Types of Hookahs

Types of Hookahs – The Ultimate Guide

I know probably you are looking for the best type of hookah. Well, this guide explores all hookah design you can consider for your shisha smoking.

Broadly, you can consider either traditional hookah or modern hookah. Definitely, this may sound broad, but this guide will explain every design in the market.

1. Traditional Hookahs


Also referred to as handmade type of hookah, they remain the most common and trace their designs to ancient times.

They are majorly used for smoking of flavored tobacco known as shisha or mu’assel and it is made up of a glass base filled with water, a bowl for holding the tobacco, a metal stem and a hose for smoking.

The smoke produced by burning the tobacco passes through water in the base, which functions as the filtration system. Therefore, this helps in cooling the smoke and removes some of the impurities such as tar and nicotine resulting into a smoother and comfortable smoking experience.

In most cases, the tobacco in traditional hookah are flavored. You can choose apple, cherry or mint among other shisha tobacco flavors.


Traditional Hookah
Traditional Hookah

Although smoking shisha is common among many people, it may cause some health problems. For instance, there are people who have complained of respiratory illness. Besides, it put the smokers at risk of contracting certain diseases.

When it comes to traditional hookah, there are three main options to choose from:

  • Syrian hookah
  • Turkish Hookahs
  • Egyptian Hookah

· Turkish Hookahs

They are also called Ottoman hookahs. Usually, these hookahs have a distinct style and are highly regarded for their craftsmanship and beauty.

Key features of Turkish hookahs

  • Material

These shisha hookahs re usually made with high quality materials. Then, their body or the stem is made of copper, stainless steel or brass while the hose is made of leather.

These materials help to ensure heat resistance and durability of the hookah.

  • Design

A distinguishing aspects in Turkish hookah is the decorative features. They are often feature intricate metalwork, usually made of copper or brass with artistic patterns or engravings. Besides, the base is typically made of glass and sometimes embellished with colorful designs.

  • Assembly

Turkish hookahs is made up of several parts, including the body or stem, bowl, hose and base. Usually, you will place tobacco in the hookah bowl before attaching it to the body.

At the same time the body connects to the base which is filled with water. Finally, it has a hose through which users can inhale the smoke.

  • Flavored Tobacco

Turkish hookah tobacco is often referred to as maassel, which is a mixture of tobacco, various flavorings such as fruit flavors, spices or mints and molasses or honey. With these hookahs, you will place the flavored tobacco in a bowl then use charcoal to heat it up.

Turkish Hookah
Turkish Hookah

Benefits of Turkish Hookahs

Some of the key benefits of Turkish hookahs include;

  • Durable and Long-lasting

Turkish hookahs are made from materials such as stainless steel, brass and glass which are of high quality and ensure that the hookah remain in excellent condition even with frequent use.

They can also serve for a longer period of time if properly maintained and cleaned.

  • Enhanced Flavor and Smoke Quality

The clay bowl used in Turkish hookahs retains heat efficiently allowing the tobacco to be heated evenly and preventing it from burning quickly.

The design of the Turkish hookahs also contributes to a superior flavor and smoke quality, this therefore, results in a more enjoyable, smooth and flavorful smoke experience.

  • Portable Design

The unique construction produces a lightweight and small hookah you can carry easily. Therefore, you can have your hookah session everywhere.

  • Wide Range of Designs

Turkish hookahs is made in a wide variety of designs. They usually feature decorative elements and intricate patterns such as colorful glass base, ornate hose design and a hand- engraved metalwork.

This diversity allows you to choose a style that will match your personal taste and aesthetic preferences.

Limitations of Turkish hookahs

Despite of Turkish hookah offering several benefits, it is important to consider their limitations.

Some of the limitations include;

Health effects – Turkish hookahs causes health related complications such as increased risk of heart diseases, low baby weight in children with smoking mothers, impairment of the lungs among others.

These complications result from the smoke that comes from the hookah which is known to contain harmful chemical substances such as tar, nicotine and other toxins.

Cost – Turkish hookahs, especially those made form high quality material and craftsmanship tend to be relatively expensive as compared to other styles of hookahs.

Besides, other additional expenses include; the cost of charcoal, tobacco, flavors used and other accessories.

Addiction – Nicotine, a substance obtained from tobacco used in Turkish hookahs, is a highly addictive substance. This nicotine addiction can have adverse effects on both physical and mental health.

