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Upgrade Your Hookah (For Cheap!)

Upgrade Your Hookah (For Cheap!)

By katie / September 27, 2012
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You’ve invested, maybe on your first hookah, maybe your second or third, but how can you take it to the next level “for cheap”? 

Some of these suggested upgrades may seem obvious while some may not have crossed your mind. There are various, inexpensive ways to upgrade your hookah experience further. You don’t have to spend a lot to gain a lot with your hookah set-up. By changing out or picking up some simple accessories you can get an entirely new smoking experience without breaking the bank.


Upgrading Your Hookah Hose

This is such an important, easily upgradable hookah accessory. When I first started smoking hookah most of the hookah hoses available were very traditional. You kind of ‘got what you got’ when you bought a hookah, and in the hookah lounges classic hookah hoses were being used. In the past decade or so a new standard was introduced.

Traditional hookah hoses are made by using either leather, vinyl, or similar materials wrapped around an internal metal coil structure. More than often there is a thin plastic lining inside. One could argue a couple of “quick rinses'' are fine with these styles of hookah hoses, but they are not washable. Over time and regular use, the inner metal coil can begin to degrade, shortening the lifespan of the hose. Sometimes even causing issues like corrosion or rust internally

Traditional hookah hoses are not washable

Today most hookah hoses, either included with or purchased separately on their own, are washable. One of the very first suggestions we provide to new hookah owners is to know whether your hookah hose is washable and if it’s not to upgrade it to a washable one! Washable hookah hoses generally have surgical grade silicone tubing combined with a handle and heel piece made from materials like aluminum, wood, resin, steel, or a combination of any of these.

Various washable hookah hoses

Compared to non-washable hookah hoses which typically have a life of 3 - 6 months, washable hookah hoses will have a very long life with proper care. You can find very affordable washable hookah hoses like the Ripper, Galaxy, and Gladiator from Shisha House - which we use on a daily basis here in the office.


Upgrade Your Hookah Bowl

There are a few directions to take here, but in general upgrading your hookah bowl from the one that came with your hookah can make a big difference. The things you should consider are:

    • What types of shisha do you prefer to smoke on a regular basis? Dark leaf or blonde leaf?

    • Are you smoking solo more often, or are you generally using your hookah for gatherings?

    • Do you use heat management devices regularly, or are you a foil user?

As the hookah world has evolved most hookah smokers have moved on to phunnel style bowls or HMD compatible bowls. Phunnel hookah bowls do a much better job of keeping all of that precious, flavored molasses in your bowl getting you the most out of your shisha, especially those extra juicy brands like Trifecta, Fumari, and Fantasia

Various hookah bowls

If you smoke a lot of dark leaf shisha you should definitely consider a phunnel hookah bowl. Dark leaf shisha tends to want a dense packing method for optimum performance, and this is easily more achievable with a phunnel bowl like the Pharaohs Ella. Compare that with blonde leaf shisha which can basically be used in any style of bowl from a traditional Egyptian clay bowl to the Shisha House Mod bowl to silicone bowls and more.

Various hookah bowls

If you’re smoking solo more often then consider using a smaller bowl like the MYA Ceramic Bowl or Pharaohs Colossus. Generally for a solo session, 15 - 25g of shisha gets you about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours of good smoke time. If you’re using your hookah for social engagements a larger bowl can gain you some additional smoking time; with two of the most affordable larger bowls being the Starbuzz Paradigm and the Firefly bowls.

For most bowls these days you can use a HMD no problem, but it’s always good to double check for the combo you want to use Your hookah bowl is the second most important component for a great smoke, and if you’re using one that doesn’t fit your needs you could be wasting dollars on shisha.


Adding a Hookah Diffuser

Various hookah diffusers

One of the least expensive upgrades you can make with your hookah is a hookah diffuser. There are two main purposes for them. The most immediately noticeable is that deep rumble gets A LOT more quiet. This purpose can be a great option for those who are smoking while gaming, watching movies, making music, etc. The second benefit is the higher distribution of smoke bubbles - thus creating a “cleaner” smoke - thus providing much smoother smoke.

