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New here - with TONS of questions about what Hookah to buy....

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Old June 9th, 2008, 11:25 AM
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Default New here - with TONS of questions about what Hookah to buy....

Hey guys,

I am one of those neurotic people who research everything into the ground before I make a decision. If this is too wordy, I understand if you skip the post but if you have time, please offer advice.

So I was recently introduced to the hookah by a friend who took me to a little local hookah bar, and now I want one for home use. It was weird because I just quit smoking cigarettes, then tried the hookah and didn't even miss the nasty cigs. Wish I had found this sooner!

Anyway, I think I have ruled out the Maya, but Maya lovers, feel free to try to convince me otherwise. Mainly it is an authenticity issue - they seem so slick and modern and I love the cases and easy to clean factor, but they are made in China right? I don't boycott Chinese goods even though I have issue with their human rights track record because I guess it would be pretty damn hard, and my hubby and I are school teachers, so not rolling in the dough to buy everything fair trade. Mainly it is that the hookah did not originate from China and I just like the authenticity of a handmade item from a country where the hookah is traditional.

So for now, I think I am looking most closely at either an Egyptian (KM or non-name brand) or a Syrian. So if anyone has an opinions to share on the differences between the Egyptian and Syrian, please enlighten me.

Another thing I would love to hear about are Non-Name-Brand Egyptians. If you have one where did you buy it and how do you like it? I feel like the brand loyalty thing is so American and I am tempted just to buy a non-name brand on purpose to get out of my comfort zone. I think we are pretty obsessed with uniformity and quality control. Of course we all want something quality, but I don't want to assume that something is better just because it is a name brand item, you know? Any thoughts on this, please share...

So back to my hookah search, I think I want a single hose (or maybe double). What are the pros and cons of multiple hoses? I will most likely be smoking either alone, or with 1 to 3 other people maximum. I am almost tempted to stick with one hose, and just get 2 hookahs eventually, so if I had a group of 4 people, we could fire up two and have different flavors etc. When smoking with one person I actually like the passing back and forth aspect - it makes it more chummy somehow! And I would think that extra hose would just be something else to malfunction. So please share your experience, preferences, with the one vs. 2 or more hoses issue.

As far as height, I am thinking 22-30 inches. Not sure why, but the super tall ones seems sort of intimidating to me and I have 3 kids, so I figure it would be more likely to get broken or be difficult to store safely. So my main question is, do the super tall ones really smoke better or is it mainly for looks? Do you think a 22-30" hookah is sufficient to get a quality smoke?

Ice chambers? Yes, no, maybe so? I am totally neutral on this right now. Any converts want to share?

Hoses? From reading here and HD, I am getting the drift that people like to change hoses - so what is your favorite hose and why? Anyone happy with their original hose that came on the hookah? Do the fuzzy ones or the two-tone velvet ones get dirty or fall apart sooner - they seem kind of perishable to me?

Does anyone have concerns about the materials these are made of, from vases to hoses to stems to bowls. I mean is there possibly lead or other heavy metals getting into your system from using these? Not to be Debbie Downer, but I just wanted to ask.

I won't get into shisha yet, because obviously, that would take a dissertation length post, but any advice or experience you want to share on the above questions, please do.

Thanks - Josie
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Old June 9th, 2008, 11:49 AM
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Default Re: New here - with TONS of questions about what Hookah to buy....

I have a syrian hookah and it was a single hose but i love the fact that it has two purge valves that can be turned into hose ports using the little mod on the site i got it from (I don't know if other syrian hookahs work the same way). So basically i have a 1-3 hose hookah and it looks great with nice etchings on the stem. It is also auto seal, meaning you wont have to plug your hose when someone else wants to smoke but you can also remove that function by removing the ball bearing in the ports.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 12:10 PM
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Default Re: New here - with TONS of questions about what Hookah to buy....

boy did you come to the right place. HP members will start guiding you with their experiences and preferences. Then you could search through the product review section, and finally, you can go to the vendors review section.

You will prbably have 2 more responses before I finish typing. Egytian Hookahs are great, name brand in this industry means quality, like MZ or KM. There are no name Egytpians that are good or bad but if you stick with thoise two, you'll be safe. Going on to your other sections, most members here like to upgrade the hose to a Razon since it's wide, gives a nice big draw and is washable. KM also has a great hose with simlar features but isn't "washable". I have to run to work as I could go on for awhile but you did come to the right place and will get your answers shortly.
Good luck
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Old June 9th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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Default Re: New here - with TONS of questions about what Hookah to buy....

