Selecting a Cutter – Part Two

Cigar cutter varieties1
Cigar cutter varieties1

The Basic Types of Cigar Cutters (clockwise from top) a cigar punch, a cigar scissors, a V-cutter, a grip cutter, a double bladed guillotine cutter

In Part One of our two part series on cigar cutters we looked at two of the most popular tools available to the smoker of premium cigars:  the cigar punch and the guillotine cutter.

This week we conclude our survey of cigar cutting tools with the grip cutter, the “V-cutter,” and the cigar scissors and discuss the pros and cons of each.

To begin, let’s review the basic types of cutters.  Cutters can be divided into the following categories:

–          Cigar punches

–          Guillotine cutters

–          Grip cutters

–          V-cutters

–          Cigar Scissors

Grip cutter:

The grip style cigar cutter is a relatively new addition to the world of premium cigars.  Functioning on the same basic principle as a double bladed guillotine cutter, the grip cutter features two blades contained within a housing and connected at their bases by a pivot point.

As with the guillotine cutter one uses a grip cutter by starting with a firm grip on the cigar in one hand and the opened grip cutter in the other.  Most grip cutters have a locking mechanism which, when released, opens the blades fully.

The head of the cigar is advanced into the aperture of the cutter and the blades are brought into contact with the cigar.  As with most cutters, the blades should be twisted slightly to score the wrapper leaf at the cap.  Once the wrapper is scored, a quick and decisive snap will close the blades and complete the cut.

On a personal note, my go to cutter is a Xikar XI1 grip cutter… I prefer my Platinum finish model, just saying.

[For step-by-step instructions on using a grip cutter click here]


A guillotine style cutter (left) and a grip style cutter (right)


Certainly the most interesting type of cigar cutter is the “V-cutter.”  The V-cutter works by removing a wedge shaped chunk of tobacco from the head of the cigar.  The resulting cut should allow ample draw through the slit shaped opening.

There are three basic styles of V-cutter: the bench style cutter often found on the counter of brick and mortar cigar shops; the plunger style (shown below); and those with a guillotine-style frame and function such as the Colibri V-cutter.

Some cigar smokers shun the V-cutter as they find that the shape of the cut can lead to a build-up of tar as the cigar is smoked causing a bad taste to develop.  On the other hand, many smokers swear by the “Cross cut” that can be created by making two perpendicular cuts with a V-cutter, resulting in an X-shaped opening.

The biggest problem with V-cutter type cigar cutters is that the blade is usually fixed and as such, impossible to sharpen.  Speaking from personal experience, a dull V-cutter will not cut, and will tear the cap of the cigar rather than neatly slicing.  This will invariably result in a less than enjoyable smoke.

Finally, V-cutters can be used to open a pointed end cigar such as a torpedo, but I don’t recommend it…

[For step-by-step instructions on using a V-cutter click here]



The classic style of V-cutter uses a plunger like blade to cut the cigar cap.

Cigar scissors:

Without doubt the most elegant method of cutting a cigar is with an exquisite pair of cigar scissors.  The drama that can be created using this cigar cutting tool and the flair with which they are used can create a mystique that other cutters simply cannot replicate.

Cigar scissors are tools that are designed for the sole purpose of opening the heads of premium, handmade cigars.  With extremely sharp, curved blades the cigar scissors should be used to remove only a thin slice of tobacco from the head of round headed cigars or a small portion of the head of pointed cigars.

As with the guillotine cutter and grip cutter, the blades of the cigar scissors should be opened fully before the cigar head is introduced.  Gentle contact between the blades and the cigar followed by a slight twist will score the wrapper leaf of the cigar.  Follow the scoring, without releasing pressure on the blades, use a quick clipping to remove the remaining cap.

Cigar scissors can be sharpened either at home or by a decent hardware store.  A high quality pair of cigar scissors is an heirloom that can be used and enjoyed by generations!

[For step-by-step instructions on using a cigar scissors click here]


Cigar scissors showing the curved inner blades.

I hope that these articles have helped you gain some insight into which type of cigar cutter most likely fits your personal style and how to properly use these tools to enjoy your premium cigars.  Odds are that over your cigar smoking career you will end up with more than one cutter; always remember that a sharp blade is needed for a perfect cut.  If your cutter isn’t up to snuff, you can find a huge selection of all types of cutters at Mike’s Cigars!

Good smoking!

Smooth Classic Cigar Combo


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