How to Use a Hookah

March 21, 2019 Hookah

How to Use a Hookah

Anyone who is looking at a hookah for the first time will think that it’s out of this world. The intricate design will get you thinking how on earth you will use this thing. However, using this beautiful piece is simple once you get past the complexity. Here’s how to set up your hookah so that you can get comfortable using it.

Step 1: Clean the hookah

The best experience comes from a clean hookah. Pull each piece apart and clean by washing every part with water, except for the hose. Never wet the hose unless the manual said it’s washable. Check if all the parts are fully dry before using. Assemble the pieces together, but put aside the hookah bowl, ashtray, hose, and base.

Step 2: Fill the base with water (and ice)

Pour cold water inside the base/vase until it’s more than half-way full (about 60%). You can add ice cubes for smoother, cooler hits. If you wish to use ice, put water in first to prevent breaking your hookah.

Step 3: Insert the stem to the vase

Carefully twist and push down the stem inside the base of your hookah until it locks. Make sure that it’s airtight. Take a look at the water level. It should cover about an inch of the hookah’s downstem so that water can filter the smoke.

Step 4. Place the ashtray

Carefully inspect your tray to know how to insert it. Different brands have different ways on how to attach the ashtray to the stem.

Step 5. Attach the hose

There’s a metal nozzle opposite the air valve for the hose. Attach the hose and secure the grommet to keep the air from escaping.

Parts of a hookah

Step 6. Check the air valve

Fully close the air valve, and then release it by twisting it open 3 times. You can adjust this according to your preference.

Step 7. Check the air flow

Cover the top of the hookah stem and inhale through the hose. You should get very little air when you drag. If there’s too much air, check the connections and grommets. Make sure all links are tight. You can also adjust the air valve.

Step 8: Pack your hookah bowl

Break up the shisha and remove any stems. Some require the use of scissors to break them down, while others only need a bit of crumbling. Using your hands, sprinkle the shisha inside the hookah bowl in a circular pattern. Concentrate on the edge, careful not to pack or plug the air holes. Fill it up until the shisha is below the brim of the bowl.

Place the high-density aluminum foil on top of the bowl and cover it tightly. Puncture 25-40 holes, depending on the size of your puncture tool and bowl design. Attach it on top of the stem and check for a snug fit before you place coals on top.

Step 9: Light up the coals

You can do this step before you attach the stem to the base. However, if you’re new to using a hookah, better make this the last step so that you won’t have to worry about where to place a lighted coal.

Depending on the coal that you are using, you can use a lighter or your stove. Do not use coals that you use for barbeque. Hookah coals are specially made so that they burn and give off heat efficiently for your shisha. Use tongs to handle your coals to prevent burning yourself. You may want to blow on the ambers

Put the coals on top of the foil. If you’re using natural coals, you need about 2-3. If you have quick lighting coals, a disk is enough. You may need to break the coal depending on the bowl that you are using. Move the coal around to distribute the heat evenly.

Step 10: Enjoy

Drag through the mouthpiece and enjoy your hookah. You can adjust the temperature by adding or removing coals from your hookah bowl.


It takes a bit of practice when you smoke a hookah. Keep in mind the following whenever you use your hookah:

  • It should be clean
  • All connections must be airtight
  • Don’t over pack your hookah bowl
  • Rotate your coals and tap the ash on the ashtray.

If you have questions about how to use a hookah, please don’t hesitate to ask at the comment section.

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