Small vs. Large Pipes: A Dialogue

Attention, all pipe smokers, this is a Public Service Announcement from yours truly, Truett, declaring that small pipes are, in fact, the best pipes. There's no debate, and don't even try to convince me otherwise.

All good things come in small packages: candy bars, short shorts, engagement rings, those little trinkets inside Kinder eggs, puppies... and pipes.

I'm all about small pipes, and who could disagree? Small pipes offer conveniences not found in larger pieces. Their shorter length allows for easy pocketing; a smaller size also decreases the overall weight, making them ideal for clenching and more comfortable. Large pipes are awful by comparison — their size cumbersome and their weight requiring the jaws of a wolverine to smoke comfortably. Small pipes are tasteful and elegant, like a chic Apple watch; large pipes are obtrusive and boorish, like that desktop computer from 2004 that takes up the entire desktop.

In fact, I'll go a step further and say that those who prefer large pipes are likewise crude and unsophisticated; whereas, aficionados of small pipes are refined, efficient, and by all metrics, "cool." As the old adage goes, you are what you smoke. You want to be cool, right? Then, smoke a cool pipe. Smoke a small pipe.

To all pipe smokers, avoid large pipes at all costs. Do you want to slog around an extra appendage throughout the day? Are you trying to exude the banality of a barbarian? I didn't think so. Do yourself a favor, and stick to small pipes. And to those already with collections of large pipes, it's not too late. You can turn from your foolish ways and pursue the enlightenment found in small pipes. Throw off the shackles of deep-bowled briars, and step into the light. You'll thank me for it.

I motion that all pipes that are over five and half inches in length and that weigh more than 45 grams should be banned from production. Period. And any pipe maker found carving such pieces should be branded as a disgrace to the community. It's time we took a stand against such insulting smoking instruments and promoted true pipe smoking à la small pipes.

Sign this petition, and let's get this motion passed. #teamsmallpipes


Truett Smith,

Spokesman of Pipe Smokers for the Promotion of Small Pipes (PSPSP)

The following is a message from Truett Smith, Global Representative of the League of Large Pipe Promotion (LLPP):

I'm just going to come out and say it. Small pipes are stupid. Large pipes are the future of pipe smoking. There's no argument.

Everyone knows that bigger is better: pickup trucks, chocolate cakes, tax refunds, Shaquille O'Neal, Texas... and pipes.

I'm in favor of large pipes, and no one can convince me otherwise. Large pipes boast features only dreamed of by small pipes. A large pipe equals more chamber space, more bowl for your buck, which means more room for tobacco and a longer, better smoking session. You want to smoke a small pipe? Ha! Have fun re-packing the bowl every 45 minutes. As for me, I can smoke my large pipes for well over two hours per bowl backed. That's an average of only five bowls packed per day — more time spent smoking with less time wasted emptying and re-packing. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, small-pipe lovers.

Furthermore, a large pipe offers a full handful of briar, a comforting companion that has your back. Small pipes flinch in the face of danger; large pipes become a formidable weapon and laugh at fear. Can a small pipe double as a shillelagh? No, it can't. It can barely even cut it as a paper weight. Small pipes are dainty and frail, like a paper boat floating down a street gutter only to be soaked and destroyed by a rushing torrent; large pipes are brazen and secure, like a monster truck leaving crushed sedans in its wake.

Why would I want to put my pipe in a pocket anyway? I'm smoking it. Besides, with the rate at which people misplace sunglasses or leave them on the car seat only to sit and break them, having a pipe smaller than a pair of sunglasses is a recipe for disaster. A large pipe is never misplaced; it stands out in a crowd, never ignored, never forgotten.

To take it further, those who smoke small pipes are likewise ignorable and easily forgotten; whereas, those who enjoy large pipes are strong and proud. Do you want to be a timid, small-pipe smoker or an independent, confident collector of large pipes? The decision is an easy one.

Avoid small pipes at all costs. Are you trying to lose the respect of the pipe smoking community? I didn't think so. Do yourself a favor, and smoke large pipes. And to all you promoters of small pipes, it's not too late to make the right decision and switch to large pipes. Admit your mistake, and enjoy the freedom of long-lasting smoking sessions. You won't regret it.

I propose that all small pipes be banned from production, all pipes not at least six inches in length and with a chamber capacity no less than one-and-three-quarter inches. No pipe maker carving pipes smaller than that is worth their salt. Embrace the large-pipe life, and experience pipe smoking as it's meant to be appreciated — with a large pipe.

