How Much Water To Put In Hookah Base? [Everything You MUST KNOW]

How Much Water To Put In Hookah Base? You must be wondering what should be the perfect amount of water I should use in the base!

If you are a newbie and don’t know how much water you should put in a hookah base, you need to read this complete guide till the end.

Before moving ahead, you should check the beginners’ hookah guide to get to know everything about smoking hookah!

A hookah is sometimes called a water pipe because of its process of filtering the smoke through the water.

In a hookah, water is filled in the base or vase of the hookah, in which you will find the hookah stem, usually called the downstem, sitting in the pool of water or any substitute of water you put in the hookah base.

It would help if you thought making a hookah is very simple. Add water to your hookah base, light up the hookah coals, and start smoking. Unfortunately, that’s not how it is, but it’s the other way around.

The total amount of water in your hookah base directly affects your smoking experience and hookah smoke.

Sometimes, new smokers don’t know how much water to put in the hookah, and this is the essential thing to get started with your hookah smoking. But many smokers skip this step and think that a random amount of hookah will do the work.

Using the different types of hookah bases, such as glass bases, is another topic of debate.

So, this is a quick learning guide to know how much water to put in the hookah base.

Let’s start the guide with the most obvious question a newbie could have.

Why is water used in hookah instead of other substitutes?

To answer why water is used in the hookah base in the first place, we need to go back to the 16th century in India, during the reign of the Mughal empire.

Portuguese people were looking to expand their trade globally, and they came up with a product called Brazilian tobacco and found that in India, a massive market for tobacco already existed.

So, the Portuguese exported tobacco through the port cities in the initial days, slowly spreading it throughout the country.

One day, out of nowhere, Mughal Emperor Akbar was given tobacco to consume for the first time, and he liked it. Still, the chief physician of the Emperor, Abul-Faith Galani, was concerned about the health and side effects of tobacco on Akbar.

So, to prevent all the side effects of tobacco, the chief physician invented the water pipe while keeping in mind that all the smoke would filter through the water before inhalation.

But the idea never served its original intent as tobacco never leaves its harmful chemicals in the water by just passing its smoke through it.

However, you can use water to reduce the harshness of tobacco, eventually cooling it down in the water base to enjoy the best smoke.

How much water should I put in the hookah base?

Water is an essential thing when you think about smoking hookah. Without water in your hookah, it is impossible to have a less harmful smoking experience.

Putting adequate water in the base for a great hookah session with your friends at a party is necessary. And it is also required to put enough water in the base to see through all the things floating in your base.

Beginners would get confused while pouring the water into a new hookah base and might get too much water or too little water in the base. So, if you don’t know the exact amount of water to use in the base, I recommend you go through all the sections in this article and see what is mentioned about the water level in the hookah base for a smooth smoking experience.

The following points are the simple procedure of a water level to use in your hookah base.

  • First of all, look closely at your hookah set when water is not inside the base. When making your hookah, this step is necessary; see the bottom of your hookah stem and think about pouring the water before pouring it.
  • Scan your hookah’s glass base and see where the steel of the hookah stops. It is critical to know where the hookah’s stem stops because it will give you an idea while pouring the water into the base where you need to stop pouring the water.
  • This is a typical hookah setup process, and you need to carefully check every step of it to pour the water into the base.
  • It is good to have cold water or slightly chilled water in the base.
  • You need to calculate in your mind, see the hookah stem’s situation in the base, and slowly pour the water until the hookah stem draws into the water about 1 to 2 inches.
  • It would be best if you did not continue pouring the water even after the hookah stem is drawn beyond 2 inches of water level.
  • This is the perfect measurement of water into the hookah base, and you should always measure the water lever by keeping the hookah stem as a reference.
  • So, when it’s time to pour the water into the base, you need to take off the hookah stem from the hookah base and add a sufficient amount of water, as discussed easier in this section.
  • When done, place the stem back into the base, check the water level from the hookah stem’s perspective, and take a rough measurement of the water level in the base.
  • If you find water in the base is a bit more than the required level, you need to remove it slowly because if you remove the excessive amount of water and go below the required level, you will need to add water again.

Will hookah function without water?

You may wonder what happens if there’s no water inside the hookah base. Will I be able to smoke without the water inside the hookah? Let’s find out.

As we know, hookah has different components working in one direction to provide only the best smoking experience to you. Some components are a hookah bowl, hookah hose, hookah pipe, hookah base, stem, etc.

Beginners should only use the best hookah bowls to get the most out of the hookah. Likewise, there are other best hookah components you should check out while making your hookah set.

As we learned the exact amount of water to put in the hookah base, some beginners might have questions if the hookah works without water or not.

You need to notice all the signs of less water or too much water in the base of the hookah to avoid all the bad experiences you could have.

So, let’s start seeing how your hookah would react if there’s too little water or no water.

Having too little water in the hookah base would have a similar reaction from the hookah as there’s no water inside the hookah base.

And the significant symptom of too little water in your hookah base is to have harsh smoke that would burn your throat.

So, when you have a harsh smoke, your first reaction to this smoke may be that your shisha bowl and flavor are burning too hot inside the hookah bowl, or you may also think that it’s time to change the coals.

And when you change your coals and find out that it’s not helping you enough to get a smooth smoke without any hesitation, make sure to check on the primary thing of hookah, water levels.

The water inside the base would not be sufficient to absorb the tobacco’s harshness, so you get uncomfortable while smoking it.

