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Cigar Cutters: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re a cigar aficionado, you know that the perfect cut can make or break your smoking experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of cigar cutters, exploring the top options, cutting techniques, and the essential knowledge every cigar lover should possess.

What Are Cigar Cutters?

Apart from the name telling you what they do, a cigar cutter is an essential piece of equipment you need to clip or cut your cigar before you can smoke it. There are various types on the market and each one will result in a particular cut.

Type of Cigar Cutters

To reiterate briefly, the different types of cigar cutters are summarized below:

Type of CutterDescriptionFeatures and Considerations
Guillotine CutterA classic choice that provides a straight cut, cleanly severing the cap of the cigar. Popular for its simplicity and effectiveness. Look for high-quality stainless steel blades for durability.– Available in single and double blade configurations.
– Double blade design ensures a cleaner cut, reducing the chance of damaging the wrapper.
– Premium models may feature a spring-loaded release mechanism for added convenience.
V Cut Cigar CutterOffers a unique wedge-shaped incision, providing a different smoking experience. The V-shaped notch enhances the draw and flavor. Look for sharp, stainless steel blades for a precise and clean cut.– Available in various styles, including single and double blades.
– Concentrated draw for a more intense flavor profile.
Punch CutterCreates a small hole at the cigar’s head, offering a concentrated draw. Compact, convenient, and ideal for those who prefer a consistent draw with minimal fuss. Look for punch cutters with a sharp cutting edge for a clean and precise hole.– Available in different sizes to accommodate various cigar gauges.
Easy to use and carry, suitable for on-the-go smokers.
ScissorsProvides a precise cut, allowing control over the depth of the incision. Ensure the scissors are specifically designed for cigars and have sharp blades for a clean cut.– Vary in design, with some featuring a curved blade for controlled cutting.
– Premium options crafted from high-quality materials, such as stainless steel, for durability and longevity.
Cigar KnifeA cutting tool designed explicitly for cigars, offering an alternative to traditional cutters.– Check for a sharp blade suitable for cigar cutting.
– Some models feature additional functionalities like an indent to accommodate a cigar.
– You can sharpen the blade at home on a whetstone.

How to Choose the Right Cigar Cutter

Selecting the right cigar cutter involves considering various factors to match your preferences and smoking style. Let’s explore these factors in detail.

Blade Quality

Opt for stainless steel blades, known for their sharpness and resistance to corrosion. High-quality blades ensure a smooth, clean cut without damaging the cigar. Want to ensure you get the smoothest and cleanest cut possible? I highly recommend surgical-quality stainless steel blades. Premium cutters often feature this kind of stainless steel but are also costly.

Also, when you pick out a cigar cutter, you can check the blades for precision. A precise cut will ensure the best possible smoking experience — a sharp blade will lead to a clean cut. Dull blades may crush the cigar’s cap and show an excellent cigar, ending up a ruined experience. Another factor is to check that the blades precisely align. A misaligned cutter will lead to a botched cut, an uneven burn, and, ultimately, a bad smoking experience. Take your time when selecting a cutter, and do not allow the shopkeeper to bully you into a purchase, or you’ll end up with ruined cigars and wasted money.

Cutter Design

While the blades are essential, please ensure you are comfortable with the cutter’s design and construction. A cutter that is easy to use while being comfortable to handle will go a long way to enhance your smoking experience.

Pay attention to the materials, construction, and comfort when using the cutter. When a cutter is easy to use with predictable results, you know it will be a lifelong friend. Consider the handle design and potential flaws that may pop up later:

  • Rubber grips may provide a comfortable and secure grip, but will it disintegrate over time?
  • Does the cutter’s handle fit comfortably in your hand? Do you experience any discomfort while using the cutter?
  • Are the blade(s) correctly aligned?

These are significant considerations when considering the design and making a final decision.

Practice Your Cutting Skills

Each type of cut will impact the cigar’s burn rate and draw. Selecting the right cut for your cigar will take time, patience, and practice. Mastering the straight cut, V cut, or punch will enhance your overall smoking experience. Also, you won’t look helpless in front of other cigar aficionados…

Ring Gauge Compatibility

Consider the type of cigars you smoke. If you prefer larger gauge cigars, ensure you have a cutter that can accommodate the size. If your cutter cannot cut larger gauge cigars, you’ll end up damaging the cigar’s cap, and you might as well forego lighting up or sitting with a wholly ruined cigar and trying to smoke it.

A cutter with an adjustable aperture (opening) ensures compatibility across a wide range of ring gauges. Alternatively, you can purchase cutters dedicated to each type of cigar you like to smoke and match it to the ring gauge. Remember, the best cigar cutter is the one that does the job effectively without damaging your cigar (or reputation among other enthusiasts).

Caring for Your Cigar Cutter

To maintain the longevity and performance of your cigar cutter, follow these care tips:

Clean Your Cutter Regularly

Residue from tobacco can accumulate on the blades, affecting the quality of your cut. Clean your cutter after each use to prevent buildup.

A clean cutter will deliver a precise cut. A soft brush will ensure the blades and their guiding slide (using a single-blade cutter) remain clear of obstructions. Remember to brush the hinges, too! A soft cloth will also do the trick and remove any residual oils when oil builds up on the blade(s) over time, which may affect the taste of your cigar.

