This post was updated on 12/19/2018
In order to have the best smoke each time you set up your hookah it is very important that you put just the right amount of water in your hookah base. Too much water and you will find it difficult to draw on the hookah. You also run the risk of getting water into your hose, or in a worst case scenario, your hookah bowl, which will ruin a good hookah session before it even gets started.
Not enough water in the base and you will get little to no filtration which will result in some of the hottest, harshest vapor you are likely to ever encounter. Don't fret though, determining the correct amount of water to add to your hookah base is very simple.
5 Simple Steps To Determine How Much Water To Add To Your Base
Step 1: Assemble your hookah with no water in the base.
Step 2: Peer through the glass base and notate where the bottom of the downstem is. When you add water to your base you want to make sure that the bottom of the downstem is submerged anywhere between 1-2" into the water. This is the ideal amount of water for maximum filtration without a restricted draw.
Step 3: Remove the stem from the base and add enough water to properly submerge your downstem.
Step 4: Place the hookah stem back into the base and confirm that the water level is correct. If you have added too much or too little water, repeat steps 2 and 3 until it's perfect.
Step 5: Load your favorite flavor, light up some coals, and enjoy a fantastic hookah smoke!
A Few Helpful Tips
Not all hookahs are created equal, specifically when it comes to hookah base sizes and shapes. If you have a painted glass base which is not see-through, or a hookah with a particularly small, or oddly shaped base, these tips may help you out.
Tip # 1: If your base is painted or otherwise prohibits you from seeing inside, hold your hookah stem up next to the base at the same height it would sit naturally. By doing this you can see approximately where the bottom of the downstem will sit, thus allowing you to determine where the water in your base needs to be filled to.
Tip # 2: If you have a hookah with a particularly small base (such as a mini hookah, pumpkin hookah, and the like) there will likely not be enough room in the base for you to fully submerge your downstem underwater by 1-2" as we recommend. In these cases, you can usually get by with as little as 1/2" of the downstem underwater. If you fill the base with more water than that, you will likely end up with a wet hose or some soaked shisha.
Tip # 3: If you have a hookah with a long, slender neck at the top of the base (such as the Sahara Smoke Genie hookahs) be careful not to add too much water as it will restrict air flow and could lead to water getting in your hose or bowl. Make sure there is a gap between the spot where the neck of the base begins to taper and the top of the water in your base. Without sufficient space you will get a poor smoke from your hookah.
Tip # 4 - Once you have your water in the base you can attach your hookah stem to the base, attach your hose to the stem, and plug your bowl on top of the hookah. Give your hose a light inhale to draw air in to the hookah and listen for the water to bubble in the base. If the water bubbles normally and the airflow feels as it should then you are in good shape to go ahead and load your tobacco in the bowl and heat your coals for an awesome session.
We hope this guide will prove useful to you in your search for the perfect hookah smoke!