Retains up to 70% humidity. May not require seasoning for users who don't live in dry climates. Attractive with solid brass hinges. Holds up to 100 cigars.
The lock has been known to break. Instructions are not very helpful.
A sleek humidor with a cherry finish and solid build. Hygrometer makes it easy to monitor humidity levels. Magnetic seal provides secure closure. Easy to season.
Tends to drop humidity levels over time, requiring frequent seasoning.
Built-in hygrometer lets you monitor humidity while keeping cigars cool. Spanish cedar drawers and shelves, handsome housing, and 250-cigar capacity.
Costly. Larger than what some people need. Challenging to get the proper humidity balance, resulting in occasional moisture buildup.
Attractive and well-made. Has a hygrometer. Can hold up to 50 cigars. An excellent deal for a lower price.
Once seasoned, it takes some time to reach optimal humidity. Lid is not made of real glass.
A compact model that is built to travel. Holds humidity well thanks to a humidifier disk and airtight and watertight seal. Reasonably priced.
Doesn't come with instructions for the humidifier disk. Though rated for up to 15 cigars, slots are small and may not fit that many.
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Humidors are intended to duplicate the mild, humid climate of the Caribbean, where tobacco leaves are cured and processed into cigars. These boxes help keep cigars in an environment that mimics as closely as possible the atmospheric conditions in which they were created, even if those cigars are transported to colder, drier climates.
Keeping this miniature ecosystem in prime condition can add years to the life of good cigars, and with the right conditions can even improve the flavor and character of the cigars. Experienced owners use humidors not just for storage but also to rescue cigars that have been improperly stored and dried out.
Read our shopping guide to learn more about humidors in general. If you’re ready to buy a humidor, see our top picks in the product list above.
A humidor is a container that holds cigars, along with the equipment needed to maintain the humidity level inside it. While classic humidors are almost always constructed of solid wood, sometimes with ornamental touches on the exterior, today’s humidors can be made of other materials, including glass and acrylic.
Humidors come in many shapes and sizes, from travel humidors that fit in a pocket to refrigerator-size humidors that hold hundreds of cigars. And that doesn’t even cover the many custom-built, walk-in humidors that you’ll find in higher-end cigar shops.
The most familiar humidor design is the rectangular or square wooden box. Perched on a cigar enthusiast’s desk, end table, or bookshelf, the desktop humidor holds pride of place in many a man cave. Surprisingly, this simple box hides a lot of features that are important to keeping cigars in prime condition.
Humidifier: In most humidors on the market today, the humidifier is a round container made of plastic or metal with a grille that allows water vapor to circulate in the humidor. Inside the humidifier is a piece of synthetic clay or foam that absorbs water and then disperses moisture slowly.
Humidifier packs and tubes: Many cigar enthusiasts eschew synthetic clay or foam, which can harbor mold. They prefer replaceable gel packs that release moisture in a more controlled manner. Crystal-filled tubes that can be rehydrated with distilled water and stored in the humidifier box are also popular.
Hygrometer: This is an analog or digital sensor that measures the humidity inside the humidor.
Thermometer: The thermometer measures the temperature inside the humidor. It is sometimes combined in a single unit with the hygrometer.
Lining: A humidor’s cedar lining draws out excess moisture, infuses the cigars with a bit more flavor, and helps cigars to “marry” (acquire the same flavor characteristics).
Cedar lining: Owners use cedar in humidors when they want to age their cigars, Cedar-lined humidors must be opened once a week to air the cigars, which makes maintaining the correct humidity more challenging. Most experts recommend Spanish cedar because its fragrance adds character to the cigars. It also resists warping or cracking in a humid environment.
Mahogany lining: Cigar lovers use mahogany-lined humidors when storage is the goal, with as few changes to the cigars’ characteristics as possible. Mahogany doesn’t impart a flavor to the cigars. Also, mahogany doesn’t absorb as much moisture as cedar, so it’s easier to maintain proper humidity levels in a humidor lined with this wood.
