the hookah. These grommets seal the joints between the various parts of the hookah, decreasing the amount of air coming in, while providing control over the smoke intake.

Diffuser A non-essential piece that is attached to the bottom of the stem. The diffuser lowers the amount of suction needed to pull smoke into the chamber. Diffusers also help cool the smoke and are used for a better smoking experience.

Heat management device: A heat management device (HMD) is generally a metal or aluminum contraption placed on top of the foil or directly onto the shisha/tobacco, used to contain coals and heat the tobacco evenly. HMD's  regulate the transfer of heat from charcoal to Shisha, and also works to reduce the ash, ultra-fine particles, and volatile gasses that pass from charcoal into Shisha making your clouds smoother, cleaner, tastier, longer-lasting.

Hookah Heat Management Device

Now that you know all the parts of a Hookah, lets learn about the consumable items you will use during your hookah smoking experience.

Mu‘assel Tobacco or Mu‘assel (Arabic: معسل, which means "honeyed"), also sometimes called Shisha in places where it does not refer to the Hookah itself, is a syrupy tobacco mix with molasses and vegetable glycerol as moisturizer and specific flavors added to it. Typical flavors of mu‘assel include apple, grape, guava, lemon, mint, as well as many other fruit-based mixes. Non-tobacco-based mu'assel is also available in certain areas where tobacco smoking is not allowed.

Charcoal: Charcoal is the energy source that makes heat which is transferred inside the bowl. Since the glycerol is used to moisturize the tobacco, then to produce smoke, the charcoal should be able to generate heat above the boiling point of glycerol that is 290 °C. Therefore, charcoal for hookah smoking must be hard, high density, easy to ignite, and burn longer with persistent heat.