Cutting a cigar properly is important to ensuring an enjoyably smoke! Enjoying a fine cigar goes beyond just smoking it, as you must first properly cut it in order to prevent the head from unraveling. While it may seem like a complicated task to properly cut a cigar, it’s really rather easy. As long as you have the right tool for the job, you’ll be able to make the perfect cut. And don’t think a cigar cutter needs to be expensive!

This guide will teach you how to properly cut a cigar every time to ensure a pleasurable experience. To start, it’s best to understand the different types of cigar cutters.

Types of Cigar Cutters

There a few different types of cigar cutters, and choosing the style of cutter really comes down to personal preference. While some cutters work better on certain shaped cigars, ultimately a straight cutter, or better known as a guillotine cutter, will be your standard go to cutter. This is by far the most popular cigar cutter around, not to mention most universal. 

Guillotine / Straight Cutter

Guillotine Cigar Cutter

The guillotine style cigar cutter is by far the most popular cutter of all, and one that nearly every cigar smoker is familiar with. It’s also the easiest cutter to use, and allows the cigar smoker to make a perfect cut every time. There are many different brands of guillotine cutters, from cheap $1 units all the way up to over $100 cutters. The absolute best guillotine cigar cutter money can buy is a Palio. Not only is it well constructed, but it’s made of surgical steel that simply will not dull. When using a guillotine cutter, you’ll hold the cigar with one hand while holding and lining the cutter up with your other hand. It’s important to only cut the tip of the cap off, and not the head of the cigar. Cutting too much of the cap will cause the cigar to unravel, making the smoking experience less enjoyable. 

Punch Cigar Cutter

The next most commonly used cigar cutter is the Punch style cutter. Just as name says, the cutter has a sharp round hollow end which is “punched” or pressed into the head of the cigar. This creates a small hole at the end of the cigar, preventing the head from unraveling. Please note that this cutter will not work on any cigar; rather it’s best suited for a cigar with a rounded head. Don’t try using this on a torpedo or chisel shaped cigar, as you’ll ruin the cigars head. These are very handy to have, as they are small and will easily fit on your key chain. Just be careful when inserting the punch into your cigar, as you don’t want to crack or otherwise damage the head. It does take some practice to get it right, however after a few tries you should be a pro at.

Cigar Scissors

Cigar Scissors

Using specially designed scissors for cutting a cigar provides a very accurate cut by allowing maximum hand dexterity when lining up the blades with the head. Not a very common method, however some cigar smokers prefer this method. 

Cigar scissors have a very similar cutting process as the guillotine style cutter, as two blades come together to perform the cut. The only real difference is that scissors may feel a bit more natural in your hands, allowing for a better cut overall. The advantage to using scissors vs a guillotine is that you can very easily see how much of the cap you’re removing. It comes down to personal preference; also think about carrying around oddly shaped scissors with you. Not very easy, though certainly something you might use while at home or have on hand in a cigar lounge. 

V Cut Cigar Cutter

V-Cut Cigar Cutter

This is another unique way to cut a cigar. Not very common, yet some people choose this cutter over any other style, again primarily for personal preference. The V Cut does just as the name says, it cuts a V shape into the head of the cigar. The one benefit to using this type of cutter opposed to a guillotine or scissor, is that you have less of a chance of the wrapper unraveling. Since it’s cutting a V into the cigar, less of the head is removed, thus keeping the wrapper more intact. 

Smoking a cigar that was cut with a V does have a different feel in mouth, so you may or may not like this type of cutter. I would not recommend using this on a chisel or belicoso shaped cigar, as it may damage the head and hinder the overall smokability of the cigar. This type of cutter is best suited for a traditional parejo shaped cigar. The big advantage to using this style cutter is that it’s hard to cut too much of the cap off, as you simply place the cigar head up against the cutter and snip. Easy to use, and works well on most cigars. 

Other Methods for Cutting a Cigar

While the above options are best, there are less refined methods for preparing a cigar for smoking. If you don’t have a cutter on hand, however have a small object like a wooden match, Swiss army knife, etc., you can use such a device to carefully poke a hole into the head of the cigar. A Swiss army knife will allow you to carefully cut the tip of the head off, providing something similar to a scissor or guillotine style cut. The absolute last resort is to use your teeth. Not recommended, however if you have no other option, you can give it a try. These are not methods I would recommend, and to be honest, if I didn’t have the appropriate tool to prepare my cigar, I simply would hold off on smoking it. The last thing you want to do is damage an expensive cigar. 

Choosing the Right Cutter

Now that you know the different types of cigar cutters available, choosing the right cutter comes down to personal preference. If you do not currently own a cutter, I high suggest getting a basic guillotine, as a guillotine cigar cutter will work on virtually any shaped cigar. The next most popular cutter is the punch, however keep in mind this only works on cigars with a larger/more flat shaped head. Lastly I recommend a V Cut style cutter. 

The best thing to do is head over to your local tobacconist and see if you can handle some of the cutters in your hand and see what feels best. Again, you can’t go wrong with a good quality guillotine, such as a Palio. The Palio brand cigar cutter is known for its high quality and durable design. The blades are made of surgical steel, and will last you a very long time. 

cigar cut diagram

Basic anatomy of a cigar

Making the Cut

correct way to cut cigar

When using a guillotine cutter or cigar scissors, be very careful to only cut the very tip of the head off. Cutting too far down the cigar will cause it to unravel, making for a very unpleasant smoke. If you look closely at the head of the cigar above, you’ll see what appears to be a cap. The cap extends over the rounded part of the head, and proceeds every so slightly onto the body of the cigar. If you cut the entire cap off, your cigar will unravel. Be sure to only cut the tip of the cap; just enough to ensure a good draw. Too little of a cut and you’ll be struggling to puff, however too much of a cut you’ll have a mouth full of tobacco bits. You’ll get the hang of it quickly through trial and error. 


In conclusion, as you journey through the cigar hobby you’re going to encounter people who swear by a certain type of cutter or way of cutting their cigar. Remember, choose what works best for you, not someone else. Companies are always coming out with different styles, enhancements, and so on. Use what you like, and like what you use.