Consider adding more water to the base to make your hookah comfortable with producing good and thicker smoke.

The water inside the base acts as a medium to let the air pass through it, and when it’s too low in the base, you obviously will face problems smoking your hookah.

Check out premium hookahs on Desvall.

What if there’s too much water inside the base?

Now, let’s see the other scenario of adding too much water inside the base and seeing how it reacts. If you are a complete beginner, you need to read this, as it will help you understand different scenarios in the hookah-making process.

When there is more water inside the base than required, the air will be drawn into the hookah harder, and it will have a high resistance to drawing air into the hookah, making it more difficult for you to smoke it.

It also makes it very difficult to make and produce smoke in hookah, and we all are smoking hookah to get a good flavor and tons of thick smoke.

And if you get water into your hookah hose, that’s another sign of having more water inside your hookah base than required, and you should rapidly take action to prevent water from coming into the hookah hose.

There should not be water inside the hookah hose because it makes your hookah smoking experience very bad, and you will not feel comfortable smoking hookah anytime soon.

And if this is happening to you, you need to remove the excess water from your hookah base and adjust it according to the ideal measurements of the water level to make a good hookah that you can smoke peacefully with your friends and family.

In the worst case, you may also get water inside the hookah bowls, which will affect your shisha flavor badly, and you will not be able to continue smoking.

The experience of getting the water inside the hookah bowl is considered one of the worst in hookah history as it ruins all the hookah set up and will not let you smoke from it.

So, you should strictly follow the water level measurements to add water inside the hookah base and have a relaxed and fun hookah session with your friends.

You should not cover your hookah stem with water above the 2 inches of stem in the hookah base. That’s an ideal hookah base water level measurement for a professional hookah setup.

Cold Water Or Hot Water: Which One To Use?

Now that we know how much water we need in a hookah to make a remarkable and unforgettable hookah smoking experience.

But still don’t know which type of water you should use to make an excellent and long-lasting hookah.

Experts believe that to have a great air flow in the water pipes. One will require an essential and convenient water type in the hookah base, cold water.

Water in the hookah base tends to get warmer as time passes due to the hookah coals’ heat and warm smoke from the hookah. So, it is evident that one will require to use cold water.

If you use warm water, it will only get warmer in the hookah base. So there’s no sense in using hot water in the hookah base.

And if you think that freezing water will think down your hookah flavor, and you won’t have access to your fantastic hookah flavor to smoke, you can use slightly chilled water instead of freezing chilled water.

The general rule for the water in the base is to have 1 inch over the downstem, and you are good to smoke. But it will not be the same for all types of hookah available in the market.

There are hundreds of the best hookah brands on the market due to the demand for hookah smoking amongst the younger generations around the globe.

And there are indeed two types of smoking you can do in a hookah; adjusting the water level will allow you to have those different draws from the hookah.

If you like a more wide-open draw, you would need to fill water in more bottom of the stem, and if you are looking to have a restricted draw, it would be necessary to fill the hookah base with water a bit higher than the downstem.

But nothing is certified and justified as a rule to follow; you can do your personalized settings in the hookah base to smoke at your preference. It is because everyone likes to smoke in their way, and after all, it is all about having fun while smoking, so why don’t we adjust the hookah on our terms?


Can I put Vodka in my hookah base?

Alcohol is the most preferred hookah base substitute for many hookah lovers, and Vodka is one of them. As you can make infinite variations with the help of alcohol as a substance to use in the hookah base, people are experimenting with their choice of drinks in the hookah base, replacing the usual cold water. Making tons of combinations for your hookah base is possible as everything will be a convenient option for smokers.

How much water should I put in the hookah base for a pleasant smoking experience?

Setting up a hookah is the easiest thing to do for hookah enthusiasts. Still, if you are starting and don’t know the exact measurement of water in the hookah base on an excellent hookah setup, you can add water to the base and make sure that the water level is just above 1 inch of the downstem. If it’s over the 1 inch of the downstem, you may not get the smoking experience you are looking for.

Why do we use water in the base of hookah?

Hookah produces a warm smoke that contains harmful chemicals and toxic flavors that can harm the human body if consumed directly. To prevent the harshness of the hookah tobacco, water is used as a medium to dilute the power and harshness of the hookah smoke as it travels through the water to your mouth. The idea behind using the water is that water will absorb all the impurities and harshness of the smoke produced from the shisha flavors, hence delivering a better and a bit clean smoke to the smokers.


Water is an essential part of the hookah, and without the water in the base, hookah smoking would not be regular hookah smoking; it would be a different experience.

Experts suggest using water as a medium to dilute all the impurities and harshness of the shisha flavor and use a bit less harmful smoke to have a pleasant smoking experience.

At last, use water above an inch of the downstem to have a great smoking experience from your favorite hookah setup. But you should be cautious while adding water to your hookah base as it will ruin your smoking experience if you add a little more water to your base, and if it’s less, it will also create problems smoking it.

So, use an ideal amount of water in the hookah base and always be hygienic while smoking your shisha with your gang.

Happy smoking.

Our author
Peter Russell

I smoke hookah every day. Like daily with my gang. This is what I love the most when the thick smoke comes out of my mouth, giving me the best feeling in the world. I have been smoking hookah since 2010, and one day, my friend suggested I share my experience with the newbies. So here I am sharing my whole lot of experience of smoking. Use my tips to smoke better and enjoy every day of your life.

Leave a Comment