The super absorptive qualities of pipe filters can take away what pipe smokers really want from the tobacco: taste. Especially for smokers who do not inhale, some feel that the filter detracts from the taste. Using a filter can make cleaning your pipe more difficult.
You cannot run a pipe cleaner through your pipe while smoking, which means you must wait until the end of your smoke--after the pipe is cool--to take it apart, remove the filter and clean it properly. In addition, leaving the filter in for too long can cause major gunk build up in your pipe. A used pipe filter should not sit in a pipe for more than 24 hours. Neglecting to remove the filter will mean that you are giving your briar a chance to be affected by a wet sponge. Not something any collector wants to think about doing to one of their “babies”. Using filters properly is the only way to use them and some smokers see this as a large additional expense, better spent on new tobacco blends. In the USA, a filter will run between .20-.30 a piece, which can add up over time. Here is our best, attorney-like answer: It depends.
Pipe smoking is such a personal hobby, your decision to use a filter or not should not be affected by others. Use this information and make a choice for yourself. That is the best advice we, or anyone else, can give you. It is easy to find and order a corn cob pipe for less than ten dollars. Two clicks later you could find a briar pipe for over $1,000. We would never recommend a beginner start with a pipe that costs thousands (or even hundreds) of dollars. But knowing which end of the range you should begin on comes down to a few simple questions: How will You Smoke? A better way to phrase this is, “where will you smoke?” It is important to know the setting in which you will be smoking. If you plan to immediately joining a pipe club, where smokers take pride in their quality pieces, then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to spend a bit more money on a higher grade briar or meerschaum pipe. But if you plan on just filling up your pipe with whatever tobacco you can find, and want to smoke while fishing, biking, or some other outdoor hobby, a trusty cob or low grade briar pipe will do nicely. For our purposes, think of factory pipes as brands that are produced on a mass scale, like Vauen or Peterson. An artisan grade pipe is a one-of-a-kind creation made by the hands of a pipe carver. Artisan pipes come from both large brands (like the Savinelli Autograph Series) and small one-person shops (like OWL Pipes). Typically, artisan grade pipes tend to have a steeper price point than factory pipes. If you are just looking to smoke a factory pipe will do you nicely. However, if you desire to jump headfirst into pipe collecting, like many smokers do, a more affordable artisan pipe would be a good choice for you. This section is not intended as an absolute model for pipe buying. Rather, use this as a basic guide for weeding out how much you should begin spending on a pipe. Basic Cob - A decent corn cob pipe, like a Missouri Meerschaum brand pipe, should cost between $10 and $25, depending on the type you choose. Low Grade Briar - An affordable briar pipe would range somewhere between $25-75. Intermediate Pipe - A moderate briar pipe, or low grade meerschaum, could range anywhere from $80-200. High Grade Pipe - For more of a strong-willed briar pipe, artisan grade pipe, or pure meerschaum pipe, you should expect to pay $300 and up. Pipe rotation refers to how often the smoker changes pipes. Most pipe smoking enthusiasts agree that a briar pipe needs to rest in order to keep it in good condition and ensure the pipe lasts for years to come. To accommodate this need a collection of smoking pipes is needed.
Proper pipe rotation is a particularly heated topic. Some long-time tobacco pipe smokers use the same pipe all day, every day. Some pipe enthusiasts have large collections and only smoke the same tobacco pipe every few weeks. In our opinion there are four different ways you can build your pipe collection to accommodate your rotation. But first, we will explain why you probably should have more than one pipe. Several things happen to a pipe when it’s smoked which change the pipe’s structure. First, the bowl of the pipe heats from the burning tobacco inside of it. As the smoke moves through the stem, the stem begins to heat as well. When wood is heated to high temperatures, we all know what happens--it burns!
That is why Meerschaum pipes do not need the rest time of briar--they aren’t made of wood. If a briar pipe isn’t allowed to cool fully between smokes holes can form in the bowl. In addition, the pipe can develop cracks and will begin to smell sour. Tobacco contains 10-14% moisture when smoking conditions are optimal. This moisture causes steam to pass through the pipe with the smoke, and the pipe will “sour” without proper time to cool.