How to Select the Perfect Smoking Pipe

There’s more to choosing the right smoking pipe than meets the eye. After all, everyone’s tastes and needs are different, so there’s really no “one size fits all” when it comes to choosing the perfect pipe.

What are some things you should consider while choosing your pipe? Among the main considerations are the look and feel of the pipe, the material it’s made from, its mechanical functions, and its price.

Choosing the right material

Most tobacco pipes are made of briar root, meerschaum, or corn cob. Briar wood is a common material used to make pipes, and it’s very durable, lightweight, and heat-resistant. Corn cob is cheaper than briar root and meerschaum, but has a shorter life span. Meerschaum, made of soft, white stone, is typically carved into specific designs that can make the pipe a collector’s item. Brylon, a wood and nylon composite that’s extremely durable, is another popular material used to make pipes.

The look and feel

Choosing the right aesthetics when it comes to a smoking pipe is a matter of personal preference, and perhaps the most important consideration of all. If the pipe doesn’t fit your style and taste, the chances are you won’t use it much – if at all – a few months down the road. That said, simply buying a pipe made by a well-known carver or factory doesn’t always mean that it’s a good fit for you.

The pipe’s design

Design flaws that make it difficult to light, clean, or keep your pipe in one piece certainly won’t enhance your smoking experience. If you’re a beginning pipe smoker, you should consider several design elements, including the grain, weight, fit and finish, and draft hole.

When it comes to grain, the more uniform and tighter it is, the more expensive it will be. In terms of weight, the lighter the pipe, the better it will smoke (generally speaking), and the easier it will hold in your mouth. Also, take a close look at the fit and finish: does the pipe look like it was made with care? Are there obvious sandpaper marks or uneven stain? Are the stem and shank joined together well? Meanwhile, the draft hole should be aligned close to the center of the bowl.

Seek the best value for your money
Pipes can range from under $20 to over $1,000 with a variety of pipes to choose from in each price range. Determine what you can afford and make it your goal to buy the absolute best pipe within that range.