Sign the petition, and let's get this motion passed. #teamlargepipes


Truett Smith,

Global Representative of the League of Large Pipe Promotion (LLPP)

Category:   Pipe Line
Tagged in:   Humor Pipe Culture


    • Aaron on May 29, 2020
    • This had the opportunity to actually discuss the preferences and limitations between both pipes but instead I’m reading something written by high schoolers who think they’re funny. What a waste.

    • Len on May 29, 2020
    • I liked this article! It's good to read something light-hearted for a change during these disquieting times.

    • Cressy Lopez on May 29, 2020
    • I love them both.

    • Tom on May 29, 2020
    • I have love for all pipes! Would have enjoyed your opinion on what you like to smoke, in which kind of pipe, and why.

    • Jeff M. on May 31, 2020
    • Ha, I got a chuckle out of this as I sit here reading while clenching a small Bruyere de St. Claude billiard. It holds one round rubbed out and is almost depleted of the Luxury Bullseye Flake it was loaded with when this cup of coffee was still hot.

    • Manuel Pintado on May 31, 2020
    • I have a collection of both big and small pipes and use these in line with the tobacco I smoke.
      Good article.

    • Gene Bowker on May 31, 2020
    • I tend to have similar conversations around bowl shapes.. when I'm smoking ribbon or shag.. its "Oh, those tall bowls or my radiator pipe is the best thing ever".. when I grab a flake.. it's "oh, why have anything besides an Author shape with a wide bowl.." good article written in a fun style.

    • Christopher M on May 31, 2020
    • My friends, have we not all learned by now that it's not the size of the bowl but what you're smoking on the inside of it that counts?

    • Paul Schmolke on May 31, 2020
    • Funny takes on important stuff. I used to smoke small pipes back in the 60’s and 70’s before tobacco was invented and we had to rely on imported herbs. The rewards were somewhat offset by the very hot burn frequently encountered. I’ll take credit for inventing a pipe made entirely of titanium heat sinks and tubing. With leather gloves, the discomfort was more manageable. Moving on to traditional pipes, I’ve always enjoyed larger pipes as they smoke cooler and will sustain over my frequent one hour drives through the mountains or extended front porch sits. Thus, I’ve graduated to Peterson’s larger shapes and sizes, keeping the taller narrower bowls for flake and the shorter more open bowls for ribbon although not exclusively in the case of taller narrower bowls. The added wall thickness of most larger pipes appears to aid in cooling things a bit too. 6” X 2” X 3/4” is sort of a minimum for my tastes with a few of my Canadians bettering these proportions significantly. I have several Peterson 107’s and 106’s, both favorites, with a few of their offerings that just Happen to be oversized, most notably 408’s and 606’s. I’m a careful buyer thus always read the size chart for each pipe before making a final decision.

    • Paul Schmolke on May 31, 2020
    • Great bit of uplifting sarcasm in your piece.

    • Stephen S. on May 31, 2020
    • It's always been a sincere challenge for me to appreciate and relate to articles written by pipe smokers who tote around a pipe with tobacco burning in it and fancy themselves a "pipe smoker". I believe that if you're not inhaling the smoke, you're little more than a human incense distributor. The Encyclopedia Britannica identifies; "Smoking, the act of inhaling and exhaling the fumes of burning plant material." Based upon the effort and length of text dedicated to the argument for large pipes, I believe that the author prefers them (apparently the "bong" variety), and surely must be a true smoker.

    • Practically Petrified on May 31, 2020
    • I like a nose warmer! When I'm around the house I usually smoke a corncob. But, when I'm out and about I smoke BigBen Rangers. I'll pack all three of my Rangers, put them in their pouch and I'm "all set".

    • P.A.D. on May 31, 2020
    • A pipe is just a vessel...
      An instrument to help take one into that enchanted land of a relaxing smoke. Nothing more, nothing less....

    • Mark on May 31, 2020
    • Sorry, but I have to agree with Aaron, who wrote the first comment. Sophomoric.

    • Bob M on May 31, 2020
    • This article brightened up my day!! Thanks for a smile, sorely needed in these times we're experiencing right now.

    • North of Bangor on May 31, 2020
    • Small.

    • J on May 31, 2020
    • I have some of them. I like to try more, but a little more. After all, my teeth are uncomfortable.

