Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or budding pipe smoker, it can be challenging to find a quality one to smoke. Furthermore, tobacco pipes are an investment no matter the price! Therefore, we’ve researched some of the best modern and heritage brands from around the world to put together this detailed guide.
In this guide, you will discover the top 10 best smoking pipes that you can easily buy online:
- Savinelli Miele Honey Tobacco Pipe
- Chacom Atlas Taupe Smoking Pipe
- Comoy’s Tradition Smoking Pipe
- Missouri Meerschaum Country Gentleman Corncob Pipe
- Vauen Auenland Shire Churchwarden Pipe
- Peterson Irish Harp Fishtail Pipe
- Erik Nørding Freehand Rustic Tobacco Pipe
- Stanwell Army Mount Tobacco Pipe
- Falcon Standard Stem & Hunting Bulldog Pipe Bowl
- Colonial Gouda Clay Tobacco Pipes
You can scroll down to keep reading or use the above links to jump ahead. Learn also how to buy your first pipe after having discovered our recommendations!
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An unusual concept from the historical Italian pipe maker, Savinelli’s Miele range features honey flavoured chambers to improve the break-in.
Taking the concept even further, the briar is treated with a slight golden chestnut finish while the acrylic stem has a honeycomb pattern. The pipe also comes with a tamper in the style of a honey drizzler and is compatible with 6 mm filters.
We’re particularly fond of the bent apple author pipe from this range. However, there is a rich selection from which you can choose one that’s best adapted to your smoking style.
"A rich finish and a beautifully vibrant assortment of textures, Savinelli's Miele range offers a unique and lavish smoking experience."
Chacom smoking pipes are the result of a fusion of the Chapius and Comoy pipe-making families in 1922. Today, the Chacom workshop continues to craft handmade tobacco pipes in Villard-Saint-Sauveur, France, next to the Swiss border.
Its beautifully crafted Atlas range offers more tobacco pipes that stand out. The briar is given a marble finish, which results in the unusual glossy grain. Meanwhile, a white acrylic stem provides more contrast compared to more common smoking pipes.
Compatible with 9 mm filters, there are a number of shapes and sizes available. We particularly like the understated design of the straight billiard.
The Comoy family have been crafting French smoking pipes since 1825, well before the benefits of briar were discovered. Today, they are best known for their fusion with the Chapius family and the resulting Chacom brand. However, tobacco pipes continue to be produced under their sole family line.
As the name suggests, the Tradition line crafts classic briar tobacco pipes with traditional finishes. In this light, the Tradition isn’t compatible with filters as the design is quite old-fashioned.
There is a selection of models from the Tradition range. However, we do like the long, sleek shank of the Canadian version.
Founded in 1869 by an Dutch-American woodworker, the Missouri Meerschaum Company is the world’s oldest and largest manufacturer of corncob tobacco pipes. The misleading name comes from when the founder, Henry Tibbe, likened his tobacco pipes’ smoking experience to meerschaum.
Missouri Meerschaum continues to produce very affordable tobacco pipes that are excellent for beginners. We’re very fond of the Country Gentleman collection as they have a beautiful dark-stain finish as well as a hardwood insert.
Furthermore, its tobacco pipes are large and compatible with filters and don’t break the bank. Their Country Gentleman model is available with either a straight or bent stem.
Although clearly inspired by Middle Earth, Vauen’s elegant Shire Churchwarden tobacco pipes are no novelty gimmick! Vauen was founded in 1866 as the United Pipe Factories of Nurembeg to bring together German manufacturers that had been crafting smoking pipes as early as 1848.
In 1909, it adopted the name of Vauen and has experience international acclaim throughout its history. Therefore, their Tolkien-style tobacco pipes are not mere replicas but handcrafted marvels of engineering and artwork.
The briar strummel features a beech wood stem with an integrated plastic tube for hygienic cleaning as well as an acrylic fishtail bit. Furthermore, the pipe can be fitted with 9 mm filter for those who prefer it.
There is a rich variety of different Auenland Shire pipes, each with their own shapes and evocative names. We’re quite fond of the Friddo, an apple ball-style strummel churchwarden with a name that isn’t fooling anyone!
Since 1865, Peterson have been crafting tobacco pipes in Ireland. With a workshop of only 17 craftsmen, the pipes continue to be made in Dublin today.
Peterson’s Harp range is a testament to their craftsmanship. With a chestnut finish, these glossy briar tobacco pipes all feature a fishtail stem. Meanwhile, a silver band is stamped with a harp, Ireland’s national icon, as a symbol of pride.
There are quite a few shapes in the collection from which you can pick your pipe of choice. We have an affinity for the bent bulldog, which looks fantastic with the diamond-shaped silver band.
Erik Nørding first started working as a blacksmith in his father’s razor blade and garden factory when he was only 15. His father passed away but a year later so his mother sent him to train as an engineer.
However, by the time he graduated school in the 1960s, he had lost interest in the family business as he had begun to make tobacco pipes himself. Over time, he developed his business by renovating machinery from junkyards.
After years of hard labour, it wasn’t until the 1970s that Erik Nørding went on to become one of the most admired and respected pipe craftsmen. Today, he is renowned for his signature freehand style and his workshop produces over 50,000 tobacco pipes a year.
As he works with the briar’s natural grain, every pipe is an expression of the wood’s unique character. Therefore, they’re all different but are categorised by letters and finish. We’re quite fond of the semi-rustic finish that features an ornate vulcanite stem.
