Originally Posted by Sambooka
lol, basically saying, if you have a relatively decent hookah .. you can setup and manage a great session! Your hookah is just one piece of the puzzle. A lot has to do with coal management, foil technique, etc.
Once you get past a certain point height wise, heat ceases to be the issue and the subtleties of the pipe dictate preference. I do agree that having a large downstem isn't really the biggest dictator of draw. Of course if your downstem is the size of a drinking straw this would be the limiting factor, but if you have a good downstem the other factors are going to dictate the draw more. Photolinger said it best when he said that your draw is only going to be as good as your smallest choke point. Hose ports and the hoses themselves seem to have a greater effect on the draw than just the downstem. The part of the construction that I take into account the most more than downstem or hose ports is the purge valve. Common/plated common chambers are just a no go for me because they aren't nearly as functional as a traditional chamber.
For me the biggest factor is the aesthetics of the pipe itself. I don't mind a slightly restricted draw. Since the hookahs I find appealing visually tend to be hand made have similar specs(decent guage and traditional chambers), I feel comfortable buying a hookah based on its visual appeal because who wants an eyesore?