For the cigar enthusiast, humidors are the stylish, practical way to store your goods. Because cigars respond to their environments, you will want a humidor to provide the right moisture for your cigars, help promote their cultivation and protect your investments for years to come. Humidors come in a variety of sizes and models and some humidors fill the gaps in a room’s decor while others can be taken on the road. Pronto’s Humidor Buying Guide will help you find the humidor that’s best for preserving your cigar collection.
The size of your humidor depends on how many cigars you want to store and whether you want the humidor to travel. Consider separate humidors for use at home and away. Multiply the length, width and height of humidors to compare cubic inches, as cigar-count measurements may not reflect the actual storage of the cigars you prefer.
Humidity control is what makes a humidor a humidor. Look for a model that will keep cigars at 65%-75% humidity.
Both digital and analog hygrometers will measure a humidor’s humidity levels within 5 to 10 degrees of accuracy, but analog humidors require periodic calibration to maintain accuracy. Don’t rely solely on a hygrometer; look for signs of oil production that indicate cigars are in an appropriately humid environment.
The lining of your humidor will heighten your cigars’ flavor and protect your investments. Spanish Cedar linings impart a spicy flavor, hold moisture well and provide protection from Tobacco Weevils. Avoid American Cedar or Western Red Cedar linings that can affect cigar flavor.
Humidors come in many styles that will match the motif of a room. Look for rugged, frictionless hinges and lift-out trays that make it easy to display and access your cigars.
A measurement of the storage capacity of a humidor. Cigar count is typically based on the standard Corona size, so it may not accurately reflect the storage capacity for the cigars you need to store.
The standard size and shape for a cigar. This type of cigar is straight-sided with an open foot and a closed, rounded head. It roughly measures 5½” x 42 gauge.
A device that slowly releases moisture into the air inside a humidor. This can range from a simple sponge to replaceable humidity packets to advanced systems with water reservoirs.
A gauge that measures the humidity in a closed space, such as a humidor. Hygrometers can be analog dials or digital models with LED displays. Both analog and digital hygrometers can be accurate within 5 to 10 degrees, but analog hygrometers need regular calibration to maintain their accuracy.
The material, typically a fragrant softwood, used to form the interior of a humidor. Better linings use woods such as Spanish Cedar, which imparts a spicy flavor to cigars and retains moisture well.
Before buying your humidor, you want to consider not only how many cigars you anticipate keeping, but also where you’ll be keeping them and whether or not you need your humidor to be portable. In fact, some people buy two humidors: one for their office or workplace and one for their home.
Travel-sized humidors are portable and easy to take on trips and hold anywhere from 1 to 40 cigars. Table humidors are higher quality and can hold 300 to a few thousand cigars. While theoretically mobile, table humidors are normally kept in one location because of their weight. Most humidors are made from thick pieces of mahogany or other hard, tropical woods to keep them from warping.
Finding the right size humidor can be tricky because some models describe the size of the humidor by cigar count. This measurement can be misleading, as cigar sizes and weights vary while cigar count is usually based on Corona-sized cigars, which are 4 4/8” x 42 gauge. Look at the actual dimensions of a humidor to get a better idea of its storage space. When comparing humidors, try multiplying the length by the width by the height to find their size in cubic inches, then compare those final numbers.
Cigars mature just like wine; they need a controlled environment in which to age. To keep your cigars fresh, you will need a humidor with a humidifier and a hygrometer.
The ideal humidity for a humidor is 65%-75%. This helps to control the climate so that the conditions are similar to where the cigar’s tobacco was grown. Cigars will shrivel if they’re stored in a humidor that’s too dry. To maintain humidity, you’ll periodically squirt distilled water or humidification solution into the humidor. The frequency of this maintenance will depend upon how often you use your humidor. Most moderate users find that they have to add distilled water about once a month.
Most humidors contain a hygrometer which measures the humidity level inside the box. This gauge allows you to see if conditions are proper to keep your cigars fresh. Even with a high-grade humidor, humidity levels can fluctuate with the seasons, exposure to sunlight, use of fans and air conditioners or humidity levels in your home. The performance and age of your humidor’s humidification system also impacts humidity.
Analog humidor hygrometers have round gauges with a needle that shows the humidity level. These hygrometers can be accurate within 10 degrees, but they require periodic calibration to keep them accurate. Pricier digital hygrometers tend to be more accurate, usually within five degrees, and don’t require calibration.
Regardless of what a hygrometer says, the true test of a humidor’s performance is the cigars’ appearance. If a cigar seems to have some discharge of oil, the conditions are on track. If your cigar seems dry, you will need to add more water to adjust humidity levels.
A humidor’s lining is what protects your cigars from outside influences. The lining of a humidor should also enhance the flavor of your cigars. You want to make sure that the lining of your humidor is top-notch.
The standard lining for a humidor is Spanish cedar. This wood is naturally absorbent and helps your humidor retain moisture. This lining also helps defend your cigars from Tobacco Weevils, a bug that can destroy cigars. Spanish cedar is known for its light odor, which can add a pleasant spicy flavor to your cigars. Avoid humidor linings made from American Cedar or Western Red Cedar. These woods will negatively affect your cigars’ flavor.
When selecting a humidor, look for one that has 5/8” or greater wall thickness. This will provide a buffer between the outside climate and your cigar collection. Similarly, to protect your cigars and insure the effectiveness of your lining, choose a humidor with hinges that are durable and guarantee low friction. High-quality humidors have invisible retaining hinges.
Aside from the functionality of a humidor, it is also an important piece of furniture and a way to show off your membership in the cigar-smoking culture. As the years pass, humidors can become a treasured family heirloom to pass down through the generations.
Think about the style of your desired humidor. Simple, stained-wood boxes are perfect for the minimalist, or you can choose an ornate, hand-crafted humidor that matches a room’s motif. If you’ve got the money to spend, you can find a humidor made of top-quality woods that matches the woods in well-appointed homes.
Higher-quality humidors will include lift-out trays and dividers that appeal to the show-and-tell nature of cigar culture. Practically, these features help the cigar enthusiast organize a collection and provide easy access. Hand-crafted humidors from the Far East offer elaborate finishes and lacquers, some of which can take upwards of 20 layers to reach the desired look.