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Everything You Need to Know About Glass Top Humidors
THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CHOOSING AND SETTING-UP A GLASS TOP HUMIDOR
Aaah…the glass top humidor. A showcase specially designed for admiring your precious primos under glass. Except for the glass pane imbedded into the lid, there’s little difference between glass top humidors and all-wood-crafted humidors. However, there are several things you need to know about glass top humidors before you make the investment. After all, the last thing you want from a cigar humidor is buyer’s remorse.
The Glass Top Humidor Mystique
A glass top humidor tends to bring a certain degree of elegance to the table. Fine wood embellished by glass can also evoke a genuine underlying charm. Moreover, with the exception of some bar top humidors and the humidor Davidoff uses to display and offer cigars at their swankier events, you don’t see glass top humidors very often. It’s not hard to understand why those particular humidors are used. Staring through the roof of a glass top humidor and seeing that top row of cigars on display like museum pieces is an immersive experience. In some cases, it can spark an almost dream-like enchantment. Of course that depends on the cigars you place on the top row (some Padrón Anniversary, OpusX, Liga Privada, Diamond Crown, a few requisite Havanas…) Honestly, there’s no rule that says you have to layout your cigars this way. Although it can be fun to see the reaction from fellow cigar smokers, it’s your call.
Seasoning a Glass Top Humidor
When it comes to setting up a glass top humidor, seasoning is pretty much the same as you would do with an all wood humidor. There are several ways to season a humidor, but Boveda seasoning packs are one of the easiest ways to go. To learn more about this method, check out this Advisor post by Paul Lukens on seasoning a humidor with Boveda. I also have a video tutorial below:
Where to Place the Humidifier in a Glass Top Humidor
Since most cigar humidifiers are placed under the lid, this poses a dilemma: obstructing the view of your collection.
In a short Q&A piece I wrote many years ago on humidifier placement in glass top humidors I stated that since warm air also rises a humidifier will work just as well when placed at the bottom of your humidor. Moreover, in my where to place the humidifier in a glass top humidor video, I suggest placing the humidifier in the middle of the back wall. The important thing is keeping your cigars a safe distance away from the humidifier or they may get spongy. That said, an even better solution may be to use a humidifying crystal gel, or Boveda packs to provide the desired amount of humidity.
Where to place the hygrometer in a Glass Top Humidor
The same goes for the hygrometer, which you may want to mount higher on the rear wall or sides so, you can stack a number of rows, which reminds me, in order to maintain good air flow, never fill your humidor to the very top. In fact, two of the glass top humidors I recommend below come with built-in hygrometers, which is a big plus.
How do you seal a Glass Top Humidor?
What’s this all about, you ask? In some cases the seal between the wood and glass may not be air tight. In rare cases, it may even be loose. If so, you may have an air leak out. Check your relative humidity (RH). If it’s consistent where you like it odds are you don’t have a problem.
On the other hand, if your RH is unusually low and you feel you have a leak, here’s one way to test the seal around the glass. Place a thin strip of painter’s masking tape (because it’s easy to remove) around the entire perimeter of the humidor where the lid meets the base (IOW, where the lid opens) and let it sit for several hours. Now air can only escape through the glass. If the humidity remains low, you could have a weak seal, but the solution is easy.
Get a tube of clear, non-toxic, silicone from the hardware store or the clear silicone used for sealing fish tanks. Remove the cigars and the humidifier, and very carefully place a thin bead of silicone around the underside of the glass where it meets the wood. Once you’re certain the silicone is dry put everything back the way you had it. If you see the RH rise, then you licked the problem.
Where to place a Glass Top Humidor
Due to the glass top in the lid of the humidor, your cigars will be exposed to more light. One good piece of advice—and this goes for all-wood humidors, too—is to keep your glass top model away from direct sun and/or lamp light. Not doing so can increase the temperature and RH to the point of “Danger Will Robinson” for your collection. So, find a cool, shady or lightly lit spot for your glass top model and you’re set.
The Pros & Cons of Buying a Glass Top Humidor
Thinking about buying a glass top humidor for your cigars? Consider what to expect from your investment by watching this video on the pros and cons of glass top humidors from Cigar Advisor managing editor, John Pullo.
Some Great Glass Top Cigar Humidors Worth Owning:
The attractive features of this walnut veneered glass top Capri Elegant humidor start with appointments like a built-in analog hygrometer, humidifier, brass accents on the corners of the lid, and a lid-sealing brass latch. The box is also well-built, lined with kiln-dried Spanish cedar, and includes a cedar divider. Plus, with a 50 cigar capacity, it’s an affordably-priced humidor for anyone who’s just getting into smoking premium cigars, or those who have more modest-sized cigar collections. In addition to keeping your cigars factory fresh, it’s a very good value.
OK, it’s not exactly a glass top humidor, it’s a glass front humidor. But what’s neat about this solidly built Cuban Wheel model is you get the best of both worlds. Able to house up to 60 cigars, the Cambodian rosewood, along with the eye-catching hexagonal shape and tempered peek-a-boo glass make this kiln-dried Spanish cedar-lined humi’ a real showstopper. The Cuban Wheel also comes with a humidifier, analog hygrometer, brass quadrant hinges, and a fancy tasseled key for locking the box.
Here’s a glass top humidor that tells the world you’re serious about your cigars. The wood inlays in the Pompeii’s cherry finish, along with a tempered beveled glass top are the piece de resistance of this humidor. Lined with kiln-dried Spanish cedar, the Pompeii also includes a humidifier while the front-mounted analog hygrometer allows you to easily monitor the RH. An engravable brass nameplate, cedar dividers, and a gold-plated tasseled key are also included. It even has a felt-lined bottom to protect surfaces from scratches.
If you do decide to get a glass top humidor for your collection, let us know which model you bought and how you like it by leaving a comment.