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I returned home from a trip to Cuba in early 2017 with a bag full of Cuban cigars. Since I only smoke them on special occasions (or give them as gifts), I wouldn’t use them right away. So I put them in the pantry in a zip lock bag. That is until I found out that was a huge mistake!
Learn how to properly store your precious cigars in our experts’ review of the best humidors.
- Why Get A Humidor?
- Humidor 101 & Terms
- Best Humidors
- How To Calibrate (Video)
- Caring For Your Cigars
Keep cigars at a specific humidity level, or they’ll lose their flavor. What a waste it would be to let my precious cargo get spoiled! So, how do you keep them at a proper, consistent level of humidity? A Humidor.
Humidors come in all shapes and sizes, from glass topped ones where you can see inside to ones with organizing compartments. They can store anywhere from 1 in a travel size to over 150 cigars (some are even walk-in rooms that act as giant humidors. You’ll typically run into these in cigar shops).
A humidor is a container (usually a wooden box, typically cedar or cherry) that keeps cigars fresh and prevents them from drying out.
While a humidor box might look pretty on the outside, they are only good if they’re doing their job of keeping your cigars moist, breathing, and cool. High-quality wood is an essential component to help regulate and measure the moisture level along with:
- Hygrometer – This is a small instrument that resembles a clock. A hygrometer measures the amount of humidity in your humidor. These are either built into the box’s shell or placed inside the box lid with adhesive. They can be analog or digital and should stay within 65-70% relative humidity at all times (never over 75% for extended periods; as that may result in the cigars molding, which unlike them drying at too low of humidity, is not reversible).
- Humidifier – This is a device (can be as simple as salted distilled water) that maintains the relative humidity mentioned above in your humidor. Examples of humidifiers include:
- a wet sponge in a plastic mesh that often ships with a humidor
- gel beads (Humi-Care’s 4 oz jar is a solid choice that will humidify up to 150 cigars for 1-2 month. The exact length of time will vary depending on the relative outdoor humidity in your area)
- fancy electronic devices
In addition to a humidor, hygrometer, and humidifier, you’ll also need distilled water (water that’s had the impurities removed through boiling). You’ll need distilled water for your humidifier since tap water can contain minerals and chemicals that may adversely affect your cigars.
You can make your own or go the easy route and buy it on Amazon or even at your local grocery store.
Seasoning Your Humidor
Any new humidor (or one that hasn’t been used in a while) needs “seasoning” to kick start its moisture absorption. You can use an unscented sponge soaked in distilled water to lightly wipe down all the exposed wood (including any inserts or trays). Do not overly season the wood. However, one pass over will do.
What’s The Easiest Way To Season A Humidor?
With these 84% 2-way Boveda humidification packs, you can rest easy that your humidor will season perfectly (and not over-season). How does it work? The packs use a 2-way humidification process to ensure that humidity levels reach and stay at 84%. Note – once your humidor is seasoned (typically a couple of weeks), you’ll want to lower the humidity to a range of 65% – 72%. The Boveda packs can be purchased to target precise humidity levels.
Calibrating Your Hygrometer
The second step in prepping your humidor is to ensure your hygrometer is accurately reading the humidity level by calibrating it. One calibration method is the salt test – place the hygrometer in an air-tight ziplock bag. Fill a shot glass with distilled water and salt, add it to the bag next to the hygrometer, and seal the bag. After 12 hours, it should read 75%.
If not, adjust your hygrometer until the reading reaches 75%. It should stay at that percentage once you put your cigars inside the humidifier for several months (you’ll need to re-calibrate every 6 months or so).
Read on to learn more about humidors, how they work, what to look for, and our top picks.
Because of the wide variety of humidors, we’ve picked out the best for each category and price range. So feel free to jump to the specific type you are looking for or keep scrolling to read them all.
Our pick for the best desktop humidor is the Quality Importers Capri-Glasstop. An Amazon #1 bestseller, this humidor has a beautiful mahogany finish and is lined with premium kiln-dried Spanish cedar for a delicious aroma and excellent moisture retention.
It has a brass-plated, glass, front-mount hygrometer and a scratch-resistant felt-lined bottom, creating an ideal way to display your cigars on your desk or in your bar. The humidor also features a dual compartment and Quality Importer’s Sureseal technology for proper lid seal on closure.
Capacity: 20-50 Cigars
Are you looking for a starter humidor that’s on the smaller side? The Scorch Torch Huxley box is the perfect sized humidor for the novice smoker. With a compact shape and cherry finish, it’s both classic and timeless.