    • Astrocomical on June 1, 2020
    • I don't like my pipes to small and I don't like them too big. Hows dat?

    • Rod Whippit on June 1, 2020
    • I seriously question the I.Q. of anyone who doesn't "get" satire. Nothing wrong with a low I.Q., of course--just sayin'. This was, in essence, a distillation of everything ever written on pipe forums in the last 15 years.

    • Max on June 1, 2020
    • #teamlargepipes
      I think the pipe size is just related to the time each person has to smoke.
      A retired person who has time to enjoy smoking for 2 or more hours every day,needs a large pipe.A person who doesn't have more than 30-45 mins a day,needs a smaller pipe. A person who has both short and long breaks,needs small as well as large pipes.
      I got the time to smoke over 2 hours a day,so I prefer large pipes.

    • Isaiah H on June 1, 2020
    • I have found myself appreciating smaller pipes for the reasons argued above, especially because the amount of tobacco is less of a commitment. As for length? Who can deny the delight of smoking a lithe and lightweight churchwarden (especially those with reasonably sized bowls)?

    • Jonathan Goodman on June 1, 2020
    • I only have a small compliment of pipes, but I've found that I constantly gravitate to my small pipes. They're lightweight, simple, quick, and (above all for me) clenchable. I do like the aesthetic of some large pipes, but the "small French" pipe gets me every time.

    • FriarAlcuin on June 2, 2020
    • I have found that chamber diameter is for me the most important aspects of a pipe. My chamber diameter range is 0.74 in.---0.81 in. Any chamber diameter greater than 0.81 is too open for the draw and makes VAs taste too weak. Whereas a chamber diameter smaller than 0.74 in is a bit too tricky for me to pack and can make VA/Pers too strong. I also prefer straight stem pipes lighter than 1.5 oz. Anything heavier is tough on the teeth for clenching. As for chamber depth I don't like anything greater than 1.7 in. I prefer to smoke several different blends in a smoke session instead of one long smoke of a single blend. I suppose this makes my pipe preference medium to small.

    • Try Cob on June 4, 2020
    • Funny, but misses the real point. Pokers, cherrywoods, and other pipes that sit up when set down are the only pipes worth their salt, whatever the size. All others are examples of poor engineering and flawed design which endanger countless lives and should be banned from the market-place post-haste. I mean, one just shouldn't plan to burn leaves in a bowl that requires holding with a stick until the embers die, lest it topple; it just wouldn't be prudent.

    • Silversmith on June 6, 2020
    • Thanks for the article Truett - Great fun. What is surprising though are the ruffled feathers of some of your readers here. Pack a bowl and lighten up fellas!

    • Rob on June 7, 2020
    • Small vs. Large Pipes: A Dialogue
      May 27, 2020 by Truett Smith in Pipe Line

      This one might be funnier than any of Chuck’s articles which is a huge claim as you might know. I laughed until I had tears coming down. Way to go Truett , it you really kicked this one over the posts!🤣🤣

    • ED on June 7, 2020
    • I have a collection of both large and small pipes. If I want a short smoke after lunch, I will smoke a small pipe. If I want a longer smoke after dinner, I will go for a large pipe, and smoke it most of the entire evening.

    • Michael Rossi on June 8, 2020
    • I'd like to get a few small (or short) pipes, but it's not broken down by that category (i.e. a separate category for small pipes), so it seems to be a painstaking process of going through every shape category to find small pipes. And you can't always tell bu the photo but have to see the stats which means clicking on every possible pipe.Am I missing something? Is there an easier to hunt for and find small pipes?

    • Truett on June 8, 2020
    • @Michael Rossi, thanks for reaching out. There actually is a fairly efficient way: Using the Pipe Locator tool (located in the upper right and marked by a pipe icon), you can filter certain aspects like length, weight, and shape and yield pipes that fit your specific criteria. Hope that helps, and if you have trouble with the Pipe Locator or have further questions, feel free to reach out to our Customer Service Department. All the best.

    • John H on July 1, 2020
    • Fun article! Made me smile on a stressful day.

    • Hendricks Joe on August 9, 2020
    • Enjoyed the article. I also enjoyed the comments. What was funny to me was the couple of comments that didn’t enjoy the humor of it. Maybe you need to explained the intent of the this article before hand. Lol keep up the good writing.

