Since I started smoking hookah, I have dealt with the ever messy aluminum foil. It’s cheap and easy to replace, but it looks nasty and in my opinion, it takes away from the beauty of a traditional narguile pipe.

About 7 months ago, I made the switch to a Kaloud Lotus paired with a Samsaris. This is one of the new heat solutions that eliminates the need for foil, and enables use of a tough silicone for a bowl, which keeps you from shattering your bowl via dropping it or sudden temperature fluctuations. There are many competitors to the Lotus now, including major ones like the MIG Razer or the Fireflower, which are both from Germany, but they all serve the same basic purpose. All of these products boast the same marketing purpose, to create a longer lasting and better tasting smoke session, and to provide a clean solution to foil.

Even though all of the products serve their purpose, I have personally had a great experience with my Kaloud products. The Lotus gets the first update. Made of basic aluminum, this product has held up to daily use for more than 6 months, with no issues. I have scrubbed it with some soap on a few occasions, but the carbon buildup does not bother me, since it does not seem to affect the heat or flavor. I have never tried preheating my lotus or doing anything that would compromise its design, and in this window the product has been amazing. It can fit three coals, but I only tend to use two most of the time, which has saved me a lot of money.

The Samsaris is a mixed bag, but has a lot of positives. Firstly, it is a one size fits all bowl. What I mean by this is that the Samsaris seems to be perfect for any shisha tobacco I throw at it. This has saved me a lot of time and money. Another thing worth mentioning is that I have dropped this bowl a few times, but since it is silicone, I don’t break the bowl, which has saved me the hassle of having a bunch of clay bowls on hand. The silicone retains the heat perfectly, and it translates out to amazing flavor from tobacco. Despite the bowl having a smell of whatever flavor you last used in it, it does not end up ghosting, which is a huge different to many clay bowls out there. Even some glazed bowls ghost more than this bowl.

It is not all good things though. After 7 months of heavy use, the silicone is starting to degrade. Excessive carbon buildup on the silicone has made it difficult to clean. It you try to pry off the extra carbon buildup, you usually take a piece of silicone with it. I am not sure how Kaloud plans to fix this, but I hope they come up with a real solution and do so in a timely manner, as a lot of people still have hope for this bowl.

All in all, these products have been one of the biggest improvements in my hookah sessions. I can’t recommend the Lotus enough, it should be in everyone's hookah arsenal. That being said, the Samsaris definitely needs some improvements to be a true long term hookah bowl. As long as you are gentle with it, it’s a great bowl, and I’ll use it as long as it seems safe to do so.