Are you searching for the best tobacco pipe? If so, you’re not alone.
Whether you’re new to pipe smoking or a seasoned aficionado, we created this buyer’s guide to help you find the perfect tobacco pipe for your budget, lifestyle, and sensibilities. Enjoy!
Best Tobacco Pipe 2018
|Model||Material||Filter replacement||Dimensions (inches)|
|Missouri Meerschaum Legend|
|American grown corn cob||Yes. 6mm filter||Length: Bent: 5.75"|
Bowl height: 1.75"
Chamber diameter: .75"
Chamber depth: 1.25"
|Missouri Meerschaum Country Gentleman||Corn bob||Yes. 6mm filter||Length: Bent: 5.75"|
Bowl height: 2.25"
Chamber diameter: .75"
Chamber depth: 1.5"
|Mr. Brog Full Bent Smoking||Pear wood||No. The stem has a permanent metal "Filter"||6" Length. |
Bowl H 1.5" x W 1." from end to end, but opening is .75".
Chamber depth: 1.5"
|Scotte Lobular Ebony||Ebony wood||Yes. 9mm filter||Length = 5 3/4"|
Bowl depth = 1 1/2"
Bowl diameter = 3/4"
Bowl height = 1 3/4"
|Small Shiny||Metal + plastic||No 'cause of size||3" Length.|
Bowl diameter: 3/4"
1. Missouri Meerschaum Legend – Best All-Around Tobacco Pipe
The classic corn cob pipe is made with corn cob grown in the USA and is fashioned after the tobacco pipes of yesteryear smoked by Mark Twain, General MacArthur, and several other notable figures in American history.
Features you would aappreciate
If you’re searching for a classic corn cob pipe that smokes just as well as briar pipes but costs much less, the Legend may be for you.
2. Missouri Meerschaum Country Gentleman– Best Tobacco Pipe for Long Smoking Sessions
While it’s also made from corn cob and features a 6mm filter just like the Legend, this is where the similarities end. The Country Gentleman is made for exactly that, gentlemen.
Its coating has an appealing dark stain, giving it a distinctively masculine appearance. It also has a hardwood insert at the bottom of the bowl, making it look and smoke as well as really expensive tobacco pipes.
3. Mr. Brog Full Bent Smoking – Best Full Bent Tobacco Pipe
Mr. Brog is known for making top-quality handmade tobacco pipes, and the brand’s Full Bent Smoking Tobacco Pipe is no exception. The handsome full bent pipe is made of quality pear wood that’s been dried and hardened for two full seasons, making it as dense and durable as briar pipes costing twice as much.
Each handmade pipe features a classic full bent shape and is finished in carnauba wax and a natural coating. Its gorgeous shape, however, is the real selling point. Aside from looking great, its shape provides an amazingly cool smoke.
4. Scotte Lobular Ebony – Best Tobacco Pipe Set
As far as the pipe is concerned, not only does it have a beautiful ebony finish, but it’s also heat resistant and features a premium German filter, leading to a nice draw and a smooth smoke.
5. Small Shiny – Best Portable Tobacco Pipe
Many tobacco pipes are small enough to put in your pocket and take with you to enjoy a pleasurable smoke while out and about and on the go. However, the fragile nature of corn cob pipes and the awkward shape of full bent pipes make them difficult to transport and ideal for at-home use. This isn’t the case with the Small Shiny Tobacco Pipe which you can easily buy online.
In addition to featuring a simple streamlined shape, it’s only three inches in length from bowl to tip, making it one of the most portable tobacco pipes on the market today.
Despite its portable size, however, it features a deep metal bowl. This allows you to pack plenty of tobacco and enjoy a nice long smoke. It also has small holes on the bottom of the bowl, so there’s no need for a screen, and the black tip can be pulled off for cleaning.
On the downside, it’s made of plastic instead of wood. That being said, given its price and portability, this may be something you’re willing to overlook.
Tobacco Pipe Buyer’s Guide
Despite the rise in popularity of cigarettes and cigars in the 20th century, today, tobacco pipes are once again gaining favor, and for good reason. Not only can a single bowl of flavorful, aromatic tobacco last for up to an hour, but the contemplative and reflective nature of sitting down with a tobacco pipe is a pleasant alternative worth savoring and enjoying.
