A Comparative Guide To Egyptian vs. Phunnel Bowls

Jun 10 , 2022

A Comparative Guide To Egyptian vs. Phunnel Bowls

Egyptian and phunnel bowls are the two most popular varieties used with hookahs. All hookah kits have a bowl or you can purchase the essential parts separately. Also, hookah bowls tend to have a universal port, so they are generally compatible with most stems, pipes, or kits.

Like many, you may wonder about the practical differences between the traditional Egyptian and comparatively modern phunnel bowls. This guide elaborates all the attributes for you to make an informed choice.

Egyptian Bowls Have Holes at the Base

Egyptian bowls are a conventional design. Made of clay, these classic bowls have five holes at the base. The shaft or port that you use to snugly fit the bowl atop the stem is typically standard, which means the diameter suits various hookah setups. However, the bowl size or its capacity for shisha tobacco can vary quite a bit. Also, Egyptian bowls are only compatible with foils.

Historically, clay bowls were unglazed earthenware. Hence, those Egyptian bowls were not washable. But the modern Egyptian bowls that are glazed are nonporous. Thus, you can wash them and eliminate all residual buildup.   

Phunnel Bowls Have a Spire or Raised Hole

Phunnel bowls are so called due to the shape of the hole. Unlike Egyptian bowls, phunnels don’t have any holes at the base. Instead, the hole is raised, like a spire. This hole looks like a funnel, hence the name.

Also, phunnel bowls are stoneware, and they are glazed. Compared to earthenware, stoneware is manufactured at a much higher temperature in the kiln. Therefore, the final material is sturdier and durable than clay or other earthenware. Plus, phunnel bowls are washable.

Egyptian and phunnel bowls have a similarity. Both can be handcrafted or produced at a mass scale. Machine-made bowls tend to have fewer anomalies than handcrafted variants. In another context, phunnel bowls are compatible with foils and heat management devices. 

Egyptian Bowls Are Cheaper than Phunnels

Egyptian bowls are cheaper than phunnels, but they aren’t necessarily better. The most typical problems with Egyptian bowls are imperfections. The ports aren’t always flawless, nor is the rim or overall quality. 


Phunnel Bowls Are Better at Retaining Juices

Phunnel bowls are costlier than the Egyptian style. However, phunnel bowls are better in many aspects. The craftsmanship is better, so is the sturdiness and durability. Besides, you can use a foil or a heat management device. 

Furthermore, phunnel bowls don’t have imperfections unless you buy a really cheap one. So, it is unlikely that the size or port won’t fit the hookahs you have. That said, there are some pros & cons of both when you use them for different types of shisha tobacco flavors.

Pros and Cons of Egyptian vs. Phunnel Bowls

Egyptian hookah bowls offer splendid heat circulation due to the five holes at the base. If you pack your shisha tobacco carefully, so as to not block the holes, the hot air will work on the entire stuff inside the bowl. 

In contrast, a phunnel bowl may only heat the topmost layer or so of your shisha tobacco. The only way to avert this is a light packing approach. Otherwise, you may have a burnt top layer and the lower portion of the shisha tobacco may remain relatively unused. 

On the flip side, a phunnel bowl retains the juices of any shisha tobacco you use. An Egyptian bowl won’t retain the juices, molasses, glycerin, or honey because some or a lot will drip down one or all of the holes at the base. There’s no way to prevent this from happening.

So, you may use drier shisha tobacco flavors in an Egyptian bowl. However, if you have a juicy variant, a phunnel bowl is the default option. 

In regards to the smoke volume, flavor, texture, and ease, both bowls are a mixed bag and your skills will determine how your session turns out. For instance, an Egyptian bowl starts producing a lot of smoke quite fast because of efficient heat circulation and the five holes. But your shisha tobacco will burn faster and you may even have clogged holes, which may cause choking.

A phunnel bowl doesn’t have a clogging problem unless the hole is so high that it touches the aluminum foil or a heat management device. In that case, you won’t have much air coming through, let aside great clouds.

To summarize the pros and cons, get a phunnel bowl if you have juicy shisha tobacco flavors. An Egyptian bowl is more suited for drier flavors. In both cases, you must pack the tobacco in the right way for efficient air circulation and effective heating.