Proper care of your humidor is crucial for keeping your cigars in perfect smoking condition during the spring and summer months. Read these important tips – the essential do’s and don’ts for keeping cigars safe and fresh.
2016 CA Report: Best Value Cigar Humidification Devices
Best Value Report: Best Cigar Humidification Devices for the Money
By Jonathan Detore
Cigars have evolved greatly since they were first made by Native Americans. From tobacco being wrapped in corn husks, with a tiny sprinkling of Peyote in some cases, to the all-tobacco offerings we know and love today, cigars have been for centuries one of the most highly regarded commodities the world has truly ever known. And because we hold cigars in such high regard, this drives our desire to make sure our investment of cigars stays cared for and protected.
Yes, just like that shady one-night stand in Cabo on spring break your junior year of college, protection is key when it comes to cigars. Without proper cigar humidification or storage, that new box of cigars you bought – or even your entire collection you’ve stashed throughout your entire adult life – can soon dry up, causing each and every cigar to snap open like a Slim Jim around Macho Man Randy Savage. And though it requires an extra investment to keep your cigars safe and sound, it may surprise you how inexpensive it can be, which is where I come in and lead you to some of the best value-packed alternatives to keep your cigars safe.
Famous Humi Jar
The first thing you’re going to need is storage, and this handy Famous Humi Jar is perfect. With the ability to hold right around 20 cigars, this jar is designed specifically with an airtight seal that is broken with the push of a button so you can get the lid on and off with ease, while ensuring virtually no humidity escapes when the lid is on. Now I know right now most cigar lovers are screaming about how it’s not a proper wooden humidor and yadda yadda yadda. But consider this: if you don’t hold on to many cigars at a time and simply want to keep a box of cigars humidified without shelling out the money for a traditional humidor, this is the way to go. It works just as well, and it’s durable and small enough to take your cigars with you on any trip.
Cigar Caddy 3400 Travel Humidor
Another inexpensive humidor alternative that will save you big is the Cigar Caddy 3400 Travel Humidor. Specifically meant to travel around, this humidor is another airtight device that can go everywhere you do. Although it has the ability to carry 5 cigars, there are others available that can carry a whole lot more like the Xikar 50 Count Humidor. But in order to protect your cigars for next to nothing, you can’t go wrong with this little fella. Take it fishing, golfing, camping, hiking, or drop it off a cliff. No matter what you throw at it, this little guy can stand up to it all. Okay, maybe it won’t survive being thrown off a cliff, and certainly don’t try it.
Water Pillows Humidifier
In terms of actual humidification devices, Water Pillows Humidifiers are never a bad choice. They’re inexpensive as can be, and you can recharge them for multiple uses. Eventually they will wear down and you need to replace them, but their price point is so gosh darn irresistible and they do such a good job, it’s hard to say no to them. The concept is simple: soak one pillow in distilled water for every 25 cigars you have, add them to your humidor, and you’re set for around a month or so of humidification. If the humidity level is too high or too low, add or subtract pillows as needed.
Boveda 69% Humidity Packs
I can’t stress enough how amazing I think Boveda is as a company and how useful their products are. Boveda Packs work very similarly to Water Pillows, but these come pre-charged, humidify 50 cigars per pack, and are available in multiple humidity levels so you can customize your humidity level. Although they are not rechargeable, these last longer per use than Water Pillows by about a month. Each pack is loaded with a variety of specialized salts, along with distilled water, and lets out the advertised amount of humidity, and if the humidity exceeds that number, they absorb the excess. Just add them to your humidor and you’re set for about 2 months of hassle-free, spot-on accurate humidification. They even make smaller packs that are designed for devices like Humi Jars and travel humidors, and also offer seasoning kits and calibration kits to help properly season any traditional wood humidor and calibrate your hygrometer.
Firstland International Large Brick Humidifier
Firstland International’s Brick Humidifiers are your basic foam-filled humidifiers that come with most humidors. With proper use, these inexpensive devices work wonders. To use, it’s suggested to submerge it in distilled water for a couple of minutes, let the excess drain out, and place it in your humidor. When the humidity drops in your humidor, just recharge it following the same steps, and you’re good to go. These devices are built to last quite a while and stand up to multiple recharges before you may want to consider replacing it after about 2 years or so. The only addendum I would make to the instructions is to mix in a Propylene Glycol solution that is blended specifically for the cigar industry that helps fight against mold and bacteria growth for extra protection.
Cigar Classics 150 Count Crystal Humidifier
If you’re weary of using foam humidifiers, I suggest picking up a crystal humidifier instead like the Cigar Classics 150 Count Crystal Humidifier. Instead of the traditional foam, these devices use a super-absorbent material that sucks up water like a camel after a trek through the Sahara, and swell to around 400x its original size. Furthermore, each crystal is made to slowly release humidity as needed until they dry back to their original size, when you can then simply recharge the crystals. Again, charging this device is as easy as submerging it in a distilled water/PG solution combo for the best results, which should last you around 6 months before needing to be recharged. The best part about these is the ability to visually see when it’s running low on water, making this a lot more manageable then perhaps its foam counterpart.
Famous Monster Magma 4 oz Hygro-Gel
The Famous Monster Magma 4 oz Hygro-Gel Jar works exactly the same as the Cigar Classics Crystal Humidifier, only instead of attaching to the roof of your humidor, this jar sits at the bottom among your collection of cigars. The theory here is crystal humidifiers that attach to the roof pour moisture down over the cigars which can cause them to expel moisture more rapidly. The jar on the other hand still releases the humidity, but it traps excess in the top of the jar rather than pour it all over your cigars. How much truth there is behind it is out of my wheelhouse because I find both to work spectacularly; however jars typically contain more crystals than a top-fixed crystal humidifier so you don’t have to recharge them as often.
Xikar 100 Cigar Crystal Humidifier
The Xikar 100 Cigar Crystal Humidifier had to make the list because this is what I use in my 100 count humidor. I can say from experience that these can usually keep quite a few more cigars than advertised humidified, though it will run through the water in the crystals a bit faster. It is still recommended to keep your number of cigars in your humidor right around what is advertised for the best effect. So what makes this different from the jar or rectangular humidification device? Two things: first, its round shape takes up a little less space on the roof of your humidor so you can pack more cigars on your top shelf, which is great if you just needed to buy that 5 pack of new released cigars. Secondly, Xikar has a lifetime warranty on all their products, so if it doesn’t work as advertised or breaks on you, you can simply send it in for repairs or replacement, making this a true value-packed purchase.
Protecting your investment of cigars never has to be expensive. It comes down to shopping around for the best products at the best prices. And though some products may seem costly up front, they can last you an extended period of time where you will realize long term savings rather than short term. However, this list of cigar humidification devices combines inexpensive products that will last long so you don’t necessarily have to replace anything for an extended period of time. All in all, it really comes down to protecting your cigars.. Without the proper gear, all the money spent on your favorite cigar can be lost due to over or under humidification, which makes it all the more vital to make sure you have the proper devices. Hopefully this list helps protect you and your investment, and as always, stay smoky.