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Humidors 101

Why do you need a humidor?

At some point fairly early on in your journey as a
new cigar smoker, you are going to need to look into buying a humidor. The need will strike you when you start browsing in your cabinets for cigars to smoke and find yourself running across dried-up or moldy cigars that have suffered from the natural climate of your home. Some cigars that have not been well cared for can be salvaged, but many cannot, and no matter what, they will lose at least some of their quality. Once you know you love smoking cigars, it becomes a necessity to buy a humidor
and save your cigars from this unhappy fate.

Classifications of Humidors

There are several different types of humidors, classified according to capacity and purpose. The type of humidor you should buy depends on your needs. We’ll discuss size and capacity later on in the article.

Room / walk-in humidors.

You would only need a room humidor if you were operating a shop, were a cigar supplier or distributor, or if you were a major collector. This is literally a room which has been converted into a humidor.

Cabinet and table humidors.

These are high capacity humidors which can hold thousands of cigars. Cabinet humidors are pieces of furniture in their own right, while table humidors are more portable, but rarely moved since they likewise are generally huge and heavy. You probably do not need or want either of these types of humidors as a beginner, but you may want one later on.

Personal and portable humidors.

These are both humidor types which may interest you. A personal humidor is the first humidor you will likely buy, and will allow you to hold a few dozen cigars. These containers are small, relatively lightweight, and movable. Portable humidors are miniature versions which allow you to carry up to around a dozen cigars. They’re great when you’re traveling.

How large should your humidor be?

How many cigars do you actually have, and how many do you expect to accumulate in the near future? A single box of cigars generally holds around 25 cigars. Count up your boxes and multiply by 25 to estimate how many cigars you actually own, and then decide on a type of humidor based on that number. Most new smokers will buy a personal humidor to start with. Check the dimensions for any unit you are looking at, and as a rule, buy slightly more space than you believe is necessary. Odds are you will underestimate the number of cigars you are likely to accumulate. Many cigar smokers are surprised how swiftly their collections grow!

Common humidor design and materials

In terms of design, there are all kinds of different aesthetic choices out there, ranging from the most simple rectangular boxes to ornate wood boxes with rounded edges and artistic flourishes. You also may find humidors with glass lids which allow you to see inside. The design you choose is entirely up to your personal preferences.
 
As mentioned before, materials for modern humidors typically include wood board, metal or acrylic glass. Other modern humidors are made entirely out of wood. Common choices for wood include mahogany, cherry, walnut, oak, maple and pine.
 
Larger humidors like cabinet and table humidors may be made out of a heavier material like marble. Some may even have leather exteriors.
 
The prime choice for the interior is almost always going to be Spanish cedar, however. Spanish cedar is quite a special type of wood, because it can retain its strength and shape in humid conditions which would damage other varieties of wood. If you get a humidor with a Spanish cedar interior, it will stand the test of time.

Humidor accessories

It’s easier than ever to find a great humidifier for any cigar humidor you’re using. They all come with their own sets of pros and cons, but I think after reading this buying guide you’ll know which one is right for you.

The Original Oshkosh Premier Humidifier

Cigar enthusiasts love our humidification system and our humidors because cigars stay well preserved with very little maintenance. Our Oshkosh Premier Humidifier provides many advantages over other humidification systems:
  • Humidifies For Months Without Refilling (20 Times Longer Than Other Humidifiers)
  • No Wetting Lid Humidifiers Every Week
  • No Batteries Required
  • No Worries About Dripping Water On Your Cigars
  • No Chemicals Required
  • Made In Oshkosh, WI USA

Pro Tip: If you bought a humidor and it came with one of those small black “puck” humidifiers make sure you throw it in the garbage. These are extremely prone to creating mold and that’s a road you don’t ever want to go down.

Boveda Packs

Boveda packs use a patented 2-way humidity control technology that adds and removes moisture as needed to keep your cigars at the perfect humidity.

Boveda makes packs in 4 different humidity levels for your personal preference or your specific humidor setup:
 
65% Packs = For people who prefer a dryer cigar, or for someone storing mostly Cuban cigars.
69% Packs = Made for ziploc humidors, tupperware humidors, jar humidors, and cooler humidors.
72% Packs = Made for standard small, and medium sized humidors.
75% Packs = Made for humidors with bad seals and glass tops.
 
