Hookah bowls are not created alike. Some are best for certain applications.
There are several factors that come into play when you choose a hookah bowl.
What do we really want from hookah bowl? The answer is long hookah sessions and saving the flavor of the tobacco, so we tested more than 20 bowls and chose only the Best Five.
These rankings are the culmination of our efforts. Enjoy and choose from the best!
The following are our top picks for the best hookah bowls in the market. We have summarized their best qualities in the table below.
Best Hookah Bowls Our Top Picks in 2018
|Model||Average Hookah Session||Material||Size|
|BudPro Phunnel Bowl |
|Up to 2 hours||Silicone||Large|
|Texas Zebra Smoke ||1 hour||Ceramic||Medium|
|New Crown||1.5 hours||Chrome||Large|
|Pharaoh's Hydra||55 minutes||Ceramic||Small|
|Authentic Black Vortex||40 munites||Ceramic||Small|
The BudPro Hookah bowl takes on a funnel bowl design. You tend to get more smoke with each drag. It is also uniquely designed so that the tobacco leaves do not get any direct contact with the charcoal.
Make the right hookah session with this bowl!
This hookah bowl is constructed out of silicone, which makes it durable and allows for better heat control. It comes with vents that you can use to help you control the heat from the coals.
The manufacturer claims that their product is unbreakable but of course you can take that with a grain of salt.
This vortex type hookah bowl is sold in different colors – pink, green, red, blue, and black. This is actually a traditional styled product with a deeper bowl. Note that the product should come with a grommet.
The Feature You Would Appreciate
It keeps the flavor of your hookah up-float so you get more out of it. In some instances, it can even extend your smoking session up to 1.5 hours more.
This hookah bowl will not fit all hookahs but it can fit a lot of brands out there. If it does not fit the hookah you already have then you must use a rubber grommet.
It’s a chrome bowl but unlike other metal bowls this one is designed not to burn your tobacco.
What is the best feature of this bowl?
It features an inverted design (the coals are positioned underneath the tobacco receptacle) so that the tobacco leaves have less contact with the direct heat. The result is a more vaporized smoke.
Pharaoh’s Hydra is a three in one hookah bowl, which is why it is called the “hydra.” It’s a traditional style, vortex, and funnel style hookah all in one. The way this hookah bowl is designed it does not make any flavor ghosting due to the slow burn off it makes.
Simple but Perfect
Another great thing about this the Hydra is the fact that it fits pretty much any hookah you can find in the market.
The way the cone is designed, the bottom fits any size so you won’t need to use any grommet.
It also has pretty good aesthetics. It controls the temperature quite well and it doesn’t get very hot.
Best Hookah Bowl – Buyer’s Guide
There are three basic factors that you should be looking at when you’re in the market for Hookah bowls. You should consider the material the bowl is made of, the shape of the bowl, and also the size of the bowl. These factors come into play depending on your smoking habits and personal preferences.
The first thing you need to consider the size of the Hookah bowl.
There are three sizes to choose from – small, medium, and large bowl sizes. Why consider the size? The size of the bowl determines how long your hookah smoking session will eventually last.
For instance, if you are using a small hookah bowl, then expect your hookah session to last only about half an hour.
On the other hand, a large bowl will extend your hookah session to more than an hour. Medium sized bowls of course last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.
The size of the bowl also affects the type of heat management technique that you will apply. You don’t want your bowl to get too hot or else you end up burning your tobacco. Smaller bowls tend to get hot really fast.
Shape or Style of the Bowl
Another thing that you should consider is the shape of the bowl. Note that hookah bowls can be shallow, deep, thin, and pretty much any artistic shape you can design. The shape of the bowl has a direct impact on how you can use them.
For instance, a thin bowl that is a bit wide allows you to spread the tobacco more evenly.
You will also heat the tobacco really fast due to the fast increase in the bowl’s heat.On the other hand, that would mean that your hookah sessions will be shorter.
If you want your hookah sessions to last longer then what you need is a deeper bowl. This is also the type of bowl you should be using if you prefer to make more smoke.
There are also other benefits to choosing the right style or shape of shisha bowl. Note that some styles tend to be better suited for certain flavors like the vapor paste flavor for instance.
Whatever size or shape of bowl you may think of, remember that the choice of bowl usually just depends on one’s own personal preference.
The following are the most common bowl types that you can find:
- Egyptian shisha bowls (aka the standard hookah bowl)
- Vortex hookah bowls
- Twin, triple, and quad beats
- Dome type shisha bowls
- Funnel bowls
Let’s go over the details of these bowls
Egyptian Shaped Bowls
This is probably the most common hookah bowl shape or style there is. Some people even call them as the traditional shisha bowl. These hookah bowls are made from clay and as the name suggests they originated from Egypt.
