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Cigar Advisor Review: NewAir 250 Count Electric Cigar Humidor Wineador
Humidor Review: NewAir 250 Count Electric Cigar Wineador
You have many options for storing cigars – the desktop humidor has been a standard go-to for years. But as our stashes grow, we’re looking for more places to contain the sprawl: taking up residence in coolers, our HumiJar is a reliable address; moving into Ziploc bags and Tupperware . But for a true long-term solution, a wineador must be on the table.
NewAir asked me to give this 250 Count Wineador a once-over and test it out; here, we’ll discuss some of the things I learned about this newer electric humidor and see if it’s an option for you. I’ll break it up into 3 Big Things about this NewAir Wineador: capacity, humidification and presentation.
Capacity of a Wineador
And that’s long been one of the problems of using a wine fridge as a humidor: space.
Not too little…too much.
For instance: when I previously reviewed the NewAir CC-300, my sense was that a wine fridge humidor was right for when the size of your collection was on the way up: “If you find that you’ve outgrown your desktop humidor – and then outgrown the larger humidor you bought to handle the overflow – you might be in the wineador sweet spot.” But here, we’re stepping down to a smaller tabletop fridge humidor. So, if you think you’re not ready for a wineador for your cigars, I think this size might prove otherwise.
Fill ‘er Up
NewAir says this humidor can hold 250 cigars (it’s literally in the name), but as you know that’s rarely the case. Humidor capacity is determined by the number of traditional 7”x47 Churchill–sized cigars that will fit, but not accounting for any space that would be taken up by a humidifier.
If you’re fitting 250 Churchills in here, you are clearly either (a) a Jenga master or (b) my Italian grandmother reincarnated; she could cram 15 pounds of ricotta, meat and noodles in a lasagna pan the size of a post card. In either case, I will pay you to pack the car for my next family vacation when this Covid thing is over.
To get to 250, I think you’d have to stack your smokes as high and tight as you can – which, besides stifling airflow within the humidor, makes it a bit of a (admittedly) First World problem for indecisive folks like me to choose a cigar. Even at 110 sticks and a fistful of cigarillos, you’ll disassemble half of your stash to figure out what you might be in the mood for – unless you have a photographic memory, and can recall the exact make, model and location of every cigar in your collection.
I avoid the hassle by smoking what’s on top.
I bet if you try, you’ll get upwards of 150 cigars inside. You’re working with a remarkably generous space, and that’s plenty of sticks. And really, organization is a tough putt for any humidor that holds more than 50 cigars. Much like the bottom row of beers in a cooler, it’s great that you have them there – until you want one, and have to dig it out.
This was where the NewAir 250 Electric Cigar Humidor surprised me most. If you’re used to a regular desktop Spanish cedar humidor, there is some work that goes with keeping the cigars ready to smoke. There’s also the need to make sure the wood is humidified enough to keep the humidifier working properly and the humidity balanced, and your cigars in good condition. A wineador is a whole lot less of a hassle.
Seasoning a Wineador
I’ll start here by saying that there are no instructions for seasoning this wine fridge humidor. (There’s an owner’s manual in French – en fait, c’est plutôt sympa, but they’re not in there, either.) Not a big deal: we know how to season a humidor, and most of that knowledge is transferable to this NewAir 250.
For a desktop humidor, I’m a fan of what I call “the BBQ approach”: put distilled water in a small dish, then stand 2 sponges up in it – the wood will absorb the moisture they’re giving off, “low and slow.”
Now here’s the thing: the interior of the NewAir 250 is plastic, except for the Spanish cedar shelves and drawer. That‘s less wood surface area to season, but don’t take a shortcut here. They even include the plastic dish, so all you need to do is fill it with distilled water, put it inside, and just let it sit. Because the seal is so good, I just left the door closed for about 4 or 5 days and let the wood have as much moisture as it wanted.
- Watch on the hygrometer as the humidity goes up to the mid 80s; by that point, the wood is also very aromatic.
- Pull out the water dish and replace it with a couple of Boveda packs to start balancing the moisture. This is also a good time to see how well-calibrated the digital hygrometer is, since I didn’t find any adjustment controls.
- Let it sit for another 3 days, and you’ll see the humidity inside stabilize around the RH of the Bovedas you put in there.
- Add your cigars. It’s common for the humidity to rise when you add cigars to any humidor, but I didn’t find this one to spike wildly.