That being said, finding a great tobacco pipe is easier said than done. With so many sizes, shapes, and materials to choose from, you could spend hours of trial and error trying to find the right tobacco pipe for you.
That’s where we come in.
There are literally hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of tobacco pipes on the market to choose from. To avoid wasting your money on a poorly made pipe or purchasing one that’s not right for you, it helps to know a little about them and understand what to look for. By doing a little research first, you’ll be able to enjoy the best possible smoking experience.
What to Look for In a Tobacco Pipe
If you want to channel your inner James Bond, Humphrey Bogart, or Carey Grant, no ordinary tobacco pipe will do. Here are some things to look for to choose a great tobacco pipe for years of smoking enjoyment:
Fit and Finish
A tobacco pipe should look like it was skillfully made with care. It shouldn’t have uneven stains, sandpaper marks, or any spots that haven’t been waxed. The shank and stem should fit well as well, allowing for a good draw and a smooth smoke.
To get the most enjoyment from a tobacco pipe, you must like the way it looks and feels. A pipe may smoke great, but if it doesn’t please you aesthetically or feel good in your hand, you won’t want to use it nearly as much.
Whether or not you like the style of a pipe, however, is completely subjective and up to you. Some people like corn cob pipes. Others like full bent briars, Dublin, or Billiard-shaped pipes. The good news is there are a variety of pipe styles out there to choose from and try.
A good tobacco pipe must have a good draw. This means it should have good airflow when puffed. Unfortunately, due to poorly aligned parts and draft holes that are too small, not all tobacco pipes provide a good draw. In addition to creating a poor draw, these issues can also cause a pipe to smoke wet or too loudly, which ruins the smoking experience.
In general, lighter tobacco pipes smoke better than heavier pipes. They’re also easier to hold and less fatiguing to smoke. Nonetheless, some people prefer heavier pipes, so like aesthetics and style, the preferred weight of a pipe largely comes down to personal taste.
From large manufacturers to small artisan craftsman, tobacco pipe makers of all varieties use an array of finishing varnishes. Although many varnishes have absolutely no effect on the performance of a pipe, some varnished finishes tend to bubble or flake. That being said, there are exceptions to every rule as some impeccably made and highly sought after pipes are finished with heavy varnishes.
Filters help keep out debris and allow for a smooth and enjoyable smoke. However, metal filters inserted in the stems of pipes also tend to create condensation, leading to we and noisy smoking experiences.
What Materials are Tobacco Pipes Made With?
Tobacco pipes can cost as little as $5 and as much as $500. Traditional tobacco pipes are almost always made of briarwood do the material’s heat resistance, appearance, and durability. However, pear wood and other hardwoods with similar qualities to briarwood are also used.
Thanks to its ability to be carved into intricate designs, meerschaum is another popular material used in tobacco pipe construction. However, the clay-like material isn’t as durable as briarwood and requires a little more care. Meerschaum pipes are also more expensive.
Lastly, there is the corn cob variety. They’re the cheapest option and smoke quite well. However, corn cob tobacco pipes don’t last as long and are usually only good for a year or two. Nonetheless, given their affordability, they are a popular option and a good choice for first-timers.
What are the Different Tobacco Pipe Shapes?
Tobacco pipes tend to fall into two primary categories based on the shape of the stem. They are either straight or curved. From this jumping off point, they can take any number of creative and exquisite shapes.
In terms of smoking characteristics, straight tobacco pipes generally provide a better smoking experience. This is due to the fact that straight pipes tend to collect less moisture at the base of the bowl beneath the draft hole. With straight pipes, such as corn cob pipes, the bowl also sits higher, which does a better job of keeping smoke from emanating off of the bowl and into your face.
How to Pack a Tobacco Pipe
Packing a tobacco pipe correctly is crucial for enjoying a good, quality smoke. Unfortunately, this is often done incorrectly by newbie and experienced pipe smokers alike. The good news is once you get it down, it will become a breeze. You may struggle at first, but with a little practice and the right technique, you’ll get the hang of it and enjoy pleasurable, hassle-free smoking experiences time and time again.