    • Michael B on September 15, 2020
    • Great articles, enjoyed both of them. Just what the doctor order a little levity in these trying times.

    • Tampaholic on October 11, 2020
    • Nice article. I, myself, prefer a pipe with a bowl dia. of .75 and up with a bowl depth of 1.50 and up. What really chaps my ass (referring to my donkey, Clyde, out back. He gets upset about this) is to see all those beautifully hand made pipes that look like a work of art with very small bowl dimensions...that sell for a fortune (at least for me a fortune). I won't mention any names, but I would've pulled the trigger on some of those breath taking designs if the bowl dimensions were only bigger. Am I alone on this? The struggle is real.

    • Jim Mills on November 15, 2020
    • Really fun idea Truett!Shame on Aaron - Look at the title of Truett’s article - it is an invitation for an open discussion on the pro’s and con’s of small/large pipes to us, the customers - he was only cleverly and with quite a bit of wit opening the discussion. If you think his method was sophomoric, I strongly disagree!By the way I very much feel like Friar Alcuin and choose pipes with bowls and weights like his are. I own all kinds of pipes, but my pipe is my all day companion and I need something I can clench in my teeth, leaving my hands free for other tasks. I also prefer straight pipes for several reasons - the first is that if your pipe starts to gurgle, you can put a pipe cleaner into the stem and absorb the moisture and continue your smoke. The second, is that when I’m working down in the shop on the bandsaw or table saw or drafting board or whatever and concentrating on what I’m doing and turn my head to the right, a straight pipe never touches my shoulder - a curved pipe, on the other hand, will touch my shoulder and because I’m so involved in my work, I won’t notice it until the burning sensation of the hot pipe registers in my brain. I’m quite sure we all have our own reasons for liking certain shapes, etc. based on exactly how and when we smoke. Truett’s point is there is no right or wrong with respect to size or shape, etc. We pipe smokers are all different - that’s why there are so many intriguing pipe shapes and sizes. Thanks Truett for the invitation for a discussion and thanks to all of the hero’s (as least to me!) at the way... I really have got to say that your method of determining the validity of someone writing a comment - the simple “Enter the circled word below” is really superior to all of the other “twisted letter pictures” seen on other websites. You guys really use your heads across the whole gamut of your business - hats off to you guys!)

    • Jim Mills on November 15, 2020
    • Oh and by the way, Aaron, Truett’s invitation for an open discussion did ACTUALLY, (if you had been paying attention), give many, many reasons for choosing either a small or a large pipe..., so what more were you actually looking for?

    • Marv on April 24, 2021
    • To each his own! My collection of pipes has many medium to large pipes, only a few small ones. Generally, I prefer large-- they smoke cooler, seem to develop more flavor for me, feel better in my hand. On the downside, I often don't finish a pipeful in one session, which often ends up being wasteful because I frequently want to change tobacco and end up discarding what is left. On the other hand I have a little Petersen that is often just what I want. Straight vs. bent depends entirely on what I am doing. Bents are a bit more comfortable to my jaw and don't get in the way as much, but if the air currents are not just right, smoke from a bent can get in my eyes, which I don't like. The greatest thing about pipe smoking is variation. So many sizes and styles of pipes and a wide range of very different tobaccos add up to a pastime that is infinitely changeable, never boring. Nothing like the boring and unhealthy addictions that repeat the exact same experience 20 or 30 times a day.

    • RedSpider on September 7, 2021
    • It's like the second one should've started with, "Small pipe smoker, you ignorant slut!" and I laughed hard!

    • Front Duck on March 31, 2022
    • Looking forwards to reading your pipe publication.

    • Wayne on February 20, 2023
    • I have a couple of small pipes, but they're a waste of money for me. I feel that the tiny volume of smoke they deliver doesn't pack the flavor punch of a bigger bowl. By bigger, I mean 20mm or larger. I'm only smoking Englishes, so that may be a factor.

    • Victor on November 14, 2023
    • This was funny lol. The same guy wrote both columns. I tend to smoke medium size pipes after supper and smaller pipes during the day. Now when I say "smaller pipes" I mean like a Kaywoodie shape 22 billiard or a Savinelli 603 bent billiard. A larger pipe for me would be a Kaywoodie shape 11 billiard and a Savinelli 602. I'm not a tall person so I wouldn't be comfortable smoking a 7in long billiard or a bent pipe with a Home Depot size bucket for a bowl.

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