Keeping Your Cigars Ready to Smoke
A properly seasoned humidor will keep your humidification device from being overworked because it’s putting more energy into keeping your cigars smokable; that’s another benefit of the NewAir 250 Count Wineador’s internal plastic construction.
So now we consider your humidification device options moving forward. You might say, “Hey, a nice electric humidor like this needs a nice humidification system.” And the temptation would be to dial up the right size Cigar Oasis (probably be the Excel 3.0, based on size), and you’d be off to the races.
But – and I think this is one of the biggest wins for NewAir – at under 250 cigars, you’re still in the size range that you can get away with using 4-6 Boveda packs (depending on the number of cigars you’ve managed to fit inside). Then, let the fan push the air around inside to keep your cigars ready to smoke. It’s a more efficient system, keeping the humidity more constant, and a LOT easier to manage. But the biggest savings comes in the form of space: A Cigar Oasis would take up some otherwise valuable cubic inches, leaving even less valuable space you could be using to store cigars.
One of the biggest selling points of NewAir’s wineadors is their flexibility.
The box is nice and deep, meaning there’s space enough to house even the most ginormous of Lancero collections. Or do 2 rows (front and back) of Short Robustos. It’s also helpful if you have some oddly long cigars, like Liga Privada As, or this big boy from Southern Draw.
To arrange them, you get 2 shelves and a drawer that stashes away two boxes’ worth of cigars. And the NewAir is pretty agreeable to letting you position them in a way that works for you: if you want a true “top drawer” for your Melanios, VSGs and Opuses (Opi?), or if you prefer to keep the shelves near the top to organize by size or vitola, in or out of the boxes.
But what’s even better is the shelves have a stop when you pull them out about 2/3 of the way. That’s a significant improvement that keeps you from pulling the drawer out too far and accidentally dumping an entire shelf’s worth of cigars on the floor while you’re rooting around inside.
Yes, I speak from experience.
Glass Top Humidors vs Wineadors
One last thing to consider, if presentation is your motivating factor for choosing a humidor.
Both boxes tie into your room’s aesthetic; they look really nice. But with a glass top humidor, the attraction is seeing the cigars you have with the bands all lined up, the wrappers, the wood. The difference with this 250 cigar wineador is that the cigars are laying down, so you only see the heads (or feet). Which is fine, because stacking cigars can go awry pretty quickly: unless you’re incredibly meticulous about taking the cellos off, or you only smoke one brand in one size – it’s easy to look disorganized.
Some Additional Pros, Cons and Random Thoughts
- The lock – your better desktop humidors have them, so no brainer here. Bonus: 2 keys.
- It’s easy to control the temperature…and that’s going to be essential in the winter and summer months, when humidors really tend to act up in response to extreme temperature swings.
- The seal is excellent.
- The hygrometer is easy to read the RH. I have a Cigar Oasis in the larger office humidor, but you have to get down on the ground to check its conditions (it’s on the bottom, in the back).
- This humidor was very securely packaged and protected for safe transport. There’s lots of trim to ding and glass to break, and NewAir took exceptional care in getting it here.
What’s Not As Great
- That light. I haven’t said anything about it until now, and that’s because there’s nothing to say. Nice concept, but the only way to execute it is if NewAir were to put an inward–facing strip of LEDs in the door.
- It’s not the quietest appliance you’ll own. It comes in somewhere between the noise level of your silently operating desktop humidor and your refrigerator.
- The thermoelectric heating/cooling unit has to go somewhere, and here, it’s on the back. That makes this humidor around 19” from front to back, which is deeper than most countertop appliances. You still have 5 to 6” to play with in front if you’re putting this in a kitchen with standard depth counters, but it will dwarf your other appliances and overpower most bookshelves. That said, you might be limited in the places you’ll be able to keep it.
- Head to head, the NewAir is significantly more expensive than a comparably sized wooden humidor.
You can compare and contrast more features of this NewAir 250 unit with the CC-300H we tested last year by reading my review here.
The Bottom Line
Is the NewAir 250 Count Electric Cigar Humidor Wineador a good substitute for a wooden desktop humidor? Anything is a substitute – we’re putting cigars in Ziploc bags and coolers and tupperdors. If you’re a strict cigar traditionalist, or you feel the cedar will help age your cigars, it’s certainly ok to stick with what you know. But I think if you were on the fence about investing (more appropriate word) in a wineador for your cigars, the fact that you now have a more size-friendly option for your stash – and one that’s easier to maintain than you think – this NewAir device is an option worth serious consideration, if you’re up to spending $400.