Screwpop Tools is known for its collection of tools that are designed to go on keychains. They generally have multiple functions and are relatively inexpensive.
Last year Screwpop broke out of the mold by introducing the Magpulse, a guillotine cutter concept that the company says took two years to design, engineer and complete, with another year spent just on finding the best blade factory.
WHAT IS IT?
The Magpulse is a single guillotine cutter that uses magnets to help open the cutter and provide resistance when cutting a cigar.
Physically, the cutter weighs just three ounces and measures .375 inches x 2.125 inches x 2.625 inches while the exterior body is milled from 6061-T6 aerospace anodized aluminum. In addition, the two blades are made of 420J2 stainless steel (58HRC) that Screwpop claims will have no problem cutting at least 11,000 cigars before they could conceivably start to dull. The blades can cut cigars up to 60 ring gauge and comes packaged in a gift box priced at $99.95 each, although black is the only color available at the moment.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
There is no doubt that the Magpulse features some very unique attributes from other guillotine cutters on the market, something that you easily pick up on the first time you see the square, flat design with multiple openings throughout. However, having said that, the actual operation of the blades is still fairly standard: the bottom blade remains stationary while the top blade accelerates via magnets and moves up and down on a track. The main blade is activated by pushing down on a small unordained trigger on the bottom section of the cutter, which releases the top section upwards. You then put the cap of the cigar into the resulting opening and push down on the top section, which pushes the cap against the stationary blade, resulting in a straight cut through the cigar. As the top blade cuts through the cap and comes to the end of its journey, it locks in place with an audible click and stays that way until you push down on the trigger again.
- Unique Design — There is no doubt that this is a cutter with a very unique look, more than enough to make sure that you don’t mistake it for any other cutter currently on the market.
- Built to Last — Other than the trigger, I could not find one thing on this cutter that is not made of some form of metal, and there was never a point at which I questioned the integrity of the materials used to make it.
- Blades are Plenty Sharp — I have no issues with the sharpness of the blades, or the cuts that the blades gave me for the vast majority of cigars this cutter was used on.
- Balance — The cutter is fairly light but has a large footprint—especially when open—that gives the user a great amount of balance when cutting a cigar. The weight also means it’s very easy to put in a pocket and forget that it’s there.
- Gift Box Included — The better-than-average looking box the cutter is sold in includes a foam insert that keeps the cutter locked in place, with no room to move around.
- Opening the Cutter is Awkward to Perfect — Reading through the description from Screwpop, I got the impression that the magnets that push open the blades open the cutter all the way every single time. In the best of conditions that is true, but in order to make the blades open all the way every time with just one push of the trigger, I had to make sure that there were only two parts of my hand touching the cutter: the finger on the actual trigger—usually my thumb—and the finger on the other side pushing against the back, which usually ended up being my index finger. If any part of your hand is touching the back part of the cutter when opening, it will create enough resistance where the cutter won’t fully open. It’s an awkward way to hold a cutter, though something I got used to with time.
- It’s a Bit Stiff — The cutting action is extremely stiff, and because the magnets do their best to repel each other as they were designed to do, I had to push quite a bit harder to not only force the blades through the cap, but also to actually lock it in place where it is supposed to stat. In some cases, the extra force needed actually resulted in less than optimum cuts, since I was concentrating on putting enough pressure to actually get the cutter to close all the way rather than just enough pressure that was needed for a smooth cutting motion.
- Trigger Can Open Cutter On Accident — Since the trigger protrudes away from the base of the cutter, there were multiple times that I would reach in my pocket or bag and find that the cutter had come open, and it is not a great feeling to know that you could be reaching into an open blade at any random point.
- No Warranty Included — You had better hope that your specific cutter was put together properly because there is no warranty option of any sort if something goes wrong.
- The Price — Even at the discounted price of $99—down from the “regular” price of $149.95 that has been in place since the cutter was released—the Magpulse is more expensive than the vast majority of guillotine cutters on the market.
Although guillotine cutters are not exactly rare in today’s market, the addition of the magnets in the Magpulse makes it almost totally unique. I say almost, because there is one other cutter that I know of that incorporates magnets into its design: the XIKAR Ensō. Although it does cost basically the same as the Magpulse—give or take $.04—it is quite a bit thicker, quite a bit heavier and does not have a trigger to open the blades.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
Screwpop is one of those companies that keeps pushing boundaries, and I have some respect for it in that regard. While the original Cigar Cutter and Chopo were not the best examples of how to make a cigar cutter, the Cigar Punch 2.0 proved that Screwpop could get it right. As a cutter for cigars, the Magpulse falls squarely in the center between those releases: it cuts cigars fairly well—as well as any guillotine cutter—but the addition of the magnets to the equation feels more like a gimmick rather than a necessary feature. The problem is that you end up paying quite a bit of extra money for that not-quite-a-gimmick-but-also-not-really-needed feature, something that is hard to justify in my mind when there are so many other cutters on the market that perform the exact same function for the same or even less money.