Cigars

Cigar Punch vs Cutter – Which is Right for You?

Choosing a cigar punch vs cutter is a matter of personal preference. Some smokers prefer the clean cut that a cutter provides, while others find that a punch allows for a more controlled draw. Ultimately, it comes down to with what you feel most comfortable.

If you are new to cigar smoking, I recommend trying both methods to see which one you prefer. Experiment with different sizes and shapes of punches and cutters to find the ones that work best for you.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a cigar punch or cutter:

  • Draw: do you prefer an easy or a concentrated draw?
  • Size and shape: what works best for you?
  • Comfort: what feels easy to use?

What Is a Cigar Cutter?

A cigar cutter is a device used to cut the end off a cigar so you can smoke it. Most cigars come with one end that needs to have the cap cut off. A clean cut is critical to ensure that the cigar burns evenly.

cigar cutter photo

A cigar cutter has a few advantages over using a knife or teeth. A sharp blade can nick and fray the wrapper while using your teeth can cause an uneven opening that causes the wrapper to come off. 

A cigar cutter provides a clean cut that helps to ensure an even burn and prevents the cigar from unraveling.

There are a few different cigar cutters, each with its benefits and drawbacks. The most crucial factor to consider when choosing a cutter is the size of the cigar you will be smoking. A cutter that is too small may not provide a clean cut, while one that is too large can damage the cigar.

A straight cigar cutter cuts a slice across the cap. A v-shaped cutter removes a wedge from the center of the cap.

What Is a Cigar Punch?

A cigar punch is a cylindrical device used to make a small hole at the end of a cigar. Punch cutters are typically made of metal or plastic and have a sharp circular cutter.

photo of polished silver cigar punch keychain

Punch cutters are also called bullet cutters due to the shape of many of these devices. A punch cutter removes the cap’s center, leaving the cap’s shoulder or edges intact.

To use a punch cutter, you simply insert the pointed end into the end of the cigar and twist it to create a small hole.

Cigar Cutter vs Cigar Punch – The Main Differences

A cigar punch is small and portable, so it is easy to take with you on the go. It’s also straightforward to use, so even beginners can quickly get the hang of it.

However, you can only use a cigar punch on cigars with straight, open ends. If the cigar has a tapered end or is closed at the top, you will not be able to use a cigar punch on it.

On the other hand, you can use cutters on any cigar. They are also typically larger and more durable than punch cutters. However, cutters require a blade, so they are not as safe to use as punch cutters.

A punch is probably your best bet if you are looking for a small, portable, easy-to-use cutter. But if you want more control over the cut, then a cutter is the way.

Cigar Cutter

There are positives and negatives for both types of cutters, it honestly just comes down to personal preference. I have listed some general pros and cons below:

Pros

Cigar cutters are easy to use and they are typically larger and more durable than punch cutters. The larger cut provides an easier, smoother draw. There are also more options in terms of size, shape, and style.

Cons

Cutters require a blade, so they are not as safe to use as punch cutters. It’s also easy to cut too much off the cigar and cause the wrapper to come off.

How To Use a Cigar Cutter

If you are new to cigar smoking, you might wonder how to use a cigar cutter.

photo showing the use of a cigar cutter
Cigar aficionado showing how to use a cigar cutter.

Hold the cigar in one hand and the cutter in the other. Place the blade of the cutter against the cap of the cigar and make a clean, sharp cut. Finally, remove the cap from the cigar

Cutters are generally more durable than punch cutters. However, because they have a blade, they are not as safe to use as punches.

Guillotine cutters are the most used type of cutter, and they come in a variety of sizes. These cutters have a sharp blade that slides down through the cigar’s cap, making a clean cut. Guillotine cutters are easy to use and provide a precise cut, but they can be challenging to control if you lack experience.

Do not cut too deeply with a straight cutter, or you risk having the wrapper leaf come off after you light your cigar.

A V-cutter cuts a V-shaped notch at the end of the cigar. This notch creates a precise, small opening that allows for a smooth draw. The draw through the V-cut is less than you will get with a guillotine cut, so it comes down to preference.

V-cutters are becoming increasingly popular as they provide a deep cut that allows more smoke to reach the palate.

Cigar Punch

There are good and bad aspects to cigar punches, so you must experiment a little to see what you like best. Some general pros and cons are listed below:

Pros

Punches are small and portable, so they are easy to take with you on the go, and they are straightforward to use, so even beginners can get the hang of them quickly. Punch cutters do not require a straight blade, so they are much safer to use than cutters.

