Readers’ Choice: Best Cigar Cutters (2017)
By John Pullo
Just like the cigars we smoke, our preferences vary when it comes to the best cigar cutters to do the job. For instance – I owned a punch for 10 years before I even tried using it. Once I did, it was a whole new way to enjoy my cigars. Now, I change from punch to v-cut to double guillotine at random, depending on the cigar I’m smoking – and what I might want to do to enhance my cigar experience. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but one small change like how you cut your cigar can make a significant difference.
Of course, certain situations dictate certain gear… It’s awful hard (but not impossible!) to punch a chisel or torpedo. So if a belicoso is your go-to, guillotines and v-cutters – and sometimes, even scissors – are the best cigar cutters to use on this shape. Just the same, you may find that you like a firmer draw on your JdN Antaño Big Bull; that’s a big, powerhouse cigar, and the flavor is made even more intense by narrowing the draw with a punch or v-cut instead of a guillotine.
I wanted to accomplish two things in this report – first, get a sense of what gear you guys and gals like to use when you smoke cigars, and what you consider the top picks for cigar cutters. And second, if you’ve been loyal to one type of cut forever, maybe you’ll get some ideas about alternative methods to cutting cigars that you might be inspired to try, and see if it changes how your cigar tastes. So quietly, I turned to the experts – a hand-selected bunch of our readers – and polled them for their picks on the best cigar cutters in their toolbox (thanks for the feedback, btw). Some of the results were a little surprising, as more often function outweighed flash when it came to calling out their top cutter choices. Want to see what your fellow brothers and sisters of the leaf prefer to use? Here are their best cutter picks:
THE BASICS: Double Blade Plastic Cutter
Don’t be surprised – the explanation is simple: “do your job.” And this simple, plastic double blade cutter does just that. Far and away the most popular cigar cutter in existence, it’s a noticeable improvement on the old school freebie you get as a handout from your local cigar shop: formed and rounded finger holes give a little more leverage when cutting, and the blades – as long as you keep them clean – snip all but big ring cigars nice and neat. A penny-wise pal to keep with you in a pinch for cutting cigars.
THE BIG DEAL – Top Big Ring Cigar Cutter: Xikar X8
Big ring smokers, rejoice: there is a Xikar cigar cutter made expressly for your Gordos. The opening on the X8 was originally intended to accommodate a 64-ring cigar, but routinely passes the 70-ring test with ease. Wide finger holes offer a nice feel in the hand. The X8 also doubles as a convenient cigar rest – the body is contoured, making it harder for your EPC Inch to roll away. Considered among the best cigar cutters for that 60-70 ring sweet spot, and highly recommended because it stays razor sharp. Plus, the X8 is backed by the XIKAR for LIFE guarantee. If you smoke ‘em big, this is the preferred tool to keep by your side.
CIGAR LOUNGE LOOK – Top Tabletop Cigar Cutter: Quad Stainless Table Cutter
The hands-down winner if you’re bringing lounge-level apparatus into your personal smoking space…and actually, many cigar shops keep this on hand for customer use. Pick your cut: this tabletop cutter has the spaces to lay a straight clip on pretty much anything from 52 to 60 ring, as well as a precise v-cut on anything from a Robusto to a Toro Gordo. Quality stainless steel materials and heavy duty construction make this cutter a must-have, say the reviewers – and the best cigar cutter to own if you find yourself hosting a herf.
EXTREME PERFORMER – Top Gordo Cutter: Vertigo Big Daddy Cutter
Where the Xikar X8 is our “Big Deal,” the Vertigo Big Daddy could be our “Really Big Deal.” Designed to cut yooooge cigars up to 80 ring gauge (yes, 80), the fact that this piece comes to you at a stupid low price made Big Daddy the King of the Big Ring cutters among those we asked. Lightweight construction makes this an easy everyday carry – so if those Asylum 80s are your go-to smoke, rest assured you have one of the best cigar cutters to do the job.
THE LEGEND – Top Guillotine Pick: Xikar Xi1 Cutter
Hailed by cigar smokers across the globe as “the best cigar cutters money can buy” and “the last cutter you will ever need,” among other accolades. The Xikar Xi1 cigar cutter revolutionized the cigar game a number of years ago, and still is among the most preferred cutter by our readers – and pros in the cigar biz. Xikar prides itself on the materials they use; in this case, it’s two spring-loaded stainless blades, hardened for speed, reliability and robustness, housed in a lightweight aluminum body. Ideal to cut most cigars up to 56RG, but – depending on how much cap you cut – will still put a good cut on a 60 ring gauge cigar, and is extra effective on torpedoes. Backed by a lifetime warranty from Xikar.
