Cigar Humidification

2021 CA Report: Desktop Humidor Shootout

Desktop Humidor Shootout: 4 Leading Categories Reviewed

An effective—if not embarrassingly simple—home for cigars can be assembled out of a Tupperware container and small piece of floral foam dampened with distilled water. As an added touch you could add a couple Spanish cedar inserts from old cigar boxes. And that’s it—an affordable setup that allows short term cigar storage. Great, if you’re a beginner testing the waters—but what if you require a more permanent solution. This is where the search for a good quality desktop humidor usually begins.

In the most fundamental sense, a humidor is an enclosed environment—like a box or room—with a source of moisture. But as late-night infomercials have taught us, wait there’s more. If you’re investing your hard-earned cash on premium handmade cigars, you’ll want to give them proper digs. Aside from choosing a cigar humidifier (a source of moisture like a Boveda pack), look for a desktop humidor with a good seal and appropriate storage for your needs.

a group of humidors on the shelf at famous smoke shop

There are a couple tried-and-true methods to check if a humidor has a good seal. The first is the ‘whoosh’ test. Lift the humidor lid about 3 inches and let it drop and you should hear the sound of air escaping (the ‘whoosh’). If the lid bangs down, then there might be air leakage. The second method is the dollar bill test. Close the humidor with a bill between the lid and body. Pull on the bill—if it comes out easily or with little resistance, then there is an issue with the seal. If the bill doesn’t move or humidor does, then the seal is good.

When you see a humidor with a capacity of 50 cigars—it’s most likely Corona sized sticks. To be safe, consider capacity as more of a suggestion. So naturally, you’ll fit fewer Toros or Gordos than Coronas or Lanceros. Another point about capacity, while you may want to stuff your humidor to the max, it’s a good idea to keep it about 75-80% full. One final thing, when humidor shopping, you’ll want to buy bigger than you currently need (keeping in mind possible growth in your on-hand cigar supply).

Glass Top Humidors

A lot of enthusiasts love glass top humidors because of their classy styling or the convenience of being able to check on your premiums without opening the lid. If you’re thinking that a glass top humidor is the right choice—here’s a few to consider. But before you get to it—here’s a useful tip for glass top humidor care to keep handy…

Pro Tip: Glass top humidors have 2 seals that you’ll want to keep an eye on. The first, discussed above, is the seal between the lid and box. The second is often overlooked—the seal between the lid and the glass in the lid. If you’re noticing your humidity levels dropping, test the seal around the glass with some clear tape. If your humidity levels hold steady after applying the tape, run a bead of silicone where the wood and glass meet around the outside of the lid for a permanent fix.

This handsome glass top humidor is finished in cherry and walnut and features fine hand inlays. There is a removable Spanish cedar tray so you can organize your cigars and a brass hygrometer mounted in front so you can make sure your humidity level is good. Holds approximately 100 cigars.

Gangway Porthole Humidor

With a porthole to peek at your premiums, this all-wood humidor adds nautical flair to any room. The Gangway Porthole humidor will last generations and features swanky bubinga wood—which is used on luxury yachts due to its exotic finish—and an outward facing analog hygrometer for keeping an eye on the humidity level. Holds around 50 cigars.

Bally Glass Top Humidor

The Bally desktop humidor has a stately mahogany veneer and arrives complete with a lock and key—keeping your premiums safe from curious hands. Inside, you’ll find a removable top tray which will help you with organizing your ‘top-shelf’ cigar selection. The Bally also features an oversized hygrometer on the outside to make for easy humidity monitoring. Holds 100 cigars or so.

Newport White Oak Glass Top Humidor

The Newport is lined with Spanish cedar—as is the case with all quality desktop humidors and the finish is an understated and classy white oak. While it doesn’t have a lock and key, this desktop humidor has a clasp for added security and to help keep the seal tight. Topping it off is an analog hygrometer so you can keep an eye on your humidity levels inside. Holds about 50 cigars.

Countertop Humidors

Have a cigar cave, a retreat where you can knock back a couple cold ones over a cigar? Then it’s worth taking a look at the countertop humidors included here. In addition to showcasing your cigar collection, countertop humidors provide better air circulation meaning your stash gets evenly distributed humidity—a definite plus. If a countertop might be in the cards, here’s a tip to get the most out of your humidor…

Pro Tip: Location, location, location—the first rule in real estate is also the first rule when considering where to place your countertop humidor. While it’s nice to have your premiums on full display, keep your humidor out of the sunlight—especially direct sunlight. The amount of glass in most countertop humidors allows for huge transfers of heat, which will cause wild fluctuations in the internal temperature and humidity. That’s not good. Go ahead and locate your countertop humidor in a prominent place—but in the shade and out of the sunlight.

You’ve probably seen this humidor in the few remaining bars allowing cigar smoking. It’s a mainstay at golf courses, boat clubs, and country clubs, but that doesn’t mean it won’t look right at home at your place. This countertop humidor is decked out with brass hardware finished with a cherry wood veneer. Holds 100ish cigars.

No digging, no doubt. This dark mahogany finished countertop humidor looks like a glass cabinet with a couple storage shelves, and it’s perfect for showcasing your premium handmades any way you like. You can access your cigar cache with ease by opening the door and keep them safe with a lock and key. The door also features an outward facing hygrometer for easy monitoring. Holds 75 cigars—give or take.

This countertop display humidor is a favorite of enlightened businesses that are cigar friendly. This cabinet style countertop humidor is finished with a mahogany veneer and has glass on all 4 sides so you can choose your premium from any angle. Although the built-in hygrometer is located on the front, the door to access your cigar collection is on the side. Holds around 150 cigars.