Cons

You can only use punches on cigars with straight, open ends. If the cigar has a tapered end or is closed at the top, you will not be able to use a punch cutter on it. 

Because punch cutters create a small hole, they can sometimes overwhelm smokers with the intensity of the heat and flavor from the concentrated smoke. 

Punches offer less control over the depth and angle of the cut.

How To Use a Cigar Punch

Punch cutters have a circular cutter at one end. To use a punch cutter, you simply insert the cutter into the end of the cigar and twist it to create a small hole.

Gentleman demonstrates the use of the TIFSA Cigar Punch Cutter.

Because a punch only works on round-capped cigars, torpedo shapes require a straight cutter. A punch cutter is always a good choice for cigars with a ring gauge size over 40.

What’s the Best Cigar Cutter?

My favorite cigar cutter is the Xikar X8. This guillotine cutter is durable, sharp, and accommodates cigars up to gauge 70. It’s one of the more affordable cutters available, making it a fantastic all-around choice.

The Xikar X8 has large handles, extra sharp blades, and a lifetime warranty. This is a guillotine cutter with a contoured shape that can hold your cigar.

If you’re looking for something a little different, check out:

  • Xikar Enso: A round cutter that is light and thin. This device is known for its synchronized dual-blade system. It cuts cigars up to ring gauge 72 and comes in several fun colors.
  • Vertigo Big Daddy: For cigars over 80-ring. This is a dual-blade guillotine cutter.
  • Xikar Xi1: Has spring-loaded stainless steel blades designed for precision cutting.
  • Colibri Cutter: Can handle any cigar up to a 62-ring gauge. It has a rugged rubber coating and stainless steel blades.
  • Xikar MTX Multi-tool: A pair of scissors that you can use to cut or trim the end of your cigar.

What’s the Best Cigar Punch?

My favorite cigar punch is the CIGARLOONG. The metallic carved exterior looks excellent and provides durability.

The screw mechanism is a smart way to store the cutter without requiring a lid, and the CIGARLOONG comes with two-hole diameters.

A unique screw mechanism stores the cutter inside the tool, and it works with different size openings, too.

Here are a few more I’d recommend:

  • Vertigo Striker Cigar Punch: Includes an ejector rod and a bottle opener. A carabiner clip makes this a great travel option.
  • TIFSA Cigar Punch Cutter: A stainless steel unit with a screw top for safety. It has an 8mm hole and a push button to clear the cut cap.
  • HAWAN Cigar Punch 4-in-1 Multitool: This one has a small, medium, and large punch to accommodate different ring gauge sizes. A needle will hold the end of the cigar when it gets too hot to handle.

FAQs – What You Should Know About Cigar Cutters vs Cigar Punch

Here are some frequently asked questions some people asked regarding a cigar punch vs cutter:

Which is Better: a Cigar Punch vs Cutter?

Straight cutters provide the smoothest, coolest draw, and you can adjust the angle of the cut to affect the draw. These are also the hardest cutters to use for beginners.

When choosing a guillotine cutter, you will want to consider the size of your cigars. If you smoke large cigars, you will wish to have a cutter with a large blade. 

V-cutters provide a medium concentrated draw. Smoke is drawn from the top and bottom of the cigar, creating hot smoke.

A punch is cleaner, leaving the cigar tip relatively intact. Punch cutters are easier to use because it is easy to cut too deeply with a straight cutter, ruining your cigar. Punch cutters also concentrate flavor and increase the heat of the draw. 

Cigar scissors are a good option for those who want a clean cut and do not mind the extra effort required to use them. Scissors also provide more control than a guillotine cutter.

guy in suit holding a cigar and cigar scissors
Guy in suit holding a cigar and cigar scissors.

A punch is probably your best bet if you are looking for a small, portable, easy-to-use cutter. But if you want a cutter that you can use on any cigar, then a cutter is the way to go.

I prefer a guillotine cigar cutter. I like having control over the depth and angle of the cut, and I appreciate the cooler draw.

Final Thoughts

No matter what type of cigar cutter you choose, test it on a few cigars before using it on your favorite. This will help ensure that you get the perfect cut every time.

Choosing a cutter that is the right size for the cigars you will be smoking is essential. By finding the perfect cutter for your cigars, you can enjoy a better smoking experience.

Whether you prefer Habanos, Dominican, Connecticut, Sumatra, Cohiba, or Fonseca, the perfect cigar is waiting for you. Be sure to find a suitable cutter to help you enjoy your cigars.

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