This might create a little confusion so let me explain… 69% is an ideal humidity level to keep your cigars at. Ziploc humidors, tupperware humidors, jar humidors, cooler humidors, and cigar fridges all have airtight seals so you can use the 69% packs with no issues.
All other humidors typically have some sort of small leak. The 72% packs compensate for that small leak and usually end up creating an environment around 69%.
 
Humidors that have a glass top ALWAYS leak and there isn’t much you can do about it. The 75% packs are made to compensate for glass top leaks and aim to land right around that 69% humidity range.
 
The 65% packs are for people that have an airtight humidor AND know that they prefer a dryer cigar. Also people that store Cuban cigars need to be careful because Cubans develop mold at a lower humidity than cigars from other countries.
 
Another great thing about Boveda packs is how little space they take up in your humidor. You can lay them directly on or under your cigars without any issues. Each pack can handle a 25 cigar capacity humidor. So if you have a humidor that’s said to hold about 50 cigars, you should use 2 packs. It’s also important to note that you can’t over humidify your cigars with Boveda packs.
 
The only downside of Boveda packs is that they don’t last forever. Typically a Boveda pack that’s in a standard humidor with some minor leaks will last about 2-3 months. But it really all depends on how hard you make the pack work. If it’s in an airtight humidor it can last anywhere between 6-12 months.

Humidor Beads

Beads are great because they can humidify big humidors and they’re rechargeable so they can last forever. These are ideal for large cooler humidors and cigar fridges.

You add a small amount of distilled water to them which they absorb and typically create a humidity level of around 65-70%.
 
The downside of beads is that they don’t stay at a specific humidity level as well as Boveda packs do. But they are definitely still a great option, especially since they only need to be purchased once.

Electronic Humidifiers

Electronic humidifiers are typically used for the large humidors that hold anywhere between 200 and 10,000 cigars.

They work by creating humidity from water inside the unit and dispersing that humidity using a built-in fan. Once the desired humidity level is reached, the humidifier shuts itself off.
Some electronic humidifiers even have wifi options so that you can monitor your humidors humidity level and temperature at all times and make adjustments to it anywhere you have an internet connection.
 
Typically electronic humidifiers need to be plugged into an electric outlet which would require running a power cord through your humidor. However, some units now have a rechargeable battery pack.
 
For obvious reasons most electronic humidifiers aren’t right for the casual cigar smoker.

Humidor Hygrometer

A hygrometer is the device that tells you what humidity level your humidor is sitting at. Without one you’re taking the huge risk of flying blind. Think of a hygrometer as an insurance policy on your cigar investment.

Digital Hygrometer

A digital hygrometer is the only way to truly know what the current humidity is of your humidor. Most of them will also show you the current temperature.

But even digital hygrometers are inaccurate when you first purchase them. That’s why they need to be calibrated before using. Your hygrometer should be recalibrated once every 6 months for maximum safety.

Analog Hygrometers

Analog hygrometers are nothing more than decorative accent for your humidor. They are wildly inaccurate regardless of calibration and they shouldn’t be trusted under any circumstances.

Proper humidor humidity level and temperature

A good rule of thumb is 70/70 rule. 70% relative humidity and 70 degrees fahrenheit. But as you know, rules are meant to be broken.
 
It’s less about an exact number and more about consistency. You don’t want the temperature of your humidor to be swinging from 50 degrees to 75 degrees everyday. Changes in temperature will also affect the humidors humidity level. Try to place your cigars somewhere in your house that has a consistent temperature. Don’t let your cigars go below 60 degrees or over 75 degrees fahrenheit.
 
As for humidity, you should aim for the range of somewhere between 62% – 70%. Find a spot within these ranges where you can find consistency using the humidifiers I have listed in this buying guide.

Seasoning your cigar humidor

If you have a humidor that has wood on the inside, you need to season it first before adding cigars to it! There are no exceptions to this. Since this is an entire different subject in itself I recommend you watch this video to learn about how and why to season your humidor:

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