Many pipe smokers enjoy tobacco through wood pipes. You might have noticed an elegant glass pipe and admired it, but without knowing much about them, you may have chosen something else and missed out. What you mightn't know is that hard glass pipes can provide a more satisfying smoke than you've had. You just need to select them with these thoughts in mind.
1. How Often Do You Want to Clean Them?
One reason you might hesitate to go with glass pipes is that you're unsure about cleaning them. In this respect, they're actually much easier to clean than wood. The only thing to consider is whether you're fine with cleaning your pipe after each smoke or prefer a few smokes before cleaning.
Small pipes, such as the chilling variety, are so small because they allow for little time for the tobacco to travel from the bowl to the mouth. This gives you a full-bodied, pure taste, but because so little tobacco can be put in the bowl, it's got to be emptied and cleaned often so tar buildup isn't problematic. Large pipes may permit a more mellow taste, but you won't have to jump up and clean it as often.
2. How Fresh Do You Want Your Tobacco to Taste?
Most traditional pipes, simply because of shape, can lend a smoky or even burnt quality to the taste of your tobacco. This can sometimes mask the taste of the tobacco itself. For freshness, you may experiment with only glass pipes, like the bubbler variety which contains a carburetor. Air circulation will be much improved and you'll notice the difference in taste right away. If you enjoy a smokier taste, simple pipes without such a mechanism will suffice.
3. How Often Will You Smoke?
Do you enjoy pipes weekly or daily? This becomes important because you need to make decisions about the sort of glass to seek out when looking for pipes. There are many types of glass suitable for pipes; some are thin and untreated and only suitable for periodic use. Some are for display only. If you're a serious smoker and plan not only to display but use your pipes very often, borosilicate glass is wise. It is suited to high temperatures and should not crack under pressure with continuous use.
Glass pipes, like other items popular with collectors, are available in all styles and price points. Consider these pipe-related decisions and select them wisely.