Do You Need to Use a Filter With a Pipe?

Something you may not have considered when purchasing a new tobacco pipe is whether or not you will use a filter when you smoke it. There are a number of pros and cons for smoking with or without a filter, and this guide should help you decide what is right for you and your pipe.


Different Kinds of Pipe Filter

There are three main types of pipe filter: 

Pass-Through Filter

This is the most common type of filter for pipes, as it helps to reduce the amount of tar and nicotine from the tobacco. Pass-through filters are the best for reducing any irritation to the mouth and tongue, also known as ‘tongue bite’, as they are good at absorbing moisture. However, this higher absorption ability can also stop the smoker from experiencing the full flavours of the tobacco. Two different styles of pass-through filters are available; one is a thick cotton tube with a hollow centre, and the other is a canister filter filled with carbon.


Absorption Filter

Often made from wood, with a common example being the Savinelli Balsa Wood filters, absorption filters cool and dry the smoke before it reaches your mouth. These are best for people who want their smoke to be cooler.



The condenser filter differs from other filter types, as it is a piece of metal that is put into the stem of the pipe to stop moisture reaching the smoker’s mouth. As the name may suggest, this is achieved due to the fact that the cooler metal of the condenser makes the hot moisture from the tobacco smoke condense around it. While this is useful, the metal insert can make the pipe cleaning process far trickier.


Tobacco pipes with filters

Why to Use a Filter With a Pipe:

  1. Pipe filters control draw

Filters help you to slow down your smoke, as you can smoke too quickly and draw too hard when puffing without one. This, in turn, helps to keep the smoke cooler and allows you to experience more of the tobacco’s flavour.


  1. Smoking with a filter can be better for you

Like with cigarettes, the filter is thought to help absorb any excess nicotine and tar from the tobacco. This can help to reduce the risks associated with smoking.


  1. Filters absorb excess moisture

Filters can help stop moisture from gathering in the stem or being drawn through into the mouth, which is unpleasant for many smokers.


  1. Filters help to fill larger holes

If the draught hole (the hole leading from the pipe’s bowl to the shank and stem) or bore hole (the part that goes in the mouth) are a little bigger, then small bits of tobacco or ash can be drawn through the pipe and into your mouth. Obviously, this is something all smokers will want to avoid, and using a filter can stop these flakes from reaching your mouth.


  1. Filters reduce tongue bite

Smoking without a filter can cause an unpleasant feeling on the tongue, and in the rest of your mouth, caused by excess oils and harsh smoke. This can be avoided by using a filter, as it can stop and absorb some of the oils, and cool the smoke, stopping the sharp burning sensation in your mouth!


Tobacco pipe being smoked without a filter

Why to Use a Pipe Without a Filter:

  1. Tobacco tastes better unfiltered

Some smokers find that smoking with a filter reduces some of the taste of the tobacco, and prefer to experience the full effect of their smoke. This is particularly the case for smokers who do not inhale.


  1. Filters can make cleaning pipes harder

With a filter in the way, a pipe cleaner cannot be run through the pipe until after the smoke has ended and the pipe has cooled down. Leaving the filter in can cause big problems when it comes to cleaning, as it can cause gunk to build up, meaning you must always remember to remove it after each smoke. This is particularly important if you have a briar pipe, as leaving a moist and tar filled filter in will have a bad effect on the wood.


  1. Filters make smoking pipes cost more

Adding a filter to your pipe means that there is one more thing you will need to regularly purchase in addition to your pipe tobacco. While filters are relatively inexpensive, usually only around 10 pence each, over time this can really start to add up for those smoking pipes regularly.


Should You Use a Filter?

Deciding whether or not to use a filter is largely down to personal preference. Pipe smoking is quite a personal hobby, so if you think its better to smoke with a filter then you should, but if you prefer the taste without, then that is also fine! Interestingly, there is quite a geographical factor in this decision, with people in Europe largely opting to smoke with a filter, and those in America choosing to go without! Use this guide to make an informed decision for yourself, or experiment with both filter and filter-free smokes to see what you prefer!


If you have already made up your mind on whether you like to smoke with or without a filter, then let us know your preference in the comments below, or get in touch via our social media channels.


Leave a Reply