Depending on your needs, you can pay from $16 to $900 and up for a humidor.
Travel: The smallest humidors on the market, travel humidors hold two or three cigars and are small enough to pack in a pocket or travel bag. They’re priced from $16 to $35.
Acrylic: Clear cylindrical humidors store cigars vertically. These provide protection and adequate humidification for short-term storage and cost around $17.
Desktop: The most popular and affordable humidors on the market, desktop models hold 10, 20, 25, or 50 cigars (depending on their dimensions), usually in a single layer. These start at about $40 for a low-end humidor made of veneer or soft wood and stained a cherry or mahogany color, usually without a cedar lining. At the higher end, desktop humidors include a Spanish cedar lining (often removable) and cost around $100.
Cabinet: These larger humidors have three or more shelves and much more capacity, holding up to 250 cigars. You can find hardwood and glass display cases, whose temperature and humidity must be manually maintained, for $80 to $110. More modern electric humidors that automatically maintain their environment range in price from $200 to about $380.
Make sure your humidor lid closes properly. Check that there are no gaps or cracks that can prevent a proper seal and negatively affect your cigars.
Choose the right size humidor. For proper air circulation, choose a humidor that will hold all of your cigars with a little room to spare. Don’t just go by the product’s recommended maximum cigar count. Check the dimensions to make sure the humidor will hold all your cigars. Barring that, purchase a humidor with a slightly higher cigar count than the number you plan to store in it. If you have too many cigars, you might need to purchase a second humidor.
Remove the cellophane wrappers from cigars. To ensure that air reaches the cigars, remove the wrappers before placing them in the humidor.
Preparing a humidor properly before adding your cigars will help make sure that the cigars you place in it stay fresh and season properly. That includes first setting the humidity level within the humidor and calibrating the hygrometer so it accurately measures the humidity level inside the humidor.
Calibrate the hygrometer: Wrap the hygrometer in a warm, damp towel. After 30 minutes, read the humidity level indicated on the device. If it is 95% to 97%, the hygrometer is ready to use. Otherwise, set the level to 95% to 97% by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Submerge the humidifier in distilled water. Let it soak for three minutes. Remove the humidifier, let the excess water drain completely, and pat dry. (If you’re using a tube humidifier, fill the tube with distilled water to the fill line.)
Install the hygrometer and humidifier in the humidor. It should be easy to spot where they go. In desktop humidifiers, the slots are usually located inside the lid.
Lay a plastic sandwich bag flat in the bottom of the humidor. Dampen a small sponge in distilled water and rest it on top of the plastic bag.
Shut the humidor lid. Leave the humidor undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.
Repeat the process one or two more times. When the hygrometer registers a humidity level between 65% and 70%, your humidor is ready.
Q. I have to continually add water to the humidifier in order to keep the humidor at the proper humidity. Is this normal?
A. It’s likely that your humidor is stored in an area that’s too warm or where the temperature fluctuates widely. This can be problematic for the cigars because too much heat and humidity can make cigars spongy. Reposition the humidor in a location where the temperature stays the same, ideally about 68°F to 72°F.
Q. I have some older cigars that weren’t kept in a humidor, and they seem pretty dry. Would putting them into a humidor bring them back to their original condition?
A. They can be brought back somewhat – even to a level where they can be enjoyed – but probably not to where they were when fresh from the factory. Place them in a prepared humidor at the recommended 65% to 70% humidity level for at least six months. Don’t try increasing the humidity in an attempt to speed up the process. The result will be either a damp cigar or a wrinkled cigar that splits and peels as soon as you light it.
Q. The room my humidor is in rarely gets above 64°F. Can I still store cigars there without a problem?
A. You’ll need to adjust the humidity level in the humidor. The colder the air temperature, the drier the humidor will be. A good rule of thumb is for every degree lower than 68°F, increase the humidity by 1%. At 64°F, the hygrometer reading should be increased from 70% to 74%.