It comes with a humidifier and adhesive Velcro to attach it to the top of the inside, but please that note you must purchase a hygrometer separately. It claims to hold 10, but depending on their size and how you orientate them, you can fit up to 24.
Capacity: 10-24 Cigars
We chose the La Cubana Leather humidor as the best travel humidor because it is highly recommended on several websites and comes with positive reviews. And unlike other travel humidors made of leather or plastic, this one has a wood interior that is ideal for maximum freshness.
With a humidifier, hygrometer, cigar cutter that pops in the inside of the top, you’ll have all the tools you need while smoking on the go. Its beautiful leather exterior has stitching and a brass key and lock. The interior features a velcro strap to keep your cigars secure while on the go. This humidor is great for business travelers (or to give as a gift).
Capacity: 6-15 Cigars
The Whynter stainless steel cigar cooler is our pick for the best electronic humidor. Its vibration-free, quiet thermoelectric cooling system automatically keeps the humidity range between 62% and 75% while remaining at room temperature (using the LCD digital display and exterior control). It has a humidification tray, two Spanish Cedar flat shelves, and a spacious drawer with an elegant analog hygrometer.
In addition, there’s a fan to ensure even circulation of air, and a 1-year warranty backs it up. The cigars aren’t as easy to organize given the limited visibility, but with a storage size of 1.2 cubic feet, it’s big enough to put at least three large cigar boxes and stores over 250 cigars. This humidor requires power and would make a great addition to a man cave or wet bar.
Capacity: Up to 250+ cigars
Having a growing cigar collection can be a good thing until you run out of storage room. This multi-level dark mahogany humidor has three removable shelves that can hold up to 125 cigars.
It’s a nice way to display your cigars with glass on all four sides while keeping them fresh. It also features a lock and key for extra security, two humidifiers, and an external hygrometer for easy monitoring.
Capacity: Up to 125 Cigars
Are you looking for an affordable humidor? The best budget humidor is Prestige Import’s 25-50 sized model. For the cost, you can’t beat this high-quality wood box made with genuine Spanish cedar and brass plated hygrometer & humidifier all in one.
We also love that it has a movable (and removable) divider so you can separate your high-end smokes from your everyday ones. It also has a scratch-resistant felt bottom. It’s simple but everything you need in a humidor. This is a perfect entry-level humidor.
Capacity: 25-50 cigars
If you want to take your humidor up a notch, La Cubana’s solid wood oak humidor is a solid choice. It also comes in a larger size in a cherry wood finish with golden metal (versus stainless steel) as well, and both are under $100. The quality of the reclaimed wood is durable, scratch-resistant, and provides the perfect conditions for exceptional aroma and moisture preservation.
It has a sleek design, including a solid metal hinge and an inset hygrometer and humidifier, giving it a premium feel. Like the Prestige Import Group, this has a felt-lined bottom and divider inside. And because it comes in a black cardboard gift box, it makes for a perfect gift!
Capacity: Up to 30 Cigars (Cherry finish is up to 50)
The Cuban Crafter’s high gloss piano finish rosewood with exotic wood inlay on top is the best cigar humidor under $200. It has an inset hygrometer and humidifier and has a removable storage tray and lower-level storage for accessories.
This humidor also has a lock and key to secure your cigar collection, and brass inset handles for easy transportation. With 12 coats of lacquer, an ornately detailed design made with exotic wood, this is sure to impress your friends (in addition to keeping your cigars well-protected). It is also fully guaranteed and backed by the best warranty in the industry.
Capacity: Up to 150
Clear as mud? Here’s a quick video on how to calibrate your hygrometer courtesy of Cigar Advisor Magazine.
Now that you know a little more about the basics of humidors, and the jargon associated with them, let’s get into our in-depth cigar humidor reviews complete with pricing, features, pros, and cons for each and our favorites by category.
No matter which humidor you go with, it’s important to remember that, while it’s tempting to show it off, make sure to keep it in a cool, dry place, not near a window where damaging rays can warp or damage your box.
And if you consider how much you spend in time and money on your cigars, don’t let them go to waste by skimping on their home (i.e., your humidor). Cheap humidors are not going to be up to snuff (or puff) for your collected treasures.
Are your cigars lonely and in need of some companions? Check out our best cigar of the month club review, where we share some of the top places to get a cigar subscription delivered to your door regularly via the best cigar club.
Got any tips for storing cigars?
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