There has been a long debate about what is the best brand of hookah. It’s not going to be over any time soon and I think it’s about time I throw my hat into the ring. There are so many options out there, how can you possibly choose just one hookah for all time? I think it’s better to choose a best brand of hookahs for each style and even that is tough.
Nour is a Syrian hookah brand that has been a favorite of mine for a long time. Syrian hookahs tend to be medium sized (around 27 inches) and have a good draw that many call restrictive. The draw is great in my book. Just a little resistance to let you feel the pull from the hookah but open enough to let you get a good puff without straining. What makes Nour hookahs special is the design. They are mostly cast brass rather than turned steel and the designs are simple with a classy stoicism.
Khalil Mamoosn, known commonly as KM hookahs, these Egyptian made rigs are considered to be the best hookahs on the market by many. I do not agree but they are definitely the best choice for many people without access to a lot of harder to find brands. I have a KM double trimetal and a KM Halzone. Both smoke wonderfully. KM hookahs are a bit more flashy in design than some other brands and they are constantly pumping out new models to satisfy the increasingly fervent collectors market. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Fast production of new pipes means there is never a shortage of new KMs hitting shelves, so you won’t be left in the cold trying to hunt for a rare pipe, but quick work can lead to some sloppy welds. There are a wide variety of models to choose from with beautiful details and unique design elements but sometimes they discontinue models to make room for something new.
You will pay for these extra touches and the popularity of Khalil Mamoon hookahs is what drives forward their ever expanding library of designs. Recently this has included solid stem hookahs similar to the Syrian hookahs. I have yet to use one of these but I have heard good things.
Mya Saray, Often just called Mya, is a Chinese company that makes a hookah for everyone. They make everything from the tiny QT to the gigantic 40″ Colossus. I own both of those and have worked with a couple rigs in between. The variety of styles draws a lot of people in and they aren’t cheaply made like the vast majority of hookahs coming out of China. These are not the handmade pipes you get from Egypt and Syria. These are factory made, prefab hookahs which can be disassembled and repaired with replacement parts if necessary. You might no get the handmade feel of other hookahs but you get consistency. you don’t have to worry about drippy welds or shoddy work. Each hookah is identical to the next in line and they offer everything from small budget hookahs to the ridiculously expensive “Royal” line that includes hookahs costing thousands of USD.
These are not your common hookahs and they can sometimes be hard to acquire but they are the pride of many traditional smokers. Elmas is the brand to know as they set the standard that many others try to emulate. The prices are a bit high but they have come down as the market demanded Turkish hookahs and more companies were willing to invest in the gamble that these gorgeous and visually arresting hookahs demand. They are still hard to find but worth the effort if you want something truly beautiful and don’t mind the lack of a purge valve.
I know it will seem like a soft ball answer but I truly believe that “the best hookah” is the one you like the most so long as it’s not a piece of junk. Of the brands I’ve mentioned here, I most love my Nour. They are a bit hard to find right now and people know they can charge ridiculous prices for them, so it’s definitely not the best choice for everyone. Hell, it’s a bad choice for anyone other than collectors or people lucky enough to already own them.
Steve Oon January 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm
Thanks for the info.
Let me ask one more question. I have never owened a Hookah and do not wish to spend a bunch of money on my 1st one. Can you recommand a Hooka that would be a good starter for a reasonable amount. Thanks. Be Well Steve O
Kalutikaon January 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm
The Mya Saray QT or Bambino are good starter hookahs. I’m a big fan of the Magdy Zidan hookahs for larger hookahs at reasonable prices.
There is a new brand of hookah named Kaya. It comes from Germany and the reviews on them are just good.
I’ve already bought one of these.
Stevenon August 2, 2012 at 2:48 am
I was wondering what is the best hookah that pulls veryyyyy smooth! I was looking into khalii, sahara smoke, namoora or mya….. I’m willing on spending 100-130$… The best one that pulls verry smooth and a lot of smoke..
Kalutikaon August 2, 2012 at 10:00 am
The amount of smoke really depends on your heat management and tobacco choice more than anything else. If you want a hookah with a wide open draw, I suggest getting a medium sized KM with a Social Smoke Lounge Hose and a Tangiers small funnel bowl. That setup will allow for great airflow.
Smokeringson August 13, 2012 at 8:28 pm
I agree with that assessment kal… Really good setup
This is a video review of a Amy hookah which is competitive to the Khalil Mamoon. also have an unboxing video on my channel.
Thanks for sharing Sean.
G-Reyon June 26, 2014 at 5:43 am
Hello, I would like to get your opinion on Turkish Othmani hookahs. I recently purchased one and I enjoy it a great deal. It came with a traditional Turkish hose, but i’d like to see how you feel it compares to other hookah of similiar price on the market.
Kalutikaon June 29, 2014 at 4:16 pm
I’ve never actually used an Othmani hookah but I’ve heard quite a bit about their construction and it seems quite fine for the price. Definitely a hookah I’d be happy to own.
Rediron October 27, 2014 at 7:31 am
I would like to ask your opinion of the Al-Fakher hookah.
Have you tried to smoke them and what do you think abour them.
They have two vesioner heavy and light which is better, but it will be difficult to answer if you never smoked their hookahs.
Mikeon May 20, 2015 at 12:12 pm
In my opinion, I like glass hookahs the best for a couple reasons. One, they will never rust. Two, the glass material allows for a more pure smoke. Three, the modern, aesthetically pleasing look of glass.
Paul – the facts you have stated about the Mya hookah in your post are incorrect. MYA is a Lebanese company and not Chinese, which has been manufacturing hookahs since 1863. The hookahs are handmade and not produced on a conveyor belt by a machine as you stated. The image accompanying your description is of a MYA Bohemian Cono Vase that is mouth blown/handmade glass. Mya produces its hookhas under the MYA brand name only and we don’t produce any hookahs for any other company. We have over 26 patents, if you would like to get informed about our products or have any questions you can always contact our offices in Virginia, USA.