This cutter was provided to us by Xikar for the purpose of this review.
The XO is a cutting machine, inspired by timeless design principles. The dual stainless steel blades operate on a patent pending planetary gear system, ensuring the blades open and close in perfect harmony, providing a guided and clean cut every time. The distinct, round aluminum body of the XO is built for relentless durability and exceptional performance. Engineered to simplify the standard double guillotine style cut.
MSRP: $100 – $120 (Depending on finish)
The cutter has a nice feel in the hand. With the blades open, I am easily able to use it one handed using my thumb and forefinger to close the blades. There is a decent weight to it, but nothing extreme. The movement of the blades are very smooth with the gear driven mechanism keeping both blades in sync. My biggest complaint with three piece cutters is that the blades each move independently from the body, so in my experience, I would always have one blade that wanted to move in further or easier than the other and I wasn’t cutting in the center of the body unless I was focusing on making that happen. With the XO, even if you just pressed in on one of the blades, the other one is driven by the gears to close as well. Not that you’d be able to cut a cigar with only trying to close one blade as it would take a great deal of force to make it happen, but the fact that it makes it so that you are cutting the cigar in the center of the body where the blades come together at their best geometry is a big plus.
When first using the cutter, the biggest issue I experienced is that my cuts weren’t as level as I would have liked them to be. So for the first few cigars I used it on I had a bit of an angled cut. No big deal as it didn’t have any ill effects on the cigar itself. It just took a few cigars to get a better understanding of how to hold the cutter in relation to the cigar to get a cut that is perpendicular to the cigar. When trying to figure out this process, the one thing I did notice is that the depth of the cutter made it tougher to get a quick look at how much of the head of the cigar was going to be cut off by the blades. I really had to move my hands, the cutter and cigar around to get a good look at how much of the cigar was peeking through and to make sure the cutter was perpendicular to the cigar.
The blades are very sharp. They always made a clean cut on the first attempt. I also didn’t run into any issues with the cutter squeezing or pinching the cap excessively that would cause any cap or wrapper cracking. The one thing I would change, and this is more about the majority of Xikar cutters rather than this particular one, is to have a setting on the switch to keep the switch open. To explain what I mean, when fully closing the cutter, the blades lock closed which is a great safety feature, but I would prefer if the blades would open back up after a cut as I typically want to clear out any trapped tobacco pieces and just do a quick wipe of the cutting surface of the blades. This is really just a personal preference and may not outweigh the safety aspect that the current functionality provides.
+ Very sharp blades
+ Synchronized blade movement
+ Good feel in the hand
+ Ability to cut very large ring gauges
+ Lifetime Warranty
– Bulkiness/Depth of the frame
Using the Xikar XO Cutter exclusively for a couple of months hasn’t had me longing for any of my other cutters, so it’s obviously ticked all of the boxes on my must have list for a cutter. There’s definitely a cool factor with this cutter that you just keep squeezing it in your hand, so a pseudo stress ball if you will. It took a little time to get used to the feel and function, but after that it was smooth sailing. I’m usually an at home smoker, so I’m not carrying a cutter around in my pocket all of the time, so with that being said, I could easily see myself using this as my everyday cutter. If you keep yours in your pocket all of the time, you’d have to determine if the size and weight would fit the bill for you. Another thing to consider is if you smoke a volume of large ring gauge cigars, this is probably the cutter you’d want to have.
The price point on the cutter is a bit high, but it is built well, so I’m sure the use will be worth the cost. I’ll be very interested to see if this design evolves over time with some smaller mechanical parts to reduce the thickness as well as see if they experiment with a plastic body to reduce weight. With the cutter working so well, I recommend it and would say that you’ll just have to determine how the cost and the size/weight factor into your buying decision.
Leave a Reply