This time we'll talk about hookah bowls: what are they made of, what types of bowls exist, and what bowl should be used for a certain kind of shisha. Plus, we will give a short explanation of how the smoking experience will change if you pack the same tobacco flavor into different types of bowls.
Bowl is one of the essential components of the shisha pipe, which is positioned at the top of the hookah. That's why it's referred to as hookah head by some people.
Before we continue with the main topic, let's talk about the tobacco heating process. As you might know, before smoking the hookah, we have to warm the bowl up. And it has to be warmed up not only from the top, where we have coals placed on foil or heat management device, but also the side walls of it have to be heated up. That is why, when using foil, we place the coals as close to the edges as possible.
If the heat is distributed evenly, the flavorful and cloudy smoking session is guaranteed (unless you screwed up somewhere else in the process). The way the bowl warms up depends primarily on the material of which it is made, as well as its shape.
The most popular substance used to produce bowls is clay or ceramics. Besides, there are many hookah heads that are made of silicon. Also, you can find ones made of stone, glass, metal, and even wood, but they only represent a small percentage of the market.
Clay is a classic material for manufacturing hookah bowls. It has a porous structure that provides proper absorption and retention of heat: as a result, we get even tobacco heating. It is worth noting that due to the porous structure, unprocessed clay will be absorbing some juice from tobacco during the first couple of times you pack your bowl. As a result of this, the flavor might not be that rich, and also some unnecessary smells may appear.
Clay and ceramics are commonly used terms to describe materials for manufacturing hookah bowls. We want to mention that clay is a type of ceramic, but not all ceramic products are made of clay. Clay is a natural substance that comes from the ground, and ceramics are various materials that harden when heated, including clay.
Ceramic bowls can be either just burnt (for example, Upgrade Form Bowls that are made of earthenware), or covered with glaze. The main advantage of glazed hookah heads is that they do not absorb the syrup. Also, glaze reflects the heat well, which helps to accumulate more heat inside the bowl.
Silicone hookah bowls are relatively new to the market, and hookah enthusiasts use them more and more often. These devices provide great handling of heat, difficult to break, and easy to clean. Silicone itself has low heat conductivity, making these bowls convenient to handle.
Most of the bowls are handmade, although nowadays, you can find 3D printed models on the market. A great example is the Conceptic Design 3D-11 bowl.
Types of hookah bowls
A classic clay bowl usually has thick walls without any coating. The classic form with a rounded bottom is suitable for most tobaccos and as well as methods of packing. Egyptian and Turkish are often referred to as classic bowls.
Classic Turkish Clay Hookah Bowl
Turkish is a classic bowl that originated in Turkey. Original Turkish-made bowls can be identified by large holes and raw unfinished appearance. The holes can be different in size.
High porosity causes the syrup absorbing, and as a result, the taste of the shisha will not be that flavorful for the first couple of sessions. Despite all of this, these are one of the best products out there as they provide proper heat distribution for smooth smoking.
There are many classic bowls on the market that look similar to the original Turkish. Nowadays, traditional bowls come in different shapes, designs, and colors. When buying one, make sure it has got thick walls to provide even heat distribution. Overall, classic clay bowls are the most versatile hookah heads.
Phunnels have become very popular nowadays. As we already know, a classic hookah bowl has several holes at the bottom. Phunnel hookah head only has one large central hole (the funnel) that prevents molasses from leaking into the stem and helps to maintain the flavor for an extended period. These bowls work well for any type of tobacco.
One of the most popular accessories designed for solo and short smoking sessions is the Alien hookah bowl. Aliens are smaller versions of phunnels and have more shallow design, and therefore fit less amount of shisha.
Vortex hookah bowl is an alternative version of the Phunnel and commonly made of clay or silicon. It features a capped spike in the middle that usually has 4-5 holes on the sides.
This structure prevents juice from leaking into the stem. This provides a longer smoking experience as your shisha stays moist and does not burn. You can pack any type of hookah tobacco in those.
Evil or Killer
Evil is a bowl with a flat bottom and thick walls that provide even tobacco heating. As a result, shisha is being entirely heated up and provides stronger smoking session.
Using fruit as the hookah head is a popular way to intensify the flavor. Apples, oranges, grapefruits, watermelons, pineapples are the most often used fruits. Preparing the hookah this way takes a little more work and experience than using a standard bowl. Many hookah bars and lounges offer hookah heads as an upgraded and, therefore, a more pricey option of hookah.
How to choose the best hookah bowl?
Here comes the most important question - how to choose a bowl? Which one is the best? When choosing the right product, you should keep in mind the following characteristics:
- What kind of shisha does this bowl work best for?
- Aesthetic look
- How complicated is it in use
If you have enough knowledge and experience, you can pack any type of shisha in any bowl and still get thick and cloudy smoke. Although, let's talk a little bit about the use of specific types for certain tobaccos.
How does the choice of bowl depending on shisha type?
There are several factors to consider:
1. The amount of juice or syrup in hookah tobacco. Phunnels are indeed the best for moist shisha.
2. Heat resistance of tobacco. Heat-resistant flavors behave well in Evil bowls or glazed bowls, while non-heat-resistant shisha might get burned quickly in those.
3. A method of packing the hookah head. For instance, it wouldn't be easy to pack shisha fluffy in a shallow Alien bowl.
4. The overall expectations of the smoking session.
If you are new to hookah, the best option for you would be the classic Upgrade Form bowl. It is reasonably priced ($20.99) and very easy in use. This model is excellent for both blonde and dark leaf shisha tobacco.