Cigar Buying Guides

2019 CA Report: Top 7 Quality Cigar Cutters Under $20 … And How To Use Them

7 Quality Cutters under $20 …And How To Use Them

If you’ve ever frequented a cigar lounge, you’ve undoubtedly come across a handful of gadget geeks who took out bank loans to get the latest and greatest cutters that not only slice their cigars, but make them coffee, too.

For some, their cutter of choice is more of a status symbol, purchased for the sake of being eye-candy to show off at the lounge or post in pictures on social media. You’ve heard from those same people a thousand times about why you need to buy what they bought: carbon fiber, swanky designs, rare woods…you’ve seen them all. And while those swanky cutters are nice, is all that pomp and circumstance necessary?

Not really.

Let’s be real for a minute. All those lavish attributes a cutter may have, the inlays and sculpted handles, none of those extras cut your cigars. If you just want to get it done – meaning function means more than flash – we’ve got you covered. Here are 7 solid cutting tools that are worth a look, along with a how-to guide for each one so that you’ll get the perfect cut, every time.

La Aurora Perfect Cutter

La Aurora, known for making quality premium cigars since 1903, is probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think of quality accessories, but there’s a good reason that this cutter is not only on the list, but listed first. It’s the only one in this price range that allows you to get a perfect cut without having to eyeball anything – all for less than the price of a burger!

How To Use It: Retract the handles on each side to open the blades and then center the cap of your cigar firmly against the guard inside. Once you’re sure it’s centered, close both sides quickly in a single motion, and you’ll get the perfect cut every time. This guard only allows you to slice a thin layer of the cap off, so if your cut didn’t remove enough for your liking, you can always repeat the process and cut deeper.

Firebird Nighthawk

From humble beginnings in 1928 when they invented the world’s first semi-automatic lighter, Colibri went on to become the standard of quality and craftsmanship for cigar accessories. With Firebird Nighthawk being part of their portfolio, you know you’re getting a quality cutter. Coming in your choice of black, silver, or red, this reliable set of blades can cut up to a 60-gauge cigar. As a bonus, if you’re the type who loves life hacks, the grooves along the frame allow it to double as a cigar rest, too!

How To Use It: This double-bladed guillotine cutter uses the similar techniques as described above, but you’ll have to be careful to cut your cigar’s cap shallow enough to keep it from falling off. If the cap is cut too far, the cigar will unravel because nothing is holding it together anymore. Since these cutters have no guard, you’re going to have to pay close attention to get a proper cut. If you look closely at the head of your cigar, you’ll notice a seam that separates the wrapper from the cap. You want to cut above that seam to avoid removing it entirely. Some cigars have several turns or seams, so it’s best to only take a minimal sliver of tobacco off the top when possible. My technique is to line up where I want to make my cut, and then slightly pinch it with the blades to make sure that it’s not too far down. If it looks good, I give it a quick and firm squeeze and my cigar is ready for smoking.

Firebird Viper V-Cutter with Key Ring

If you love that Firebird comes with the Colibri pedigree, but prefer a V-cut – the Firebird Viper V-Cutter is the perfect tradeoff. Silver, orange, blue, and green options are available, and with the convenience of a key ring, you’ll always have it with you, wherever you go. Believe it or not, this model is the personal V-cutter of Nikki, Famous Smoke Shop’s very own Retail Manager. She lends it out to customers regularly to cut their cigars, so if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for you!

How To Use It: V-cutters by their design have built-in guards that prevent you from cutting off too much of your cigar, so the cutting technique will be fairly simple. Pull the blade out – these cutters only have a single blade on one side – and place the head of the cigar inside the concave bowl so that it’s resting against it. With your thumb holding the bottom of the cutter in place, use your fingers to quickly depress the blade. Faster cuts mean a lesser chance of tearing the cap, so the quicker your motion, the better. To achieve different results, you can experiment with the amount of pressure you place on the cigar when pressing it into the bowl. The more pressure you use, the deeper the cut will be. Just be careful to not use too much, or you can risk damaging your cigar.

