The popularity of cigars had waned in recent decades, but they’re back in a huge way. As a result, though, a lot of people have a lot of questions—namely about cigar cutters. Some people will just tell you, “Bite the cap off.” But if you do that, you’re going to get slobber all over the wrapper and the inner leaves, and a very poor cut that will most likely tear the wrapper, all of which combines to ruin your cigar smoking experience.
Biting the cap off is a last resort. A gentleman always uses a cigar cutter—as does any man or woman, for that matter, who appreciates cigars of quality. Because that is, perhaps, the best reason to own a cigar cutter: It’s the only way to truly enjoy the quality of your favorite cigar, taking in its notes like it’s a fine wine—because it is the fine wine of the tobacco smoker’s world.
The different types of cigar cutters
You have a few choices when it comes to the best cigar cutters. Which type of cigar cutter you choose is largely based on your own personal preference, there are personalized cigar cutters available.
The best guillotine cigar cutters are essentially a miniature guillotine which operates by placing the cigar in the center between two blades; the cutting action comes from you pressing on each end of the outer side of the cutter, resulting in a clean straight cut.
Cigar scissors are essentially a guillotine cutter, but for the traditionalists who likes to make a smooth, classy impression. The resulting cut is also clean and straight, providing you go for high quality cigar-specific scissors.
The punch cutters are perhaps the easiest way to cut a cigar, because it takes less finesse and decisiveness on your part. Punch cutters are tube-shaped devices; you press the cutting end into the cigar tip and you get a small around hole, which many prefer over the straight cuts of cigar guillotines and cigar scissors. Furthermore, you can actually make the hope you punched bigger by going over it a second time, so you have some customization, too, which you don’t get with the former two cutters.
V-cutters not only look similar to guillotine cutters, but they function in a similar way, by using your fingers to press two blades together. However, V-cutters, as the name suggests, have a notch in the blade that results in a V-shape in your cigar cap. Fans of V-cutters tend to prefer them because you have the whole not getting tobacco leaves in your mouth thing, which is a strong point of punch cutters, but the larger, wedge-shaped hole, giving you a wider path for the smoke, making for a faster draw than punch-cut cigars can offer.
Because guillotine cigar cutters and V-cutters tend to traditionally have a ring-like place to put your thumb and finger while cutting, this can have the downside of leading to people cutting themselves. Newer variations on both guillotine and V-cutters exist where you don’t have to place your thumb and finger inside the grips of the cutter so that your digits are always outside of the device, which is pretty handy if you tend to be clumsy or just prefer handiness.
Xikar Xi3 3D Mayan Cigar Cutter
The Xikar Xi3 3D Mayan Cigar Cutter is comprised out of pure stainless steel with an ultra-sharp blade that has a 55 C-rating on the Rockwell scale, ensuring a swift, clean cut every time.
Xi3 cutters are renowned for their smooth, double guillotine action. Unlike legacy guillotine cutters, the Xi3 features a smart design that ensures your fingers always remain on the outside of the cutter. (Meaning no finger-loops or anything like that that bring your fingers unnecessarily close to the blade and, frankly, looks clumsy.) The Xi3 cigar cutter uses a pushdown button that opens the double guillotine blades. At that point, you insert your cigar. Your thumb and finger remain outside of the blade handles at all times and when you press them together, the cigar tip falls suavely into your hand, and the high-quality workmanship that went into making your cigar is revealed. The clean straight cut the Xi3 3D Mayan Cigar Cutter provides ensures you enjoy a quality drag every time.
The Xikar Xi3 3D Mayan might be the best cigar cutter available. It can cut up to a 52-ring gauge cigar, and features a masculine and statement-making 3D Ancient Mayan design on the outer blade handle, giving it a unique and unforgettable look. This is one of the most expensive cigar cutters out there.
Colibri V-Cut Cigar Cutter
The Colibri V-Cut Cigar Cutter features a quality stainless steel blade for a precise V-cut every time; meanwhile, the spring-loaded release improves performance and usability, making it ultra-practical and easy-to-use. The angle on the blade is designed for a nice, deep V-cut that is rare in today’s V-cutters, which ultimately results in a better cigar smoking experience, period—but especially when you want to slowly enjoy the profile of a new cigar you’ve never tried before. That said, the V-cut isn’t too narrow; it provides a very good balance so that the draw is a pleasantly happy medium that enhances the smoking experience.
The contouring on the Colibri V-cutter isn’t just for show—it’s designed specifically to have a good feel in the hand, so you actually enjoy using it. The hold of it in your hand and the action required to cut the cigar are very ergonomic, which is great for those who use V-cutters as their go-to cigar cutter.
The blades of the Colibri V-Cut Cigar Cutter can accommodate a cigar up to 60-gauge; this level of accommodation means you can easily try out new and larger cigars without having to worry about whether or not your favorite cutter can do the job.
The Colibri comes with a 2-year warranty and its own high-quality giftbox included.
Large Table Top Quad Guillotine & V Cut Cigar Cutter
The Large Table Top Quad Guillotine & V Cut Cigar Cutter is a cigar cutter that feels both effortless and luxurious at the same time. As the name suggests, it sits on a table top, so it’s on the larger side and isn’t held in hand. But the combination of modern industrial and 20th century art deco aesthetics ensures it will be a welcome fixture in any home or office setting.
The cigar cutters are all located in a row on top of the casing. There are two guillotine cutters—one 52-guage and one extra-large gauge—and two V-cutters—also with one 52-guage and one extra-large gauge. The cutting action happens via an easy-to-use lever, sort of like an actual guillotine; the cigar tips drop into the bottom of the case where they can be hidden away until you’re ready to clean out the cutter. The lever itself is actually removable, which is great for storage and/or maintenance.
