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Purchase Advice - Hookah Charcoal

The problem of choosing the right hookah charcoal


When smoking hookahs, two types of hookah coal are used: quick lighting coal and natural coal. Both types of coal are mostly made from bamboo or coconut fibers. Nevertheless, these two species also have different characteristics. Many smokers favour quick lighting hookah charcoal because it is cheap, easy to ignite and uncomplicated to handle, while others prefer natural charcoal that takes longer to glow properly, but glows longer, with greater heat and has a higher flavor neutrality.
To find out which carbon might be the right choice for you as a customer, read the following information as it may help you with your choice.


Quick lighting coal vs. natural coal


Natural coal:

Natural charcoal consists of 100 percent natural components. These are increasingly obtained from bamboo or fibers of the coconut shell. Coconut shells are a waste product of the coconut industry. They are used, inter alia, in Southeast Asia and thus represent an environmentally friendly resource processing.
Bamboo is a very fast growing plant compared to other types of wood. In order to win hookah coal from bamboo, no valuable trees must be felled, as would be the case for example for lump charcoal.
Natural coal is often available in 1 - 3 kg packs. The coal pieces are usually cube-shaped, but can also have other designs. Thus, e.g. three rounded coal pieces of Al Duchan charcoal form a round, a puck-like structure.
Natural carbon has an extremely long burning time of approx. 60 - 90 minutes and is therefore suitable for longer smoke rounds.
The heating of natural coal is somewhat difficult. Depending on the tool, the briquettes may take about 10 to 20 minutes to be fully heated.
They develop in the annealed condition a strong heat. This makes them ideal for heat management systems such as Kaya Shisha's "The Block" or the Kaloud Lotus.

Quick lighting coal:

Quick lighting coal, like natural coal, can be obtained from coconut shells or bamboo, since these materials are particularly tasteless and odorless. Often, however, they are made from pressed coal dust. Which product is based on which base material depends on the respective manufacturer. Highly flammable additives such as black powder are added to the coal pieces to achieve greater flammability. For this reason, a commercial lighter or even a candle suffices to initiate the burning process. This type of coal is ideal when no electric coal lighter or gas burner is available.
Due to their additives, the shisha coals can give off an artificial taste to the smoke when smoking hookah. Furthermore, sparks occur during the firing process and the pieces of coal can easily break apart. Often these fractures can not be detected before lighting the coal rings. For this reason, we recommend the use of a coal basket to prevent burns and fire damage.
The burning time of the quick lighting coal is
with only 30 - 45 minutes rather low compared to natural coal; However, they are a fast alternative and are very well suited for spontaneous smoke rounds and on the go.
The coal pieces are usually round (either puck or ring shaped). They are available in various diameters and are often sold in packs of 10 or 100 pcs.


Pros and cons at a glance:

Natural coal Quick lighting coal
Taste/ Smell
tasteless, mostly odorless may give off an artificial aftertaste, medium to strong odor buildup during lighting
Ignition time
using a coal heater between 8-10 Minuten using a lighter between 6-20 seconds
Max. burning time
ca. 60 - 90 minutes ca. 30 - 45 minutes
Heat generation
intense medium
Manageability after ignition

hardly disintegration, low ash production with almost residue-free combustion

emits sparks; brittle, can easily break during / after heating

Useful tools

Gas burner / camping stove, electric coal lighter, fireplace, grill candle, lighter, gas burner / camping stove, electric coal lighter
Price segment

expensive to buy;
1kg box between 5 - 10 EUR

less expensive to buy;
according to package size between 1 - 10 EUR


Depending on which variety you choose, always remember to keep the coals glowing through before use.
You realize that the coal is ready for use when the coal puck or block is completely covered with a white ash layer.

Please note: We advise against using regular charcoal for smoking a hookah. This can release tar and toxic condensates!

If you have any further questions on this or another topic, please feel free to contact our customer support!


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