Sharpen the Blades

A sharp blade ensures you get the most effective cut. With regular use, your cutter’s blades may lose their sharpness and start damaging your cigars. When the blades start losing their edge, it is time for sharpening. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations if you’re brave enough to attempt this task at home (I know I am not). If you’d not try this at home, speak to your tobacconist for recommendations. Sometimes, they can do it while you wait, recommend a workshop, or send it in for a professional sharpening. Sharp blades are the key to precise incisions and a memorable smoking experience.

Store in a Dry Place

As much as your cigars need and crave their humidity to stay in perfect condition, your cigar cutters prefer the opposite! Humidity will hurt your cutter and rust when exposed to prolonged moisture. Even surgical-quality stainless steel is not immune to rust over a period of constant moisture. Additionally, the gears inside the cutter may rust and jam.

Keep your cutters in a dedicated place to ensure they are in perfect condition. If you live in a humid environment, consider adding silica gel packets to keep moisture away from your prized tools.

Check the Spring Mechanism

Some cigar cutters, like the single guillotine cutter, have a spring mechanism. Ensuring your spring is well-lubricated will provide a lifetime’s service. Inspect the mechanism regularly and apply lubricant when necessary. Well-maintained tools will make any job a breeze, and the same concept applies to your cigar cutters.

Top Cigar Cutters in 2023

Now that we’ve explored the different types of cigar cutters, let’s delve into some of the top choices available in 2023. These cutters stand out for their design, functionality, and overall cutting performance.

Xikar Xi1 Cutter

With a patented design crafted from 440c spring-loaded stainless steel blades, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better cutter! The Xikar Xi1 Cutter features razor-sharp blades coupled with a lifetime warranty that will put all your qualms to rest. Moreover, this cutter uses planetary gears that ensure the two blades work in perfect harmony at all times, allowing you to cut precisely. The blades are also self-sharpening, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your cigars.

Colibri V-Cut Cutter

Those who like smoking large ring gauge cigars (60+) are in for a treat when using the Colibri V-Cut cutter. It is a gorgeous cutter that allows you a deep, clean cut up to 7mm into the cap. You’ll be rewarded with a deep, robust draw. The cutter fits comfortably in your hand, and the spring-loaded release makes one-handed operation a breeze. While it may be contoured for beauty, it is a practical instrument that allows you to cut your after-dinner cigar confidently.

Tisfa Cigar Punch Cutter

If portability is what you seek, the Tisfa Cigar Punch Cutter is the way to go. It is small enough to clip onto your keyring, bag, or pocket. To add to its charm, this punch cutter is also anti-impact, anti-rust, and anti-corrosion. If you forgot to buy a gift, this little guy makes a perfect gift. It is an easy tool to use. Unscrew the cap, punch your cigar, and light up. A push-button conveniently removes any leftover tobacco after using your punch cutter. It punches an 8mm hole, but it won’t work on cigarillos.

Davidoff Cigar Scissors

For the ultimate birthday or Christmas splurge, the Davidoff Cigar Scissors Cutter delivers an exceptional tool to elevate your smoking experience. It is crafted in France and will add elegance to your cigar-cutting ritual without overshadowing the experience. Confidently cut cigars range between a 22 and 70-ring gauge (0.9 to 2.8cm). The timeless stainless steel design will attract anyone’s attention, and a premium leather case is included to keep your cutter safe and stylish.

Les Fines Lames Le Petit Cigar Knife

Le Petit is an exceptional pocket knife designed in Marseille and made in Thiers, France, by Les Fines Flames. It’s a compact, versatile friction folding pocket knife perfect for cigar cutting. They are crafted with 14C28N Stainless Steel. One-handed operation is straightforward: push down on the extending lever with your thumb, and you’re ready to cut a cigar or anything else that needs cutting.

A practical tool that combines beauty and functionality without compromising on quality. It’s almost too pretty to take on a camping trip because of the exotic woods like ebony macassar, acacia burl, kingwood, and ziricote, to name a few.

The Final Cut on Cigar Cutters

What’s the best cigar cutter? The one that has sharp blades and makes a precise cut. It is also the one you are most comfortable using that fits in your hand. The best cigar cutters also do not cause strain on your hand or force you to adopt an awkward cutting position. Cutting a cigar is more than a practical step to a great smoke; it is an art form.

Scissors offer precision, while you’ll use a guillotine cutter to achieve a clean cut without damaging the wrapper. A V cutter will make a wedge-shaped cut, providing an enhanced draw and flavor, and a punch cutter will offer you a concentrated, consistent draw with minimal fuss. Invest in the best, hone your cutting skills, and elevate your smoking experience to new heights. Cheers to the perfect cut and delightful smokes! Happy Smoking!

Andrew Olsen, a Musicology Ph.D., explores the intersections of art, literature, and music. Beyond academics, he's a cigar aficionado who revels in experimenting with pipe tobacco blends and collecting vintage and new pipes. Other pursuits include reading about cigars and tobacco pipes, blends, and (of course) writing about it.

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