The most commonly-used cigar humidifiers are made of green floral foam, and with proper maintenance will do a good job at keeping your cigars fresh and moist. The problem is, they have to be checked often, and many new cigar smokers often find themselves adding too much or too little distilled water when recharging them. This often leads to inconsistent conditions such as wide variations in relative humidity that can negatively affect the way your cigars smoke and taste.
One of the best solutions to the problem of keeping constant tabs on your humidor’s atmosphere for the past 10 years has been the Cigar Oasis series of electronic humidifiers. Starting out as a rather bulky-looking accessory, today the Cigar Oasis line has evolved into three compact units that can be used among the entire range of cigar humidors. A fourth unit, the Cigar Oasis II XL, which closely resembles the first design, is the only model with a large footprint, but it’s specifically designed for very large display cabinet humidors found in cigar stores.
“The idea for the Cigar Oasis was inspired by some people at Cigar Aficionado magazine who defined the needs of cigar smokers for us,” said Cigar Oasis president, Al Foundos, a retired Chemical Engineer who also holds an MBA. “So we formed a company in 1997 to develop a new concept of active humidification that would be very reliable and with relatively little or no maintenance.”
Prior to starting Cigar Oasis, Mr. Foundos worked in the process industries as a process analyzer engineer. He was awarded a patent in 1972 and started a company manufacturing process analyzers to measure chemical compositions, humidity and other such properties of gases and liquids. The company grew to 150 employees and was sold in 1996.
Once he saw the need to better control the humidity in humidors than with the passive devices and solutions that were being used, in 1997 he began working with two other retired friends and Chemical Engineers to develop an active humidifier.
“After a couple prototypes we successfully developed and filed patents for the Cigar Oasis which we introduced at the Retail Tobacco Dealers Association Show in 1998,” said Mr. Foundos. “Since then, the Cigar Oasis concept has evolved into four products that service humidors and display cases of all sizes.”
All Cigar Oasis models use state-of-the-art electronic sensors made in the U.S.A., that are designed for accuracy and long term reliability. Air is circulated using small computer fans that are designed to last for many years of use.
So which Cigar Oasis model is right for you? Here’s a brief rundown of each model:
Cigar Oasis ULTRA – The newest and the most streamlined model in the series, allowing you to place it under the lid of your humidor, which provides more room for cigar storage. About the same size as most large, rectangular humidifiers, the ULTRA runs on AC or batteries, will humidify up to 75 cigars, and comes with all the bells & whistles found on the XL series, including an alarm that beeps when water and/or batteries are low, and a power-saving “sleep mode.”, when operating on batteries. Like all Cigar Oasis humidifiers, the sealed, replaceable and refillable cartridge is treated with a mold retardant, and will last an average of six to eight weeks. It’s recommended that an extra cartridge be purchased with the ULTRA so when you remove the empty water cartridge you can replace it quickly and refill the old one at your convenience.
Watch a video of Al Foundos showing how the Cigar Oasis ULTRA works.
Cigar Oasis XL – The Cigar Oasis XL runs on 6 AA batteries or AC wall power. Digital readout provides RH display, low water, and battery warning. It has a sealed, mold-retardant, refillable 100% distilled water cartridge that will last up to 4 months. This unit works by drawing air down and out through the side, and can humidifies anywhere from 50-300 cigars.
Cigar Oasis XL Plus – The Cigar Oasis XL-PLUS offers more rapid humidification for 300 to1000 cigars. Instead of forcing the air down through the water cartridge, it draws air from it and blows the air up providing five times more humidity than the XL. It’s refillable foam-core cartridge has built-in filtration, a mold retardant and will last up to 9 months. A digital RH display warns when water level is low. Long-term, reliable operation. The company recommends that it run on 120 volt AC power, because it consumes more power, however, an accessory pack is available for battery operation.
Cigar Oasis XL II – Designed for retail stores that have large display cases, or if you’re fortunate enough to have a beautiful armoire in your home. It was designed to replace the old, metal “Moist ‘N Air” brand units, and includes a remote, digital RH display and control that can be placed in or outside the case for constant monitoring of your conditions. If the humidity dips below 65%, after two hours the display begins flashing, alarming you that the water reservoir needs to be refilled with distilled water. Air is constantly circulated by twin fans built into the unit which will humidify up to 54 cubic feet.
Remember, with any humidifier, to always use distilled water only. Otherwise, mold and mildew will ensue.
“We’ve received thousands of testimonials from customers over the last ten years who feel Cigar Oasis is the best humidification system for keeping their cigars fresh,” adds Mr. Foundos. “I can’t argue with that.”