With so many hookah brands out there it can be hard to make the right choice, particularly if you’re completely new to the joys of hookah smoking.
We should probably start off by saying that if you’re looking for an inexpensive model – i.e. those that cost no more than $20 – $30 – yet still want something that can be depended upon and results in an enjoyable experience, check out the most popular options here. You can read hundreds of user reviews of each model.
If you’re more serious about your hookah smoking and are only interested in the best hookah brands, read on. There are only a couple of brands that are worth your time and are loved by connoisseurs all around the world.
Best Hookah Brands
Khalil Mamoon is undoubtedly one of the very top brands for several reasons.
Not only are Khalil Mamoon hookahs handcrafted, but they are also handcrafted individually in Egypt – a country that has a long, rich history with hookah.
If you’ve ever seen a Khalil Mamoon hookah in person it may appear that they have a hand-painted look to them. There’s a good reason for this: all their models are hand-painted to traditional Egyptian styles for unmatched authenticity. The beauty of this is that no two hookahs look identical.
If you’re looking to make a statement, Khalil Mamoon hookahs will allow you to do so. Many of the brand’s models are over 30 inches tall and really do stand out.
Solid as a rock
Upon having fully assembled a Khalil Mamoon it will immediately strike you just how solid it is. This is down to the stems having been made of stainless steel, brass, copper, or even a combination of them.
Due to the having wider gauges, the hookahs smoke a little easier, and perhaps best of all is how you are able to produce huge clouds. In fact, the size of the clouds is something Khalil Mamoon is very well-known for – it is the best hookah brand for thick smoke.
The company’s stems are compatible with a wide range of replacement parts, including bases, hoses and bowls.
Mya Saray is another top hookah brand that has garnered quite a reputation and following for a number of reasons.
Some people would love to own a Khalil Mamoon hookah, but feel that they are a little out of reach in terms of the budget they have set. This is where Mya Saray comes in. The company’s hookahs are inexpensive, with many costing a little over $50 yet are comparable to more expensive options.
It can be challenging to find different sized hookahs from some of the top brands, but this isn’t a concern with Mya. The company manufactures small, portable units, all the way up to 40-inch units. Bases also include crystal, glass, and acrylic options.
Sure, you’re not going to get individually, handcrafted hookahs from Mya, but what you will get is a unit that is highly dependable and offers a consistent draw every time. They won’t rust, are easy to clean, and are backed by generous warranties.
Due to each unit having being designed to be as easy to disassemble and reassemble as easy, it comes as no surprise that it is easy to remove parts and replace them to your liking for a truly unique look and smoking experience.
Hookah Buyers Guide
Different Types of Hookahs
Hookahs come in two different types: modern and traditional.
As the name suggests, traditional hookahs have more of a classic, traditional look to them. They really do look beautiful, are easy to set up and use, can be depended upon, are harder to tip over, and are somewhat easy to customize. However, they tend to be harder to clean, are harder to move, and imperfections are apparent due to their handmade quality.
While there are exceptions, traditional hookahs use a single tube that runs from the top to the bottom of the stem. The purge valve line and hose also feature one tube too. It’s also important to note that traditional models have wider gauges than modern ones. This all results in a hookah that isn’t as restricted and ensures drawing smoke is easier.
Modern hookahs are typically cheaper and have more contemporary or futuristic designs, which may not appeal to everyone.
Due to their bowls having been made of ceramic instead of clay, this results in not quite as an enjoyable smoking experience than traditional models. Ceramic does not conduct heat as well. This also means that coal has to be rearranged more frequently and the tobacco is not burned as thoroughly.
Modern hookahs have been improved upon in recent years. One of these improvements is a better check valve system for multiple hose models. The advantage of this is not having to plug every single hose when they are not in use. Another improvement is how they are screwed on at the vase. This is beneficial because it makes it easier to refill the vase and put it back on with an airtight seal.
Factors to Consider
Don’t think that just because a hookah is taller than another that it will allow you to blow out huge clouds of smoke. This is a common misconception and something you need to be aware of if you are like so many others and want a hookah that is able to generate huge clouds.
The truth is that a 12-inch hookah is similar to a 30 inch model in this aspect. We say similar and not exactly the same because taller models have larger vases and stems that can hold and thus produce more smoke. A very well-designed smaller hookah can outperform a poorly designed taller model, though.
Height is an important consideration for other reasons, though. Ask yourself where you are planning on using the hookah? Will you have the space for a tall model?
For example, if you’re planning to place it on a table, a smaller model is probably best; on the floor, a tall model is the one to go for. Taller hookahs also tend to be more aesthetically pleasing, but they aren’t as portable. So if you’re planning on going camping or using the hookah in other locations besides your home, a smaller model is best.
Single vs Multiple Hose
It’s generally accepted that single hose hookahs are the best, particularly if you want to generate huge, pure clouds. If you’re planning on smoking solo or with another person, there is likely no need to purchase a model that has multiple hoses.
On the other hand, if you’re planning on smoking with a group of friends and would prefer not to share a hose with all of them for hygienic reasons, opt for a multiple hose model. Sure, you can exchange the mouthpiece tip or wipe it down after each use, but it’s an inconvenience that many prefer not to have to go through.
It’s also necessary for every person who is using a hose to plug the tip when not in use, although this isn’t always the case. It gets annoying reminding your friends to keep on doing this, particularly if they are not experienced.
Manufacturers have made strides to make multiple hose hookahs more appealing, though. This includes the addition of rubber stoppers and built-in check valve systems.
Hookahs can be classed into four categories: budget, quality, premium, and exotic.
Budget hookahs are inevitably less expensive than their more expensive counterparts, but this also means that their quality suffers. Construction may not be the best due to the use of lower quality materials to keep the price down.
Quality hookahs tend to cost between $50-$100. They may not look all that different to budget models in terms of their aesthetic quality, but they are better made and can be depended on more.
Premium hookah cost anywhere between $75 and $125. The main difference is arguably their appearance – which tends to be have more of a classic look.
Exotic hookahs are priced over $100. They certainly look the best and it’s easy to see that real care has gone into their design and manufacturing. Higher quality materials are used and they can most definitely be depended upon.
It’s generally accepted that hookahs made of solid brass are the best. They are heavy, solid, and can be depended upon for a lifetime. They also have the benefit of never corroding.
The issue many people have with them, though, is how they require frequent polishing to maintain their shine. Not many people have time or simply would prefer not have to polish their pipe every so often.
For this reason combination models are quite popular – those made of a combination of stainless steel and brass or copper. You need to keep in mind that stainless steel is not always optimal, though. This is because there is a risk of low quality stainless steel being used with electroplating of only the exterior inside of both the interior and exterior. This can lead to corrosion and rusting.