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Hookah Not Pulling? Here's How to Get More Smoke

Hookah Not Pulling? Here's How to Get More Smoke

By Clay / May 25, 2008

This post was updated on 12/18/2018

There are several factors that could cause your hookah to not produce the clouds that you're looking for but the most likely reason is that your hookah may not be air tight.

It is vital for a hookah to have no air leaks to ensure that you are not sucking in empty air. Double check the grommet connections between the:

  • metal shaft / glass base
  • metal shaft / hose(s)
  • metal shaft / clay bowl

Once you’ve checked to ensure that each of your grommet connections are sealed in tightly and that your hookah is air tight overall, you'll want to check the water level in your base.

No matter what type of hookah you are working with you will want to make sure that you have enough water in the base to allow the bottom of the downstem to sit about an 1/2" to once inch below the water line. If there is too much water in the base it will be hard to pull from the hookah and you may inhale water up in to the hose, or if there is not enough water in the base the smoke will be very harsh. 

Another factor that may contribute to your hookah not producing enough smoke is that there is not enough heat on the bowl to properly cook the shisha tobacco. With most standard hookah bowls you will want to use 2 - 3 natural coconut coals positioned around the edges of the hookah bowl, or a single quick lighting coal centered on the bowl. Check out our blog on How to smoke hookah with hookah charcoal and proper heat management for more in depth info on proper heat management.

Finally, make sure that air intakes holes in your hookah bowl aren't clogged and that the tobacco isn't packed too tightly. Depending on what type of bowl you are using it is possible that the shisha tobacco may clog the holes of the hookah bowl preventing airflow, or if the tobacco is packed too tightly the heat may not be able to transfer all the way through to cook all of the tobacco.

For detailed instructions on checking for a leak, see our blog topic on ensuring you have an airtight hookah. Romancing the Smoke: What's leaking?

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