In 1942, Stanwell was founded by Poul Nielsen to produce tobacco pipes for the Danish market. As both English pipes and raw briar were rare commodities, Nielsen began by producing beech wood pipes.
However, it wasn’t until 1948 that the brand was named Stanwell with a view to anglicising its identity. This was furthered by the addition of a horse-drawn carriage logo. Some years later, Nielsen even changed his own name to Stanwell!
In 1969, the factory was moved a town called Borup, just outside of Copenhagen before production moved to Italy in 2010. Nevertheless, Stanwell continues to produce high-quality tobacco pipes thanks to their expert craftsmen.
Peterson is renowned for its army mount tobacco pipes, which feature silver shank caps that allow you to remove the stem when it’s still hot. The finish is particularly eye-catching and we’re very fond of the classic Billiard iteration.
The Falcon system is an unusual approach to pipe-smoking but has endured well over 70 years with a loyal following. Enthusiasts of these tobacco pipes will praise both the customisation options and the cool smoke that it offers.
You first begin by choosing from a variety of stems, which are either straight or curved with different metal finishes. Afterwards, you’ll be able to choose from any of the bowls according to your tastes in style and pipe tobacco.
As such, the advantage of Falcon tobacco pipes is that you’ll be able to change the bowl whenever you fancy. Given that there are both briar and meerschaum bowls on the market, you have plenty of options. We do like the angular bulldog bowl that creates a stylish geometric look with the metal stem.
The $50 to $60 price listed above accounts for both a stem and a bowl. However, be sure to grab some dry rings too as these absorb excess moisture.
As we detail in our dedicated guide, clay pipes have existed since the 17th Century. Despite being an affordable and almost disposable pipe, they are actually quite hard to master due to the narrow bore. However, they deliver a pure and delicate smoking experience.
If you’re looking to give one a try, we recommend Gouda clay tobacco pipes from Holland. A major production hub for clay pipes all those centuries ago, it continues to produce the best ones today.
There are only a few styles available from Gouda. If you’re willing to try clay pipes from elsewhere, they can become surprisingly ornate. Otherwise, we do like the marbled clay finish on some of the 7″ models.
How To Choose The Right Smoking Pipe For You
As we mentioned in the introduction, choosing a pipe can be a very challenging process. Yet, it’s not one that should be rushed! Most experienced pipe smokers will likely already know this after learning the hard way.
Although buying tobacco products online has many conveniences, it’s not without its drawbacks. One of these is in being able to hold, touch and feel the products before you buy them.
Admittedly, this is something of a disadvantage when buying a pipe as this is a key part of choosing one. Nevertheless, online commerce has progressed a lot over the years and it’s easy to return tobacco products for free if you’re unhappy.
On a similar note, while Amazon is a great option as can be seen with the links above, you can always consider small independent merchants who specialise in tobacco pipes as well.
Know The Different Shapes, Materials & What They Offer
Many pipe smokers will agree that the best tobacco pipes are a deeply personal and subjective question. For instance, the most basic difference is that some people prefer bent stems while others prefer straight ones.
However, there are then countless pipe shapes and materials used for making them. Each of these has its own properties and produces altogether different experiences. It also depends on what pipe tobacco you use!
Therefore, if you’re unfamiliar with the varieties out there, we strongly recommend reading our guide to the different pipe shapes and materials.
Choosing For Yourself
As we said just above, the right pipe for you is a question of personal preference. Consequently, don’t let anyone tell you which are the best – including us! Our guides are written to be guidelines rather than imposing rules.
Instead, try to choose a pipe that you feel calls out to you and suits your personality. Even if you have found a pipe that’s absolutely perfect in every way, don’t feel that you have to buy it unless you feel that it resonates with you.
If you can, hold the pipe in your hand and see how it feels. If it’s comfortable, then the pipe is perfect. However, if you’re not feeling a connection, then you may be disappointed later down the line.
As many enthusiasts will joke, you don’t choose a pipe, it chooses you!
Opt For Quality Craftsmanship
A high-quality pipe is well worth the investment if you can afford it. In fact, a reliable and well-made pipe may provide you with decades of pleasure. You may even pass it down to future generations.
For instance, many of the tobacco pipes that you see in our guides belonged to the grandfather of one of our writers. These pipes were restored and cleaned to help put together this content.
A well-made pipe will feature perfectly aligned parts, which produce a smooth airway from the bowl to the bit. Similarly, the draught hole should appear near the middle of the bowl. The stem shouldn’t be too loosely fixed onto the shank. However, it shouldn’t be too tight that it can’t be removed either!
How To Identify Briar Pipe Quality
While the briar’s quality is mostly an aesthetic consideration, it may have some effects on the smoke. Therefore, be sure to take a good look at the briar before you purchase it.
Firstly, keep an eye out for large holes or pits in the pipe that have been filled in. Although it doesn’t affect the smoking quality, they tend not to age well. However, such defects are usually only found on cheap rejects.
Secondly, be wary of heavy use of varnish as this can bubble over time. However, this is mainly a consideration for cheaper tobacco pipes as premium ones will unlikely suffer from this side-effect.
Furthermore, the weight and grain of the briar say a lot about its quality. Tighter and uniform grain is highly desirable. However, it has little effect on the smoking experience. That said, lighter tobacco pipes are said to provide better smoke as they contain less moisture and will feel more comfortable.
Finally, try to avoid briar with knots as the presence of these will cause fluctuations in temperature.
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