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What Are All the Types of Hookahs?

You might be surprised to learn that there is more than one type of hookah out there. In fact, there are a lot of variations between different hookahs, how they smoke, their origins, and their feelings. 

If you are new to hookah or are an intermediate hookah smoker looking to expand your knowledge, then you’re in the right place. 

Here at MOB hookah, we want to educate and supply the hookah smokers of the modern world, and show that hookah can be a fun and enjoyable experience for tobacco smokers everywhere.

So, let’s take a little dive into the different types of hookahs to help you better understand what the different styles of hookah are, how they perform, and how they differ from each other to offer unique hookah experiences.

What Is Hookah, Anyways?

Hookah is actually the name of the pipe set-up that you smoke from. Shisha is the name for the type of tobacco that you smoke in a hookah, so really, when you are “smoking hookah,” you are smoking shisha out of a hookah.

A hookah is a stemmed pipe that uses burning charcoal to light flavored tobacco and then passes the vaporized smoke through a water basin before delivery through a hose to a smoker. Hookahs can have one hose or multiple hoses so that a hookah can be enjoyed by one person or by a group of people, each with their own hose.

Hookah is thought to have originated in India during the Mughal reign when smoking tobacco was still very much seen as a taboo. Hookah became very popular with the nobility and led to acceptance across india. The hookah then spread from India into the Middle East and North Africa where it remains popular to this day. (Though, the origin of hookah is still debated among some).

While most people today smoke shisha from their hookahs, traditionally, people might have also smoked unflavored tobacco, marijuana, and even opium from hookahs. 

What Are the Different Hookah Styles?

Now that we have covered a tiny bit of the vast and interesting history of hookah, we are ready to dive into the different styles of hookah. There are many styles, some very similar and some quite different from each other.

The differences between hookah styles come from different materials, different amounts of stems, the bowl shape, stem shape, and more. So buckle in, here is the hookah breakdown.

Traditional Hookah Styles

We will start with the origins of hookah. There are three traditional styles of hookah, all from regions that influenced the origins of hookah. The three types of traditional hookahs are Turkish, Syrian, and Egyptian hookahs.

Egyptian Hookahs

Egyptian hookahs are probably the most common of the traditional hookahs. Egyptian hookahs are known for their ornate copper shafts. Egyptian hookahs are also known for their open draw, meaning it is very easy to pull smoke from the hookah, which offers a lot of options to the smoker to adjust how much and little smoke they get in each pull.

Egyptian hookahs are considered the standard of excellence on the hookah market. Egyptian hookahs are some of the best benchmarks for hookahs of all styles, showing the importance of the Egyptian hookah’s influence on all of hookah culture.

Syrian Hookahs

Syrian hookahs are incredibly rare, making them unique and special to hookah enthusiasts. Due to the lasting turmoil ongoing in Syria, the supply of Syrian hookahs has been incredibly low for a long time now. Syrian hookahs are thus incredibly rare, and are sought after by expert hookah smokers all over the world.

Syrian hookahs are wonderfully handcrafted and ornately decorated, making them some of the most beautiful hookahs that are available today. 

Syrian hookahs are most noted for their sophisticated draw. Somewhere between an open and restricted draw, Syrian hookahs offer the most incredible smoking experience, which is why they are so sought after.

Turkish Hookahs

Turkish hookahs have neither the widespread popularity of Egyptian hookahs, nor the rare collectibility of Syrian hookahs. Turkish hookahs instead have a very involved fan base —  consider Turkish hookahs the cult favorite amongst traditional hookah smokers.

Turkish pipes are known for their barebones construction, as well as their intricate designs and engraving. Turkish pipes have a very, very tight draw. But lovers of the Turkish style say they have a very potent flavor due to the tightness of the draw.

Modern Hookah Styles

While the wonderful designs and handcrafted artistry that you get in a traditional hookah is beyond compare, they are not the end all be all of hookah smoking. Since they are handcrafted, they can sometimes be easily blemished or defective upon arrival. A modern hookah, made with more repeatable mass production properties, can provide a more consistent smoking experience. 

There are many different types of modern hookahs; we will give you a brief overview of each one. 

Glass Hookahs

Glass hookahs are so named because they are made of, well, glass. This makes glass hookahs relatively similar to bongs, which are water pipes that are also commonly used for smoking (though usually for marijuana, and smoked directly from the vase versus a hose).  

Glass hookahs may be very cool aesthetically (you can see your draw from start to finish), but it comes at the cost of quality. Glass hookahs tend to have undesirable draws, whether too open or too closed, and also are majoritively made in China, where quality is a concern.

American Hookahs

America is a latecomer to the hookah production market, but in the years since American manufacturers tried their hands at making hookahs, they have become international sensations. 

American hookahs take the best elements of traditional hookahs from around the world and put them together in a mix and match style while using high-quality materials and mass manufacturing to eliminate blemishes and variation.

These hookahs are great additions to your hookah collection, and offer a wide variety of draw openness and functionality.

Many More

There are tons of other modern hookah makers that are also great additions. Russian brands have been hitting the market and finding success, along with German makers. You can also find acrylic hookahs that are cheaper and offer a low-budget option while still retaining some quality.

There are so many options out there, you may start to feel overwhelmed. Remember that any hookah style can be a high-quality hookah option. Just be sure to research any brand you consider and read lots of reviews to make sure that you will be getting a high-quality hookah that can deliver a top-notch smoking experience.

Hookah Styles Conclusions

Hookah is an ancient tradition that has been around for thousands of years. Because of this long and varied tradition, there are a lot of different styles of hookahs out there.

Traditional hookahs are still generally made by hand in the countries where hookah originated. Egyptian hookahs are the benchmark for hookahs everywhere. Syrian hookahs are very rare and offer the most sophisticated draw of hookahs anywhere. Turkish hookahs have a cult following of fans of the tight draw and intense flavors.

Modern hookahs offer a cheaper and more consistent hookah option for smokers. Glass hookahs are a fun conversation piece and American hookahs are the new wunderkind on the market today. You can also find great hookahs from Russia and Germany, and many more.

When choosing the hookah style that is right for you, know that you can’t go wrong. If you do your research and read reviews, you can know that you are getting a hookah that will live up to the standards of what hookah smoking is all about.

We’ve made it easy for you to find cool vases and quality material — shop our collection of high-quality hookahs here



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