Purpose built cigar cutters have been around since the mid 1800’s. Before that, I guess people used knives or their teeth if they needed to cut open a cap.
Since those early accessories, designs have evolved and almost everyone who smokes a cigar carries some form of cutter with them.
Below is a list of various cutters that are available in the marketplace. Along with this list are my thoughts on the pros and cons of each design.
Scissors – These were one of the original styles of cigar cutters. At first, they were large and relatively heavy. Designs ranged from plain and simple to very ornate works of metal.
Recent designs have made cigar scissors smaller and lighter in weight. The open design of the cigar scissors should accommodate the largest of ring gauges. This method of cutting a cigar may need some practice at first, to make sure you get a straight cut that is not too deep.
Using a cigar scissors can add a touch of class to the ceremony of cutting and lighting a cigar.
Single blade guillotine – This style cutter is usually inexpensive and usually freely given away at cigar events. On the plus side, straight cuts provide the largest open surface area on a cigar to offer the best draw. On the negative side, the inexpensive cutters do not always have the sharpest blades. Also, a single blade will put pressure on one side of cigar, risking the possible chance of cap damage.
Double blade guillotine – The double bladed version is usually a higher quality straight cut, slicing the cap from both sides simultaneously. This puts even pressure around the cap and typically results in a cleaner cut. Because of the closed design of this cutter, many larger ring gauges will not fit properly and cannot be cut. If you are not careful, you can also cut off too much of the cap and your cigar will unravel.
Punch cut – These small, circular cutters are easy to carry and many can attach to a key chain. Since they have a fixed diameter, it is impossible to cut too much of the cap. Some versions of the punch cutter make it hard to clear the small disc of tobacco. Also, the smallish hole in the cap can bring a buildup of tar.
V cut – Also known as a wedge cut, this cutter offers more surface area than a punch cut and is good for smaller cigars. Usually, a single, deep cut is used but some people use multiple, shallower cuts across the cap, forming an ‘X’. As with a punch cut, tar buildup could become a concern. If you haven’t used a V cut before, I suggest trying the Colibri V-Cut Cigar Cutter(pictured left).
In recent years, two other ideas on how to cut a cigar cap have arrived on the scene. Neither one seemed to gain much traction but, they are both still available to consumers.
The Cigar Spike – this product pokes or punctures the cap of a cigar. It is made of plastic and wedge shaped, similar to a guitar pick. It is small and has a hole for storage on a key chain. The hole it produces is quite small and while I have never tried this product, I have heard there is a higher risk of cap damage.
This is probably one of the least expensive cutters on the market and may be good as a backup when nothing else is available.
The Shuriken – For all you cigar ninjas out there, this cutter has six razor sharp blades arranged around the inside perimeter of a dome. Stick your cigar inside the dome and the Shuriken places six slits around the circumference of the cap. Nothing is removed or damaged.
While this cutter maintains the integrity of the cigar cap, if you are the type that bites or chews your cigar, you run the risk of tearing the slits which will really damage the cap. Also, I’ve heard the small slits restrict the flow of smoke and can easily clog with tar.Cigar Cutters: Pros and Cons by Tom Ufer