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Cutter Comparison: Spike vs. Punch vs. Straight vs. Angle

by Bryan Glynn, November 18, 2009
  • Cigar And Pipes Smokin' Deals

This is a comparison of the major types of different ways to cut a cigar. Shown are the characteristics and differences between the new Cigar Spike, a punch cutter built in to one of my lighters I got from Buylighters.com, a traditional straight cut by a Cuban Crafters Perfect Cutter, and on a torpedo a straight vs. angled cut by a Xikar. The video is in two parts. Photography by BG Pictures.

Along with the videos we have a poll – tell us what your favorite cut is and comment on why!
[poll id=”11″]

  • Darrylyn

    I can only compare what I have used. I started with the straight cut and that is the one I use most often. I read about the angle cut most commonly used with the torpedo and I like it! I noticed the draw would allow the smoke to come in a more direct contact with my tongue and I found that a more flavorful experience. In fact whenever I smoke a torpedo that is how I cut it. I never used the spike. I tried the punch not long ago while at a cigar lounge and in my experience I had a tighter draw, but I do believe it was the cigar itself! I am willing to give the punch cutter another chance.

  • Anthony.

    Great Video, I would be interested in a cigar spike.

    Would you be interested in doing a comparison video on straight cutters? Like palio, Xikar, Scissor type cutter, cheap cutter ect?

    None the less, great site and keep it up.

    • Thanks! If I ever happen to have the multitude of straight cutters hand I’ll make one, but in short – cheap cutters can ruin cigars by pinching. The Xikar is ok, but was only really sharp for 30 or so cuts. The Cuban Crafters has done 100+ so far and is still perfect. Scissors are generally excellent but 100% depend on you for accuracy. I have not used a Palio but hear it’s on par with a Xikar.

  • Cole

    Great idea for a comparison video. Really interesting. I can’t believe you just let those two RP’s take one for the team!!! Never tried a spike, but they don’t sell them at my B&M. I’d like to be considered to try one though. Good smokin!

  • Most of the time, I may start off with a “V” cut, but will usually finish it off with a straight cut. I prefer a “Bullet Punch” on large ring gages above a “54” so it’s not like drawing my smoke through an exhaust pipe. Overall I would have to say my preferred cut is a shallow straight cut. I believe the Spike would be a convenient piece to carry around,(i.e. on a key chain) when either of the other cuts aren’t handy.

  • Khyber

    I usually use the Cuban Crafter cutter or my Xikar punch. I like ’em both equally. Never tried a spike before but would like to try it. Thanks for the video Bryan.


  • One last thought. A straight cut also helps me to “not” smoke my cigar too hot, allowing for a more even burn!

  • Mike – KnightRid

    Nice video, but I really wish you would have smoked each cigar!! I have tried all of the mentioned cuts along with the v-cut (which is my preferred right now) and it seems with the cigar spike the cigar tends to get harsher towards the end than with the other cuts. Maybe it was just me?

    I have also had more tar issues with the spike and punches than any other cut – here again, it could just be me.


    • When I have tried v-cuts and punch cuts, yes some cigars give me more buildup – that’s going to happen no matter what though even on some straights. The smaller openings just exacerbate that problem, I don’t think it’s actually due to the cuts though. Can’t say I could see any correlation to harshness to the cut choice – just lack of age on the stick.

      • neocigaro

        woahhh what went wrong with this comment haha funky words.

  • Chipdivot

    I prefer the straight cut…I have a punch but had a couple problems when a cigar is a touch too dry and it ruins the cap. I would like to try a spike though…maybe the airport won’t confiscate it like they did my cigar.com cutter! Remember to pack them when flying!

  • CigarNut

    Thanks for the video — very interesting and I learned something (always a good thing)!

    I would be interested in a Cigar Spike. Even though the draw may not be quite as good, it seems like it would be good for travelling where you cannot always take a cutter.

    Thanks for your efforts!

  • Krieg

    Good video, I actually learned a few things. Thanks.

  • Zein Bazzi

    Hey Bryan. How are you? Rockin the 313. Man, i cant sleep without watching your videos. Im addicted to cigars as well as this website. As a matter of fact, your website has me smoking a bunch of new cigars. As far as cuts, straight gives the best draw but i’d love to get those cutters if possible. Keep up the great job on your website.

  • OSUsmoker

    I have been experimenting for the last few months with different types of cuts. I like v-cuts because they are easy and I’ve never had a wrapper unravel with that cut. I still usually use a straight cut though. I’ve never heard of a cigar spike but after watching your videos, I would love to try one. Thanks for what you do Bryan.

  • Romey

    Great Video as always , very informative. As a newbie I didn’t know there were so many ways to cut a cigar . Enjoy all your Cigar reviews,
    keep up the excellent work.

  • Nigel

    Ah, truly coincidence. I was just checking out the local cigar shop today for cutters and different ways of cutting.
    My newest addition to the family has been a cigar punch. I love it. It really makes sense when I’m smoking a shorter cigar. I hate losing all that length before it gets too hot. But now I can smoke to a more reasonable point.
    So I guess I’d have to say punch. It’s small, fits on my key chain, doesn’t destroy the cap… I sometimes get over anxious and take a bit too much of the cap off. Also, I’m not really a wet smoker so the smaller hole doesn’t bother me.

