Beginners’ Guide to Cigars: Part I – All Shapes and Sizes

Let’s face it. The topic of cigars is pretty vast, and can be a little intimidating to the newly initiated. Working in a cigar shop part-time the past three years has allowed me to meet a bunch of people who want to get into the hobby of cigar smoking, but don’t know where to start. They’re often times intimidated when entering a tobacconist for the first time, and if they go to an online store, they’re overwhelmed by the vast array of choices. So with that in mind, welcome to the Nice Tight Ash Beginners’ Guide to Cigars. We’re going to start with the various sizes and shapes cigars are made in.



Two components make up the size of a cigar: length and ring gauge. Cigars distributed in the U.S. have the length noted in inches, and ring gauge is noted in 64ths of an inch. For example, a cigar that has a 50 ring gauge is 50/64th of an inch.


Cigars are generally divided into parejos and figurados. Parejos are any straight sided cigar with no change in width and a flat head. Everything else, to put it simplistically, is a figurado.

Put them together…

…and you get vitolas. A vitola is the given name for a size and shape of a cigar. Here’s a list of the most vitolas:


Corona – 5½” x 42
The standard cigar size, and basis for all other cigar sizes.
Petite Corona – 5″ x 42
Short version of the corona
Corona Gorda – 5½” x 46
Fatter version of the corona; sometimes called the corona extra
Double Corona – 7¾” x 49
Extra long, fat version of the standard corona
Lonsdale – 6&frac1/2;” x 42
Longer version of a corona
Robusto – 5″ x 50
One of the most popular sizes today; wasn’t made until a few decades ago.
Toro – 6″ x 50
Longer version of a robusto
Churchill – 7″ x 47
Longer and slightly thinner than a toro
6″ x 60
A fairly new size without a standardized name. Sometimes called a toro extra or gigante
Lancero – 7½” x 38
A vitola that faded in popularity, but has soared back in the past couple of years


Torpedo – 6½” x 52
Roughly toro sized vitola with a pointed head; length and sharpness of the point varies greatly among brands
Pyramid – 7″ x 56
The pyramid is different from the torpedo in that it flares out at the end like the name implies; lots of manufacturers and smokers use this interchangeably with the torpedo.
Belicoso – 5½” x 50
Shorter than a torpedo with a shorter, rounder head; once again it varies among brands
Narrow at the foot and head with a bulge in the middle with no customary length or ring gauge
Three short, thin cigars braided together and tied for the ends; not very many are made; used to be given to cigar rollers in the morning as their smokes for the day


Exceptions to the rule

These are not not hard and fast rules. Every manufacturer has their own terminology and standards. Some may roll a lancero at 40 ring gauge. Some might roll a Churchill at 7¼” x 50. But that list will give you a general guideline. There are a ton of differences in the naming and dimensions of figurados. That you will have to feel your way through.

That’s the end of Part I. Part II will examine what a cigar is made of.

bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Be Sociable, Share!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider to leave a comment or subscribe to the feed and get future articles delivered to your feed reader.


Wow, thanks for the great guide. I always seem to have trouble with shape differences.

Great info. I wish I would have had a quick reference like this when I first started smoking.

Yeah – this would have been fantastic when I started out as well. Great job!

This is good stuff. Looking forward to other features like this. For those of us who can’t seen to get enough info, articles like these are great.

Thanks guys!

This is a good read. Thanks for this!

You should do a basic wrapper, binder, filler post with this format.

Hello there. This questions is for Charlie. I am a friend of Perry Lamar’s I work at MD Cigars in Yuma, AZ. He said you would be the person who would know how to help me.

Do you know of a cigar; 6 – 6 1/2 X 60 ring gauge with a Conn. wrapper.

I would be very appreciative.

Thank you very much.


To me, the best size…..corona gorda. Hands down.

Leave a comment