Heat Management Devices Guide

February 15, 2021

Image of various hookah heat management devices HMDs

If you want to up your shisha game, one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to do so is to upgrade to a heat management device. Also known as heat management systems or HMDs, heat management devices sit above a hookah bowl and replace the traditional foil or chimney set. Hookah heat management devices offer a superior smoking experience by providing the shisha smoker with control over the burn-rate of the hookah coal using variable vents that can be opened and closed. This means that you can control the temperature that the coal burns at, and therefore the intensity and smoothness of the shisha tobacco.

Benefits of heat management devices

  • Control the airflow and burn-rate of hookah charcoal
  • Safer to use as burning shisha coals are fully enclosed and cannot fall out
  • Easily rotate hookah coals to prevent hotspots from developing
  • Hookah charcoal is raised higher from the top of shisha tobacco mix, allowing better airflow
  • Less wastage of shisha charcoal

Lotus style heat management devices

First conceived by Kaloud, Lotus style heat management devices have evolved and are now available in many different, yet similar designs. The original design involves two parts: a cylindrical base with slots at the bottom to allow the hot air to pass through to the shisha tobacco mix, and a lid with a rotating top that opens and closes three lotus leaf shaped vents. Also, the base of Lotus style heat management devices feature a ring of knubs on the bottom that help raise the slots in the base off the top of the shisha tobacco mix. Most Lotus style heat management systems are made from a cast zinc alloy with thick walls, and while they take longer to heat up they will retain the heat better as the coals burn out. Speaking of coal, Lotus style HMDs work best with flats as some cubes will be too tall to fit inside.

Razor style heat management devices

Like Lotus style HMDs, Razor style heat management devices feature a slotted cylindrical base and a lid with a rotating top to adjust the vents. The most noticeable difference is the shape and size of the vents, which can't be opened as fully as a Lotus style heat management device, restricting the airflow. This gives Razor style HMDs a tighter draw and a slower burn. Razor style HMDs have a higher base to accommodate the size and shape of charcoal cubes better than the Lotus. The base also contains raised rings or grilles that allow for airflow to reach underneath the coals. The lid of Razor style HMDs can get stuck sometimes, which isn't a problem with Lotus style HMDs. Originally designed by MIG (an acronym for Made In Germany), Razor style heat management systems are typically made from aluminium, which heat up a lot faster but dissipate the heat quicker when the charcoal needs to be replaced.

Ignis style heat management devices

Turkish shisha brand Oduman developed the Ignis HMD, which is almost identical to the Kaloud Lotus except that the three vents in the lid are fan shaped instead of lotus leaf shaped. Ignis style heat management systems have a lager base than Lotus style HMDs, and are made from aluminium like Razor style HMDs.

Stratus style heat management devices

Canadian company Shishabucks have come up with possibly the best variation of hookah heat management device with the Stratus HMD. Unlike the others, Stratus HMDs contain adjustable side vents that offer some serious airflow, as well as a locking lid for added safety when dealing with burning coals.

Flavor Saver style heat management devices

Some might argue that Flavour Savers aren't technically a heat management device since they don't enclose the hookah coals. However, they do assist in manging the heat by raising the height of the coals off the top of the foil and creating extra airflow to the underside of the coals. Flavor Saver style HMDs are basically a wound spiral of sheet metal with a handle, which can be easily rotated to avoid hotspots developing, but have no adjustability when it comes to airflow. Another benefit is that they'll work with nearly all hookah bowls.

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