Limited flavor options – Turkish hookah tobacco often features traditional flavors which may not cater to everyone’s preferences especially in the modern world.

Legal restrictions and social stigma – Turkish hookahs may have social stigma in certain communities.

In can be viewed as an unhealthy habit or be associated with certain negative stereotypes in some communities. Besides, there might be smoking regulations and laws that restricts on where and when hookah smoking is allowed.

It is therefore important to consider limitations alongside the benefits of Turkish hookahs before making an informed decision about engaging in hookah smoking.

· Egyptian Hookahs

These are traditional smoking devices that had their origin from Egypt and are widely used throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Major features of Egyptian hookahs include;

  • Design

Egyptian hookahs are handmade and mainly consist of a base made of glass, a clay or metal bowl, a central metal shaft, a hose and a mouthpiece. With the base partially filled with water, the Egyptian Hookah will cool and filer smoke.

The clay bowl is where tobacco shisha is placed and it is made of clay to regulate heat distribution. Usually, it has a hose connecting the mount piece and the stem. It makes drawing smoke easier.

Egyptian Hookah
Egyptian Hookah
  • Material

Egyptian hookahs are made of glass, brass and stainless steel.

  • Flavored Tobacco

Tobacco used is usually mixed with molasses and flavored with various fruits such as watermelon, grape, apple, mint as well as herbs or spices.

Benefits of Egyptian Hookahs

Some of the benefits of Egyptian hookahs include:

  • Social and Cultural Significance

It brings people together to share the smoking session thus creating a communal and relaxed atmosphere.

  • Memorable Smoking Experience

Users feel these hookahs provide one of the best smoking experience. They have a unique design that enables them to provide a smooth, flavorful and enjoyable smoking experience.

  • Durability and Longevity

Egyptian hookahs are made of materials that are sturdy, durable and resistant to rust thus ensuring that they remain in excellent condition for a longer period of time.

  • Easy to Maintain

Egyptian hookahs are made of detachable parts making it easier to clean and replace specific components in case of any damage.

Regular maintenance which include cleaning the bowl, hoses and base, ensures that the hookah performs optimally and extends its lifespan.

Limitations of Egyptian Hookahs

With a wide variety of benefits offered by Egyptian hookahs, it’s also important to consider their limitations as well.

Some of the limitations of Egyptian hookahs include;

Prolonged and regular use of Egyptian hookah smoking is linked to many adverse health effects such as lung diseases, cardiovascular disease, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer.

These adverse effects can be long term or short term effects. Besides, regular hookah smoking can result into nicotine dependency making it challenging to reduce or quit the smoking habits.

It is impossible to eliminate all the risks associated with hookah smoking, but the potential harm can be minimized by:

  • Smoking in moderation by limiting the hookah smoking sessions and avoid frequent hookah smoking.
  • Use disposable mouthpiece for each individual to reduce the risk of sharing germs and diseases.
  • Use high quality tobacco, a brand of tobacco that are less likely to contain impurities or additives.

It is therefore important to make an informed choices and prioritize your wellbeing before engaging hookah smoking.

· Syrian Hookah

It originated from the Middle East and Syria but used in many parts of the world. Some of the key sections include:

  • The base which is a glass container filled with water which act as a filtration system for smoke.
  • Bowl – this is where you place the flavored tobacco.
  • Stem which connects the base to the rest of the hookah.
  • Hose which is always long, decorative and made of leather, fabric or any other materials.
  • Charcoal tray- this is a metal tray that is placed on top of the hookah stem to hold and manage the charcoal.
Syrian Hookah
Syrian Hookah

Benefits of Syrian Hookah

The advantages associated with Syrian hookah include:

  • Artistic and Cultural Value

They are therefore considered pieces of art and cultural heritage that reflects on the craftsmanship and the traditions of Syria.

Note that, these benefits of smoking hookah are subjective and pertain to the cultural and social aspects of enjoying a hookah but there are no health benefits associated to them.

Limitations of Syrian Hookah

These substances are associated with various health effects such as gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, lung disease and heart diseases which can either be a long term effect or short term effect.

Besides, neglecting regular cleaning of the hookah can lead to the build-up of residue that can affect the taste and the hygiene of the subsequent smoking session.

2. Modern Hookahs

They evolved from their traditional origins to incorporate various design and functional features.

They come with wide variety of options such as styles, color, shape, pattern and size that suit your preference and personal styles.