Top Guillotine Runner Up: Colibri CUT Cutter
While many double guillotines struggle with cutting larger cigars, the Colibri Cut opens wide to trim 62RG smokes. The outside features an easy-to-grip rubberized black finish; the color on the 440 stainless blades (a variety are available) is actually a colored non-stick lacquer coating, which is very easy to clean.
BEST GROOVE – TOP V-CUTTER PICK: Colibri V Cutter
Our reader’s choice for best cigar cutter in the “cat’s eye” class, most notably for its ability to lay that classic v-shaped cut on a cigar with ease and comfort – that is, without damaging your cigar from pressing too hard while you cut. The Colibri’s blades are spring-loaded and deeply angled to reveal just a little more surface area on the cap, which is nice for getting a really good draw on bigger cigars – and fantastic if you want to v-cut a torpedo.
Top V-Cutter Runner Up: Xikar VX V-Cutter
Leave it to Xikar to literally turn the v-cutter design upside down: the blades are inverted for a cleaner and more precise cut, with a wide opening to accommodate large cigars. The body is contoured to double as a cigar rest – and because it’s manufactured with the same high quality steel, this Xikar is built to last.
HEAVY METAL – Top Punch Cutter: Firstland International Bullet Punch Cutter
Punches are preferred for their ability to create a cut that focuses the smoke more narrowly on your palate, creating a greater intensity of flavor – so expect a more satisfying cigar experience with this pick for best cigar cutter in your repertoire. And this Firstland punch packs great value, too: small coin nabs you a sharp bullet cutter that readers liked because it has a pin to eject the tobacco plug that’s been removed from your cigar. Because it actually looks like a bullet, conventional wisdom says TSA would agree with us when we say it’s probably not recommended you leave it in your carry-on (or your checked bags, for that matter). Key ring is included.
Top Punch Cutter – Runner Up: Firstland International Key Ring Punch Cutter
Another benefit to punch cutters: if you like a cigar with a sweetened cap, you won’t lose as much of that taste like you do with a guillotine cutter (you’re cutting less of the cigar away). Budget hounds in search of a punch have snapped up this key fob by the thousands, especially since it’s so easy to replace if you lose it. Weatherproof, and great for big ring cigars, too.
SMALL RING SENSATION – Top Cigar Scissors: Firstland International Tabletop Large Cigar Scissors
The beauty of cigar scissors lies in their versatility: very adept at cutting smaller cigars like Lonsdales and Lanceros, though they’ll work on smokes of most any size. These larger scissors are also great if you have to cut and save your cigar for later. Sharp and easy to handle, be warned that there is a learning curve to getting the proper cut from a tool like this; but with their pro look and feel, Advisor readers considered these Firstland scissors an affordable and elegant addition to their arsenal of cigar cutters.
Top Cigar Scissors – Runner Up: Orleans International Gold Cigar Scissors
Again, a solid performer for placing an elegant cut on smaller ring cigars – and by trimming the grips with rubber for added comfort, this Orleans entry is a bona fide value. Once you get the hang of using them, these scissors are sure to prove their worth.
TOP INNOVATOR – TOP NEW DESIGN/FEATURE: Xikar XO Cutter
At Xikar, design and innovation have always gone hand-in-hand…their best cigar cutters have always benefitted from that extra attention to detail. But what really caught everyone’s attention this year was the rollout of the Xikar XO double guillotine, or circle cutter. If you thought the teardrop shape disrupted the old fashioned way we cut cigars, the XO completely reinvented the process with a planetary gear system that synchronizes the action between the cutting blades to cut cleanly. Stainless blades handle up to 64RG, and the aluminum body is surprisingly rugged given the intricate guts inside. I won’t get into the weeds on the design here, but you can read Gary’s Xikar XO Cutter review to get all the deep engineering nerd facts on this new fan favorite.
Top New Design/Feature Runner Up: Lotus Jaws Cutter
Lotus has created an innovation here that is, truly, on the cutting edge. Your standard for cutters has always been the sharpness of the blade – no more, says Lotus, who have swapped out the traditional honed edges for serrated (almost saw-toothed) blades that close in a smooth double action. This is not a gimmick; grip the oversized finger holes and give Jaws a quick snap shut, and you’ll put a clean and precise cut on a cigar up to almost a full inch in diameter. An all-metal housing makes the Lotus Jaws feel hefty in the hand, but cuts with the performance of cutters three times the price.
As an add-on, here’s something extra-cool…our tutorial on how to make a cigar punch from a bullet casing. I made the Federal .40 cal punch in the video, and it works like a charm on my big ring smokes. It’s one of the best cigar cutters in my collection. Sure, this has been a cigar smoking life hack for years, but well worth trying out for yourself!