The Ultimate Guide to Heat Management Devices (HMDs)
Over the years there has been a flood of Heat Management Devices on the market. Why do you need an HMD? What do they do? and which one is right for you? Let's figure this out together!...
Note: This blog was last updated October 17, 2023
It seems like a lifetime ago when all we had in the hookah world were Egyptian Clay bowls with tin foil on the top. This is still a great way to enjoy hookah, and where most people get started, but much like almost any other industry out there, the hookah industry is ever evolving and improving. Now there are a plethora of HMD's, or Heat Management Devices, and an almost unlimited number of improved bowl options to fit your desired HMD.
So What is a Hookah HMD?
A HMD is a heat management device which purpose is to help make it easier to enjoy the perfect bowl. Most of these will have the added advantage of helping your coals last longer, or allow you to use less coals saving you time and money. They come in a wide range oh styles and functions so you have options to choose what fit your specific needs.
What are the Different HMDs Available?
Kaloud Lotus Plus
This is one of our favorites here in the office, and has been used more and more in lounges across the country. The Kaloud Lotus Plus is the updated and improved version of the original HMD, the Kaloud Lotus. It completely replaces the need for foil while giving users a much more clean hookah experience.
The Lotus Plus is larger in size than its predecessor so you can get that extra coal in there if you like to smoke on the warmer side of things. The new improved rivets on the bottom keep your coals elevated which reduces the chance of coals going black.
There are many advantages to using a Kaloud, it keeps the ash from going into your bowl, or all over the place, speeds up your prep time by eliminating the foil and hole poking step, and your coals will last longer as they are enclosed and it holds the heat much better.
What Bowls Will Work with the Kaloud Lotus Plus?
Here are a few we like to us:
Kaloud Lotus II
The Kaloud Lotus II is the newest release from the originators of the HMD. I may be a bit of a hyper fan of Kaloud myself, so of course, this one is a big winner in my book. Although Kaloud stuck to the same concept as the original Lotus, and Lotus Plus, the Kaloud Lotus II took it to a whole new level.
The design of the Lotus II is completely different than what we have seen at Kaloud in the past. This beautiful domed Lotus design has maybe the most elegant look of all the HMD's out there on the market. Like the Lotus plus, the Lotus II has the elevated grates to keep the coals from going black, and help them last much longer.
Kaloud also went to a detachable handle, or a "key" as it has been called, which allows users to get the full clean aesthetic they are looking for. The Lotus II has much improved airflow which means you can use very little charcoal to achieve optimal results with your hookah session. I find that two cube coals is more than enough to get your Lotus II session rolling along strong for over an hour!
What Bowls Will Work with the Kaloud Lotus II?
Kaloud Lotus III
Kaloud continues to bring innovation to their heat management devices with the Kaloud Lotus III. The design is reminiscent of its two predecessors with it's large domed shape and built-in handle. One difference on the handle, now that it is no longer removable on this version, is that both the bottom section and top section each have their own handle instead of just one on the lid. This allows you to slide the top left or right to open and close the vented lid to add more or less heat from your charcoal.
The Lotus III is made from high-quality aluminum for a lightweight composition and a quicker start time since the device will absorb and retain heat much easier than steel. There is also more internal room in the Lotus III to hold more pieces of coal. On the inside are a series of raised grooves to help the airflow around your coals and preventing them blacking out and losing heat.
What Bowls Will Work with the Kaloud Lotus III?
AO Standard Aluminum HMD
Straight from German comes the AO Standard Aluminum HMD. Packaged in an elegant, magnetic sealing box, the AO Standard HMD is eye candy for your shelves. This HMD also works great for lounges as it heats up quickly since it is made from high-quality aluminum.
The AO Standard HMD works on most bowls but specifically works well with any bowl that has a dedicated HMD lip, like the HookahJohn Ferris bowls. On the bottom of the interior are raised ridges for maximum airflow around your coals. To increase airflow even further, AO has covered this bad boy with tons of ventilation holes around the bottom edge, on the sides, and in the lid. Use with the lid to add heat or remove it to smoke with a lower amount of heat.
This Standard HMD from AO is the least expensive of the two they offer which brings us to our next HMD.
What Bowls Will Work with the AO Standard HMD?
You can use any bowl!
AO HMD 912 Stainless Steel
Kicking things up a notch from their aluminum HMD, AO also offers their 912 HMD and it's heavy duty! That's due to the AO 912 HMD being made from one solid piece of stainless steel. This AO HMD will heat up a little slower, but once it does it will retain and distribute heat much more efficiently. It's very easy to add a lot of charcoal without scorching your shisha - trust us we tried!
Once key point you may notice right away on this HMD is that there is no lid. Why? It's simply not needed! AO discovered that most HMD users typically only use the lid on any HMD just in the beginning, to get the device heated up more quickly. Afterward the lid is usually taken off for the duration of the bowl and maybe only used at the very bitter end of coals that are about to burn out. Since the AO 912 HMD is stainless steel this won't be an issue because of its efficency in heat retention.
If you're stuck between the AO Standard Aluminum HMD and this AO 912 Stainless Steel HMD, we did an in-depth comparison that you can check out here.
What Bowls Will Work with the AO HMD 912?
The AO HMD 912 can be used with any bowl as well.
The Shisha Flavor Saver
The Shisha Flavor Saver is the lowest cost of all the HMD's we are talking about today but don't let the price point fool you, this is definitely a winner!
Unlike some other HMD's that eliminate the foil step, the Flavor Saver goes on top of a normal bowl you would pack with foil. When using the Flavor Saver, you can actually load your bowls a bit higher than normal even.
Once your bowl is packed and ready, simply put the flavor saver on top of your bowl, and you then set your coals on the Flavor Saver. This will create a nice gap so your coals aren't pressing down on the foil potentially scorching the shisha.
The flavor saver makes it easy to have a great hookah session for just a few dollars. This heat management device won't really make your coals last longer, but it will give you a consistent, easy to manage hookah session every time!
What Bowls Will Work with the Shisha Flavor Saver?
All of them!
Starbuzz Nar Head
"The Nar" is one of the beefiest HMD's on the market and is Starbuzz first crack at getting into the heat management game. As is a lot of times the case with Starbuzz, they took the idea of heat management and have gone above and beyond.
The Starbuzz Nar Head has all the bells and whistles with it. The Nar is the heaviest of the HMD's on the market today and features a first of its kind thermometer. Much like the Kaloud Lotus, the Nar is made to eliminate the need for foil, lengthen the duration of your coals, and keep the ash of of your hookah bowl. Add this to the thermometer that lets you know the temperature of your bowl so you can really dial in what works best for you.
Check out Starbuzz's Video Tutorial on the Nar Head here.