Some of the earliest and oldest specimens of hookah bowls are of Egyptian origin. A bowl in Egyptian style clay usually has a total of five holes on its base. These holes are designed for cost effectiveness and improved airflow.
When you buy a new shisha pipe, it will usually come with a traditional Egyptian shaped bowl. Note that bowls of this type are
Egyptian Style Bowl Pros
- They usually come free with new hookah pipes
- This type of bowl is readily available pretty much everywhere
- Low cost
Now for the cons
- Generally lacks aesthetic appeal. They are actually not the best looking hookah bowls
- These bowls are usually handmade so don’t expect the quality of these bowls to be uniform from one product to the next even if they came from the same manufacturer.
- These shisha bowls are not the best option for liquid-based flavors. The juice or some other liquid will tend to trickle down into the water jar.
You can say that the vortex style hookah bowls came out as a response to the obvious downside of traditional Egyptian shaped bowls. As stated earlier, the traditional shisha bowl tends to drip the juices into the hookah jar.
To counter this issue, the makers of vortex shisha bowls added a huge raised center portion to the original bowl. This raised area had holes on the sides. That was actually a unique twist in the design of the original hookah bowl.
Since the middle part of the bowl had the holes on the side, that ensured that the juices that people used no longer trickled down to the jar.You can say that adding that middle stub was a nifty little innovation in the bowl’s design. It allows the flavors to linger and thus improve one’s smoking experience.
Vortex hookah bowls are great for any kind of flavoring. Some of the recommended flavors include vapor pastes like True Cloudz and Hookah Cream). Other flavors you might want to try include juice based molasses and steam stone.
Vortex bowl pros
- It is a good option if you want to try different flavors
- Provides a better and flavorful smoking experience
- Juices do not trickle down to the jar
- It has a rather unique design
- The big downside to this type of shisha bowl is that it can be a bit difficult to clean
- It can be a bit pricey compared to traditional hookah bowls
Funnel Type Bowls
The funnel type hookah bowl is another innovation to try and resolve the issue with traditional hookah bowls. Just like the vortex bowl, this type of shisha bowl also has a raised middle section.
What makes this one different from the vortex type shisha bowl is that instead of having the holes on the sides, this one has a large hole at the top in the middle of the disc shape.
This central hole leads straight down like a funnel, hence the name of this style of shisha bowl. The effect of this type of design is that it the users can draw a lot more smoke than as you would using a traditional or even a vortex bowl. Since more smoke goes into the stem you get a different kind of smoking experience.
So is it better at keeping the juice in the bowl compared to the vortex? Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, experience shows that funnel type bowls are better suited for flavors that have little juice or even none at all. A lot of people prefer to use funnel bowls for the intense smoking experience rather than keeping the juices out of the jar.
Funnel Bowl Pros
- This type of hookah bowl works well with many different flavors
- You can buy it in a lot of different designs
- It has good aesthetic appeal
- You drag more smoke with each puff, which is kind of exhilirating
Now for the cons
- These hookah bowls tend to be pricier than other types of shisha bowls out there
- They’re better suited for shisha flavors that only have little juice or maybe no juice at all
Dome Style Hookah Bowl
Dome-shaped bowls are so named because of the dome shape that is pushing outwards in the center of the bowl. That is unlike the other types or styles of hookah bowls we have discussed so far which are flat.
So, why would you want to add a dome in the middle of a shisha bowl? The answer is that the dome is designed to minimize the amount of flavor that you will be consuming. That means this is a great option for shisha flavors that doesn’t require you to pack a lot of stuff in the bowl.
Experience has it that hookah bowls of this type are best suited for molasses based shisha flavors. They also work well for vapor based flavors or any other shisha flavor that doesn’t require a lot of juices. It is unfortunate that this type of hookah bowl is not suited for steam stones.
Dome style bowl pros
- Saves you a lot of shisha flavors since you don’t have to use as much for each smoking session
- Good alternative to traditional Egyptian style hookah bowls
- Low cost – not as expensive as other types of shisha bowls
- Since you can’t pack enough shisha flavor into the bowl, they’re not that good for steam stone based flavors
- These bowls are handmade so the quality isn’t uniform across products
Multi-Head Style Bowls
Multiple head style bowls are sometimes referred to as novelty style shisha bowls. You’ll find them in different configurations such as twin head, triple head, and quad head types.
So, why have more than one head on your hookah bowl? The idea is simple – that is to have more than one flavor for each smoking session. That isn’t so bad, isn’t it? It will surely add a certain kick to whatever it was you were smoking previously.
