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  • Chris Kuehn

Cigars vs. cigarillos

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

The main difference between a cigar and cigarillo is their size, so you are not wrong in thinking that cigarillos look like small cigars. But as a cigar aficionado knows, size does matter!

The experience of smoking a cigar versus smoking a cigarillo is simply different. That is why cigar lovers tend to keep both in the house – stock for every occasion.

Before you start debating which is better, familiarize yourself with what sets these two smokes apart.

Differences Between Cigars and Cigarillos

The difference in size is obvious but there are more noticeable differences between cigars and cigarillos. As well as many similarities.

1. Length

Cigarillos are shorter than cigars. They are almost always under 5 inches long, with the majority between 3.5 – 4.5 inches. The length range for cigars is much bigger.

2. Ring Gauge

Cigarillos are thinner than cigars with most being having a ring gauge between 20 – 30. This means that they burn faster but are also more convenient to carry.

3. Construction

All the basic elements are the same; tobacco leaf wrappers without a filter. One possible difference is that cigarillos are often non-humidified but that depends on the particular make.

4. Production

While there are both hand-rolled and machine-produced cigars, cigarillos are almost exclusively made by machine. This is mainly due to their size difference.

5. Price

Since cigarillos are mostly made by machine, they can be mass-produced. This efficiency difference is one of the reasons why cigarillos are generally more affordable than cigars.

How to Smoke a Cigar vs a Cigarillo

Essentially, a cigarillo is the smaller version of the cigar. Thus, there are only small differences in how to smoke the two.

Cigarillos are thinner, shorter and have drier tobacco so it is no surprise that they also burn faster than a cigar. Smoking a cigar is more ceremonial and depending on the size you could spend an hour on a single piece. In contrast, people generally smoke a cigarillo in less than 20 minutes.

One thing to remember is that you smoke them in the same manner. In other words, do not inhale the smoke.

Both cigars and cigarillos are unfiltered. Some cigarillos may look like a cigarette but it is not a good idea to smoke them like one.


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