Vertigo Big Daddy

Under the Lotus umbrella of products, Vertigo has made a name for itself by nearly cornering the market on reasonably priced, high-quality cigar accessories, and the Vertigo Big Daddy might be the best value of them all. Large enough to cut an 80-gauge behemoth in two, it’s a workhorse double-blade guillotine that offers reliability instead of frills. If you fancy larger ring sizes, this is the budget cutter for you.

How To Use It: Larger ring gauges are a bit easier to cut than their smaller counterparts because you have the advantage of having a larger surface area to work with, and more importantly, see. For this example, we’ll outline how to cut your cigar with the Big Daddy if it has a Belicoso or Torpedo head. These cigars have a much larger cap simply due to the nature of their shapes, and because of this, you can cut much more off the top than you would a Parejo, or straight-shouldered cigar. Making sure to not cut too far down the cap, use the same technique of pinching the cigar where you want it cut to make sure you’re lined up, and voilà! You’re all set. One of the biggest advantages of your cut on tapered-head cigars is that you can adjust where the cut is made to dial in the perfect amount of draw, so I recommend starting high, and cutting more deeply if needed. Just remember that you can’t go back if you remove too much!

Vertigo Big Kahuna 80-Gauge

Like a Big Daddy on steroids, the Vertigo Big Kahuna 80-gauge cutter offers all the large-ring gauge cutting prowess of its little sister, but with the added benefit of an ultra-sharp serrated blade. These types of blades are among the most effective that you can find on cutters today, and they’re a rare find at this price point. Given its versatility in size, reliability, and cutting ability, it’s easily one of the best all-rounders on the market. Highly rated, too.

How To Use It:

The grooves in the blade that make up the serration exert a greater amount of pressure on each point of the blade, effectively making it cut cleaner and faster. What all of this means to you is that you’re much more likely to get a better cut, and far less likely to botch the job. Like the other guillotines I’ve outlined, line it up, pinch, cut, and enjoy!

Firstland International Tabletop Large Cigar Scissors

Better known for their beautiful table top multi-cigar cutters, Firstland International is one of the biggest suppliers of premium cigar accessories. Among them is their Tabletop Large Cigar Scissor. With a significantly larger handle than most of its brethren, the extra leverage you receive gives you the ability to apply less force to cut through the cigar. This allows for better precision, a shortfall on many other cigar scissors on the market. Many of the cigar scissors you’ll find come with triple digit prices, so if you’re looking for something classy to have in the den for guys night, this will more than suffice.

How To Use It: Open the scissors to allow the blades to clear the entire width of the cigar. Cigar scissors can be tricky, especially with larger ring gauges, because it’s not as easy to center your cap without the normal guides found in the ring of a traditional cutter. Apply even force on both sides and cut as quickly and straight as possible. Scissors are also handy to cut burnt ends of a cigar if you plan to smoke portions at different times, and it will get you out of a canoeing situation with ease. Just remember to re-toast your new foot because the wrapper will need to be re-bound to the binder to prevent unraveling.

Firstland International Key Ring Punch Cutter

One of the worst things that can happen to a cigar enthusiast is to make it all the way to the lounge, only to find that you left your cutting tool at home. The Firstland International Key Ring Punch Cutter solves that pesky problem: attach it to your keys and it will never be farther away than your pocket. Available in four color options, and reliable as it is convenient, this punch also sports a built-in plug ejector in the cap that makes clearing plugs from the blade as simple as screwing the cap back in place.

How To Use It: Unscrew the cap to reveal the circular cutting edge of the punch. Center the blade on the cap before applying any pressure. While holding the cigar firmly in your other hand, ease the blade into the cap straight and slow. The motion you need is similar to that of using a screwdriver, except that you’ll twist slowly clockwise and counter-clockwise, back and forth, until you break through the wrapper. You can go as deep as the length of the punch blade will allow, or as shallow as you prefer. While a fast cut is better with the other cutters we’ve outlined, a slower cut is better with a punch. When finished, the plug will usually come out with the punch, if not, you can easily pull it out of the cigar with your fingers.

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