The body of the table top quad cutter is made of heavy-cast aluminum construction for durability as well as a nice, clean and classy look.
Tonino Lamborghini Le Mans Carbon Fiber Cigar Cutter
The Tonino Lamborghini Le Mans Carbon Fiber Cigar Cutter features surgical-grade stainless steel, blades with double guillotine action for straight, clean cuts time and again. The Lamborghini Le Mans can cut up to 54-ring gauge cigars, and has a pushbutton spring-release mechanism which makes cutting easier and, frankly, better.
Aesthetically, this is a guillotine cutter that just makes you want to hop in the car and drive. It’s comprised of black carbon fiber with polished silver accents that give it the mix of sophistication and danger every guy secretly wants to exude. The Lamborghini logo sits at the top when the cutter is in the upright position.
With purchase, you receive a sleek black leather gift pouch with red trim (also with embossed Lamborghini logo) that goes along with the whole car-lover/petrol-head vibe; because of this, it would make a pretty awesome gift for your girlfriend’s dad if he’s a cigar fan.
The Tonino Lamborghini Le Mans Carbon Fiber Cigar Cutter features a two-year warranty as an assurance of genuine quality.
Visol Caseti Kukri Cigar Cutter
The Visol Caseti Kukri Cigar Cutter is a double guillotine-style cigar cutter that features a special Viso patented design you won’t get anywhere else.
The guillotine blades are made of high-grade stainless steel for durability and for providing the ultimate clean cut; the cutter can accommodate cigars up to 52 ring-gauge. A push-down middle bar at the top reveals the side blades; you take it from there with a swift movement and end up with a flawless straight cut with which you can enjoy a heavy draw from your favorite cigar.
The Visol Caseti Kukri Cigar Cutter makes a fine impression when you use it to cut a good cigar. It features a black lacquer finish with polished chrome accents that gives a vibe that takes you back to the golden era of cigar smoking. To finish off the aesthetics, the Caseti logo is tastefully featured on the front.
At 2.9 ounces, the Caseti has a great hand feel. It’s heavier than some cigar cutters of a similar make—but in a good way. It’s also ergonomic and easy-to-use, making it the perfect cigar cutter option for novices as well as intermediate cigar smokers who are looking for a cutter that combines finesse with function.
Important issues to look out for
The most important issue to look out for when choosing a cigar cutter is any design flaws that might make it easy to cut yourself. Most cigar cutters will offer potentially for cutting yourself, though the best thing to do is to avoid any that put your fingers unnecessarily close to the blade. For instance, older guillotine and V-cutters brought your fingers a lot closer to the blade than the newer ones, where your fingers and thumb always remain outside of the cutter itself. (These newer style cutters also look and operate more suavely too.)
Spring-loaded components are a great thing to look for, because it makes it easier to cut your cigar and handle the blades—further upping your safety and how smooth you look while cutting your cigar.
Pay attention to blade quality
Another thing to look out for is blade quality. A cigar blade must be sharp or else you might as well be biting of the tip of your cigar with your teeth (which is never recommended). A poor-quality guillotine cutter, for instance might tear or bend the cigar wrapper giving you a sloppy cut and bad smoking experience—which is a huge bummer if that was a particularly nice cigar. Likewise, impotent V-cutters can also bend or tear the paper, resulting in a similar experience, except with a worse draw, so it’s important to opt for high-quality steel blades for best results.
Some cigar cutters will be made entirely of high-grade stainless steel while others may have components that are less durable—even if the blades are steel. When this is the case, it’s important to decide how long you want this cutter to last. If this is to be an heirloom cigar cutter, you want to go for 100% durable components to be handed down. Cutters designed for casual cigar smokers will ultimately be less durable, so if you’re a regular smoker or intend to be, opting for a higher quality cutter will actually be more cost-effective for you in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What does “ring-gauge” or “gauge” mean in cigar terminology?
- Simply put, ring-gauge is the diameter of the cigar, which is measured in units of 64ths of an inch. So, a cigar with a ring-gauge of 52 would mean that the diameter of that cigar measures 52/64 of an inch. The reason gauge and the unit of measure is so important to know is that these are only the true standards of cigar measurement when it comes to diameters. For instance, the diameter of a Toro or a Churchill may vary greatly across different cigar brands, so knowing the numerical measurement is important so that you can ensure you buy a cigar cutter that accommodates your cigars.
- Does size matter when it comes to cigar cutters?
- Yes and no. Most cigar cutters are near-universal. I say near-universal because many of the cigar cutters have a maximum ring-gauge capacity of around 52, give or take, while some of the cigars with the largest girth may have a ring-gauge around 60. Therefore, if you’re smoking a large ring-gauge cigar, it’s important to know whether or not your cigar cutter can accommodate it or not.
- Does cigar length or wrapper color factor into cigar cutter choice?
A.) In short, no. Wrapper color is mostly to do with the notes it imbues into the cigar and isn’t really affected by the cutter, as long as it is a good quality cutter that provides a clean cut. Length is irrelevant when it comes to cigar cutters, because you’re just cutting the tip horizontally (in the case of a straight cut).
Cigar cutters provide for the best cigar smoking experience by making a clean cut of your preference through which you can enjoy your cigar. The type of cutter you prefer may depend on the type of cigar you’re smoking or your preference may change over the years. Many cigar aficionados have a wide range of cutter styles so they can completely customize their cigar experience from the moment they cut the cap—because that’s where you set the tone for everything else that follows, which underscores just how important properly cutting your scar can be.