Mordern Hookah
Mordern Hookah

Other additional features associated with modern hookahs include;

  • Modular systems- most modern hookahs feature modular design that allow for easy assembly and customization.
  • Durable and rust-resistant materials i.e. stainless steel.
  • Improved purge valves that are used in clearing smoke from the base.
  • Innovative heating methods such as electronic hookah bowl.
  • Improved portability among others.

Modern hookahs are categorized into various types and they include;

  • Glass Hookah
  • American Hookahs
  • Acrylic Hookah
  • Portable Hookah
  • Mini Hookah
  • Travel Hookah
  • Stainless Steel Hookah
  • Luxury Hookah
  • Rotating Hookah
  • Electronic Hookah
  • Multi-hose Hookah
  • Wooden Hookah
  • Artisanal and Custom Hookah

Glass Hookah

They are made from a high quality, heat resistant and strong glass, although other materials such as ceramics or metals maybe as well be incorporated into the design.

Borosilicate glass remains a popular material for these hookah. Obviously this is due to their resistance to thermal stress. Besides, this material guarantees a long lasting hookah.

They are made up of various components such as; glass base, a bowl for holding tobacco/shisha, removable glass stems with a diffuser, multiple hoses r a hose for inhaling smoke.

Glass Hookah
Glass Hookah

Advantages of Glass Hookahs

Some of the advantages include;

  • They are easy to clean and maintain
  • Provides a clean and a pure smoking experience since glass is non- porous material, it does not absorb odors or residual flavors from previous smoking sessions.
  • Smooth and flavorful smoke- glass does not affect the flavor of tobacco thus ensuring the true taste of tobacco is preserved.
  • Durability and longevity- made from high quality, strong, heat resistant and borosilicate glass which is known for its durability and resistance to thermal stress.
  • Offers a wider range of customization options such as different styles of bowls, hoses and decorative attachments.

Limitations of Glass Hookahs

Glass hookahs have their own set of limitations, although, the limitations do not necessarily apply to all glass hookahs as the quality and features can vary depending on the design, model or specific brand of the hookah.

However, they represent the general concerns associated with glass hookahs.

Some of the limitations associated with glass hookahs include:

  • Fragility- unlike other hookah, glass hookahs are more fragile.
  • They can break or shatter easily if mishandled and dropped.
  • Cost- unlike other hookahs, glass hookah is relatively expensive.
  • Not very portable

American Hookahs

These are smoking devices with a long history in the Middle Eastern and South Asian culture.

It is made up of a central glass or metal water chamber, a clay or metal bowl, a hose or multiple hoses for smoking and a metal stem.


American Hookah
American Hookah

The tobacco used in hookahs is often flavored with herbs, fruits and other aromatic substances.

Benefits of American Hookahs

American hookahs offer a wide range of benefits that contribute to its satisfying and unique smoking. They include:

  • They offer wide variety of sizes, designs and materials thus providing a diverse selection to choose from.
  • Enhanced performance- American hookahs incorporate features such as diffusers which provides a smoother and enjoyable smoking experience.
  • Offer multi- hose options- come with multiple hose ports
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Durable since they are built with study materials

Limitations of American Hookahs

The smoke from the hookahs contain harmful substances that are additive. Besides, they can affect various parts of the body such as lungs causing lung cancer.

Therefore, it is always important to mindful of these health related effects before making an informed decision of smoking hookahs. Responsible usage and awareness of the potential health effects are essential for enjoying hookah in a responsible manner.

Other limitations of American hookah include; nicotine addiction, high quality customized model of American hookahs are relatively expensive, legal and age restrictions in other areas among others.

Acrylic Hookahs

Acrylic hookahs are primarily made from a lightweight and durable plastic material called acrylic.

Benefits of Acrylic Hookahs

Acrylic hookahs offer several advantages which may include;

  • Often less expensive as compared to glass hookahs
  • Offer a wide range of designs, colors and sizes thus offering various customization options for users.
  • Acrylic material used is highly resistant to breakage hence making them less prone to damages.
  • Highly portable
  • Maintenance is relatively simple.

Limitations of Acrylic Hookahs

Some of the drawbacks associated with acrylic hookahs include;

  • Flavor retention and odors from the previous smoking session.
  • Acrylic hookahs are not as heat resistant as glass hookahs
  • More prone to scratches and discoloration as compared to other materials like glass.
  • Frequent use and exposure to heat may result into cracking or breaking of acrylic material.