Small Desktop Humidors

A small desktop humidor is usually the first choice for new enthusiasts. They’re also a great option if you enjoy a cigar on special occasions and like having a few on hand. If you’re considering a small desktop humidor, here’s a few to look at. But you’ll want to check out this humidification tip first…

Pro Tip: What if your small desktop humidor is constantly over-humidified? It’s a common problem with an easy solution. A lot of cigar boxes come with Spanish cedar inserts (the same wood as your humidor) to keep the cigars from rolling around. Drop a couple of these in your humidor to soak up the extra humidity. Another option—if you don’t have cedar blanks lying around—is to put some white rice in a shot glass and place this in your humidor to absorb the excess moisture.

The Craftsman’s Bench humidor is well made and uses high-grade, kiln-dried Spanish cedar on the inside and includes a humidification device to help your cigars stay fresh. The outside is finished in a reddish veneer with an eye-catching inlaid design on top. Keep tabs on around 25 cigars with the included hygrometer.

Are you looking for a no-nonsense, wood veneer desktop humidor? Look no further than the Capri—usually the first step after Tupperware or a ziplock bag. All you get is the box—you need to outfit it with a humidifier like a Boveda pack, and a hygrometer. And remember that you need to account for these accessories when cigar shopping. Holds under 30 cigars—your mileage may vary.

Great for your desk or for a quick weekend getaway. The Private Stash humidor is a versatile option that gets the job done with little fanfare. Included is a hygrometer and humidifier and the humidor is finished in an appealing mahogany veneer. Holds about 18 cigars.

Medium – Large Desktop Humidors

When ‘cigar acquisition syndrome’ kicks in, it’s time to step up your storage game. You need more space to keep up with all the great new blends you’re discovering. And you need to have a variety at the ready—in case the mood or occasion to enjoy a cigar strikes. Here’s a broad list of medium to large desktop humidors to accommodate growing cigar stockpiles—and a helpful tip about what to do while stocking a medium to large humidor.

Pro Tip: We’ve all faced this issue—upgrading to a larger humidor and not having enough sticks on hand to fill it. Here are a couple ways to handle this issue. The first would be to purchase ‘filler’ cigars—basically inexpensive placeholders. But what if you don’t want to buy additional cigars just to fill space—then you occupy that space with some bubble wrap. Basically, you’re filling up the dead air space and easing your humidifier’s workload—which helps keep your cigar stash in great shape.

It’s a box with a relaxed white oak veneer and a locking lid. But what counts is, what’s in the box (props if you said the last 4 words in Brad Pitt’s voice). Inside you’ll find a hygrometer, a lot of room to store your cigars, and trays giving plenty of options to arrange your premiums. Holds +/-100 cigars.

The Amalfi humidor looks like an heirloom piece. Like it was handed down by your grandfather. If you like classical style, or ‘mantiques,’ then this is a great choice. There are a couple trays to assist with organizing your stash and the humidor is stained a rich, deep walnut with an ash burl veneer on top. Included is a hygrometer and an engravable plate. Holds about 75 cigars.

The rugged, rough-and-ready Adirondack desktop humidor looks like a survivor. Perfect for a cabin or for those favoring rustic décor, this humidor keeps your cigars safe under lock and key. Your premiums will be stored in the perfect cigar settings with the included tray, humidification system, and hygrometer. Holds approximately 100 cigars.

The Maiden Voyage humidor stands out with a sailing theme. A nautical compass decks out the top of this solid wood humidor with rivets adding the finish touch. Inside you’ll find a hygrometer and a lot of room for a selection of fine handmade cigars. Holds around 100 cigars.

A perfect companion for any America-loving, cigar-smoking, patriot. Show your pride and keep your cigars in prime time shape with this humidor adorned with Old Glory on weathered-finish wood. Inside is all you need—a tray, hygrometer, humidifier, and room enough to safely store 100 premium cigars—more or less.

Looking to store your national treasure? Lock them in this humidor (with lock and key) with an old-timey look and feel featuring a distressed finish and old-world map on its faces. Included is a top tray for sorting your smokes and a trusty hygrometer to make sure they’re resting in the proper environment. Holds about 100 cigars.

There’s something about restrained elegance. About the confidence in not needing to prove anything. The Taj Mahal humidor embodies restrained elegance and is solidly built, proven by its weight and craftsmanship. It’s finished in an exotic Brazilwood veneer with crisp black trimming and inside you’ll find a tray for organization and a hygrometer for keeping tabs and securing the health of your premiums. Holds 100ish cigars.

The Ravello features 6 drawers—the 4 top ones are false, and the bottom 2 drawers offer unhumidified storage space for your cigar accessories. Burlwood veneer makes a statement and when you lift the lid, you’ll find a humidification device and a mounted hygrometer. The Ravello has a lock and key to secure around 300 cigars.

A chest to store your booty. The impressive Treasure Dome humidor comes with a lock and key and everything you need to store a large cigar collection in the best environment. Included are 2 large humidifiers, a brass hygrometer, Spanish cedar trays and dividers, and a Spanish cedar aerator for improved air circulation. Holds +/- 250 cigars.

A mansion to house your cigar collection. The Foot Locker humidor is an enthusiast favorite for keeping an enormous stockpile of cigars—with enough space to store 16 boxes—safe and sound. Included is a lock and key, a complete humidifying system, and a variety of trays to hold your singles. Holds as many as 400 cigars.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to humidors available to cigar enthusiasts. Before making the leap, take time and think about your needs like how many cigars you go through, how many you like to have in reserve, and what sizes you prefer. And remember, a good quality desktop humidor is a necessary investment to keep your premium cigars in superior smoking shape.