Screwpop Tools is not a company dedicated to cigar accessories, rather, it’s a company dedicated to making keychain accessories, some of which have been cigar cutters.
It started with the Cigar Punch in 2013 and a year later the company introduced the Screwpop Cigar Cutter a blade-style cutter that also fit on your keychain. While that cutter had a lot to like—it was compact, well-built and relatively inexpensive—there was one problem: it didn’t cut cigars very well.
In May, the company announced a brand new version of the cutter named Screwpop Chopo that changed or updated quite few of the features found on the original incarnation.
While the new cutter keeps the same basic design—i.e. a keychain attachable cutter with a fan-style blade—it features a larger keyring opening that is closer to the blades which is designed to help the cutting motion. At 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 3 inches and 1.4-ounces, the Chopo is both half inch taller and close to double the weight of the original cutter. In addition, washers have been added to an enlarged eyelet to help keep the blades of the cutter aligned and a snake-knot lanyard now comes standard in the package.
There is also the small matter of the price, which increased from $14.95 to $24.95—later reduced to $19.95, where it is priced now.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
As with the original version, the actual cutting action is fairly simple, at least in theory: simply open the two blades to the desired size of the cap you are cutting, insert the cap of the cigar into the opening, then push the two blades together.
Unfortunately—again, much like the original cutter—the actual practice of using this cutter did not produce acceptable cuts. While the overall balance is a significant problem, the main issue is quite simple: instead of cutting the caps of the cigars cleanly, the two blades did very little other than squeeze the cigars and crush the caps before tearing through the cigar, leaving a mangled mess of small tobacco pieces behind.
I have come to the conclusion that there are at least two major design issues that will need to be addressed before this cutter can work as intended: first, the blades don’t stay very sharp; and second, the actual blades themselves are much too thick.
- It’s Built Like a Tank — At no point in the more than two months I was using this did I ever come close to thinking it would break or fall apart.
- Stiff Blades — I actually like the fact that the blades are as stiff as they are, since it makes it easier to place the cap exactly where you want it, knowing that they won’t move before you are ready.
- Is That a Snake in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy to See Me? — I love the addition of the snake-knot lanyard which serves as both an easy way to take the cutter out of your pocket as well as an aid to help steady the blades when cutting, and as a bonus, the feature is easily removable if you are not as enamored with it as I am.
- Redesigned Bottle Opener — There were major issues with the bottle opener on the first version of the cutter—as in, it was difficult to use—and I am happy to say that this opener is a huge step up from its predecessor.
- Torpedoes — I actually had very few problems cutting the caps off of torpedoes and belicosos. Regular readers of my cutter reviews might notice that oftentimes cutters that don’t cut parejos very well can cut the angled-tip cigars.
- The Act of Actually Cutting Cigars — The Chopo sucks at it.
- Increased Weight — It is quite a bit heavier than the older version and heavier than competitors. While this does help a bit with the overall balance, it is a major issue when it comes to actually leaving the cutter on your keychain for an extended period of time.
- Increasingly Dull Blades — While the cutter was not working as intended from the start, the blades actually became noticeably more dull as I continued to use it, meaning the issues became more and more obvious—and more and more problematic—as time went on.
The king of the blade-style cutter on a keychain is the XIKAR MTX Multi-tool, foldable cigar scissors that is both smaller and significantly lighter than the Chopo. The MTX also includes a screwdriver for adjusting flame height on a lighter, a cigar poker and a bottle opener. The MSRP of the MTX is $54.95 though the street price is oftentimes in the $30 range.
While the bottle opener of the MTX is not great, the process of cutting cigars is and as such the MTX is the preferred cutter—keychain or not—for a lot of cigar smokers.
- Original Screwpop Cigar Cutter — Features virtually the same issues as the Chopo, but in a smaller, lighter format and with a bottle opener that is a significant downgrade.
- Screwpop Cigar Punch 2.0 — Has a nice bottler opener and works quite well at its intended purpose, but is a punch instead of a cutter.
- XiKAR VX Key Chain — Small, portable, light and cuts cigars like a dream, but it is a v-cutter.
WHAT’S WITH THE NAME?
While spelled differently, the name is pronounced the same as El Chapo, the nickname for Joaquín Guzmán, the world’s most infamous living drug lord and noted prison escape artist. As such, chopo is apparently slang term for cocaine in some circles.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
No. You should not buy a cigar cutter that fails at cutting cigars well.
The Chopo cutters used in this review were sent to halfwheel by Screwpop Tools.