Some people describe the experience as a custom cocktail of smoke flavors. Since you have more than one head then you can control how much of each flavoring you will use for each head.
You can use your own creativity to mix and match flavors. Add more of one flavor and then increase the heat on that head to make it stronger and then reduce the amount in the other head to put that flavor in the background as it were.
It should also be noted here that hookah bowls of this type are also Egyptian made and designed. Even though they look very much like novelty or specialty items, they don’t cost that much compared to traditional hookah bowls.
Multiple head shisha bowl pros
- These multi head bowls can be available with each new hookah pipe
- Low cost
- Readily available
- These bowls are usually handmade so the quality across different products isn’t uniform – some will be better than others even if they come from the same manufacturer
- They’re not the best looking shisha bowl out there
- Liquid or juice based flavors will tend flow into the hookah jar
Hookah Bowl Material
Another thing that you should consider when you’re out shopping for hookah bowls is the material in which they are made. The material type has an effect on the flavor that you will get out of your tobacco. The available materials out there include metal, glass, ceramic, and of course clay.
Glazed vs. Unglazed Clay Hookah Bowls
Clay bowls are the most popular form of shisha bowls in the market. Clay actually does a pretty good job at keeping the heat contained inside. That means you also need fewer coals.
Most of the real clay bowls are hand-made using pottery wheels the traditional way. That’s how the traditional Egyptian hookah bowls are made. You may have heard of Tangiers bowls and think that they’re traditional too but do note that these are made in the United States but they too have been handcrafted by artisans as well.
Here’s the next big question:
Now here’s another thing that you should factor into your choice of hookah bowl: do you get a glazed bowl or an unglazed one? We’ll go over the details in the discussion below.
- Unglazed Hookah Bowls
Hookah bowls are usually made out of clay. Note however that some bowls are made from other materials like metal. When the clay is cooked it usually remains in its porous state.That is basically your unglazed hookah bowl. Note that this is the hookah bowl in its raw form – that means there are no colors applied on these shisha bowls.
Since there are micro-pores in the bowls themselves, any form of liquid tends to seep into it. So, expect water, oils, or any other liquid you put into the bowl to seep in. That means if you use a flavor that has a lot of liquid or juice in it then expect the juice to get sucked into the bowl.
What’s the effect of that you will get out of that? It will leave an aftertaste. Now, not everyone will like that residual flavor. Well, some do but others don’t. Some even say that it is an acquired taste.
If you have a favorite flavor and that particular flavor is one that you usually stick with then you may want to get an unglazed hookah bowl. The residue of the flavor will remain with that type of bowl and you can consider it as a specialty bowl that will only be used in tandem with your particular favorite flavor.
So, what’s a glazed hookah bowl? Most of the hookah bowls that are made of clay will be glazed.That automatically makes them non-porous since the glaze will act as a non-permeable membrane. It basically seals the clay to stop flavors and juices from seeping in.
Note that most vortex bowls are actually made of ceramic and not clay. As you might have guessed, ceramic bowls may be a bit expensive compared to clay bowls.
Ceramic bowls also tend to be more consistently shaped compared to clay hookah bowls. Remember that these bowls are not handcrafted. The downside here is that ceramic bowls aren’t as good at keeping the heat in. in that aspect, clay shisha bowls tend to be superior.
Another downside is the fact that ceramic bowls tend to break easier than clay. If you prefer ceramic bowls over the traditional clay made shisha bowls then check out the MyaSaray line of products, which can give you plenty of options.
Hookah bowls of this type are usually made of steel. Their big advantage over all other types of shisha bowls is the fact that they don’t break. Steel hookah bowls are usually meant for traveling in case you want to bring your hookah whenever you travel.
Now, even though they are tougher than all the other materials used for making hookah bowls, they do have an inherent downside. They tend to heat up much faster than other material types.
You need to keep an eye on the amount of coals you use and the heat that they produce. You may have to add or take away coals from time to time when you use these shisha bowls.
There are two types of glass hookah bowls – molded and hand blown. The molded glass hookah bowls are cheaper but they are easier to break and have poorer heat retention compared to hand-blown bowls.
Hand blown glass hookah bowls on the other hand are of better quality. They are also sold in a variety of styles. Note that glass shisha bowls tend to heat up much faster compared to clay bowls.
But these bowls tend to look so much better. You just have to monitor the heat or else the tobacco leaves and your flavoring will end up burned.
Now that you have seen our top 5 picks, you should remember to choose the right hookah bowl that suits your smoking preferences. You can even pick several hookah bowls depending on the type of flavoring you want to use. The bottom line here is that the kind of hookah bowl you select will depend on the particular smoking session you would like to have.