Hookah Blog

Egyptian Bowls Vs. Phunnel Bowls - Which Is Better?

Egyptian Bowls Vs. Phunnel Bowls - Which Is Better?

28th Mar 2022

Hello #FumariFamily, and welcome back to the blog! Today's topic is another showdown between modern and traditional, but more directly Egyptian Hookah Bowls vs. Phunnel Bowls. Both hookah bowls certainly have their place among a hookah enthusiast’s collection but when looking at them through a magnifying glass, four key criteria's truly set them apart. Which is better for you and your sessions? Let’s find out.

1.) Hookah Bowl Design

Phunnel bowls have one single shaft that is raised up in the center of the bowl allowing for a central point of airflow. Phunnel bowls are also a modern take on hookah smoking, and with that, can even feature lips for HMDs and generally are made wide enough to be the perfect partner for them. This central spire is lower than the rim of the hookah bowl and keeps airflow constantly moving around the bowl and the tobacco. It should be noted that foil drag, or HMD drag, can happen in cases where the manufacturer didn’t leave enough room between the rim and top of the spire which cuts off your airflow entirely.

Egyptian bowls in contrast focus on keeping air flowing through your hookah tobacco. These bowls feature a five-hole pattern on the bottom of the bowl that allows for thorough baking of your shisha. With this type of bowl, you will need to spend extra time ensuring that each hole is open and free from any stray leaves that may have wandered in during the packing process. It is also good practice to push the hookah tobacco away from them as you may begin to clog the holes of the bowl when you start to smoke as the leaves and their juice are pulled downward by your puffs. Given their traditional nature, Egyptian bowls are also not HMD compatible in most cases and must be used with foil solely.

2.) Hookah Bowl Material

With handmade high-quality phunnel bowls, the material used is a thick white clay mixture called stoneware that is designed to trap heat in and cook your hookah tobacco thoroughly from all sides. These bowls range in size but manufacturers follow general dimensions on the diameter and depth. Basically, phunnel bowls are as consistent as a handmade product can be.

Traditional Egyptian bowls are handmade with red clay and vary in consistency due to their mass production and infamous lack of quality control. Holes that are not fully punctured, an uneven rim, and chips upon arrival are all hallmarks of these bowls, though each one of these bowls certainly has a charming character to them. The red clay conducts heat well however and will give you a great session, but you are at the luck of the draw (quite literally) when it comes to finding an Egyptian bowl that is produced without some flaws, it’s the unicorn of hookah bowls if you will. While flaws and overall design may be factors here when determining if you would like one, price is not as you can grab 3 or 4 of these bowls for the price of one high-quality phunnel bowl.

3) Tobacco Types

Egyptian hookah bowls are great options to have for your more traditional blends of hookah tobacco. The airflow focused through the bottom of the bowl is needed for these more dry and sticky traditional tobaccos to give you the best session possible.

On the other hand, a phunnel bowl is ideal for all modern brands of hookah tobacco as these blends are juicy, rather than sticky. The juice that makes up these blends will be captured in the dish of the phunnel rather than escaping down the drain-like design of Egyptian bowls when you start smoking.

4.) Hookah Bowl Smoke Quality

Egyptian bowls are fantastic for burning through all the tobacco you packed due to the heat going through the tobacco itself. You can always expect excellent flavor production and clouds from them at the start. This is can also be their downfall though, as the glycerin used to keep the tobacco leaves from burning runs through the bowl and down your stem rendering your leaves defenseless against the heat being subjected to them. This generally leads to more heat management issues as your session progresses or even a shorter session entirely if you can’t recover from overheating a portion of the bowl.

Phunnel bowls do an outstanding job at making sure your tobacco stays as cool as you. By keeping all the juice focused in one place and using the walls of the bowl to cook the mixture, fluffy clouds and full flavor are just a puff away. These bowls do take more skill to smoke all the way through, however. If you aren't packing your tobacco optimally you may end up only burning through the top layers instead of everything you packed, and no one likes being left with unused hookah tobacco at the end of a session.


Now that you know the ins and outs of these two hookah bowls, which one are you loading on your next session? As always, thank you for tuning in and we’ll see you on the next one Fumari Fam.

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