The Best Way To Cut A Cigar Properly

Justin R.
Justin R.

Cigar Enthusiast, Chief Editor

how to cut a cigar
Table of Contents

While pros make it look effortless, cutting a cigar the right way isn’t terribly easy for beginners. That said, the process becomes second-nature once you get a proper cigar cutter and understand the right technique. Soon enough, you’ll be able to cut a cigar with ease and get the most out of your fine-grade stogies.

Cigar Amigo has taken the time to explain the different cigar cutters, cigar head shapes, and cutting techniques to help get you started.

Continue reading below to learn how to cut a cigar correctly like a seasoned aficionado.

How to Cut a Cigar

cigar cutting

Everyone makes mistakes, even well-initiated cigar smokers. However, fewer things in life are more frustrating than cutting a cigar, only to have it completely fall apart in your hands. A situation like this can happen to any cigar lover if you cut a cigar too high.

Moreover, cutting cigars the wrong way could prevent the smooth draw needed for an optimal cigar smoking experience. Luckily, there are various ways you can reduce the chance of this happening.

Best Way to Cut a Cigar

Cigars are different from cigarettes where you can just light the tip and start smoking. You need to do the perfect cut so you can have a smooth smoking experience. Here are the different types of cigar cuts you can refer to.

Perhaps the best way is the straight cut method, because you can use numerous cutting tools. You can use a pocket knife, cigar scissors, or a guillotine cutter, and still get the same result. 

Moreover, you can use this technique for both rounded and pointed caps.

Here are some pointers when doing a straight cut:

  • Make sure you’re conclusive with your cut. Prolonged pressure can damage the cigar’s wrapper and ruin a perfectly smokable cigar. A quick cut is required for success.
  • You need to hold your cigar firmly and bring the blade to the stogie. Doing so will give you far more control so you can cleanly cut the cigar cap end.
  • If you’re using a single-blade guillotine, place the end of the cigar on the opposite side of the blade. This will make sure your cigar is in the right position, so you can perform a clean cut.

How to Prepare a Cigar

how to clip a cigar

If you look closely at a cigar, you can see all the little seams and creases. That’s because premium cigars are made up of multiple layers that make them burn smoothly.

The seams that go around the circumference of the cigar and run around the curved part of the cap. This is also known as the cigar head, and is what you want to remove when cutting cigars. That said, the goal is to leave just a small piece of the flag leaf.

Cigar makers finish their products by adding some wrapper leaf to the tip of the cigar. Not only does this make the cigar look complete, but it also helps keep the cigar wrapper together while you store it.

Always try to leave some of the flag leaf and glue when cutting a cigar. You can do this by cutting just below the end of the cigar’s cap. Premium cigar makers will typically use a triple cap which is easier to cut and helps keep the tobacco leaf together.

Make the Head Moist

The main wrapper of a cigar is incredibly delicate, and can break easily with a poor cut. Getting the head moist will help ensure the wrapper doesn’t break while you attempt to cut a new cigar.

You can do so by placing the cigar head in your mouth for additional moisture. Note that you don’t need to lick the cigar, just get it moist enough so it doesn’t cut open. Meanwhile, you can get a preview of the cigar’s flavor before you smoke it.

Where to Cut a Cigar

Knowing where to cut your cigar will make sure you don’t make any mistakes. Cutting the wrong part of the cigar can tear the main wrapper, causing it to burn unevenly as you smoke it.

What Part of a Cigar Do You Cut?

Whenever cutting a cigar, you want to locate the cap. Above, we mention that the cap is the additional wrapper leaf covering the head of the cigar. Locating the cap is extremely easy as you can see the small seams where the wrapper meets the rest of the cigar’s body.

You should only cut a couple millimeters from the head, and not remove the entire cap. Removing the whole cap can ruin the draw and smoking experience from your stogie.

Do You Cut Both Ends of a Cigar?

In short, you shouldn’t cut both ends of a cigar. That said, the closed end of the cigar can sometimes match the appearance of the head. While it might look like it needs to be cut, the only end you need to focus on is the one you smoke from.

Clipping a Cigar

cutting a cigar

Clipping a cigar ensures that you have an optimal experience every time you smoke. You should always clip it a few millimeters from the head. If you don’t have a measuring tool, you can look for the seams of the flag leaf (also known as the shoulder).

How To Clip a Cigar

The way you clip your cigar will depend on what kind of cutter you’re using. Here’s a breakdown of how the most popular cutters work, and how to use them:

  • Straight Cutters. Straight cutters are easy to use and are typically for cigars with pointed caps. You’ll need to firmly hold the cigar by the head and select the area you wish to cut. Next, slide the blade or scissors over the selected area, and gently press against the cigar. Finally, cut quickly to avoid a poor cut or broken leaf.
  • V-Cutter. A V-cutter is an excellent tool to have if you appreciate a smooth opening. While they can be tricky to master, the effort will be worth it when it comes time to smoke. First, place the guillotine on a sturdy surface and bring the cigar inside the hole. You can gently close the blades so you can see where you’ll cut without actually breaking the cap. Finally, firmly close the blades until the cap is completely removed.
  • Punch Cutter. Punch cutters (also known as a punch cut or cigar punch) are known for their simplicity and convenience. You can easily carry a punch cut on a keychain, which is useful for on-the-go smoking. Set the punch in the center of the cap, and twist gently while also applying pressure. Once you’ve broken into the cap, gently pull the cigar cutter out. Finally, blow on the cap to remove any leftover tobacco flecks.

How to Trim a Cigar

clipping and trimming cigar

You can trim a cigar using different cigar cutters listed above. Make sure that you are gentle and have patience to avoid ruining your collection. It also helps to blow on your cigar after cutting it so you have fewer little tobacco flecks in your mouth while smoking.

Cigar Cutting

Here are some additional questions we hear in regard to cutting cigars:

How To Cut a Cigar With Scissors

Cigar scissors can come in handy, especially if you don’t have any other cigar cutters. Cutting with scissors is the same as using other cutters, but you just need to be a little bit more careful so you don’t break the leaf.

How To Cut a Cuban Cigar

Cuban cigars cut just about the same as other stogies, but sometimes the caps can be a bit thicker. That’s because many Cuban cigar makers use multiple flag leaves for the cap, which is why they smoke so incredibly smooth.

In that case, punch cutters or a v-cutter would probably be your best bet.

Do You Have To Cut a Cigar?

In short, you need to cut your cigars since most of them come with a cap. Leaving the cap on will make the stogie incredibly difficult to smoke and nearly impossible to enjoy.


Cutting cigars the right way can almost be considered an artform. While you may mess up cutting your first few cigars, remember that it’s a skill that will be incredibly useful once you become a more seasoned aficionado.

Find a method that works for you, and stick with it. It’s also recommended that you invest in a reliable cutter, as you will get the most out of your premium stogies.