Finding Your Perfect Humidor
If you haven’t already read our humidor guide, it will teach you the basics of how to set up and troubleshoot your humidor. What we didn’t cover was how to choose a humidor and what to look for.
When you’re ready to purchase a humidor, there are a few key factors you need to consider:
- How many cigars do you plan to store in it?
- Where will the humidor be placed?
- How many different cigars will be in the humidor?
- What type of humidor do you want?
- How much do you want to spend?
How Many Cigars Do you Plan To Store In It?
This is probably the most important factor along with what kinds of cigars you plan to keep. The standard rule of thumb is always to buy a humidor that is larger than the capacity of cigars you plan to store in it.
To obtain the ideal temperature and humidity, the humidor should have space to breathe. What this means is you don’t want to pile your cigars high because it prevents airflow inside the humidor which affects its performance. Small changes in humidity and temperature can significantly impact your collection of cigars, and since cigars are expensive, you never want to risk ruining your collection. A case of cigar beetles will quickly ruin your day.
Most humidors are advertised by count. What this means is that the humidor will come with a recommended cigar count. Many have a range, and the one you consider may say 50-75 cigars, 100-150 cigars, 300 cigars or 1000 cigars. Usually, large humidors that store hundreds or thousands of cigars won’t offer a range but instead will advertise the maximum recommended capacity. Of course, this capacity is dependent on the technology you decide to equip your humidor with, and that needs to be taken into account. A small humidifier and analog hygrometer will take up far less room than the Cigar Oasis Smart Humidor I use in my humidors.
Where Will The Humidor Be Placed
This is an important question that many new cigar smokers don’t take into consideration. Unless you live in a stable environment like California, your humidor will respond to various changes in the environment. A perfect example is if you reside in an older home in Canada, you will run the risk of the humidity dropping off in the winter months. This is a problem faced around the world and can be mitigated in a few different ways such as using shot glasses with distilled water, solutions, boveda packs, humidity beads or an electronic humidification system like the Cigar Oasis. However, it still requires upkeep and so choosing a humidor based on where you plan to store it can be paramount. It’s a good idea to try and factor in any extra equipment you’ll need to power the humidor and keep it level. When you add technology to the humidor, you’re taking up space that could otherwise be used to store cigars. Again, this is one reason why you should always consider a humidor with a capacity that’s larger than what you plan to actually use.
That also means finding a humidor that works for your space. A chest humidor or coffee table humidor might be ideal for your home, but if you plan to store the humidor at your office, you may need to consider a smaller desktop humidor that doesn’t have to be plugged in. Try and imagine the humidor in the space and then factor in any issues you may need to contend with. That analog-operated humidor on your desk might be fantastic in the summer but in the winter will you need to have it plugged in and use an electronic humidifier to keep the levels consistent?
How Many Different Cigars Will Be Stored In The Humidor
For many cigar enthusiasts, hand selecting the perfect cigar is one of the best parts of smoking it. Many men will choose their cigar based on the time of day, their mood, the activity or the food or drink they wish to pair it with. For most smokers, the idea of having a humidor full of mild, medium and full-bodied cigars is utter bliss. However, it’s important to remember that if cigars aren’t separated, the flavor profiles and aromas can sometimes marry with other cigars, and that is rarely ideal. Therefore, if you do enjoy buying sampler packs or being able to store various cigars, it’s important to factor in how many different types of cigars you will keep on hand. This might mean purchasing a larger humidor with multiple drawers and separated compartments. That or it might mean investing in two smaller humidors. Regardless, this is the second most important factor worth considering since it can drastically impact your collection and the experience of smoking the cigar.
What Type Of Humidor Do You Want?
This doesn’t necessarily mean the finish or design, but the category of humidor. Most humidors will come in various wood finishes such as a dark cherry, a walnut or a light birch. You can find many different styles and even different shapes and materials used to create the various types of humidors.
In this case, what you want to consider is where the humidor will be placed and how much room you have for it. Sure, it might be nice to have a walk-in humidor but for most of us, that isn’t a possibility. Therefore, you want to decide where the humidor will go in the room.
Do you want a desktop humidor that can sit on your desk at work or the mantel over your fireplace?
Would you prefer a coffee table that opens up to reveal a humidor underneath?
Perhaps a side table or chest that has multiple drawers for your cigar collection? That or maybe you enjoy smoking on your drive to work. There are various humidors available for your car, and if you own a Rolls Royce, you can even get a custom humidor built into the glove compartment. Most tobacconists will stock a relatively wide selection of humidors, but you can also find some of the best prices online. There are many types of humidors in various sizes and styles. It’s up to you to decide which type works best for you. Then you can pick the style.
How Much Do You Want To Spend?
Everyone has a budget, and it’s no secret that humidors can be found for less than $50 or for thousands of dollars. Often it comes down to the materials used and the quality of craftsmanship, but prices are also based on the size of the humidor and the brand. For most smokers, a humidor in the sub $500 range is more than sufficient. Some purists might argue that it doesn’t provide the same humidification as the more expensive humidors, but so long as it’s made from Spanish cedar that won’t warp, keeps consistent humidity and has a tight seal, your collection should be just fine. Of course, you can choose to spend more on a humidor and treat the humidor as a piece of art in your home or office.
What To Look For In A Humidor
We already covered size and talked briefly about the importance of keeping different types of cigars separated. However, there are a few other factors you should consider when buying a humidor.
