A Beginner’s Guide to Cigar Shapes, Sizes and Colour

cigars on a shelf

There are so many factors to consider when it comes to cigars; what brand? Shape? Size? Colour? 

If you’re new to cigar smoking or have stuck to one type of cigar for a long time, you may not be confident with what each of these factors means or how to choose something you like. 

Below you will find a guide on shapes, sizes and colour of cigars, hopefully answering some questions you might be having. Once you’ve finished reading, you should be in a better position to browse our fantastic range of Cuban cigars and choose the perfect smoke for you!  

Shapes and Sizes

A cigar varies in size from brand to brand, so describing a cigar by its size as well as shape is important. Cigars are measured by two factors: length, which is given in inches, and “ring gauge,” a designation of a cigar’s diameter broken into 64ths of an inch.

A cigar with a 38 ring gauge, for example, is 38/64 of an inch in diameter. The strength of the cigar is not linked to the size of the cigar; a cigar’s strength is determined by the tobacco blend it is rolled with.

Another important point is that there is no consistency of strength from brand to brand: one company’s Corona is likely to taste very different from another’s.


Parejos are straight-sided cigars; most have an open foot for lighting and need to be cut before smoking. They may be either round or box-pressed, meaning that the sides of the cigar were pressed square prior to packing or by pressure found in the box.


This is the benchmark size against which all other sizes are measured. The traditional dimensions are 5 1/2 to 6 inches with a ring gauge of 42 to 44.

Petit Corona 

Basically a miniature Corona, this cigar generally measures about 4 1/2 inches, with a ring gauge of 40 to 42.


A large Corona format. The standard dimensions are 7 inches by 47 ring gauge. Example: Romeo y Julieta Churchill


A short, fat cigar that has become the most popular cigar size in America. The size is generally 4 3/4 to 5 1/2 inches by 48 to 52 ring gauge.

Corona Gorda

Also called a Toro, this cigar is steadily growing in popularity. The traditional measurements are 5 5/8 inches by 46 ring gauge, but cigars of 6 inches by 50 ring have also become popular.

Double Corona

The standard dimensions are 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 inches by a 49 to 52 ring gauge. Example: Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona


Long, thin and elegant, this size’s popularity has decreased in recent years. Still, it is an elegant size, with a wide length variation of 5 to 7 1/2 inches with a ring gauge of 34 to 38. Cigars longer than 7 inches in this category are often referred to as “Gran Panatelas.” Example: Cohiba Lancero


A Lonsdale is generally longer than a corona but thicker than a panetela, with a classic size of 6 1/2 inches by 42 ring. Example: Montecristo No. 1


Although the majority of cigars are Parejos, there are companies willing to experiment with their creativity. Any cigar that is not a straight-sided cylinder is known as a Figurado. 


Pyramids are cigars with cut feet, like Parejos, but with heads tapered to a point. Generally, the cigars measure from 6 to 7 inches in length, with ring gauges of about 40 at the head widening to 52 to 54 at the foot.


Traditional Belicosos are short pyramids, often with a slightly rounded pyramid head. They often measure from 5 to 5 1/2 inches, with ring gauges of about 50.


This is a rare cigar to find nowadays; a smoke with a closed foot, a head tapered to a point, and a bulge in the middle.


Like the torpedo, the Perfecto has a closed foot and a bulge in the middle. However, the head of a Perfecto is rounded like the head of a Parejo. Perfectos vary greatly in length, regularly reaching up to 9 inches, with a ring gauge from 38-48.


The wrappers that are used to roll your favourite blends come in a multitude of colours from almost mint green to pitch black. There are seven basic colour grades for cigar wrappers.

Image Credit: RMR Cigar under Creative Commons 3.0

Double Claro

This wrapper is light green created by a quick-drying process using heat that locks in the green chlorophyll of the tobacco.


A light tan colour achieved by growing tobacco in the shade under cheesecloth tents, picking the plants early and air-drying the leaves.

Colorado Claro

Light reddish-brown; often grown in direct sunlight, and given longer to mature before picking.


This is the middle ground on the colour scale. These cigars are medium-brown to brownish-red and full flavoured, though soft and subtle in their aroma.

Colorado Maduro

Darker than the Colorado and lighter than the Maduro.


This shade can vary from a deep reddish-brown to almost black. The wrapper is key to lending cigars their robust sweet flavour.


This black cigar wrapper shade is achieved by leaving the leaves on the plant as long as possible and using only the leaves from the top of the plant before fermenting them for a longer time period.

Hopefully, this guide will help you to decide what your next smoke will be, so head over to Havana House and see our range of Cuban cigars for sale, where we stock something for everyone’s taste.

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