You would have to be living under a rock to not notice the increase in the number of cigars that feature ring gauges in excess of 56 ring gauge, with some recently going as large as 80. For years, cigar cutters—especially guillotine cutters—have lagged behind in regards to the size cigars they could cut, with most maxing out around 60 ring gauge or so.
In response to the large number of smokers buying 60+ ring gauge cigars, XIKAR introduced the X875 Double Guillotine Cutter at the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show a super sized version of the company’s X8 cutter with a whopping 75 ring gauge opening priced at $34.99 each. While the X875 is made to cut cigars 80 ring gauge in larger, the company advertises the fact that you can actually fit a 75 ring gauge cigar through the opening in the cutter.
In terms of physical appearance, the X875 looks almost exactly like its X8 brother, albeit noticeably larger. It uses the exact same design, with two small handles for fingers on either side and two opposing stainless steel blades that meet in the center. The body is black in color, but unlike the X8, the X875 does not have the XIKAR logo etched onto the actual blade, but instead it is engraved into the side of the cutter body itself. In fact, 75 RG is also engraved onto the body of the cutter on the opposing side.
The operation of the cutter is excellent, smoothly cutting the cap of each cigar like there is nothing there at all. Where it differs from a typical guillotine is that one blade is stationary while the other moves, allowing the blades to open to a full circle before closing again with only the sliding side retracting from the body of the cutter. That action is incredibly smooth and easy to use. The advantage to the single blade action, which is also found on Palió’s signature cutter, is that the cigar does not move during the cutting motion. This creates a significantly decreased risk of tearing and other errors during the cutting process.
One of the things I did not anticipate when using this cutter was just how convenient it is to use with cigars that have smaller ring gauges. I found that because of the overall larger size, the X875 is easier to use when cutting and gives me more leeway when trying to get a good cut. After more than a month of use, the blades have not dulled to any degree I can notice meaning I get incredibly smooth cuts for each cigar. Unlike some XIKAR cutters, the plastic body has managed to remain in good condition, showing no signs of wear.
The X8 is a great cutter, but it maxes out cutting 60 ring gauge cigars, although to be fair it can cut caps off of larger cigars. The X875 really does excel at cutting both smaller and larger ring gauge cigars with the same ease, making it significantly more versatile overall.
Having said all of that, there are a few negatives about the X875 that need to be talked about. First, it is predictably more expensive than a smaller cutter, if only by about $5. Second, it’s the biggest guillotine cutter on the market, to the point where it’s annoying to carry around and keep on your person. It is still quite light when held in the hand—in fact, I almost wish it weighed a bit more just so it would feel more substantial—but the larger size is quite noticeable for someone who is used to carrying around smaller cutters. Finally, so far the X875 only comes in black, although I would imagine more colors and exteriors are on the way.
In terms of competitors in the large ring gauge cutter market, Credo has announced a version of its signature Synchro cutter named the XXL that will be able to cut 70 ring gauge cigars. Vertigo has an 80 ring gauge cutter on the market that is under $10 for the budget-minded, although it does not have the same feel as the XIKAR. There is also the Shuriken cigar cutter which can handle up to 70 ring gauge cigars, although it does not actually cut the caps off, but instead cuts slits into the cap, leaving it intact on the cigar.
Of course, any time you are discussing XIKAR products, the fact that each and every item they make is covered by a lifetime warrantee must be noted. The company is quick to respond to any problems with their products, not by forcing you to send it in and wait to get a replacement like some other companies do, but by allowing you to return the damaged or defective product to any XIKAR dealer, who should replace it on the spot as long as they have the product on hand. I have actually taken advantage of this service a couple of times over the years, and it works like a charm.
All in all, the obvious question is: did I like the X875 better than its little brother, the X8? The answer is an easy yes. True, the X875 is larger and costs a bit more, but it handles cuts so much easier that I will be replacing my X8 with it as my go to guillotine cutter. The blades remain extremely sharp, even after over a month of use, and there is not one blemish on the cutter itself, despite the fact that I have carried it around in my pocket with keys and in my laptop bag with lighters and who knows what else. An extremely versatile cutter that I enjoy pulling out every time.
The cutter for this review was sent to halfwheel by XIKAR.