How To: Choose the Right Hookah Bowl Grommet
One of the most important pieces in a hookah set up is also one of the most unassuming: the bowl grommet! Not using one, or using one that fits poorly, can make or break a shisha session and cause all sorts of airflow problems when trying to smoke, which is why we’re here to help you choose the best one for your setup!
There are several different types of hookah bowls on the market, and they in turn can require different bowl grommets, so one of the things you should consider when choosing a bowl is the type of grommet you’ll need to get a proper seal.
What is a hookah bowl grommet?
A hookah bowl grommet (sometimes referred to as a “gasket”) is a small cone shaped piece of rubber or silicone that is used to provide an airtight seal between your hookah stem and your hookah bowl. This small piece prevents air leaks and allows for proper airflow throughout your hookah pipe.
Grommets can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the one that is best suited for you will depend on the hookah bowl that you are using.
Do hookahs come with a bowl grommet?
If you purchased your hookah from us at Hookah-Shisha, then it will absolutely come included with a bowl grommet (as well as all the other necessary grommets)! When we ship out a hookah, we make sure to send the grommets necessary to set it up right out of the box.
If you purchased your hookah from a local store or hookah shop, then it will still likely come with a bowl grommet, however it does somewhat depend on exactly where you purchased your hookah from. There are instances where the shop will not include grommets, however this is typically pretty uncommon.
Note: If purchasing a hookah from a local hookah store, it is always best to ask them what all comes included with the hookah you’re purchasing to find out if any additional pieces are needed.
The included grommets are what we find to work best for the specific hookah ordered. There are times however when the "normal" or "standard" grommet for a specific hookah type doesn't overlap with other bowls. The good news is there are several different types of bowl grommets which can help.
What types of bowl grommets are there?
There are three standard types of bowl grommets that are known as Egyptian bowl grommets, Mod (Modern) bowl grommets, and Mya bowl grommets. Each of these are 1" in height and with an opening diameter of about 3/4".
The main difference between them is 1) how pliable (how stretchy) they are and 2) their thickness. Which type of grommet you need to use depends on what bowl you're wanting to use and with what type of hookah you're wanting to use it with.
All of these types of bowl grommets can be used with hookahs that feature an “inside fitting” bowl port (where the metal part of the stem fits inside the bowl). There are hookahs with “outside fitting” bowl ports, however these are far less common and are typically only compatible with the bowl and grommet that originally came with them.
Egyptian Bowl Grommets
Egyptian bowl grommets are typically used for...you guessed it, Egyptian hookahs (such as Khalil Mamoon hookahs) or other traditional hookah pipes made in the Middle East. These types of hookah pipes are handmade pieces where the stem is one solid piece and typically include a standard Egyptian clay bowl. The bowl port (the part of the hookah where you actually attach your bowl) is roughly 1-1.5" of usable area on these types of hookahs.
The intermediate thickness and rigid structure of Egyptian bowl grommets makes them the ideal fit for a large variety of hookah bowls, not just the standard Egyptian bowls, and will be the most common bowl grommet used with hookahs.
That being said, many hookah bowls are handmade and the size of the opening can vary from bowl to bowl, so you may need something thinner or thicker than the standard Egyptian bowl grommets. This is where the other styles of grommets come in to play.
Mod Bowl Grommets
Mod, or “modern”, bowl grommets are the thickest grommets we offer and are used for bowls with a larger neck opening. With their extra thick walls, these grommets bridge the gap between a bowl stem and bowls with larger diameter openings.
These grommets will typically also work with brands such as the Alpaca Bowl Company hookah bowls (sometimes known as just” Alpaca bowls”) as well as the Retro Harmony hookah bowls and Gambit hookah bowls, especially if their handmade nature causes the opening to be wider than average. Keep in mind though that the exact fitting may vary based on the specific bowl received.
Mya Bowl Grommets
Mya bowl grommets are the thinnest and most pliable bowl grommets we carry, and they come standard with Mya Saray hookahs. These types of bowl grommets work best with bowls that have a smaller opening diameter or if the bowl port on your hookah is fairly wide.
Which bowl grommet should I use on my hookah?
Okay great, we’ve gone over the different types of bowl grommets, but which one should YOU use? Well that really depends on your exact hookah and bowl set up!
If you’re using the original “stock” bowl that originally came with your hookah, then you will likely be able to find the correct grommet based on our descriptions above, however if you’re upgrading or changing the bowl, or already have several bowls on hand, then it might be a bit trickier to figure out which one you need.
The best way to find the right size is to simply test the fit by putting your grommet and bowl on your hookah! By simply putting your bowl grommet on your hookah and then attempting to put the bowl on, you will be able to find out how your grommet fits and what needs to be done to correct the fitting (if anything).
If your bowl seems to sit on the bowl stem just fine but feels loose, a thicker grommet such as the Mod bowl grommet will help. Similarly if your bowl goes on to the stem but slowly slips upwards on the bowl port, or just doesn’t go on at all, consider using a thinner grommet to allow the bowl to sit further down on the stem.
Ideally, the grommet should hold the bowl securely in place, not allowing for too much side to side movement, while also providing firm contact between the rubber and interior walls of the bowl.
Every bowl can be different, and grommet fitting is not always an exact science, so experimenting with the various styles of bowl grommets is the best way to find out which ones work best for your hookah bowls.
Bowl Grommet Tips and Tricks!
While the bowl grommets we talked about above will work in the large majority of situations, as we mentioned grommet fitting is not always an exact science so we’ll provide some helpful tips that we have picked up over the years as professional hookah smokers!
- Buy one (or several) of each type! - Hookah bowl grommets are one of the most inexpensive pieces you can buy for your pipe, so we recommend picking up one or two of each type just to have them on hand if needed. In our personal sessions, we’re always swapping out the bowl grommet based on the bowl we’re using, so having one of each type gives you all the needed options to work with. (And as a side note, having spare grommets on hand is always great since they’re small and easy to lose.)
- The Paper Towel Trick - This is by far the most used grommet trick that we know of and recommend to people. Maybe your bowl, for some reason, just isn’t working with the standard grommet types, maybe you’ve lost your grommet and don’t have a spare, or maybe you just don’t like using grommets at all; either way this trick is for you. Basically, a folded up strip of paper towel can be used to create a “custom” bowl grommet that can be adapted to virtually any bowl situation. You can find an expanded guide on this method by taking a look at our Paper Towel Trick blog.
- Grommet stacking - In rare instances, a bowl might have an opening that doesn’t *quite* fit with any of the grommet options above, but you can actually “stack” grommets on top of each other to create more variations in size! For example, putting an Egyptian grommet underneath a Mya grommet will cause the Mya grommet to “thicken up” a bit if needed. Stacking grommets is a great way to create different thicknesses if your bowl fitting is proving to be problematic.
With how many bowl and hookah combinations there are on the market, finding the perfect bowl grommet fitting can be a somewhat tricky task, however we hope to have provided you with the knowledge you’ll need to choose the appropriate grommet for your home hookah setup!
If at any time you are unclear what type of bowl grommet you need, or need some further clarification on the information in this blog, please don't hesitate to reach out to our friendly customer service team!
We've had our fair share of experience with all types of bowls and hookahs so let us help by passing some of that knowledge unto you. If something doesn't feel right or you've got that one bowl that's so stubborn you rarely use it, just ask us and we’ll be happy to help!
And as always, Happy Smoking!