The different kinds of filters available

The different kinds of filters available

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21 05 2021
There are several types of pipe filters available on the market. How to choose between a metal filter, a 9mm filter or a paper filter? Learn about the pros and cons of each...

What is a pipe filter?

The filter is a small accessory that allows to filter and trap harmful substances, therefore making the overall smoking experience more enjoyable. There are several kinds of filters, that differ in diameter and material used. The two most commonly used are metal filters and 9 mm filters. The filter is located inside the pipe, in the tenon.

Pipe filter

How to choose the right filter?

You cannot put any filter you want inside a pipe! In general, you have to consider the two criteria mentioned above. There also are pipes fom certain brands that need specific filters (Falcon, Tsuge...).

The diameter:

It is the first criterion you have to take into account. Indeed, depending on the pipe's bore diameter, you will have to use the filter with the corresponding diameter (it is therefore not possible to put a filter with a 9 mm diameter inside a pipe bored with a 4 mm diameter, and vice versa). There are 4 different diameters of filters:

  • 3 mm filters
  • 4 mm filters
  • 6 mm filters
  • 9 mm filters

It is also possible to use an adaptor, that can be put on 9mm-diameter-pipes.

The material:

Pipe filters can be made from different materials:

  • Metal: the metal filter is a small piece made of metal, that is put on the stem. There are different forms of metal filter, depending on the pipe.
  • Balsa: balsa is a very light and soft wood, made of porous fibers with absorbent properties. Balsa filters are in the form of small rods.
  • Paper: a paper filter is made of rolled-up paper, that forms a hollow tube.
  • Meerschaum: meerschaum is a naturally filtering mineral. Meerschaum filters are in the form of cartridges, that contain small meerschaum balls.
  • Activated charcoal: activated charcoal has especially strong absorbent properties. As with meerschaum filters, activated charcoal filters are cartridges that contain granules of activated charcoal.
  • Keystones: made of volcanic clay, these small stones can be put at the bottom of your pipe's bowl.
Type of filterProsCons
Metal
  • Can be cleaned easily, by running it under water.
  • It is the only filter that doesn't need to be changed regularly, unless it is broken, in which case you can buy a new one.
  • Cheap.
  • Does not filter out harmful susbtances as efficiently as some other filters.
  • Metal filters have a tendency to favor the creation of condensation, hence why some might prefer smoking without.
Balsa
  • 100% natural.
  • Traps some of the tars.
  • Absorbs moisture.
  • The wood rod will not fill all the stem, therefore the air flow will not be impeded.
  • The filter needs to be changed regularly (every 2 pipes).
  • Does not filter out harmful susbtances as efficiently as some other filters.
Paper
  • Absorbs moisture.
  • Cheap.
  • The paper filter needs to be replaced after every use.
  • Does not filter out harmful susbtances as efficiently as some other filters.
Meerschaum
  • Naturally filters harmful substances (tars, nicotine).
  • Absorbs moisture, for a fresher smoke.
  • The filter needs to be changed regularly (every 3 to 4 pipes).
  • The draw with a 9mm filter is slightly harder.
  • Meerschaum has a slight impact on tobacco's taste.
Activated charcoal
  • It is nowadays the most efficient filter to filter out harmful substances (tars, nicotine).
  • Absorbs moisture, for a fresher and drier smoke.
  • The filter needs to be changed regularly (every 3 to 4 pipes).
  • The draw with a 9mm filter is slightly harder.
Keystones
  • These stones can be used with any pipe, whatever the bore width.
  • Absorb moisture for a fresher and drier smoke.
  • Prevent tobacco wastage (tobacco leaves that might not have burned) at the bottom of the bowl.
  • The stones take up some space, hence less tobacco will fit inside the bowl.
  • The stones might not be compatible with pipes that have a very small bowl.
  • The stones need to be changed after every use.
Adaptor
  • Allows to smoke a 9 mm pipe with a standard metal filter.
  • It presents all the pros of a metal filter.
  • Some 9 mm pipes cannot be used with an adaptor! To make sure it will fit, it is best to contact La Pipe Rit's team!
  • The adaptor needs to be cleaned regularly (especially the plastic part). 
  • It presents all the cons of a metal filter.

Metal filter for the pipe

Metal filter

9mm activated charcoal filters

9mm activated charcoal filters

6mm balsa filters

6mm balsa filters

9mm meerschaum filters

9mm meerschaum filters

Paper filters

Paper filters

Clay stones (keystones)

Clay stones (Keystones)

9mm balsa filters

9mm balsa filters

9mm filter - metal filter adaptor

9mm filter - metal filter adaptor

Which filter can be used with my pipe?

Filter diameter
Type of filter3mm4mm6mm9mm
Metal

Yes

Yes

NoNo
Balsa

No

No

YesYes
Paper

Yes

Yes

YesNo
Meerschaum

No

No

NoYes
Activated charcoal

No

No

NoYes
Keystones

Yes

YesYesYes
Adaptor

No

NoNo

Yes

What is the best pipe filter?

There is no universal answer to this question, it depends on the smoker's taste and preferences! Just remember that a good filter does not alter the tobacco's taste. For those who wish, it is also possible to take out the filter and smoke without.

A lot of pipes come with a metal filter. However, more and more pipes are made to be fitted with a 9mm one. The type of filter that goes with the pipe is shown in the description area for all our products.

La Pipe Rit team

See all our pipe filters

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