These limitations may vary depending on the quality of acrylic material used and the specific design f the acrylic hookah.

Acrylic Hookah
Acrylic Hookah

Portable Hookah

You can call them mini hookahs or travel hookahs. These types of hookahs are made from acrylic, brass, aluminum or stainless steel.

They are typically lightweight and compact in nature thus making them easy to transport from one point to the other.

Portable Hookah
Portable Hookah

Benefits of Portable Hookahs

  • Portability- lightweight and easy to transport
  • Convenient to set up and use
  • Versatile in terms of where they can be used.
  • Easy maintenance
  • Affordable
  • Facilitate social interactions and shared experiences.

Limitations of Portable Hookahs

Limited accessories and customization – their smaller size and design limitations may restrict the use of certain accessories or components as compared to larger hookahs.

Also, there provide limited smoke volume.

Stainless Steel Hookahs

They are mainly known for their robust construction and resistance to corrosion and rust. Besides, stainless steel hookahs are less likely to break compared to acrylic or glass hookahs.

However, stainless steel hookah can be heavier than other materials which may affect their portability.

Stainless Steel Hookah
Stainless Steel Hookah

Benefits of stainless steel Hookahs

Some of the benefits of stainless steel hookah include;

  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • Excellent heat management due to their ability to conduct and distribute heat evenly.
  • Durable since stainless steel material offer robust construction and resistance to corrosion and rust.
  • Offer a wide variety of customization options, allowing users to personalize their smoking setup according to their preferences.
  • Flavor preservation- they are known for preserving the flavor of tobacco or herbal molasses being smoked.

Limitations of Stainless Steel

Despite of the numerous advantages, stainless steel hookahs also have few limitations that should be considered.

Stainless steel hookahs are less portable and more tiresome to carry especially when moving the hookah. This is because, the stainless steel material used is heavier compared to other materials such as acrylic and aluminum.

They are relatively expensive.

Unlike glass hookahs, stainless steel hookah lack transparency.

Luxury Hookah

These types of hookahs are designed for people who appreciate luxury. Therefore, they use premium material or exotic material.

Luxury Hookah
Luxury Hookah

Benefits of Luxury Hookah

They offer exceptional smoking experience since they are often incorporate features that optimize smoke density, heat management and flavor preservation.

Premium Accessories; Luxury hookahs are often accompanied by high quality accessories that complement the overall experience I.E. luxury hoses from premium materials like leather.

They are made from high quality materials such as premium grade metals like copper, stainless steel and brass which are not only durable but also contribute to the overall performance of the hookah.

Limitations of Luxury Hookahs

Limitations of luxury hookahs include;

  • Very expensive
  • Fragility: luxury hookahs with delicate parts may be more fragile compared to standard hookahs.
  • Has more complex designs which make assembly, cleaning and disassembly more time-consuming.
  • They are produced limited numbers which can make it challenging to get specific models.
  • Repair and maintenance of luxury hookahs can be more challenging compared to standard hookahs.

Rotating Hookahs

These are hookahs that has a rotating mechanism between the stem and the base.

This rotating mechanism allows the hookah to spin smoothly, providing several benefits and enhancing the smoking experience.

Rotating Hookah
Rotating Hookah

Advantages of Rotating Hookah

Some of the benefits of Rotating hookahs include;

  • Enhanced smoking experience: allows the passage of hose to another person without the need to physically rotate the whole hookah.
  • Durability and maintenance: Rotating hookahs are constructed with quality materials that are highly durable.

Besides, regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary to keep the rotating mechanism functioning smoothly and prevent any debris from interfering with it operation.

  • Additional features: such as multiple hose options or innovative airflow systems as well as integrated LED lighting.

Limitations of Rotating Hookahs

Rotating hookahs has few limitations that users need to consider and they include;

  • Rotating hookah is more expensive as compared to standard hookahs.
  • They have more complex designs as compared to traditional hookahs thus making the assembly, cleaning and disassembly more time consuming.
  • Rotating mechanism can be prone to malfunctions or mechanical failures compared to non-rotating hookahs.
  • Limited availability of Rotating hookahs

Electronic Hookahs

They usually involve the use of battery powered devices to heat up a liquid known as e-liquid which basically made up of a mixture of propylene glycol, flavorings, nicotine and vegetable glycerin.

