This is always an embarrassing question since the only price is the one dictated by your wallet.
But it’s worthwhile noting that if you take care you will keep your tobacco pipe for many years or even, in some cases, all your life. The price of the smoking pipe will be quickly paid off in comparison with what the tobacco will cost you. For example, over five years, with a smoking pipe that you bought for €100 and smoking a packet of tobacco a week, the price of the smoking pipe will only represent 5% of the total cost. So don’t hold back too much on the ‘container’ (according to your means, of course) because you’ll enjoy the ‘content’ all the more. Looking at it another way, I’d recommend making an effort on the pipe and then... smoking less!
Pipes can be grouped into two categories:
- Mass-produced pipes
- Hand-made pipes
There are hundreds of pipe manufacturers all over the world. And to think that pipe smokers are seen as a tiny group!The pipe world is much bigger than people think and there are far more pipe smokers than people imagine…
For a given brand, in theory, the higher the price, the better the quality of the pipe: the difference is in the quality of the briar, the finishing (sanded, rustic, waxed or natural) and the shape.
The French brands Chacom and ButzChoquin are equally good in terms of value for money. Like the vast majority of French people, I chose between one of these two brands when I started smoking. In the beginning I never spent more than €100 on a pipe and quite sincerely I have never been disappointed in the quality, but I do take good care of them.
From one brand to another, sometimes prices vary widely and bear no relation to the quality. A manufacturer can sometimes take advantage of a brand’s reputation or success (due to fashion) to raise its prices. You can get great enjoyment from an €80 pipe but be disappointed by a smoking pipe of a different brand that costs twice as much (or sometimes of the same brand!). It’s all a question of taste, of appreciation and, of course,how you use a tobacco pipe that will make the difference between one and the other.
The major brands guarantee their products, so watch out for brands that don’t or for brands that have “gone out of business”, and whose stock is being sold off.
These are made by artisan pipe-makers, are hand-crafted and therefore unique. They can be made to order, respecting the wishes of the purchaser: shape, finishing, etc... The quality, of course, will be high in most cases and many seasoned smokers don’t hesitate to pay a small fortune to have a tobacco pipe made by a reputable and appreciated artisan.
Some artisans make traditionally shaped pipes and sell high quality products. Others, and this is perhaps the trend, make tobacco pipes that look more like than pipes. Some might say that this is progress, and others will have a bitter smile when they see these “revolutionary” shapes. Without making a value judgement, I still have my doubts about the practical side of such pipes.