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How to Cut a Cigar

People with a taste for high-quality tobacco have taken up cigar smoking instead of cigarettes. When relaxing and preparing to smoke a premium handmade cigar, you want to get the best draw possible. Many things go into a perfect cigar pull, but one you can always control is the cut. Getting the right cut on your favorite cigar isn’t that difficult. However, there are a few things you should understand before getting started.

A few tips and proper guidance can help you enjoy your cigar. So, read this article before lighting your next cigar to enjoy a fantastic experience.

Types of Cigar Cutters & Cigar Cuts

One of the best parts about the cigar smoking culture and cutting tradition is that there is an extensive variety is available to make it your own. Whether you talk about cigars’ shape, size, or color, you will find endless options to choose from. Similarly, there are many options available to you when you opt for a cutter. From different styles to specifications, you can find many forms of cutters to create a smooth opening in your favorite cigar, so it suits your tastes.

Straight Cutter

If you didn’t know already, straight cutters have one or two blades that are used to make a “straight cut” across the head of your cigar. These cutters are often refed to as “guillotine cutters.” These are some of the basic cutter options that smokers go for. Using these, you can slot your cigar’s hole and seamlessly squeeze the cutter to make a neat cut. These cutters are the most popular versions.

Cutting Cigar

V Cutter

As the name suggests, using the v-cutter, you will create a V-shaped cut on the cap end of your favorite cigar. This is quite different from basic cutters, which tend to remove a certain volume of the cap end of your cigar. The cut is highly precise and focuses on creating a hole for you to inhale properly rather than remove a particular volume of the cigar.

how to v cut a cigar

With precise and very small cuts, v-cutters reduce the chances of loose cigar filler entering your mouth. In any case, keep in mind that a smaller hole through the v-cutter can often prevent you from drawing the taste and smoke properly. Since the cut is precise and focuses on a v-shape, you have to make sure that you don’t cut unnecessarily deep into the cigar. Although this will increase your draw, it will cause your cigar to burn more abruptly.

Punch Cutter

Punch cutters are one of the go-to options for novice cigar lovers. Punch cutters simply cut off a small portion of your cigar’s end cap. This cutter makes a hole in your cigar’s cap end and that too, without removing the cap entirely.

how to punch cut cigar

If you want to prevent the loose filler or tobacco from entering your mouth when you draw, you can use a punch cutter. In fact, using a punch cutter prevents you from making a hole that’s too deep. It also helps prevent the wrapper on your cigar from unraveling.

However, since they make a voluminous hole in the cigar’s cap end, they won’t always work for small ring gauge cigars. Small cigars are too thin for a punch cutter to punch a hole into.

Cigar Scissors

Who doesn’t think “scissors” when they hear the word “cutting”? Nearly everyone, right? Well, you can use scissors to cut open a hole in your cigar, but don’t assume that regular scissors will do the job. There are special cigar-cutting scissors in the market that some cigar enthusiasts prefer over other cutting methods.

They work similar to kitchen scissors but make a highly precise cut regardless. If you want an uncompromised and perfect cut on the cap end of your cigar before you light it up, go for stainless and high-quality steel blade scissors. Furthermore, to ensure that the slices are always accurate and fine, keep the blades sharp.

cigar scissors


If you carry a pocket knife, you can use it to slice a hole in your cigar. After all, a pocket knife may seem like the most obvious option for cutting a hole into a cigar. But to do so, you have to make sure that your knife isn’t too thick. That’s because a sharp blade is necessary for a clean cut.

cutting cigar with knife

Dull knives and rough edges on your blade can interfere with the structure of your cigar. This can cause the wrapper to unravel and the filler to grow loose. Consequently, it can end up in your mouth while you draw, which can ruin your hopes of enjoying a perfect smoke.

Fingernails/Peeling the Cap

Scrapping off a small portion of your cigar’s cap end is achievable with some practice. It is an old-school technique that many cigar lovers have been practicing over the years. In this method, you use the tips of your nails to press into the cap of the cigar. Once your fingernail penetrates the cap, you can rotate your finger to start making a hole. This is achievable, even if you have short fingernails. Now, you can realize why this was the most common approach back then.

It will take several revolutions and after that, et voila! You will have a perfect cap end hole in your cigar without needing to use any type of cutter or other equipment. However, keep in mind that you may have to exert more pressure when the corner of your fingernail reaches the binder beneath the cigar wrapper.

How to Cut a Cigar: Step-by-Step

You may already know that cigars come leaf-wrapped. This leaf usually forms a small swatch at the cap end of the cigar. This small swatch integrates with the structure to hold the wrapper perfectly while giving it a complete look.

