Also known as a narghile, shisha or sheesha, a hookah is a water pipe with a smoke chamber, a bowl, a pipe and a hose. Specially made tobacco is heated, and the smoke passes through water and is then drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece.
The device works by burning charcoal that will then burn a tobacco mixture, as well as heat up the water. The smoke the charcoal generates helps move the tobacco through the water and hose and up to the mouthpiece.
The Hookah Itself
The way the hookah itself is shaped and made can play a key role in the amount of smoke.
Vase: A large hookah vase allows more room between the hose port and the water which prevents the water from getting sucked up into the hose. The shape of the vase doesn’t really change the smoke at all.
Stem: A wider inner diameter stem allows for an easier draw. A taller hookah makes for a harder draw. Finding a balance between the two is essential for a good session. Some people like a tighter draw and some like to feel no resistance. It’s a matter of preference. The only real concern is if a hookah is too short the smoke won’t have time to cool completely and you may get a warmer smoke.
Hose: A long hose has the same effect as a long stem as it would require more energy to get the same amount of smoke. A wider inner diameter makes the draw easier much like the stem as well. Again, it’s a matter of preference.
Also make sure there is not too much water in the base. The air space left in the base (the space not filled with water) is the space that allows the cool smoke to store which is what you smoke at every puff. So filling the base with too much water can result in water getting caught in the hose and if your hose is not washable then it can be ruined.
Bowl: Different bowls have different properties as well. Some are made from different materials that have varying heat retaining and distribution properties that will change how you have to pack your bowl and manage your charcoal. There are different style of bowls as well including classic Egyptian bowls and funnels. Each bowl requires a different packing technique and some are better for different kinds of tobacco than others. Funnel style bowls are known for having an easier draw and being better for wetter tobaccos.