Electronic Hookahs mainly consist of heating element or atomizer, battery, cartridge or a tank that hold the e-liquid and mouthpiece for inhaling the vapor.

 Electronic Hookah
Electronic Hookah

Benefits of Electronic Hookahs

Electronic hookahs are usually considered to be potentially less harmful alternatives to traditional smoking.

The benefits associated with electronic hookahs include;

  • Reduced exposure to harmful substances since electronic hookahs eliminates the combustion process involved in traditional hookah smoking, which produces toxic chemicals.
  • It comes in a wide range of flavors therefore, allowing users to have a variety of flavor to choose from.
  • Nicotine control- Electronic hookahs offer option to choose e- liquid free of nicotine or liquids with varying nicotine concentrations.
  • Portability and convenience- e- hookahs are small size and can be easily carried in a bag or pocket.

Limitations of Electronic Hookahs

There is still ongoing research on Electronic hookahs to understand the potential health risks such as cardiovascular effects, respiratory defect since it is believed not to be risk-free.

Wooden Hookahs

Are designed primarily from wood or featuring elements of wood.

Wood used can be crafted from other types of wood such as rosewood, bamboo, oak among others.

The wooden materials are usually combined with other materials like glass for stem, hose and bowl or combined with metals.

Wooden Hookah
Wooden Hookah

Benefits of wooden Hookahs

Wooden hookahs have a unique and natural beauty often showcasing the colors of the wood, textures and the natural grains.

Besides, they offer variety of customization options since many wood hookahs feature engravings, hand –carved designs and other artistic embellishments.

Limitations of wooden Hookahs

Wooden hookahs come with some limitations that should be considered:

  • Susceptibility to moisture and heat- exposure to excess moisture or heat can cause damage to the wooden component of the hookah.
  • Limited availability and variety- they are less commonly found as compared to other materials such as glass or metals.

Artisanal and Custom Hookahs

These hookahs are usually made by skilled craftsmen or artisans.

They are specially designed to provide a unique and personalized smoking experience.

Benefits of Artisanal and Custom Hookahs

They provide wide variety of benefits that makes them appealing

  • Offer unique and personalized designs: the ability to customize various aspects of the design such as colors, materials, shapes or engravings which allow for personalized and tailored hookah experience.
  • Exceptional craftsmanship- these hookahs are made in a way that ensure that they not only look visually stunning but also functions flawlessly.
  • High quality materials such as exotic wood, high grade glass and precious metal.
  • Cultural and artistic significance- Artisanal and Custom hookah can be created in a way that displays the artistic expression and cultural heritage.

Limitations of Artisanal and Custom Hookahs

Custom and Artisanal hookahs are produced in small quality thus resulting into limited supply.

They are relatively expensive compared to standard hookahs.

Additionally, Artisanal and Custom hookahs may require specific care and maintenance to preserve their appearance and functionality.

Custom Hookah
Custom Hookah

How to Choose Best Type of Hookah Tobacco


The size of the hookah, the material used, the price, style and the types of tobacco to be used are important aspects to consider when choosing appropriate type of Hookah tobacco.

Price Range and Budget

Prices of different types of hookahs varies greatly depending on the quality, material and the additional features. It is therefore important to come up with a budget and use the range in the budget to explore options.

Style and Design

Hookah types come in many configurations. For example, in case you intend to use the hookah while travelling, you may choose the portable design.

Size of Hookah

Determine if you need a large, more traditional size hookah or a smaller and more portable hookah.

Hookah Material

Different types of hookah are made from varying materials such as:

  • Wood
  • Brass
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Exotic materials

Each of these materials has its own unique feature in term of heat management, durability, weight/portability and maintenance.

Considering these factors will help in making informed choice that suits your personal taste and preference.

Personal Preference

You can choose from traditional, modern to custom hookah.

Therefore, it is important to consider your personal preferences regarding the cultural influence and smoking experiences.

Type of Tobacco to be Used

The type of tobacco you plan to use can affect your choice of hookah

The hookah chosen should suit the type of tobacco you intend to use to ensure a smooth and enjoyable smoking experience.


As you can see, there are many types of hookahs to choose from. In case you need custom made hookah, of hookah packaging machines, we are here to help.

Learn More:

Shisha Tobacco History – Source: Jochamp

Shisha Tobacco Flavors – Source: Jochamp

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