HOOKAH MECHANICS 101: HOSES

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As a follow up to our Hookah Fun Facts post, we thought it would fun to write about the actual mechanics of setting up a hookah and smoking it. Why? Because the majority of hookah smokers in the US are recreational smokers, which means that they don’t spend too much time actually setting a hookah up and have had some issues with the whole process at times. Crap smoke clouds, no flavour or too much flavour, and a bowl burning out too quickly are just some of the problems I faced when I was a beginner hookah smoker. So it’s always good to have a guide to the basics, and who wouldn’t want to know more about hookahs?! 
But this isn’t a topic that can be covered in one post. Not if you really want to discuss hookahs. So the Social Smoke Blog is presenting a new series of posts dedicated solely to the mechanics and components of the hookah and of course the tobacco. This week’s post is going to focus on hoses, because I believe they are an often overlooked but very important component to the hookah because They are the pipeline for smoke and flavour. So if you have a crap hose, it doesn’t matter how good of a blend or hookah you are using, the experience is going to be subpar. So it’s important to pay attention to the hose you are using and to make sure you clean it well to avoid flavour ghosting, which is remnants of previous blends used. Something I absolutely can’t stand.
Everyone has a favorite hose they love to use. If you ask ten hookah fanatics what the best hoses to use are, you would get ten different answers. On this post, I’m going to focus on someof the most popular hoses used.

Silicone Hoses:

Pros: don’t degrade quickly, no flavour ghosting when cleaned properly, nice looking

Cons: are more expensive, take time to clean

Silicone hoses are my favorite to use because they help to completely eliminate flavour ghosting. Which is really important when you want to have a good session. They are made of high quality silicone, the likes of which you can find at a hospital. They are pretty cool looking but do require some time to clean. Pricier than more traditional hoses but are less likely to degrade quickly. So I think they are worth the price. You can also get these at any length, diameter, and color. The smoke clouds are good but often the flow through the hose is not as free as hoses like the Social Smoke Pro Hose or the Nammour hose. Overall though, they help to produce a great smoke session.

Basic/Traditional/Egyptian Hoses

Pros: easily found and cheap

Cons: steel inner coil rusts

This was the original hookah hose. These hoses have been used for decades and are often made with inferior quality materials and rust prone inner coils. Many times smokers get little pieces of debris in their mouth when smoking and attribute it to charcoal or tobacco. But its the small particles of rust or buildup inside the hose. There are quality inner coil hoses on the market that are made from good quality materials and non rusting coils. These are usually pretty obvious as their price is higher and the fit and finish is above and beyond.

Washable or ‘Healthy’ Hose:

Pros: cheap, efficient, can be cleaned quickly

Cons: degredation  is quick, tips usually have to replaced, plain looking

These hoses are cheap and efficient, which makes them the most popular hookah hose used. These are the kind you would find at most hookah cafes and bars. They are easy to clean so you aren’t spending a lot of time putting away the hookah. I don’t mind these hoses when I’m out somewhere; but wouldn’t use them on my personal hookah. I just like the performance and look of the silicone hoses better.

Professional Hoses: Social Smoke Pro Hose or Nammour Hose (Many similar hoses are available on the market)

Pros: unrestricted air flow for strong clouds, well known and popular, are available in many sizes, last a while, easy to clean(washable)

Cons: I really don’t think there are any cons with Professional Hoses

These were the original high flow, 100% washable hoses. These style of hoses are probably the best known and most widely used of all hookah hoses. Why? Because you can get them in a variety of shapes and colors, and like the silicone hoses, they last a while and are really good at limiting flavour ghosting. And like the washable hoses, they are easy to clean and put back together. Another advantage vs silicon hoses is that since they feature a hard plastic inner coil the hoses keep their shape better and do not kink like silicone hoses tend to do.
They hold the flavour and smoke really well, and are known for producing awesome clouds. While I like the look and feel of the silicone hoses better, I have always loved pro hoses.

Disposable Hoses

Pros: hygienic

Cons: not pretty, do not flow as high as others, cheap feelings

While not popular for home users, some hookah lounges offer disposable hoses with each hookah service. This is a great idea as lounges offer many flavors and it is very difficult to impossible to have a hose dedicated to each flavor or wash and dry hoses after each session. This is where you would usually experience major flavor ghosting. As an added benefit, using a disposable hose pretty much eliminates the need for a hose tip when smoking alone. A downside to the disposable hose is that they don’t feel upscale or flow as well  as other hose types.

These are just a few of the most popular types of hoses out there. There are literally hundreds of hoses to choose from and in the end it’s always about preference. The most important rules to remember about maintaining your hookah hose is to wash it after every use(when washable)and always check for degradation. I’ve told you my favorite type of hose to use, what’s yours?