Whether you’re new to pipe smoking or a seasoned aficionado, we created this buyer’s guide to help you find the best tobacco pipe for your budget, lifestyle, and sensibilities. Enjoy!
Tobacco Pipe Accessories Recommendations
We recommend buying these accessories, which can help protect your pipe from dust, tobacco residues, etc.
- Pipe Cleaners
- Metal Tobacco Pipe Stand
- Pipe Black Ceramic Ashtray
- 3 in 1 Tobacco Pipe Cleaner Cleaning Tool
1. Savinelli Italian Tobacco Smoking Pipes – Best in Style
The Savinelli billiard style Italian Smoking Pipe is one of the best in class for those who love briarwood pipes with skilled artisan looks. The Savinelli brand has been around since 1876, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to building a superior pipe. This pipe has a lovely look to it and feels good in your hand with a straight Billiard shape that lets you go hands-free.
Savinelli is synonymous with Milan, Italy, so you can feel that hand-carved craftsmanship when you hold it in your hand or look at it in the light. It’s truly a beautiful pipe that looks more expensive than it really is.
This pipe has a royal blue color and is in the Arcobaleno series, which means Rainbow in Italian. There are three finishes in this series, including green and smooth seal brown. The best thing about this pipe is how it pulls and gives you that air of rich briar for those first few puffs. The smoke is consistent and smooth with each take.
Also, the price isn’t so bad for the quality of the pipe. You can really see the craftsmanship in the fine lines and color of this pipe. It even has the perfect bowl depth and height. This pipe is also a conversation starter, so be prepared to get lots of compliments.
2. 4th Generation – Beautiful Handcrafted Briar Pipe
The Danish company 4th Generation has been in the business of making unique tobacco pipes for many years. This 1897 style is crafted in the same shape as their original vintage pipes. Made from briarwood, this pipe has a tan finish that gives off a classic look.
Unlike other pipes, the 4th Generation is made to rest in your mouth. It’s easy to puff away and get a good pull just from holding the stem in your lips. However, the whole pipe isn’t made from wood. The black and brown contrast nicely, however.
We were expecting a lower price for a no-fuss type of pipe, but this is all-natural wood. You can smell and taste the briar within the first few pulls. We also liked how durable the pipe was. Even though it was dropped, it showed no signs of wear. This pipe comes with a protective sock and box.
3. Mr. Brog – Best Smoking Pipes For The Money
The handsome full bent pipe is made of quality Mediterranean briarwood.
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.
The Feature You Would Appreciate
4. Scottie 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 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 blacktip 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.
6. Missouri Meerschaum Legend – Best All-Around Tobacco Pipe
The classic corn cob pipe is made with corn cob grown in the USA. It 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 appreciate
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.
7. 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 and costly tobacco pipes.
Tobacco Pipes – 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 a 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 cloud of smooth smoke.
To get the most enjoyment from a tobacco pipe, you must like how 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.
However, whether you like the style of a pipe 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, a pipe’s preferred weight largely comes down to personal taste.
From large manufacturers to small artisan artisans, tobacco pipe makers of all varieties use various finishing varnishes. Although many varnishes have absolutely no effect on a pipe’s performance, 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 us 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, pearwood 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 a 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 because straight pipes tend to collect less moisture at the bowl’s base 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 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. It would help if you pinched enough that it looks like it won’t fit in the bowl.
- Then, please place it in the bowl and use your free thumb to hold it in place. Next, use both of your thumbs to press the pipe tobacco into the bowl gently. 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 it.
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, could you 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 feels 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 first 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, the pacing is important and downright essential to enjoy the tobacco’s nuanced flavors and appreciate the blender’s art.
A slow puffing pace also helps regulate the burning of tobacco. In other words, to be a successful pipe smoker, patience and perseverance are 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.
- Afterward, 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 hold comfortably, 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 constantly puff like you would a cigarette.
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 a gratifying 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!