I have a few non brand egyptians. I got them because they were full brass traditional chambers. I got them from hookah shops and a middle eastern produce market lol...i dont think id buy a non brand online ever again, only because sites dont know what metal its made of, they never list the weight, they never show what kind of chamber it is, and in general i need to see / feel it in person before i can buy it.

besides KM, if youre on a tighter budget, magdy zidan makes good hookahs (MZ) for a more reasonable price. They are very similar in construction and use practically the same metals.

i'd get any hookah you like, that has a traditional chamber (no open heart). I'd personally stay away from myas.

I would get a washable hose (razan or nammor hose) and a km hose if you like smoking one flavor a lot more than others (not washable so it will flavor stain with that one flavor). the non washable hoses have a metal coil that rusts eventually and pieces of rust will shoot through the hose and into your mouth...

I'd imagine the only heavy metal intake is from the foil, or copper if you happen to buy a copper hookah (which i think is pretty rare). I don't think stainless steel or brass leech. Also it depends on what kind of coals you use, the quicklight coals seem to have more accelerants and anything that ashes yellow has sulphur in it.

Height 22-26 is a good size. people will say size matters but from my personal experiences, my little 15" hookah smokes practically the same as my biggest ones.

I have ice chambers, but the tobacco i smoke is very sensitive to the cold (Tangiers tobacco) so I never really use them. The only way they are effective is if you put salt in them, however the salt will corrode your metal. Even without the salt, its fun once in a while I guess.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: New here - with TONS of questions about what Hookah to buy....

There are many different types of hookahs, check out the online stores. I suggest getting at least one small "travel" hookah. I prefer to light up my "Genie" when I want a smoke at home, and not go out to a lounge.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 12:31 PM
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Default Re: New here - with TONS of questions about what Hookah to buy....

As far as number of hoses goes... I have two hookahs (a rotator and a 3 hose Torrent mod hookah). I like them both and its nice sometimes to have the three hoses so that there isn't so much passing. However, I've had as much as 9 people all smoking off my 1 hose rotator without any problems. As long as everyone is cool and patient it works fine. And I don't have one, but I really want a Namour hose. I replaced the cobra I got with my rotator with a cheaper washable mya hose from hookah-shisha.com. I'd say a washable hose is a good idea.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: New here - with TONS of questions about what Hookah to buy....

I would go with the KM. I think it's called KM "On the Rocks" at pimpyourhookah.com. I think it's about $70.....not too expensive and it's a great pipe that comes with a great hose. you wouldn't have to invest in a better hose like you would with most other hookahs if you really want a good draw.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: New here - with TONS of questions about what Hookah to buy....

Well.... having it narrowed down to a KM, MZ or a quality Syrian, I'd say you couldnt go wrong any which way there. I dont own a KM myself, but Ive seen em...and compared to an MZ....I think they are both on the same level as for quality. as for as those two brands... its pretty much what you think is "sexy" to you.

Non-Brand Egyptians have a wide spectrum of quality levels... but for the most part, they use the same materials and methods of making them...they just have a bit sloppier soldering and usually not as brilliant of a polish job.

Now...as far as Syrians... those have just as much of a quality variance as Egyptians. There are a few that stand out tho. I've been a Syrian guy from the start. What I will tell you is that there are Syrians out there that I feel are the absolute best nargiles in the field. Those type will have the following features:

1. Cast Stem parts.
2. A "Sleeved" stem. This is a stem where the stem that goes down into the water runs all the way up to the bowl seat. 1 continuous section of tubing.
3. A closed heart. Meaning that each port of the hookah is sealed off from the others. There should not be a space in the stem where the smoke goes in and is then shared by hose ports and the purge valve. If you pull the stem off and look where the downstem comes out...and you see 4 holes.... its a dead giveaway that its an "open heart"

Strangely enough... I have yet to see any Syrian glass that is sub par I dont think you have much to worry about there..... some of it is absolutley great.

Now, comparing Egyptians to Syrians as for how they smoke....... theres a slight difference. Egyptian core tubing is generally wider than Syrians...they make a blug,blug.blug sort of sound and the smoke bubbles are a bit bigger due to the size of the tubing. Syrians have a smaller diameter tubing....which makes for a slightly more restricted feel when taking a pull.

One line I really like that is Syrian is the Al Nawras brand...they make a very wide range of styles... but...I prefer to handpick em myself cuz some of em have some gnarly soldering or blemished part.

Egyptians seem to come with longer downstems... so you dont fill the vase up as much...leaving a larger airpace for smoke. Most of the Syrians Ive owned, the waterline is around an inch or so below the neck of the vase.

I prefer a single hose hookah..... I dont even use my multi hosers when company comes over. Personally it wasnt worth the hassle of someone else "checking" the other hose while the other smokes.....and the auto seal feature on my other multihose is really restrictive..... like tryin to smoke through a coffee stir.

I personally like my height to be between 26 and 30". I think it gets things cool enough without the taste dropping off like I have found some of my giants do.

But...like I say... I dont think you can screw up with your line of thinking.
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