This is one of those devices that is so inexpensive enough you should have at least one on hand. Our favorite ones are those made from silicone because they fit pretty much any sized hookah base. The Premium Silicone Hookah Diffuser has been a long time favorite on our team just as well as the AO Silicone Diffuser. One of the firsts to get our attention was the Heba Diffuser, and it comes in two sizes; however these may need a little more attention when fitting them into your hookah base.


Pick Up a Hookah Wind Cover

Various sizes and styles of hookah wind covers

The unsung hero hookah accessories! Wind covers are inexpensive and you definitely should have one on hand. First and most obvious, wind covers help protect your charcoal on top of your bowl from drafts when smoking under a fan or outside. 

Another use for a wind cover is to ‘extend’ the life of your hookah charcoals. When those lit pieces on top of your bowl begin to dwindle down, throw a wind cover on and pull out some additional smoking minutes!


Add a Hookah Cooling Accessory

Hookah ice mouth tips

Maybe you’ve used ice in your base before, but there are additional options to help get that chilling smoke colder. Ice chiller mouth tips, like the Mystique and the AO Bazooka, replace the handle part of most any hookah hose with a removable handle. They are frozen before you load up your next hookah bowl to optimize the coolness of your smoke. Smokezilla has a Hose & Bazooka combo pack if you’re looking to double up your upgrade to your hookah!

MYA Freeze hookah hose

Some hookah hoses have this type of idea, but built into the hose itself. Our favorite for years has been the MYA Freeze Hose. The handle opens up to hold freezable MYA Ice Capsules, which are replaceable,  to cool off your smoke.


Odds & Ends

Various miscellaneous hookah acccessories

We could call these “afterthoughts” but they do help make your hookah experience a lot better, easier and cost effective.

    • Tongs - Most hookahs will come with a basic set of tongs. They’re often pretty small or flimsy, but they’re enough to get you started. Having a nice set of tongs, like the AO Wing Tipped Tongs or a pair of Fan Tongs, will not only last longer but they’ll get a better grip on those hot coals and keep your fingers further away from that heat! 

    • Pokers - When my hookah foil poker goes mysteriously missing from my desk an investigation unfolds! Using toothpicks, thumbtacks, needles, etc. can get the job done…but it’s more clumsy. Pick up a dedicated foil poker like the Aluminum Foil Poker and you’ll quickly understand why!

    • Foil -  Kitchen foil…ok, sure…ripping and tearing and unusable pieces, why bother? Pre-cut foil will save your time and energy (not to mention your foil for cooking). You can get AO Extra Thick PreCut Foil for a heavy duty option, and you can even get a roll of it cut to the right width! Some pre-cut foil also comes pre-punched! Another time saver not having to poke all of those holes. The Amira Pre Punched Foil and Starbuzz Pre Punched foil are the least expensive options.

    • Shisha Storage Containers -   You’ve spent your hard earned money on shisha, don’t let it dry out! Keeping your shisha in something like the Shisha Tobacco Storage Container helps prevent leaking bags, dried out shisha, and makes organizing your shisha collection way easier.

    • Cleaning Supplies - There’s nothing worse for a hookah owner than a dirty hookah that doesn’t let the shisha flavor shine. Prolong the life of your hookah and have a tasty smoke each time by keeping it clean.

      Bling Cleaning Solution is a miracle worker! It’s a non-toxic, alcohol-based cleaning solution that contains micro-abrasive cleaning “crystals” that scrubs water stains and smoke grime from your hookah base. Bling also acts as a disinfectant and deodorizer. It can also be used for your stem.

      Cleaning brushes are also a very inexpensive hookah cleaning tool that makes scrubbing your stem and base way easier for a better, deeper clean. You can find them designed specifically for hookah stems and also hookah bases.

The easiest and cheapest ways to get a hookah a BIG upgrade are with your hose and your bowl. If you are on a budget and just want some quick, cheap upgrade options look into diffusers, wind covers, cooling accessories, and all of the miscellaneous tidbits that make hookah preparation and cleanup a whole lot easier!

Investing into your investment/hobby for just a little more means your hookah will last longer and always gives you the best possible hookah experience.

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