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To use a pipe filter or not? That is the question


There are a number of pros and cons when deciding on whether you will be using a pipe filter when you smoke or not. Below we will be looking at the advantages and disadvantages of using filters and the different kinds of pipe filters for if you do decide to use one.

Why use a pipe filter?

  • Filters help you control the speed of your smoke, it is possible to smoke too fast without one so adding a filter helps you experience more of the tobaccos flavours and keep the smoke cool.

  • Just like cigarettes, the filter absorbs any excess nicotine from the tobacco. This means smoking with a filter is technically more healthy for you as it may reduce the risks associated with all forms of smoking.

  • Filters can help stop unwanted moisture gathering in the stem or being drawn through into the mouth.

  • It is possible to draw small bits of tobacco through the stem and into your mouth however with a filter it lowers the chance of any tobacco making it into the stem making your smoke more enjoyable.

  • Smoking without a filter can give you an unpleasant feeling in your mouth and especially the tongue, this is caused by harsh smoke and excess oils making it into your mouth. Using a filter will help avoid the unpleasantness as it can absorb the oils and cool the smoke.

Why use a pipe without a filter?

  • A filter can reduce the taste of the tobacco, some smokers find that smoking without a filter gives them the full experience of their tobacco. This is certainly a case for smokers who do not inhale.

  • A filter can make cleaning your pipe much harder. Leaving the filter in can cause problems as it can cause a build up of gunk meaning you need to remove it after every smoke. This is extremely important when it comes to briar pipes as the tar and moisture causes damage to the wood.

  • Having a filter in your pipe means there is one more thing to purchase regularly in addition to tobacco and cleaners. Whilst yes they are not very expensive it's still an extra expenditure which can really add up.


If you do decide to use a filter you must choose which filter to use. There are three main types of pipe filters.


Pass-through Filter

This is the most common type of filter for pipes. It helps reduce the amount of nicotine and tar from the tobacco as well as reducing irritation to the mouth as they are good at absorbing moisture. However this higher absorption ability can also stop you from experiencing the full flavours of the tobacco.

Absorption Filter

Absorption filters are often made from wood, most famously used by Savinelli; these filters cool and dry the smoke before it reaches your mouth. Absorption filters are more suited to people who want their smoke to be cooler.

Condenser filter

The condenser filter is a little different from other filters as it's a piece of metal that is put into the stem of the pipe to stop moisture reaching your mouth. This is achieved due to the cooler metal condenses the hot moisture around it. While this is useful, the metal insert can make cleaning the pipe much more difficult.

Written by Oliver Partington