How to Select a Quality Handmade Smoking Pipe

For the new pipe collector or casual smoker, selecting a quality handmade smoking pipe can be a confusing endeavor. A lot goes into finding and buying the right pipe, especially if it’s a gift for someone else. Firstly, you should make sure the pipe in question meets some basic requirements: aesthetic, mechanical, and financial.

Handmade Pipe Aesthetics:

Do you like the look and feel of the pipe? You may have purchased the most mechanically flawless pipe around at a steal, but if it doesn’t feel good in your hand and make sense for your personal style—you’ll probably lose interest faster than you’d like. Despite what you might hear about big name pipe brands, you should stay focused on whether it suits you and your own unique tastes.

Mechanical Considerations

Is the handmade pipe constructed in a manner that will make smoking pleasurable? Design flaws can cause issues with cleaning, lighting, and so on so you want to select a tobacco pipe that will be comfortable to hold and practical to carry.

Knowing whether a pipe is well-made can be tricky; avoid those which seem to have poorly aligned parts, holes filled with putty, metal filters, or varnish. These characteristics reveal hasty constructions and superficial quality.

Well-made handcrafted smoking pipes typically have few sandpits, clean finishes, and a draft hole which aligns perfectly with the air hole in the stem and terminates at the very bottom of the bowl—not partway up the side, like you see with some lower quality pipes. They also sport uniform grain—the tighter, the more expensive, usually.

Take weight into account as well, because holding a heavy pipe in your mouth can be tiring, and the lighter ones are usually better-cured (having the moisture removed).

Remember that there are exceptions to every rule, so it could very well be that some heavy pipes with heavy finishes really work both aesthetically and mechanically for you. Typically, it’s the strengths in the former area that convince us to risk weaknesses in the latter. Some people have a few pipes sitting on their shelves and no plans to smoke them; they simply love the color, the design, or the novelty.  That’s what makes collecting rare tobacco pipes so enjoyable; they’re pieces of art in their own right.

Further Considerations for Buying a Pipe

You deserve the best you can afford, within a reasonable price range, of course. Pipes aren’t cheap or expensive, per say; they’re either good smokers or bad. The price cannot determine the overall experience but the old saying usually holds true; You get what you pay for. 

You may spend anywhere from $120 to over $1,000, depending on what you desire and the variables of rarity involved. Pipes truly are one of life’s beautiful pleasures. 

Having read our take on pipe purchasing, we hope you’re confident and excited about picking out the perfect smoking pipe.  Browse our collection of rare and handmade tobacco pipes and find that perfect piece!

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