Best hookah: hookah pipe buying guide for 2021

Updated on March 14, 2021

Are you looking to buy your first modern hookah, and it just seems confusing? What makes a good water pipe? We at Icon Hookah are here to inform you of all the key factors to look for when buying your first pipe in 2021 to ensure a good quality smoke and how to get a hookah that will last you a lifetime. Rest assured, stocks everything you'll need to get started in picking your first or next pipe.

What is the hookah made of?

First, we’re going to discuss the materials that a modern pipe will typically be constructed from. The majority of modern style hookahs are made with stainless steel construction. Stainless steel is the best choice because of how easy it is to clean and the durability of the material. A solid stainless steel hookah pipe is made to last many years. In the hookah world, like all others, you get what you pay for. Purchasing a high quality stainless steel will guarantee you’re buying something that will stand the test of time. All of the pipes we carry were chosen with this in mind.

Honey Sigh Urban S Hookah Parts
Honey Sigh Urban S Hookah

What are the key hookah parts?

Next, let's discuss the draw of the pipe. Modern hookahs tend to have a wide open draw. This makes for an effortless pull. The smoke will be able to move faster into your mouth, which means you'll be able to create larger clouds with ease. The downside of this is that you'll be getting less flavor. Don't worry! A benefit of having a wide-open draw is that you can restrict it to your liking with your accessory choices such as your hose and bowl along with your water level and packing method. The higher your water level the more restriction you will create. Having a wide-open draw gives you options that you just can't get from a pipe that is already restricted.

Another thing to note is that the bulk of modern pipes come with a diffuser of some sort, whether it be screw on, attachable, or built into the stem.

Hookah DiffuserAdalya ATH Hookah Diffuser

 What a hookah diffuser does is create many smaller bubbles instead of much fewer larger bubbles in the water. This will make the draw more smooth and quieter. In our opinion, the best diffusers do not restrict the airflow of the downstem while also giving you the benefits of having one.

Purging System of Honey Sigh Urban Hookah
Purge of Honey Sigh Urban Hookah

 The purge of your shisha pipe is another key factor to consider when purchasing it. How easy is it to get rid of the stale smoke in your base and cool off your bowl when it gets hot? Sometimes your bowl will retain too much heat, and if you can release all of the stale smoke in the base quicker, you will put in less effort to clear it. Typically you will find that a good purge will clear the base in as little as one attempt. Some can take as many as three. Hookah is all about enjoyment at the end of the day and why spend time doing something to take away from your enjoyment?

What is the ideal height a hookah should be?

The height of your pipe can be a big factor in which one you choose. Generally, hookahs come in three different sizes: portable/travel, desktop, and full size. Height doesn't make a difference when it comes to the smoking experience, so you should pick a height that caters to your needs. You can get large clouds and a robust flavor from a small-sized pipe just as easily as you can from a large one. 

Best portable hookah

Think of a portable hookah as something like the Aladin MVP360. It's small (36cm in height) and compact enough to take in a backpack or luggage, in case you want to transport it to the beach or a friend's place. MVP360 comes with a full set of accessories, such as silicone hose, hose connector, aluminum mouthpiece, hose spring, spring, a terracotta clay bowl, chimney, hookah tongs, and a built-in adjustable diffuser.

Aladin MVP360 Hookah
Aladin MVP360 Hookah

Best desktop hookahs

 In the small hookah category are pipes such as the Conceptic Design Smart Series, Honey Sigh Hookahs or even the Japona Shuriken Mini. These options are great to place on top of your desk or any small table. They’re short enough that you can easily heat manage your hookah without having to reach so high that you have to stand up. They’re also much lighter than your full-size pipes because of their overall size. 

Honey Sigh Urban SW Hookah Gold
Honey Sigh Urban SW Mini Hookah

Best large Hookahs

Finally, we have your full-size pipes such as Adalya ATH, Japona Shuriken and the Conceptic Design Carbon Hookahs . These models are great for your floor, and we like to think of them as your showpieces. They’re large and in charge and sport beautiful, intricate designs.

Adalya ATH L Steel Hookah

Japona Hookah Shuriken


Something else to consider when purchasing a modern pipe is how much does it break down, store, and take with you in case you need to bring it somewhere or store it away? The majority of modern pipes can be broken down to a much smaller and compact size, which makes for easy cleaning, storage, and portability. The ability to take everything apart and clean it with ease is a great way to keep your pipe in good shape in the long run. Not everyone can display their pipes out in the open, or maybe they just don’t have the space. You’ll be able to keep everything neatly stored in a drawer or even a cabinet. This functionality isn’t something that everyone requires or wants, but it’s a nice choice to have.

Conceptic Design Hookah Bag for Smart HookahFor instance, Conceptic Design Smart mini hookahs come with an additional bag that can be used to carry or store your hookah. 

How much is a hookah?

The last topic we would like to discuss is the price point of modern pipes. What are you willing to pay? What are you getting for your hard-earned money? How much does a hookah cost? Modern hookahs can cost you anywhere from roughly $100 to upwards of $600+. There are many factors to consider, including design, unique functionality, and the quality of materials used. What can be expensive to some might be cheap for others. In the end, it all comes down to getting a hookah that you will enjoy. Find what budget is right for you, and you are bound to find something out there. There is something for everyone, and you should find a mixture of these criteria to decide on the right price range for you. 

Conceptic Design Carbon Fiber Hookah

Where to buy hookah?

When it comes to purchasing a hookah, the best advice would be to shop online. Of course, you can check out your local smoke shops, but usually, hookahs are not a top priority for them, and you'll end up with a poor selection and likely poor quality as well. On the other hand, a specialized online hookah shop can offer a wide selection of hookah pipes for sale, as well as quick delivery and 24/7 customer support.

We at Icon Hookah hope this was helpful, insightful, and fun to read! Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions about the topics discussed or any of the products that we sell, and we will be glad to help!

Alex Leguizamon (thelonesloth)



1 comment


Great read for people who are looking to get into hookah smoking and want to understand how a modern hookah functions!

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