Many people are intimidated by the prospect of buying a pipe for someone else or even themselves if it is their first. Although this trepidation is understandable, you can find a great pipe that either you or your loved one will enjoy for years by looking for a few key elements: look, feel, weight, and brand. When you consider these variables your choices will narrow to the perfect pipe for you.
Look is the most apparent variable in selecting a pipe. Is the pipe bent or straight? Smooth or rough? Is it attractive? How is the grain? When you imagine yourself smoking a pipe does this resemble what you are seeking? If a pipe is not attractive, you simply will not smoke it.
Feel is equally important because if you find a pipe attractive but it feels uncomfortable, it will sit on your mantle and you will ask yourself why you do not smoke it more. A pipe should fit comfortably in the hand in whatever grip you prefer. If you are buying a pipe for some one else simply compare sizes if hands between yourself and the recipient and mentally compensate.
Weight can tell you much about the quality of briar and curing that has gone into the crafting of the pipe. If the pipe is dense or seemingly heavy for the amount of briar in the pipe then the pipe will probably not smoke as well at least at first. You may have a longer break in period ahead of you.
Better brands of pipes are almost always more desirable as they not only add to collectability but also tend to smoke better. These manufacturers have been making pipes for some time now and they have a reputation to uphold. If by chance you do buy a pipe with a hidden flaw, the better companies will stand behind their product and replace your pipe.