Hookah Blog

How To Light Your Hookah Coals

How To Light Your Hookah Coals

1st Jul 2021

Hello Fumari Fans. If you’re new to preparing a hookah at home, knowing how to light hookah coals properly is a fundamental step. Hookah coal is one of the most basic yet necessary ingredients to a good hookah. They’re the heating element that the tobacco needs to cook and produce both clouds and flavor. So let’s go over the two main types of hookah coals along with the different methods on how to light them.

SAFETY FIRST: Before we get into how to light the hookah charcoal we need to go over some important safety recommendations. Because lighting any type of charcoal lets off carbon monoxide, we recommend lighting your coals outside. If you for some reason have to light them inside it’s best to open up any windows possible and always keep the coals away from any pets.


There are two main types of coal for your hookah: quicklight coals and coconut coals. Quicklights light fast due to accelerants added to the outer layer of the coal.  People typically use quicklights when in a pinch because they can easily be lit with a simple lighter.

Coconut coals have become the industry standard and are our main focus for today's blog. These coals are made from ground-up coconut shells and do a world of good for your hookah session. They take longer to light but they are much longer-lasting, produce minimal ash (assuming quality coconut coals are being used), and do not add any taste to your bowl, giving you the cleanest flavor possible when smoking. Coconut coals are great value for the longevity of your session and at most just a few dollars more than quicklight coals.

Hookah Coal Types


The most common way to light coconut coals is with an electric burner. You will want to find a burner that has a coil, such as the Fumari Hookah Coal Burner. This burner has a single coil and is the most efficient way to light your coals. Avoid electric burners that have a flat top as they don’t provide oxygen to the bottom of the coals and do a poor job of lighting the entire coal.

How to light your Hookah Coals using a Coal Burner

If you want to use your home stove it’s highly recommended to only light coals on a stove with coil tops or one that runs off of gas. You will likely need to eventually replace the coils due to damage from the heat of the coals but coil replacements can go for as little as 10-20 dollars and are easy to replace. From previous experience, you will only be replacing the coil after a year or so. With gas stoves, it’s convenient if you have a stainless steel mesh to rest the coals on top as this gives the coals room to properly breathe which helps with lighting times. DO NOT light your coal on an electric stovetop! The coals leave permanent marks and can completely crack the surface of the stove.

Other methods for lighting coals do exist such as over a fire or even an outdoor grill. These are situational options depending on your smoking location but work just fine as long as you are making sure the coal can become entirely lit. You can also purchase a camping burner that runs off of gas. We typically only recommend this as an option if you plan on using it for camping or other outdoor situations. One other option is to use a blow torch but that is more tedious and requires you to hold the torch until the coal is lit.


Quicklights take roughly a minute or so to fully light. Once the coal begins lighting, leave it on the tray until it becomes fully lit (it will become gray with ash and glowing red) then place it on the center of the bowl. If you are using this type of charcoal, make sure it is fully lit before using it as there is an accelerant on these coals that will make them taste much worse and be unsafe to inhale.

For coconut coals, place the coals on your burner of choice and turn on the heat. After 5 or so minutes the coals will need to be flipped over when they become halfway lit. Once they are fully lit you can put them on your bowl and enjoy your session. Again, be sure they are fully lit before you begin smoking. You’ll know they’re fully lit when the coals are fully coated in a light layer of ash and glowing red/orange. The whole lighting process for coconut coals should be somewhere around 8-12 minutes depending on the size of the coal.

How to light your Hookah Coals using a Coal Burner

The reason we emphasize that you wait until your coals are fully lit is that if they are still lighting not only may they not be hot enough to get your bowl started, but you could also be inhaling carbon monoxide. Another important point is to avoid over-lighting your coals. If coals stay on the burner for too long, they will shrink due to excess heat and eventually shorten the wonderful smoking session that you worked hard to prepare.


Properly handling lit coals is an important yet overlooked part of smoking hookah. Be careful with your coals while they are hot as they can ruin your floor, couch, or rug. Ideally, you should opt to put your coals on your bowl over your burner so that there is little room for error while moving your hot coals. If you must transport your coals some distance, make sure to use either a good pair of hookah tongs or a coal carrier. You can also use the tray from your pipe if it is removable.

How to light your Hookah Coals using a Coal Burner

And that’s it! We hope we’ve helped you learn more about hookah coals with this blog. Following and understanding these guidelines is key in ensuring a quality smoking session. For more ways to step up your hookah game, be sure to check out our plentiful catalog of hookah how-tos and guides under Hookah Education! Until next time, keep enjoying those bowls.

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