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
A Hungarian Oom-Paul Pipe
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.
Now that you have discovered the best tobacco pipes to buy online, take a look at our related guides: