Humidors - How To Keep Those Cigars Safe!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Brokor, Jul 5, 2018.


  1. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I am now running three humidors and have a very simple arrangement to suit my needs. Typically, if you're just starting out with a collection, you will only need a basic humidor. I would suggest a budget cedar humidor, but they can be hit and miss on the lower end, so I can only recommend going for the simple and far less elegant tough box. Grab yourself a good hygrometer, the appropriate Boveda pack, and a Spanish cedar plank and you're all set! Alternatively, you could go with an acrylic humidor jar, they are easy to use --just remember they only hold a small number of cigars!

    Here's what I've got as a setup. First up, the rugged tough box.
    DSC00049.JPG
    Harbor Freight, something like $12.00 *gasp*

    DSC00048.JPG DSC00050.JPG DSC00051.JPG
    I use this little bugger to hold my flavored sticks. Currently, I am storing these lovely Kentucky Fire Cured cigars by Drew Estate. Why? Because you don't want the flavors to mingle over to your other cigars. When I'm not storing flavored cigars, I am using this as a temporary quarantine to liven up a cigar that might be a little strange or new arrivals before moving them into the large humidor. I just have an ordered mind, I can't help it. It's not OCD, I swear. I think.

    Next, it's the wooden humidor I picked up with a bunch of cigars not too long ago from Cigar.com as a kind of bargain they were having. It's called the "Humidor Supreme", and made in Vietnam. The burl wood design is very nice, and it keeps a great seal. Just like the Apache tough box above, it also maintains a perfect and steady humidity level. The added hygrometer by Cigar oasis is a must, and the excellent humidifier that comes with the humidor attaches with a magnet so it can be detached and refilled as needed.
    DSC00060.JPG DSC00047.JPG
    I am keeping the cigars I wish to age at 70-73 degrees in this humidor, and it also serves as a nice overflow when I have the large humidor stocked up as I do now. You will also notice these are mostly unwrapped, too.
    DSC00046.JPG
    The third humidor is the NewAir CC-100, and it's really just a cooler as you will need to humidify this on your own, even though it does come with a plastic tray for you to add distilled water. I choose not to use the tray and opt for a simple method using either a group of Boveda packs, or several varied humidification devices:
    DSC00053.JPG
    The controls are simple, just an 'up', 'down' for temperature setting, and a light button for the blue LED at the top inside, which is esthetically nice, but not very useful. I like the arrangement of this cooler because the main drawer is up top, with two shelves which pull out in the middle, and a nice space at the bottom where I added my own cedar drawer.

    When you first get any humidor, take the time to wipe down all the interior cedar surfaces with a very light amount of water from a damp sponge. Do not soak it! This will permit you to acquire a nice humidity level and won't tax your humidification device, be it a few Humi-Care pillows and set of Drymistat tubes like I use, or Boveda packs, or any gel beads.
    DSC00054.JPG The hygrometer that comes installed with this unit is accurate, but a little slow, so have patience. Also, do not block the back of the hygrometer inside the drawer with your cigars, leave a little room at the front so air can move freely. I have since upgraded to digital hygrometers in all my humidors.

    DSC00055.JPG The top drawer can hold three layers of cigars, loosely separated.

    DSC00056.JPG DSC00057.JPG DSC00058.JPG Be certain you use humidification throughout so you can achieve steady, correct humidity at each level. There is air circulation inside, but it's not powerful, so don't block the back of the unit!

    DSC00059.JPG I was trying to use this Oliva torch to show you the scale, but realized afterward that lighters come in all shapes and sizes. Anyway, the dimensions of this cooler are 14" wide x 19" H x 19.5" deep. You must leave 5 inches of space between it and the wall so the back of the unit can circulate air. It uses a thermoelectric cooler so it does not generate heat inside. This means you cannot raise the temperature inside much higher than the ambient temperature, so bear this in mind. They do make units which heat AND cool, but this unit only cools. Some folks also transform a wine cooler into a humidor, but they will be losing the excellent cedar and perhaps the thermoelectric cooling if they do so.

    What temperature and humidity do I recommend? It depends on your environment, I suppose. In the south, it's already humid, so you will need to try to keep everything dryer and manage your humidity levels accordingly. In the west, you will have to use more to humidify, and I can recommend Boveda for that problem. You see, you can use as many Boveda packs as you want in one humidor, it won't change the humidity level. You will just have to get the right SIZE packs for your humidor. The more you add, the longer the Boveda pack(s) will last, however. This only works with Boveda! Do not try this with other humidification methods.

    I go for a steady 68-70 for humidification and temperature, but I can go higher in temperature by up to 3 degrees with the wooden humidor, and drop humidity a little to between 60-65 in the large humidor/cooler if I choose. Typically, no matter where you live, the general rule is 60-75 humidity and about the same for temperature, maybe no higher than 73 degrees F to be safe.
     
  2. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Nice write-up Brokor. I use 7 or 8 of the smaller (50 stick) cedar humidors to help ensure the flavors don't mingle. A couple have acrylic tops for the pretty ones (lol). I do have a couple very small (10-15 stick) units, but those are relegated to strange or oddball selections.
     
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  3. ochit

    ochit Monkey+

    would be my favorite

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    I'm a weekend cigar smoker, and my living space is often the size of a closet, so I don't have the room for volume cigar storage. When I plan to smoke a cigar I give it a squeeze to see if it's pliable. If it's crunchy I wrap it in a piece of wet paper in a cigar tube (aluminum or glass) for several hours to a day. This will bring tinder back to something reasonably enjoyable for the smoker on the move.
     
  5. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    I have been running ceramic and marble storage for about half of my stock, seems to work very well for me, and they hold temps quite well. I only wish I had a larger humidor. I have been thinking I should get another to run along side the one I already have, but havn't pulled the trigger on one yet! Now you got me thinking again, darn it! Lol
     
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  6. oldbee1966

    oldbee1966 Monkey+

    ochit, that wouldn't be Bill Clinton's cigar would it?
     
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  7. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    HAHA! Worth every penny, man. Just as long as Fedex doesn't deliver it full of dents. That was a fun experience.
     
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  8. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    LOL we all know what Bill Clinton used as a humidor.
     
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  9. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I've recently switched over to digital. Although I do not prefer relying on batteries, I have to admit they are far more practical and accurate. Well, this has been my finding, anyway. I will continue to search for a truly adjustable analog hygrometer that can be calibrated, but if they all work the same and are comprised of a thin metal coil I do not see how this will be any different because the coil is too sensitive to be permanently calibrated. To be clear, I've gotten a few of them pretty close, but after a few days they need to be tapped lightly to actually make the needle fall into proper alignment. In any case, adjusting them has been a major pain in the backside, and I just do not feel confident using the analog hygrometers alone.

    For those who are new to this, I will show you what each looks like.
    DSC00069.JPG This is an analog hygrometer.
    DSC00099.JPG This is a digital hygrometer (and thermometer).

    What are the downsides to a digital hygrometer? From what I can tell, these particular ones I am using cannot be adjusted, but there may be some out there that can be adjusted and thus calibrated properly. You should keep in mind that you do not need to calibrate a digital hygrometer if it's already calibrated. Also, there's the batteries to consider. Eventually, they will go dead. Luckily, all of mine are running on very inexpensive, easy to obtain LR44 batteries, which are also replaceable with a wide range of other batteries of this type. Other types you can use: AG13, A76, 357, SR44W, GP76A

    On Amazon:
    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=tools&field-keywords=eeekiy+hygrometer

    DSC00097.JPG

    Since both types of hygrometers can't truly be adjusted for proper calibration (the ones I have) long term, the digital version works best overall because they have been more accurate, responsive, and require no tapping and thumping to get them to display the correct readings, nor do they even need recalibration since they already are calibrated. As an added bonus, the digital ones also display the temperature, which is very helpful if you have smaller humidors without built in temperature control.

    How responsive are the digital hygrometers? I've brought them outside when the temperature was close to 90F and allowed them to sit for an hour and then back inside to a controlled temperature. It takes longer for them to adjust to higher temperatures than to fall back to lower temperatures, and humidity readings are displayed much faster than temperature. Within 15 minutes, given the ranges aren't greater than 10 I suppose, it's safe to say it displays accurately. When I take these digital units out of my humidors, it only takes a moment for them to change and display a variance in temperature and humidity, and when I hold them over moving air, they instantly alter readings, so they are responsive and sensitive. The analog hygrometers on the other hand take much longer and often require a few taps from your finger to display an accurate reading.

    DSC00109.JPG The analog hygrometer which came with this humidor works perfectly, it's accurate and responsive, but does sometimes require a little tapping to display a proper reading.

    DSC00110.JPG I now keep one of these digital hygrometers inside just in case. Every humidor of mine has one of these, regardless.

    As a side note - using Boveda packs can help to eliminate the guess work since they hold a relatively steady humidity level and require no upkeep. You will have to change them out every few months or so, however.

    An excellent write-up about analog hygrometers: How Do Analog Hygrometers Work? - CheapHumidors.com Blog
     
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  10. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    If you're looking for something simple, I can suggest a few humidors which are affordable but also dependable. There's a lot of cheaply made humidors out there, you don't want to end up with ruined cigars.

    The Maestro-burl Humidor (cigar.com)
    maestro.
    Maestro Burl Humidor - CIGAR.com
    This humidor is quite good, I like it and still use it. You can be comforted knowing it works by keeping the humidity level where you want it (70%RH). SureSeal technology. The humidification device that comes with it works great. Price: $29.99
    DSC00325.JPG DSC00326.JPG DSC00327.JPG
    _____

    The Golden Mahogany Humidor (cigar.com)
    mahog.
    Shop for the Golden Mahogany Humidor at low prices at CIGAR.com!
    A really well made humidor, it's definitely a nice one and I like it also. Best to buy it on sale or with a sampler, which does come around at times. SureSeal technology. The humidification device that comes with it is great. Price: $49.99
    DSC00328.JPG DSC00329.JPG DSC00330.JPG
    _____

    Acrylic Cigar Jar Humidor (Amazon)
    jar.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J21X9IS/?tag=survivalmonke-20
    I believe this is the best price going for one of these right now. There's a lot of talk about them and they are reported to be quite useful and work very well. I do not own one of these, however. Still, it's simple and small, which can be perfect for those who want to hold 25 cigars or fewer. Just add one or two 8 gram Boveda packs and you're set. Price: $16.40 w/free shipping for Prime members. I also pick these up at Wal-Mart for about half the price.
     
