Quality - it's something that I've always stressed, because it's arguably one of the most important things to consider when you're thinking about anything in hookah. No matter how well a bowl or hookah is designed, if it isn't well-made, it will fail. And while this concept can apply to most anything in life, it's something that's increasingly more important to talk about in the hookah industry. We live in a world where ChinaHookah can make a rip off of a hookah in less than 24 hours. Is it a good rip off? Absolutely not. Sure, it might be easy to say that it's crap just because it's made in China, but what we really
need to talk about is why
something is poorly made, and more importantly how to tell for yourself if something is of poor quality. Buying quality products will only save you money - making the investment now means that you'll have something that will not only perform, but will also last in the long run. China
Chinese manufacturing has a certain connotation behind it - poor manufacturing. This stigma probably wasn't born from the Hookah industry, however it does show its ugly face in many scenarios in the hookah industry. While this stigma does have some merit to it, it's just as important to remember this: just because something is made in China does not
inherently make it an inferior product. Chinese manufacturing, when done well, can be just as good as American manufacturing. And while yes, it's a wonderful thing when a company decides to manufacture in the U.S., there isn't anything wrong with a company deciding to save some money by outsourcing to China - so long as their quality control is well researched, and the end result isn't less than it could be. Sometimes it can be totally fine for a company to make a more affordable product by outsourcing - it makes the end product more affordable to you, the consumer. Everyone has different feelings towards this on a moral principle - and that's fine. You're completely entitled to those moral feelings - I'm not going to validate, nor invalidate them. My main point here is that a product is not inherently bad because it was made in China. Now, the other side of this coin is that yes, China puts out more garbage than probably anywhere else. The most important thing you need to avoid with Chinese products is buying blatant rip offs. Make sure that what you're buying is legit, and from the source - you want to make sure that you're supporting the people who created whatever it is that you're buying. On top of that, if you're buying a legitimate piece, let's say a hookah, you know that said hookah will be made of whatever materials the manufacturer advertises it as. If you're buying a Chinese knock-off... Well, let's just say it could be like a Russian roulette of hookah. Maybe you get a good knock-off - or maybe you get a piece of garbage that falls apart in a month. It could go either way, and if you ask me - it's not worth the risk. Legitimate Quality
Okay, we've got the knock-offs out of the way. Now we get down to the real meat of the issue: how can we tell if a product has legitimate quality, or not? The number one thing you can do: research. Before you buy, get to know what you're looking at buying. Find out what it's made of, if it's the kind of draw that you'd like - everything. The more you know, the better! Information is free, bad products, are not. This is where reviews come in handy. Find out what people are saying. Do you know someone who has it? Ask them! Have you seen people posting about it in your favorite hookah group? Make a post! Trusted reviewers are another great way to find out more about what you want to know, but I think it's just as important that you watch more than one review. Sure, some reviews can be in-depth and cover everything about a pipe, or a bowl. But, just because one person likes it doesn't mean that it's a good product. Make sure that you're watching a trusted
reviewer, as well. What makes someone a trusted reviewer? Well, there's no real answer to that. The best thing you can do is ask for reviewer recommendations from the community. If the community trusts a reviewer - there's usually a reason for that. Finally - the parts. This is the true test of quality, in anything related to hookah. Find out what kind of metal your stem is made of - stainless steel, aluminum, copper? You're safe. Are the welds clean? Is the machining done well? Is the draw restricted? Is the spire too high on your bowl? Does your hose kink easily? Does your bowl retain heat well? These are all questions that can help you determine whether or not something is quality. But this isn't every question you can ask; not by a long shot. It would be practically impossible for me to list everything, as there are so many variables that go into making a quality product. Ultimately, they all boil down to one basic question: is this something that is going to stand the test of time? If your product is quality - the answer will be yes. The Dangers of Inferior Products
So we've talked about how to find a good product from a bad one, but what happens when you completely ignore me, and waste money on a garbage product? Well, garbage, basically.
These photos come courtesy of DudeWhere'sMyHookah
's Amira hookah. Products with poor paint jobs will start chipping, flaking, and, worse case scenario, they could even get in your hose and mouth. I'm not sure what you guys are into, but I'm not a huge fan of inhaling paint. Maybe I'm weird, but I doubt it. And while sure, not everything will just simply deteriorate over time, some products just simply won't perform as well as their legitimate quality counterparts. Chinese vortex bowls will never out-smoke a Sahara Stone Vortex bowl. Quality will make a huge difference in your session. Overall?
Quality makes a difference, and it can end up making a difference on you wallet too. Hopefully this guide helps you find better luck in choosing your hookah products, and makes the divide between quality and crap a little bit more clear. I've spent a lot of time talking about what garbage is though, and I'd like to leave you with a few quality companies to keep an eye on. HookahJohn has been making some of the best bowls on the market for a decade, and his bowls like the Alien Flashback and 80ft80 are some of my favorites. Alpaca Bowl Company is also one of the best bowl manufacturers around, well known for his famous Predator and Apache bowls. Regal hookah makes some of the most well-manufactured and beautiful hookahs on the American market, and they have been around for several years now. Those are just a few companies that I trust to make quality products time and time again. What about you? Have you experienced those garbage products before? Was your first hookah, like mine, a garbage two hose Chinese piece of crap? Let me know in those comments down below! As always, thank you so much for reading, and happy smokes!