The Starbuzz Made In America Hookah
The Starbuzz MIA hookahs are one of the most popular on the market, and I attribute that slightly to being a Starbuzz product. They feature a nice medium gauge downstem, made of aluminum, meaning that the flavors will come through crisp and clean every time. They're a nice medium height, not sitting too high or too low. They're also serialized, and come with a five year warranty to back them up. So if anything should happen to your Starbuzz hookah, it's covered. However, the gauge won't be right for everyone. They also aren't super pretty stems, and don't really feature any kind of innovation in regard to the design or stem. Rather, they're just a good standard pipe, and they smoke very well because of that. These only come with the stem and tray unfortunately, so you'll need to buy a base, hose, and bowl separately. That said, these hookahs will work with any base, any hose, and of course, any bowl.
Regal hookahs are another American hookah brand, and they feature a beautiful wood design on the stem. They aren't completely wooden, just a nice wood design wrapped around the downstem, which is a wide gauge aluminum. The aluminum, again, means they won't ghost. They come in a few different sizes, so you can pick the height that suits you best. The main draw to these hookahs is the wooden design, which is purely aesthetic, but can be a big difference to many people. The downside to these pipes is that they have one of the widest draws on the market, falling just short of the B2, so it may not be suited to people that like a more restricted draw. These, unfortunately, are not a full package hookah, only coming with the stem, but the newer ones are coming with trays as well. You'll need to buy a base, hose, and bowl separately, but Regals, like the Starbuzz MIA, will work with any hose, base, and bowl.
Shishabucks is a Canadian company that makes beautiful hookahs that offer a unique modern design. They feature one of the most unique designs on the market, made of high quality aluminum (including the downstem). This means you'll have no ghosting throughout your session, keeping the flavors crisp and clean. They have a medium gauged downstem, which is not really restricted in any way, but it also does not have a super wide draw. These are absolutely beautiful pipes, but the modern design absolutely isn't for anyone, especially traditional smokers. They offer two different models, the Cloud One, and the Cloud Mini, so you can choose the height that's right for your personal preference. These come with an almost complete package, with a hose, base (that only works with the Shishabucks hookahs), tray, and stem. The only thing missing is the bowl, which they offer separately. The Cloud hookahs will work with any silicone hose, provided you fit them with the provided grommet that comes with the pipe.
Shika is an Egyptian brand that has been around for a while now, and features a wide variety of traditional style stems. Shika hookahs are made of solid brass, with hand done engravings on the exterior, and a copper downstem that'll make your flavors come through just as crisp and clean as aluminum. Copper does require a bit more maintenance, as it can become oxidized easily. This is easily remedied by running a stem brush through it after smoking, but it may not appeal to the lazier smokers out there. Shika has a wide variety of different models to choose from, so you can pick the one that appeals to you aesthetically and height wise. Regardless of which you pick, you'll be getting a beautiful pipe that smokes great. They have a wider gauge downstem, but not quite as wide as a Regal. They sit somewhere between a Starbuzz MIA and a Regal, in my opinion. Another big plus that they offer is that they come with a full package - stem, bowl, hose, and base. These come in very affordable, at some models even under $100, which makes them a great starter package for a newer smoker, or even just someone who loves how they look and smoke.
Headquarters Hookah is a company based out of Arizona, and is relatively new. Their Prometheus hookahs emerged to the market in mid-2015, and featured a high quality aerospace grade aluminum body and stainless steel downstem. It has a threaded downstem that breaks down for easy transportation and cleaning, but isn't modular. The Prometheus hookahs have a tighter draw than most of the hookahs on the market, but still aren't extremely restricted. Currently, there are two different sizes to choose from - the Prometheus, and the Prometheus Demi, which is slightly shorter. These hookahs really appeal to people who like modern style hookahs, but don't want to lose a totally traditional look. The Prometheus only comes with the Stem and tray, so you'll need to grab a hose, bowl, and base to go along with it.
A household name in the hookah community, Khalil Mamoon is one of the oldest hookah manufacturers, and has a longstanding reputation for having solid pipes with very wide open downstems. KM is one of the oldest, but are they the best? Definitely not. Yes, KM's are still solid hookahs, but anymore they don't stand up to the competition on the table. Even as far as Egyptian pipes go, Shika has maintained a higher quality pipe overall. KM's are stainless steel, which means that they can ghost, and can rust if left in water. They can be cleaned, of course, so the ghosting can be reduced to a minimum. They generally come with a full setup - a hose (unwashable), a bowl (standard Egyptian bowl), and a base. While it is a full package, I would highly advise at least changing out the hose, as an unwashable hose is a good way to ruin your session. KM's were once the king, and offered quality that was unprecedented at the time. However, that quality has remained the same, rather than improving with the rest of the industry. They are still a thriving company though, and still make decent pipes. They have a wide variety to choose from, probably having the widest variety on the market. Are they worth the money though? Maybe five years ago. Anymore, I think any other hookah I've named on the list will smoke better than a standard KM.
The Sahara Smoke Executive Stem
Sahara Smoke is a company that has been around for quite some time. They're well known for having a wide variety of cheaper stems, but last year they came out with a game changer - the Executive stem. The Executive is a machined brass hookah, with absolutely killer looks. It features a medium gauged draw, like that of the Starbuzz MIA hookahs. It's serialized, and comes with a ten year warranty, so regardless of what may happen to it, it's covered. It features deep machine work on the brass that'll really stand the test of time. It's a tad pricier, coming in at $300 with the stem and base, but you can opt for just the stem at $230 and pick a different base if you want. Regardless, you'll still have to grab a hose and bowl to go along with it, so it's not a complete package. Aesthetically, I think this is one of the prettiest stems on the market, and reports have all said that it smokes like a dream. Some people may not care for how this hookah looks, or that it's a traditional brass hookah.
So as you can see, there is a wide variety of different options on the market. As always with hookah, it comes down to personal preference. The best way to you to figure out what kind of hookah is best for you is determining what you like. Do you like a nice wide open, easy draw? Or do you like a restricted draw with full flavor in your face? Aesthetics are important too, as I don't think anyone should buy a hookah they aren't absolutely in love with. Regardless, I hope this helps you in picking the pipe of your dreams, whether you be a newbie or a veteran smoker. As always, thanks for reading, and happy smokes everyone!