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  11. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Inexpensive and easy methods to store cigars

    DSC00417.JPG Tupperware containers with rubber seals and locking lids. This one is made by Sistema. My cedar tray fits inside perfectly, too.
    DSC00288.JPG These smaller containers made by Rubbermaid work very nicely and cost less than $6 each and can hold 20 to 30 cigars comfortably per container. They also stack and snap together and 3 will fit inside the frigidore cooler when one cannot regulate humidity properly (the trouble with my NewAir is no big deal now).

    Iris also makes very good, airtight plastic containers you can store cigars inside: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003OXNISG/?tag=survivalmonke-20

    DSC00433.JPG Acrylic jars with sealing lids. Toss in a Boveda pack and you're good to go. This is the first one I have bought, and it works great. Courtesy of Wal-mart, ranging in sizes and prices from less than $10 to $14.

    DSC00272.JPG DSC00359.JPG The cooler. Make sure it has a tight sealing lid. I've found Coleman to be more than adequate. You can store loose cigars or whole boxes inside. Leave some room, don't pack it tight. Use whatever hydration you prefer. I use gel beads and Boveda in combination. A small Xikar fan is used here to help circulate air inside, but that's not really too important. Very inexpensive setup and it can hold large numbers of cigars, less than $20 on average.

    Spanish Cedar Trays
    The very best I've found are these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079V3KYT7/?tag=survivalmonke-20
    I have used several types, and these Mantello trays are by far the best and they are priced nicely, too. Solid Cedar, well made, affordable.

    Recharging Boveda Packs
    DSC00441.JPG Yes, you can recharge them. I use the equivalent of distilled water in a clean bowl, drop in the spent Boveda packs and wait a few hours or more, up to a day or two (depends on how many you are recharging). Then, let them air dry on a paper towel for about 15 minutes, and you're all set. If you'd prefer, buy new ones and toss the old ones out instead. I am certain Boveda has no complaints! And yes, you can keep doing this for many years with no problems, but I have found they aren't quite as good as they are when new.


    More expensive setups
    I can only recommend Whynter thermoelectric frigidor coolers since I've had troubles with NewAair.
    DSC00289.JPG The Whynter CHC-251S is an excellent choice for large storage where cooling is a must.
    DSC00373.JPG The trays pull out easily and they allow you to store loose cigars or boxes on them.
    DSC00375.JPG The drawers are nice and deep, so there's plenty of room to store loose cigars.

    Additional drawers and shelves can be purchased here: Cigar Drawer with Hygrometer Cut-Out for CHC-251S

    Make your own
    It can be a bit difficult and costly, but the reward is a very nice cedar lined storage unit. A person could convert a closet into a humidor, too. It would need to be in a cool portion of the house, but making it airtight could be as simple as modifying the door. A bit of cedar inside will help regulate humidity, but it's not a requirement to line the entire closet with cedar. Using Spanish cedar trays is probably a safe bet, and constructing shelving may be wise. Add a proper humidification unit, and you're good to go. I transformed a wooden garbage bin holder into a cedar lined humidor, for example:
    DSC00378.JPG DSC00380.JPG DSC00381.JPG DSC00382.JPG
     
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  12. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    52 Quart Coleman "Xtreme 5" cooler. ($35 locally)

    DSC00533.JPG
    Using this one for boxed cigars. Here's the inside:

    DSC00534.JPG
    It can hold plenty of cigars inside boxes, and even room for a tray of loose cigars. I am using an active humidifier (Humi-Care EH Plus) and I use the drain plug for the cable, taped over to help seal it up.
    DSC00535.JPG
    I am using this in the winter since the humidity can drop pretty low and the cooler will keep the cigars at a constant as well as maintain adequate temperature with the fluctuations in the room.
     
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  13. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    This is excellent information, and as usual I'm already finding new twists for things. :)

    While looking at the cooler rig with hygrometer I immediately thought about their usefulness in the gun safe and in the barn. They're inexpensive enough to get a few like these.
    DSC00097.JPG
     
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  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    They are cheap little devices, some are rather finicky and the batteries can move around and lose contact, but they are accurate and they work. I sometimes keep an eye out on cigar bid sites for better made versions and get them for a few dollars a piece.

    DSC00536.JPG
     
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  15. B540glenn

    B540glenn Should Be Working Founding Member

    +1 for the basic tupperdore. I have a jar of gel and a small foam puck for humidification. It's done its job for about 10 years.
     
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