How To Set Up Hookah

If you’re new to smoking hookah, you might be wondering how to set up your hookah pipe correctly and prepare for your smoking session. This large piece of apparatus can be confusing for beginners, but don’t worry, because we’re here to help!

How To Set Up Hookah

In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up your hookah and prepare your hookah tobacco. We’ll tell you everything you need and the different components that make up your hookah pipe.

Before you know it, you’ll be relaxing and smoking your cares away!

Anatomy Of Your Hookah

Before we dive in, let’s go through the different parts that you’ll see on your new hookah pipe.

The components are listed below, from the top of your pipe to the bottom:

  • Clay bowl – Holds your hookah tobacco.
  • Bowl grommet – Maintains an airtight seal on the bowl.
  • Tray – Catches ash.
  • Shaft – Allows smoke to pass from the bowl to the base.
  • Hose grommet – Maintains an airtight seal on the hose.
  • Base grommet – Maintains an airtight seal on the base.
  • Glass base – Holds the smoke.
  • Hose – Draws the smoke from the hookah pipe.

What You Will Need

Here, you’ll see everything you need to start setting up your hookah pipe:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Board
  • Electric burner
  • Foil poker
  • Fork
  • Hookah
  • Hookah bowl
  • Hookah coals
  • Hookah tongs
  • Shisha/hookah tobacco
  • Water

Setting Up Your Hookah

1. Clean Your Hookah

Before using the hookah for the first time and every time it gets dirty, wash it well with water and a soft brush. Before washing any component, disconnect them all.

Assume that the hoses are not water-safe unless differently noted on the label. Before moving on, dry it off with a towel and let it air dry.

Cleaning is recommended after each session, but cleaning is necessary whenever there is residue on the vase or the smoke doesn’t taste good. You can access long parts with the aid of a long, thin brush. 

2. Add Cold Water

This is the large glass container that sits at the hookah’s base. Fill it to the point where the metal stem is covered by at least an inch of liquid.

To thin the smoke and make it easier to pull on the hose, it’s important to leave an air gap. In order to allow for airflow and prevent the hoses from getting wet, you might only be able to cover 1/2 inch of the stem if you have a mini hookah.

You can also add ice if you find that the drawn smoke is too harsh. Keeping the water at a cool temperature will make your smoking session more pleasant, but make sure you adjust the water level to account for the ice.

3. Insert The Hookah Shaft

The shaft should be lowered into the base until the stem is submerged in water. To make the base airtight, there needs to be a silicone or rubber piece that fits around the top.

It will be difficult to pull thin smoke if the fit is not airtight. You can moisten the rubber piece with some water or dish soap to make it fit more easily if you’re having trouble.

4. Connect The Hoses

The slots on the side of the shaft can be used to slot the hoses in. These holes should be an airtight fit, just like the base. Even if you’re smoking alone, you may need to connect all the hoses on some models.

Before connecting, make sure to double-check your water levels. The water could damage your hoses if the water levels are too close to the connections.

5. Check The Air Flow

To prevent air from entering the hookah, place your palm on top of the stem. Inhale through the hose if you can (see also “How To French Inhale“). Check each connection for tight fits and rubber or silicone seals because if you can get any air through it, one of the connections is not airtight.

6. Position Metal Tray

Place the metal tray at the top of the hookah shaft. This is important because the tray will catch any ash, hot embers, or excess tobacco when they fall.

How To Set Up Hookah (1)

7. Heat Three Coals

Place three coals on your electric burner and allow them to heat up. It’s best to use natural hookah charcoal for your hookah because other coals can create a nasty smell and taste when you smoke (see also “How To Get The Weed Smell Out Of Your Car“).

8. Scoop Hookah Tobacco Into The Bowl

Scoop out your hookah tobacco and place it on a board. Here, you can break up the tobacco and remove any leaf veins. The amount you use will depend on the size of your bowl.

Pack the tobacco two to three millimeters under the bowl’s edge, making sure it doesn’t come too close to the foil that you’ll place over it.

Try to pack it loosely to ensure you get plenty of airflow through it; you can even create a funnel through the middle to make sure the airflow is maintained.

9. Prepare The Foil

Tear off a piece of foil from the roll and fold it in half. Then, wrap the foil around the top of the bowl and puncture some small holes in a circular shape with a poker. Finally, attach the bowl to the hookah stem using a rubber grommet to keep it airtight.

10. Check Your Coals

Now it’s time to check on your coals. They will be ready when they are red-hot and glowing. If they are, you can place them around the bowl using hookah tongs, arranging them evenly around the top of the bowl to ensure your tobacco burns slowly.

Final Word

With this guide, you’ll be able to master your hookah pipe setup! You now have everything you need to start smoking hookah, so sit back, relax, and enjoy your smoke.

If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post, ‘How To Put Out A Joint‘.

Zack Finch