Which Filter Works Best? A Three Pipe Problem!

There is great debate in the pipe smoking community as to whether pipe filters actually make the smoking experience more enjoyable for the smoker.  Obviously, both sides of the argument contain reasonable evidence as to why one should use a filter in a pipe and why one shouldn’t.  And in all honesty, neither side is wrong.  At the end of the day it truly comes down to preference.  However, if you are anything like me, you enjoy mixing up the routine now and again by trying new ways of smoking and enjoying your pipes and tobaccos.  One of these many ways is by using a filter in your pipe. 

As with any product on the market, including something as simple as pipe filters, the general consumer has an array of options to choose from.  Therefore, the question becomes, which filter should I choose and what product is the best value for my money?  As the great Sherlock Holmes stated to the honorable Dr. John Watson, “Watson, this is a three-pipe problem!”  And I must admit, I couldn’t agree more.  In fact, that is the precise method I will use for this quasi-experiment. 

All great research studies start with a question.  Although my three-pipe problem experiment is far from being a ground-breaking study, it will offer an objective approach to examining which pipe filter provides the best smoking experience.  In fact, this idea in itself will be our research question for the study, “Which 9mm pipe filter provides the best smoking experience?”  In an attempt to be objective and eliminate researcher bias, I set the experiment up in the following manner.

Three separate, unsmoked, Missouri Meerschaum corn cob pipes were each loaded with a different 9mm pipe filter.  Each pipe was packed with two full flakes of Mac Baren Pure Virginia pipe tobacco from the same tin dated September 2015.  I used Swam Vesta matches to light each pipe when smoking, thus attempting to eliminate any outside variables that would have flawed this intensive, very professional, research study.  For reference, the three brands of 9mm pipe filters used were as follows:

Medico Pipe Filters

Mr. Brog Pipe Filters

Savinelli Balsa Wood Filters

I must admit, in my actual daytime job, I conduct a variety of authentic research, publishing studies in various peer reviewed academic journals.  Although I enjoy writing and researching in the formal academic setting, this was by far one of the most enjoyable ‘studies’ I have conducted to date. Yes, there are a multitude of differences in my academic work and personal hobby driven inquiries, however, I was able to ascertain a lot of valuable information while easily determining which of these three filters provided the best smoking experience. Let’s take a moment to discuss the findings.      

Medico Pipe Filter

The Medico pipe filter did a fine job of providing a cool semi-clean smoking experience.  The filter draft allowed for an easy draw, however, did not do a great job of collecting moisture.  The amber pipe stem past the filter contained a significant amount of wetness that required a pipe cleaner halfway through the smoking experience. Further, near the end of the bowl, as the moisture built up, the tobacco tastes started to become somewhat muttled and tart.  Overall, this pipe filter’s name summarizes the experience you will get from its use…mediocre.

Mr. Brog Pipe Filter

I’m sure many readers are hesitant to believe that this was done fairly, but I can assure you it was. The Mr. Brog 9mm pipe filter was very similar to the Medico except it was not hallowed the entire way through (a pipe cleaner will not pass through the filter as it would with the Medico). Instead, there were six tiny filter holes on each end of the filter that allowed smoke to smoothly flow through the filter, up the stem, and into the mouth.  The Mr. Brog pipe filter provided an extremely cool smoking experience allowing for the natural grassy, honey, bready tastes of the Virginia tobacco to shine through on my palate.  The Mr. Brog filter did a phenomenal job of collecting moisture leaving little to no trace in the upper amber part of the pipe stem.  Although it is recommended that you change the pipe filter after every 1 to 2 smokes, I am confident the quality of these filters will allow for many more outstanding bowls before needing to be removed and replaced. Without a doubt I was greatly surprised at the quality and precision this filter gave me on my smoking experience.      

Savinelli Balsa Wood Filter

These filters have always intrigued me and from everything I have read, people either love them or they hate them.  I must admit, for this experiment, the Savinelli Balsa Wood filters performed the worst out of the three choices.  Giving the filter the benefit of the doubt, I am not sure they are designed for corn cob pipes, however, in order to stay consistent, that is what I used them in. The smoking experience proved extremely difficult, and quite unenjoyable, as the draw was much too tight on the pipe.  Because of this, the tobacco had trouble burning properly and making the process overall somewhat frustrating.  I will admit that the balsa filters did a nice job of absorbing moisture, but after one, maybe two smokes, you will need to be changing this filter out, therefore, also making it the worst option financially.

Summary

In the end, when you consider performance, price, and pipe smoking enjoyment I would wholeheartedly recommend the Mr. Brog Pipe Filters.  The quality and craftsmanship that have gone into creating these filters is above and beyond, thus, elevating the enjoyment of each bowl of pipe tobacco smoked.  And at $5.99 for a pack of 10 filters, you are guaranteed to get a new enjoyment from your pipes and tobaccos.  With the Mr. Brog Pipe Filters, you will want that “Three-pipe problem”to turn into a “Five-pipe problem”as your pipe smoking enjoyment will only be elevated.  Pick some up here. You won’t be disappointed!