If you're just entering the world of tobacco pipes, you're probably already astounding by the huge amount of diversity in the selection. There are pipes of all shapes and styles, made from a wide range of different materials and intended to deliver unique smoking experiences depending on the tobacco, the smoker, and more. One of the first things that you'll likely find yourself trying to figure out is just how big your pipe should be. There are large and small bowls available, and taking the time to determine the right one for you is much more important than you probably realize. There are a few things to keep in mind.
The 'bowl' on tobacco pipes is nothing more than the opening in which you put your tobacco. As you've already noticed, there's a huge bit of variety. Bowls can be deep or shallow, wide or narrow, and the size of the bowl will have a big impact on your smoking experience. First of all, remember that new smokers aren't going to be able to handle as much tobacco at once as a seasoned smoker. For those starting out, a small bowl is probably adequate since it will hold enough tobacco for you to enjoy without making you lightheaded.
Once you've gotten used to smoking your pipe, you'll probably crave a larger bowl since you will want to enjoy a longer smoke. Tobacco pipes with larger bowls will certainly accommodate this desire, but you'll want to remember a few things as well. Some smokers feel that a larger bowl allows for more heat, and that in some cases the bowl will get too hot and actually burn the wood. This is usually a case of puffing too heavily or over lighting the tobacco, however, so if you opt for a larger bowl you should simply keep this in mind.
The type of tobacco you're smoking will influence your selection of bowl size as well. Tobacco pipes with larger bowls are usually better suited for aromatic tobaccos and flavored ones since the aroma and flavors will be more pronounced through their use. Traditional tobacco is usually better utilized in a smaller bowl to provide a more even burn and longer lasting smoke. The truth is that there's really no right answer, and most people keep a small and large bowled pipe on hand depending on the mood and the moment. It's ultimately up to you, but these tips should help you narrow down your selection.