Homemade humidors are crafts, not humidors.
There are many people selling their homemade humidors that they craft by hand in their home workshop. However, with these humidors, it is rare that you’ll end up happy. Sure, it may be lovely to look at, but unless they are reputable humidor manufacturer you run the risk of the humidor not having a tight seal or having pockets where air can enter or escape. Unless the humidor is expertly crafted, you won’t be able to guarantee the humidity level and will risk ruining your cigars.
Make sure it has a tight seal.
The best humidors have an airtight seal that prevents the humidity from escaping and air from coming in. The best way to ensure a good seal is to buy a humidor from reputable manufacturers only and to buy them brand new. You can often find used humidors at thrift shops or online, but unless you can test the seal, you run the risk of it just being a nice looking storage box you can keep your stationery or accessories in. To check the seal, open the humidor about half way and then close it quickly. If it has a tight seal, you should hear a whooshing sound or a puff as it closes. If it doesn’t, keep shopping. Another way to test the seal is by placing a dollar bill in the humidor, so half of it sticks out. When the humidor is closed, it should be tough to pull the bill out. If it slides out easily, that’s a pretty good indication that the humidor doesn’t have a tight seal.
If you can’t justify spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a humidor, there is a line of lower priced humidors that advertise a trademarked name called Sure-Seal technology. Although it appears that there are many brands that offer this, the truth is that all of these brands are under the umbrella of one company that makes these humidors called Quality Importers. These humidors are often panned by purists who are convinced that only the most expensive humidors are worthy, but the fact remains I own a few of these humidors and they regularly outperform more expensive humidors in my collection. This makes them perfect choices for men on a budget or those who are just beginning to develop their collection and passion for cigars.
Spanish Cedar is a Must
The materials used to craft cigar humidors are vast. You can find humidors made from beautiful woods, various metals or even glass, marble, leather or plastic. As the owner of a number of humidors, I have some made from cherry, oak, and walnut. On the outside, they all look different, but on the inside, they are virtually identical.
Every quality humidor should have an interior layer that is made from Spanish cedar. The reason for this is that other materials will warp under high levels of humidity. Spanish cedar is one material that won’t. It can withstand the consistent humidity, but it also has another benefit that is often overlooked: Unlike metal, plastic and other woods, Spanish cedar doesn’t alter the flavor of the cigar. Many other materials will change the flavor and quality over time. This is why it’s so important to ensure your humidor is lined with Spanish cedar and that no other material is used on the inside of the humidor.
Final Tips and Tricks
Most humidors will be fairly standard in price across the board. It won’t matter if you buy the humidor from one tobacconist or another. For the most part, the prices will be similar. Therefore, one way to save some money is to search for humidors online or buy them direct from the manufacturer. Another technique is to ask for imperfect humidors which don’t sacrifice quality, but may have a chip in the wood or a scratch that doesn’t interfere with the quality.
Liebherr XS-200 Freestanding Humidor – $3,141
Made in Austria, this freestanding humidor can house 400+ cigars in its dual presentation drawers or on the two adjustable Spanish cedar shelves. It features an insulated glass door that protects the cigars from UV rays and not only does the door lock, but it features an alarm to alert you if someone opens it without your consent. It also has a second alarm that monitors the temperature and humidity of the humidor. It is a touch controlled digital display humidor with several temperature and humidity adjustment options. Click here to buy it.
Davidoff Limited Edition Voyager – $2,425
Wrapped in supple Ostrich, this humidor from the renowned cigar and accessories maker is the pinnacle of any aficionados collection. A quintessential desktop humidor that works well at the office or in your home, it is one of a limited edition of just fifty pieces ever made. Click here to get this humidor.
Daniel Marshall Ambiente Humidor – $575
This gorgeous matte black humidor goes with everything. Capable of holding up to 125 cigars, it features two separate dividers that are perfect for storing various styles of tobacco. Unlike the standard brass hardware, this humidor uses gold plating on the hinges, lock and key. Click here to buy this humidor today.
The Tuscany Cigar Humidor – $66.99
One of the Sure-Seal technology humidors mentioned above, this particular humidor was sent to me by Dave Sabot and Kayla Becker at CheapHumidors.com.
There aren’t many online tobacconists I trust as much as my local cigar shop. However, CheapHumidors.com is one of them. I was originally referred to them about six years ago by a former employer who bought all of his cigars and accessories from them. I immediately fell in love. The service has always been phenomenal, the products I’ve ordered and received have always arrived just as advertised and the prices are reflective of the company name. This humidor regularly sells for $100 at other retailers. It is a 120 cigar humidor that comes with a brass analog hygrometer, a large rectangle humidifier and a Spanish cedar tray with a divider and two larger dividers for the bottom compartment. The bottom of the humidor has a felt lining which was great for placing on my hardwood furniture. It also has gold plated hardware like the Daniel Marshall humidor and handles which allow it to be moved easily. Since receiving it, I haven’t had any issues with the humidity and temperature levels although I swapped out the humidifier and hygrometer that came standard with a Cigar Oasis Smart Humidor which I highly recommend. Click here to buy this humidor.
The only purpose of a humidor is to house your cigars in a pristine environment that maintain consistent levels of humidity around 70%. It doesn’t matter whether you spend $30 or $30,000 so long as it does the job. After that, it’s all about aesthetics.
Where did you get your humidor?