Before you cut your preferred cigar, know that you have to leave some flag of the cap end to ensure the wrapper doesn’t come off. Therefore, you should go for the lowest end of your cigar cap. The main reason Cuban cigars are quite expensive and highly popular among cigar lovers is that they contain not one but three layers of wrappers around them, which prevents them from unraveling.

Locate the Cap

cigar cap

Firstly, locate the cap end of your cigar. You will notice a small swatch that’s glued onto the closed end of your cigar: this is the cap. You should only cut your cigar through this part. If you cut further than where the cap ends, it will cost you the price of the cigar.

The cap is normally visible no matter what kind of cigar you pick up. It appears as a round leaf section at the end of the cigar. A pro tip is to leave some of the glue and cap section on the cigar when making a cut. This helps prevent unraveling.

Position the Cutter

Once you get your hands on a high-quality cutter, keep it a few millimeters from the cap end of your cigar. Most cigar experts moisten the cap end before cutting. This ensures that the end is damp overall. Why is this important? When the content inside and outside the cap end is damp, it ensures a perfect slice.

While some do this to get a taste for satisfaction before lighting their favorite cigar, others love to eliminate the possibility of cigar wrapper unraveling.

Make the Cut

Learning to cut a cigar is a constant skill, which means that you get better with more practice. When you keep trying new cigars and cutting methods, you will learn the finesse of making a perfect hole for a satisfying draw on all the cigars you taste.

Try to line up the cutter as perfectly as possible with the cap end of your cigar. It has to be no more than a few millimeters from the end and definitely over the rounded section of the cap end. Once you line it up perfectly, cut in a single take with confidence.

Additional Tips

Keep The Cutter Sharp

As a cigar lover, you have to keep your cutters sharp. Even if you use special scissors or knives to cut your cigar, it’s imperative that you keep the blades sharp. This is an extremely important yet underrated concept. This explains why many smokers end up getting an uneven cut: they’re using a dull blade.

When your cutters or blades are sharp, you get a precise and extremely fine cut. No matter what kind of cigar you smoke, for the best draw, the cut should be perfect for your inhaling power.

Moreover, the chances of wrappers unraveling are nearly zero when the blades on the cutters are always sharp. Whether you have to sharpen your cutter or replace it with a new one, in no case should you let a dull cutter blade damage your cigar.

Be Fast & Decisive

You can take plenty of time to assess which kind of cut to try first. However, when it comes down to cutting the cigar’s cap end, you need to be fast. So if you end up taking too long to make a cut, or you do it in parts, you’ll end up damaging the quality of your cigar.

Reentry into the cigar after a partial cut guarantees a tear. Therefore, make sure that the blades are sharp and you don’t have to make several cuts but just one. Nevertheless, a relaxing activity should never turn into a hassle. So try to get comfortable and take as much time as you need before making a swift and fine cut in one take.

Why is the Way You Cut Your Cigar Important?

For the uninitiated, cutting a cigar can seem overwhelming. But even if you’re a beginner, rest assured that it is not that difficult.

The reason you should always cut the cigar properly is that cutting it inaccurately can damage the structure. More importantly, when you cut the cigar inappropriately, you compromise on its quality.

So if you require the best and maximum taste from your cigar, you must burn the tobacco leaves evenly. And to do that, you have to cut an opening on the cap end of the cigar smoothly, so you don’t compromise its integrity.

Potential Complications

Sometimes, the wrapper unfolds, which causes the tobacco leaves to fall out. This is quite annoying because pieces of the leaves can enter your mouth and throat. Not to mention, when you cut the cigar wrong and don’t burn the leaves evenly, you’ll feel uncomfortable while smoking. Besides, the best cigars aren’t cheap, so you want to make the most out of your leisure time.

To many cigar smokers, cutting the cap end is a tradition. Your social gatherings with friends will feel more comforting when you enjoy your cigar just as much as the other person. So, leave your next cigar in your humidor until you finsih this article to learn the best way to cut an opening on your favorite cigar.


Gauging the best point to cut near the cap is a crucial part of smoking cigars. Therefore, the satisfaction for most cigar enthusiasts lies not only with the blend of their favorite cigar, but also how they store it, and the way they cut it. Through some practice, you can become quite proficient in using nearly all types of cutters.

Every cigar has an ideal cut, so make sure to use this information wisely when enjoying your favorite cigar. While not all cigars have the same perfect spot for a cut, it’s not rocket science. But be careful when making a cut because a deep one means that the cigar will burn hotter or break down, while a shallow cut will cause the draw and burn to be uneven.