  • JonathanC

    Hey Bryan,
    Thanks for the nice cut review. I personally prefer my CC Perfect Cutter as well. My Xikar cuts just fine, but I don’t know if it’s the design or if I got a ‘lemon’ cutter, but it loves to get stuck right after a cut which is annoying.

    I’m curious about the spike though. Can you say, ‘spike’ maybe a bit off to the side of the cap instead of right down the middle so you can maybe spike another once or twice? Would that help the draw from being so restricted?


  • Sure – but that’s not the point of it.

  • Waylon

    I like a streight cut, im open to try any and all techniques, however i find that with a streight cut on most makes of smokes; it allows a smoothe even draw,i guess you could say im kinda lazy. I like to let the smoke do most of the work. Im glad i saw the video, it put into words some techniques i really have not compared.

  • The Spikes are on their way!

  • Kenneth Glass

    I use a V cutter on most Toro, or med. ring gauge rounded cap sticks. I have two size Punches, and will use them on robusto’s, or 56/64 rings or larger. If you look at the surface area on a good V-cut, I actually get less tar, due to it residing on this type of cut in the deeper crevasse. I use double bladed when I smoke torpedo, belicoso, or Salomon vitola’s. Never tried the spike.

  • Hi, i generally use normal cutter for cuban, domenican and nicaragua cigar, also for italian cigar i use normal cutter, i think is more versatile; when i want a longer smoke i use punch that make the smoke slower; i use angle cut only with Perfecto shape like Cicero Perfecto N°1. I’m very curious about V Cut…
    Great review.

  • Taylor

    I’m a big fan of the angled cut. It’s the best cut for Pyramides and Torpedoes. Even on Coronas the larger surface area seems to help:

    Especially if the draw is a bit snug.

    Off flavours do not tend to build-up as much.

    The wrapper does not unravel if you follow the direction of the wrapper leaf up the cigar to the head under the cap. Leave the long-side of the cut where the wrapper would end under the cap. I often cut the long-side still with a bit of cap showing or right on the bottom of the cap.

    Of course use a fast cutting smooth action with a quality double guillotine cutter. I found the Xikar did not cut the angle as neatly as the Davidoff. On some huge ring gauged cigars the angle is not very much. Mind you some are not even comfortable to hold in your mouth without tiring your jaw out.

    Peaceable puffing.

  • stevenknisley

    Where can you get the cigar spike?
    And have you tried a shurikan cutter

    • The link is in the post above for the spike. The shurikan IMO is just a gimmick at best, unsmokeable results at worst. The company contacted me assuring me revisions fixed parts of it and they were sending units, but nothing happened. That was about 6 months ago. I have zero interest in it. it solves a non-existent problem IMO.

    • MaxDuo

      Looking at the shurikan and a video how to use it convinces me I wouldn’t be comfortable with one. I’d be afraid of hurting the cigar by pushing and pulling it into the cutter… especially once it had been used several times and had been able to dull somewhat.

  • Orrza

    Thanks for the video Bryan!

    I use the Xikar and loving it, over a year and it’s just great.
    the Cuban Crafters always looked appealing… that will be my next cutter.

  • vscarpine

    Love the cuban crafters perfect cut. Takes any guess work out of it all you have to do it cut and like advertised its the perfect cut every time

    • puffrey

      Agreed! It is always nice to know that cutting the cap is never going to be an issue.
      Cutting is the 1st tip I give to my friends that are starting up with cigars as they have always wanted to chop too much off to start.

  • Bpope31

    I, like many started out with using a straight cut. Hadn’t really heard of any other types of cuts until I got a v cut in a cigar shop one time. I really enjoyed the cigar along with the cut so that is really my go to cut right now.

  • Kace

    I used to use a draw punch. Man I ruined several cigars with that thing. Lol. I like V cut or perfect cut.

  • MaxDuo

    Nice video series. I’ve never felt a great need to use a punch, I’ve used them a few times at the local B&M and the guy at the desk goes: “Oh that would be a nice one to use a punch on!” just for the heck of it… but feel no huge need to get one now either.

    And the spike doesn’t really seem like something I’d be interested in. I suppose it would be useful if you kept it on a keychain and happened to somehow unexpectly smoke and have a lighter provided by no cutter (I don’t know why this would happen) otherwise… eh. I guess it could be useful for the overly loose draw cigars.

    And there seems no reason why I would want to cut torpedos at a slant, thanks for the time spent on that!

  • Derek

    My Xikar and Palio have both been cutting flawlessly for a few years. I got a nice punch for my birthday 2 years ago and I use it occasionally to mix things up.

  • HerbalJedi

    I love the looks of the Xikar cutters I need to pick one of those up asap and the others are kinda useless imo

  • ObiWanKenobi

    If you punch a cigar with an average punch, you’ll discover your cigar cap stays perfectly in place throughout the entire smoke and the draw is every but as good as if you’d cut the cap off with a $94.50 Xikar cutter. I may one day buy a cutter again but, I doubt it. I almost never cut a cigar anymore. I’m not saying cutters are all marketing and wildly overvalued, I’m saying there is no evidence that a cutter produces anything better than a $1 punch.

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