how to setup hookah for beginers

If you are a beginner and just bought your first hookah and don’t know how to set up a hookah for beginners and start smoking, then this blog post is for you. This article reveals, what are the main hookah parts and their functions, how to set up hookah parts, and how to load up a bowl. Some extra tips are also discussed to make thick, flavorful, and smooth smoke.

Here is the list of some essential hookah parts and their functions

Hookah PartFunction
Ceramic bowlHolds shisha
Metal trayTo catch falling ashes
StemIt connects the base, bowl, tray, and hose
HoseTo draw smoke from the hookah
Hose portIt connects the hose to stem
Glass vaseTo store water
Vase gasketTo connect the vase with a stem
how to setup hookah for beginers

How to set up a hookah for Beginners

To set up the hookah for beginners it is important to know the name and function of every part, this helps if you broke something and need a new part.
Here is a step-by-step guide for setting up a hookah for the first time.

how to make shisha more flavorful

1) Wash and clean the hookah

Cleaning hookah is the foremost step toward having a smooth smoking experience. Clean the hookah with water using a soft, thin brush.

Wash before using it for the first, and whenever it becomes soiled. Reaching the inner longer areas of the hookah will be easier with a long, thin brush.

Wash each hookah part except the hoses; however, if it is labeled waterproof, you can wash it.

2) Fill the hookah base with water

To have a smooth smoking experience, you must know to pour the right amount of water into the hookah base.  

Pour the cold water into the glass base enough to cover 1 inch of the hookah stem. The amount of water added to the base is dependent on the size of the hookah, if you have a small-sized hookah known as a “mini hookah”, you may be able to cover the metal stem by only half an inch. There should be space for air to pass, making it easy to inhale and getting you maximum filtration.

Adding more water to the base will make it harder to draw the smoke and also probably have a risk of running water inside the hose. Pouring less water into the base is a risk of getting little to no filtration which could result in hot and harsh smoke.

3) Place the shaft into the hookah base

Next insert the shaft into the hookah base, so the stem enters the water to carry on the smoke.
Make sure the shaft is air-tight if not this will result in thin smoke. Usually, a rubber piece is used to make a perfect connection between the shaft and the hookah base.
In case, the rubber piece doesn’t fit perfectly, wet it with water or dish soap to lubricate it.

Remember, if you love to make thick clouds, the smoke must not escape at this point of connection. 
This small connection point can make a huge difference if not properly sealed.

4) Attach the metal tray over the shaft

Place the metal tray over the shaft firmly and balance it properly. It is available in different shapes and designs but its main function is to catch the falling ashes and prevent hookah charcoals from falling onto the surrounding.

5) Connect the hoses

The hookah shaft has holes to which hoses are attached. Here are also chances of air leakage, so ensure an air-tight connection. If not so, you will get thin smoke and the entire hookah session will be ruined.

how to setup hookah for beginers

6) Put hookah tobacco into the bowl

Next gather flavored tobacco, a fork, a bowl, and foil. Fill the bowl with hookah tobacco according to your own choice.
 There are various tobacco packing methods like fluffy packing, dense pack method, and semi-dense pack method; each method behaves differently in making smoke.
Try fluff or semi-dense packing so that air flows easily through the hookah tobacco. 

how to setup hookah for beginers

7) Wrap the foil over the bowl

Cut a piece of foil and fold it two times and then wrap it over the bowl. After covering the bowl make holes in the aluminum foil with the help of a toothpick or hookah foil poker. Make about 30 – 40 holes, and keep the holes small, so the ash doesn’t mix with your favorite hookah flavor.

8) Attach the bowl to the hookah stem

After wrapping the bowl with foil, it’s time to attach the bowl to the stem. The probability of air leakage at this point is more; use a piece of rubber to achieve an airtight connection. The air-tight connections can get you thick hookah clouds during the entire hookah session.

how to setup hookah for beginers

9) Lit the 2 or 3 coals

Place the charcoals on an electric burner or electric stove. When they become red hot, hold charcoal with the help of tongs and place them at the edge of the foil. After placing the charcoal, wait two to three minutes to warm up the bowl to get better smoke. 

It is suggested to use natural coconut-shelled charcoal rather than quick light charcoal. The quick light charcoal contains a chemical flammable agent that burns the charcoal with a simple matchstick, but the chemical may add some unpleasant flavor to your shisha.


These are some steps that you should follow to set up a hookah. Wash and clean your hookah regularly to have a smooth smoking experience. Pour clean and cold water into the hookah base for smooth filtration of smoke. If you are a cloud chaser and want to get thick hookah clouds, then make all the connections airtight. 


Do you put water in a hookah?

Water plays a vital role in hookah smoking, the smoke passes through the water making it cool and pleasant. Try not to pour liquids other than water as it can contaminate your hookah if not thoroughly washed out

What happens if you smoke hookah without water?

If water is not added to your hookah, the smoke will not be filtered, this could lead to harsh and hot smoke. Remember! Harsh tobacco smoke is more likely to cause headaches.

How many holes do you poke in a hookah?

 Using a hookah poker or toothpick make 30 to 40 holes through the surface of aluminum foil. If you feel difficult to draw smoke through the hose, then add more holes for smooth airflow. More holes will allow more airflow to the shisha tobacco, but you need to wrap up your bowl with a double layer of aluminum foil as to increase the barrier between charcoals and shisha.     

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