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How to Use a Cigar Cutter

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This is a simple guide anyone could follow, how to use a cigar cutter correctly. It is a crucial step and key skill that a cigar smoker must develop. Unless you are buying pre-cut cigars you must master the art of cutting.

Doing so correctly will prepare you for a positive smoking experience.

Importance of cutting correctly

There are two key reasons why you must learn to cut a cigar properly.

Prevent the Cigar from Unravelling

If a cigar is cut in the wrong area or you made multiple attempts at cutting, the wrapper may unravel which means you won’t be able to smoke the cigar. Using a cutter correctly will prevent this.

Enhance Airflow

The way you cut it will also affect the amount of airflow through the cigar which is going to completely change your smoking experience. If there is a blockage then the cigar will burn unevenly. Ideally, you need one clean cut in order to get the most flavor.

Now that the two key reasons have been covered, let’s learn where to cut it. If you are looking for the best cigar cutter be sure to check our reviews.

Cigar Anatomy and Where to Make the Cut 

Parts of a Cigar

Image Credit: Kolumbus Cigars

To understand where to cut the cigar we must first understand the parts of a cigar.

The end which you place in your mouth is known as the head or cap. The cap is put in when the cigars are hand-rolled, as a final piece of the puzzle.

The cap keeps the cigar together and stops it unraveling. This is why it is important to take great care while cutting a cigar.

A cigar should be cut just above the end of the cap but that will change with the type of cigar cutter you use.

Differences Between Cigar Cutters

There are many ways to cut a cigar, if you aren’t familiar, try them all and see which one you like the best. Everyone has their own preferences but let’s examine four ways to cut a cigar.

Guillotine Cutters Explained

Guillotine cutters are also known as a traditional cutter. These are definitely the most popular cutter types and for good reason. They are very easy to use, store, and have exceptionally sharp blades giving you a sharp cut every time.

The idea is to cut an even, straight cut across the cap is going to provide more burn and smoke because more air will be traveling through the cigar. The only issue with these cutters is from time to time tobacco can fall off into your mouth, this is easily cleaned off before smoking though. 

With only two types of guillotine cutters, a single blade or double blade the comparison between them is relatively easy.

Single Blade

Designed with the purpose of cutting the cap in one smooth motion. Most can cut cigars up to a ring gauge of 56. The only real downfall of single blade cutters is if you don’t make the slice in one motion.

You may tear the cigar which can lead to it unraveling. To avoid this make sure your cigar isn’t too big for it and the blades are sharp.

Double Blade

As the name suggests, there are two blades in these cutters. Because of that, it becomes a little harder to make a precision cut. The advantage is that if you can apply the force required your cut will be much cleaner then that of a single blade.

There are many available that are spring-loaded for ease of use. 

Cigar Cutters Advantages and Disadvantages Infographic CigarCigar

Our Recommended Guillotine Cutter

1. Xi3 Xikar

Xi3 Xikar

Another great product by a very reputable brand. The Xikar Titanium Finish is a fantastic guillotine-style cutter featuring self-sharpening blades, ergonomic design, and a lifetime warranty.

Using a Guillotine Cigar Cutter

The key part is that you don’t cut past the cap and into the shoulder. Line up the cut and don’t rush into it. Place the cigar into the guillotine from the cap side and slowly retract until the blades are just above the cap line. Make sure you don’t make the cut at the curve or too far past the cap.

After you have lined it up properly and are happy, slowly bring the blades down then apply enough force to cut the cap in one fluid motion. The desired result is a perfectly clean cut. If there is any tobacco this is easily pulled off. Now you are ready to smoke!

V-Cut Cigar Cutter

A V Cut cutter can be a bit more difficult to operate but is still widely used. However, they are not as popular as a guillotine cutter. A V-cut cutter makes a wedge in the cigar as opposed to a hole from a punch or a clean slice from a guillotine cutter.

The main advantage of a v cut cutter is that the wedge creates an unobstructed area, making it easy to smoke. It is important to remember that with a v-cut the cap does not get taken off. The disadvantage with a v-cut is that the blades can be difficult to keep sharp.

They are hard to get to so it’s better to invest in a good quality one. It can be a bit tricky learning how to use a v-cutter but with practice, it may just be your favorite method of cutting.

The key thing is to not push the cigar right into the cutter, most quality v-cutters will have a limit as to how far you can push the cigar in. This way you cannot ruin the cigar. Place the cigar in the cutter and make sure it is straight.

In one fluid motion, close the blades and the cutter will create a wedge.

Our Recommended V Cutter 

2. Colibri V-Cut

The Colibri V Cutter features a spring-loaded release that can be used on cigars 60+ ring gauge size. Available in a variety of colors it also comes with a 2-year warranty and gift box.

Cigar Scissors

If large cigars are your thing, you will need to purchase cigar scissors. Any cigars bigger than a ring gauge of 58 and you will need to use cigar scissors. They need to be very sharp, as they slice the cap entirely in one motion.

The only downfall of this option is if they aren’t sharp enough you will destroy your cigars.

Our Recommended Multi-Tool

3. Xi MTX Multi-Tool 

If you like a plain and simple cigar cutter this is for you. If you prefer to do things manually then the Xikar MTX is a great cutter.

Punch Cutters

Punch cutters are small and easy to travel with making them perfect for on the go cigar smokers. Easily attached to a key ring, meaning you will always have a cutter on hand. Punch cutting a cigar is not our preferred choice – we opt for cutting the cigar.

We like to have a punch cutter on hand for back up in times when we don’t have access to a cutter. Punch cutters can only be used on cigars up to a ring gauge of 50. So if you smoke cigars larger than that you’ll need to buy a cutter.

They work by creating a hole in the cap. The hole needs to be big enough to draw smoke through and keep the cigar alight. For this reason, you may need to create a few holes (2-3) and then connect them together.

The airflow needs to be unobstructed so the smoke can easily travel through. For smaller cigars, a single punch will be sufficient.

Our Recommend Cigar Punch

4. CiGuru Keychain

CiGuru KeychainA very cheap yet effective cigar punch. The CiGuru is made of plastic and measures 2.5” x 0.5” x 0.5” making it the perfect travel companion.

It has a weight of only 1 oz.

Using a Punch

Punches are quite simple to use, push the punch into the cap and then withdraw. The sharp blades at the end will create a hole. Clear any tobacco from the punch.

You may need to repeat that a few times to create a big enough hole to smoke through. Take great care to only push the punch until you see the filler, any further and it could rip the cap off and ruin the cigar.

How to Use a Cigar Cutter

The following is a good video to show how to use a cigar cutter.

Bottom Line

Overall these are the 4 main methods you can use to cut a cigar as well as a brief guide. The type of cutter you use is a personal choice, you may need to trial a few before you make your decision.  Now that you know how to cut a cigar, take a look at our guide for the best way to light a cigar. 

Cigar cutter Prestige Royal
Dan Stevenson
Dan Stevenson

I have been smoking cigars for 30 years and counting, I started at 18 years old with mild Cubans and worked my way up to medium and now bold. I own 4 humidors, that I try to keep stocked at all times.

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