How does a hookah work?

How Does a Hookah Work?


Learn more about The Hookah and how it works. There are many moving parts to the Hookah and when they all come together you will have the best Hookah smoking experience.

The word hookah may seem puzzling to some if not many. If you have not familiarized yourself with hookahs, check out Zahrah’s wide selection of Hookahs.

The water pipe, shisha, hookah, Nargileh, and hubbly bubbly are some of the many names associated with this smoking apparatus. Many people struggle to understand how a hookah works. Essentially it is a water pipe that draws the smoke from the top bowl, down the stem, through the downstem, into the water where it gets filtered, and out of the hose. Let us take a deep dive down the hookah pipe and figure out how exactly hookah functions to deliver the amazing smoking experience that it does.

There are many components to the Hookah. We will start from the top and make our way down. First things first, arguably the most important part of the hookah itself, is the bowl! This is what you pack the shisha tobacco into, and what essentially produces the smoke for your hookah session. The bowl is packed with whatever flavor you desire, covered with the hookah bowl head, and flaming hot hookah coals are then placed on top of the packed bowl, and the heat supplied from the coals lightly roasts the tobacco inside of the bowl. Now let us follow the smoke generated by the bowl all the way through its course. 

From the top, we then have the Hookah bowl and hookah stem. The stem of the bowl passes the aromatic smoke all the way through the stem (the middle of the hookah right under the bowl and right above the base). At the end of the stem, we find two interesting components of the hookah device: the male end that sticks out is called the release valve, and the female end is a connection port for the hookah hose of your choice. This is the end of the hookah stem. The release valve’s function is to divert smoke away from the stem if the smoke is too hot to enjoy,  or the hit is too harsh. The hose connection pulls the water-filtered smoke from the base into the downstem, into the stem, and lastly into your hose. The stem is the most integral part of the hookah device since it connects all the components together. The stem connects the bowl at the top through the bowl stem, and connects to the base through the stem heart (typically secured through a plunger or screw-on mechanism).

Now that we covered the top half of the hookah let us cover what is below the stem heart: the downstem and base! An extension of the hookah stem, called the downstem, is what touches the water inside of the hookah base. A diffuser is attached to the bottom of the downstem; which pulls the smoke from the top bowl and diffuses the smoke in the water back up to the stem heart and out into your hose. The hookah’s diffuser can also be changed. There are diffusers that silence the diffusion, some that focus on cloud production, and others that focus on flavor extraction. You can find videos that explain the difference between all of the many types of hookah diffusers

Last, but not least, we have the base! The base is usually what stands out the most in any hookah experience. From the outside of the hookah base, you can find many different designs and styles. Different paint jobs or acrylic designs. Different shapes and sizes. You can even get creative with what goes INSIDE the base! Every hookah base holds a certain amount of water that levels out right above the diffuser of the downstem. People interchange the water in the hookah with various types of liquids. Some people use milk, alcohol, or energy drinks in the base. Water is the most typical, but some smokers add ice to the water to help cool down the smoke coming in from the bowl. If you go out to a hookah bar sometimes they insert LED lights into the base to improve the visual experience. Another cool visual hack is using empty alcohol bottles as the base of the hookah. It adds some stylistic flair and proves the versatility of the hookah stem. You can also purchase accessories for your base like a silicone sleeve that protects the bottom of your base from scratches, and keeps it leveled on the surface it is placed on. Check out our unique items that will give a kick to your Hookah Smoking experience.

Now for arguably the most important part of the hookah-smoking experience…the hose! The hose can be the most crucial part of the hookah’s style and function. And there are many different types of hoses! When you purchase a hookah, the hose it usually comes with will last you forever and will work until the end of time. Many hookah companies do not use the standard Hookah Hose and produce hoses from silicon with glass tips. Some of these hoses can even be put into the freezer before your smoke session, so that way when your hookah is ready, you take the hose out of the freezer and enjoy nice cold rips out of the hookah into your hose. There are also hoses with LED lights, different fabrics, and different lengths depending on your smoke session needs! The inhale from the hose delivers the smoke from the bowl all the way down the stem, into the base, up the diffuser, and into your hose for inhalation. If you blow into the hose it will trigger the release valve and smoke will then exit the hookah from the stem heart. This action is used to reduce the heat of your hookah smoke, and clear out old smoke that might have been lingering in the stem or base for too long.

From the bowl all the way down to the base, the hookah’s functionality serves as a water-filtered smoking apparatus. The hookah experience is beyond exceptional, and the setup is versatile to where you will figure out how to set it up the exact way you enjoy it. Whether you are looking to blow smoke rings, puff insane clouds, or just hang out and smoke your stress away, you now have the knowledge to get the ball rolling for your hookah smoke journey! Shop for your favorite hookah sets here.

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