There are many accessories for a hookah that shisha smokers can choose from. These include heat managers, bases, and hookah bowls. Although it can be overwhelming to see all the bowls out there, especially if this is your first-time hookah smoking or if you have never had to do so before, knowing the differences between the various types of bowls and their materials will help you choose the right hookah bowl to produce thick clouds and smooth flavors.

This comprehensive guide to hookah bowls will take you through all the bowls we have here at Hookah-Shisha. We’ll also discuss the differences and help you choose the right bowl.

Are you new to hookah? Do you need clarification on what a phrase or word means? For a comprehensive list of the most commonly used terminology when discussing hookah New York, visit our hookah glossary.

What is a Hookah Bowl, you ask?

The hookah bowl, also known as a “dish,” is a device that holds hookah tobacco or shisha flavor when it’s smoked. It usually sits at or near the top of the hookah. The flavored tobacco is placed inside the hookah box and covered with aluminum foil or heat management devices (but more later).

After the bowl has been covered with foil and the holes poked for air, the hookah charcoal can be placed directly on top. The coals heat the bowl and the flavored tobacco, creating thick, flavorful smoke, which is then drawn through the hookah with every inhale.

Different types of hookah bowls

We’ve covered the basics of hookah bowls and how they are used. Now let’s look at the various types and differences of hookah cups on the market.

Traditional Bowls

The most popular hookah bowls are the traditional bowls (also known as Egyptian hookah cups). They are inexpensive and easy to replace and come with all hookahs. Traditional bowls are available in 90% of hookah lounges.

The bowl “dish” is characterized by small holes at the bottom where the shisha tobacco is placed on top. Although they are made primarily of clay, they can also be made from silicone or glass.

This design is great for beginners and provides consistent smoking sessions. However, juices and flavoring from modern shisha tobacco can drip down the hookah bowl and into the base. This can reduce the session’s longevity and flavor.

These hookah bowls are great for pairing with dry, traditional shisha brands such as Al Fakher and Nu Tobacco. These brands don’t contain as much juice as modern shisha brands, so they are less likely to leak from traditional hookah bowls.

Phunnel & Vortex Bowls

The next step in the progression of hookah cups will be vortex and phunnel. These accessories have a modern, upgraded design comparable to traditional bowls. This typically results in a significant improvement in the performance of a hookah session.

Vortex and phinel hookah bowls have a raised central “spire” instead of the traditional concave empty bowls. The central spire has airflow holes above rather than below the shisha tobacco. This design prevents shisha tobacco flavoring from getting into the hookah, as with traditional designs. It also helps to ensure a better-tasting and longer-lasting flavor.

Although vortex and phunnel bowls have similar design principles (like the raised spire), some key differences exist. Vortex bowls have 3-4 holes in the side of the raised spire, whereas the phunnel has one large hole at the top. Vortex bowls are more restricted in airflow due to their hole sizes and placements. Phunnel bowls, on the other hand, have more airflow.

You can use a Phunnel or Vortex hookah bowl with any shisha tobacco, whether dry, traditional, or modern shisha.

HMD-Compatible Bowls

In the past 5-10 years, the invention of heat management devices (HMDs) has profoundly impacted the way people smoke a hookah. It has also led to the creation of a new type of hookah bowl.

Heat management devices are hookah accessories that replace aluminum foil bowls. They also provide better flavor and smoke quality. These unique designs required a hookah bowl to hold these devices securely. These are the HMD-compatible hookah cups!

Learn more about HMDs You can find out more about heat management devices in our blog.