Basically, there are two packing methods you can utilize:
1. The Pinch Method
- First, grab a nice large pinch of your favorite tobacco. You should pinch enough that it looks like it won’t fit in the bowl.
- Then, place it in the bowl and use your free thumb to hold it in place. Next, use both of your thumbs to gently press the pipe tobacco into the bowl. It should be packed tight enough to hold the pipe upside down without the tobacco falling out.
- Lastly, test the draw. You may need to use the end of a safety pin, a small nail, or a similar item to poke a hole through the center to let a little air in. After that, all that’s left to do is light it and enjoy.
2. The Triple-Layer Method
- For this method, you first need to gravity fill the tobacco into the bowl by grabbing a pinch and dropping it into the bowl without pressing or tamping it down. You can also scoop the bowl right into the jar or pouch of tobacco.
- Either way, fill it to the top and press it down until the bowl is filled halfway. This will be the first layer. Do the same thing once more, but this time the pressed tobacco should fill the bowl 2/3 of the way. This, of course, is the second layer. Finally, do it again for the third layer.
- When finished, place some loose tobacco on top and press it down until the bowl is filled just below the rim. The pressure should feel like it is increasing with each layer. While the first layer won’t require much pressure, you’ll really need to press down on the tobacco for the third layer.
- Lastly, test the draw. It should feel similar to sucking juice, tea, soda, or anything else through a straw. If it feel like you’re sucking through an empty straw, the bowl is packed too loose, so you’ll need to press it down and add more tobacco. On the other hand, if it feels like you’re sucking a milkshake or smoothie through a straw, it’s packed too tight. In this scenario, you’ll need to poke a hole through the middle of the bowl for increased airflow just like the firs packing method.
The Art of Smoking with a Tobacco Pipe
Unlike cigar and cigarette smoking, pipe smoking is a more relaxing and meditative pursuit. While some cigar smokers might dispute this claim, it’s far more common to see cigar smokers huddled around in animated discussions than pipe smokers. Tobacco pipe smoking is much more introspective.
Therefore, pipe smoking often involves a comfortable chair and an unhurried or more relaxed state of mind. As such, pacing is important and downright essential in order to enjoy the nuanced flavors of the tobacco and appreciate the art of the blender.
A slow puffing pace also helps regulate the burning of the tobacco. In other words, in order to be a successful pipe smoker, patience and perseverance is a must. By being patient and relaxed, you can truly enjoy the experience and discover the endless tobacco blends available to you.
How to Light the Pipe
You can’t just put a flame to a packed bowl and expect the best results. Like everything else, lighting a tobacco pipe properly involves a process.
- When the bowl is packed, you first need to char the top of the tobacco. You do this by holding the flame from your lighter above the bowl and moving it in a circle while taking a dozen or so short puffs. This will put a nice char on the top of the tobacco.
- Afterwards, tamp the tobacco down in the bowl one more time. This will create a nice crusting effect on the top of the packed tobacco.
- After the tobacco is charred on top, hold the flame above the bowl once more. However, this time take a handful of deep draws to suck the flame down into the tobacco-filled bowl. When the tobacco is lit, continue taking deep puffs to create a solid ember that will stay lit a long time.
Tobacco Pipe Troubleshooting
If your tobacco pipe ever becomes too hot to comfortably hold, the tobacco inside is getting too hot. In this scenario, let the ember die out and try re-lighting the tobacco. Only this time, take fewer puffs.
Most pipe smokers take a puff every 20 seconds or so. You shouldn’t puff constantly like you would a cigarette.
Also, if you ever feel a burning sensation in your mouth, which is called “tongue bite,” the tobacco is once again getting too hot. So, let the ember die out and re-light the bowl.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when choosing a great tobacco pipe. However, picking out a proven tobacco pipe is only half the battle as you have to learn how to smoke it as well.
Pipe smoking is an incredibly enjoyable pastime when you get the basics down. Hopefully this buyer’s guide has also helped in that regard.
Now that you know all about tobacco pipes and how to use them just like the gentlemanly scholars of old, it’s time to pick one out, sit back in your favorite chair, and enjoy hours of smoking pleasure!