Cigars 101

5 Things You Need to Know About… Cigar Tubes

Reading Time: 6 minutes

What are Cigar Tubes Used for? 

Updated April 2020

Raise your hand if (like me), when you were new to cigars, you thought that if cigar came in a tube, it must be a really tippy-top shelf smoke 

Only the well-heeled would smoke such a luxurious cigar,” I thought. A plaything of the prosperous and profitable, the cigar tube’s place was – clearly – in the mahogany-lined walls of high society. 

Later on, come to find out the tube is mostly there just so the cigar wrapper doesn’t get jerked up while banging around in your pocket. 

rsz_part_1427320291059_0325151751
“Presentation is everything,” they say…Still factory sealed!

Live and learn. 

Cigar tubes are actually a little more complicated than that. So is storing them, keeping them, and what to do with them when they’re empty. And since then, I’ve learned a few interesting tidbits about those tubes and the cigars that come in them – today, I’ll share the ones I’ve found most interesting. 

First, a few basics... 

What Cigar Tubes are Made of 

Cigar tubes can be made from many things, but the most common are glass, wood, plastic and metalOf those fourthe metal cigar tubes (usually made from aluminum) are the most popular choice among cigar makersAnd they come in both screw-top and stopper-top varieties. 

What are Tubos Really Used for? 

The tubo is two equal parts: protection and presentation. Tubed cigars are ideal for traveling cigar smokers on the go. Because the metal ones will absorb a dent or two, the tubes should be more than enough to stand up to knocking around in your pocket, bag or glove box while you’re on the road. 

As for presentation, cigar tubes make for great marketing. Painted, printed, whatever – the graphics on those high-end tubos sure do catch the eye:

fuente king t cigars in tubes

Modern design has upped the cigar game, too. Some brands now slip their cigars into sleek tubes that look (and function) more like a fine fountain pen, as is the case with the Montecristo White Court, the La Flor Dominicana Oro Tubo #6 and this Alec Bradley cigar collection, which offers 5 Toros en tubo and includes Prensado, their #1 cigar of the year.  

Here are five more things you need to know 

5 things about cigar tubes what are cigar tubes used for when first cigar tubes were used

Cigars Have Been Put in Tubes for Over 125 Years 

Let’s start in the beginningit was the late 1800s, just about the Golden Age of cigars, when some cigar makers put their finest smokes in visually appealing glass tubes before packaging them in the box or tin. Turns out, these tubos were more than eye candythcork-sealed glass cigar tubes gave an added amount of protection and fresh-keeping to those high-end Havanas. And keeping those cigars fresher, longer, likely made our 19th Century BOTLs connect glass tubes with higher quality. The idea of those cigars being better (and thus more expensive) stuck. After all, cigar makers are still doing it today, aren’t they? 

5 things about cigar tubes which brands come in cigar tubes

Screwtop aluminum tubes would come next, thanks to H. Upmann cigars – Jared did a pretty deep dive on that bit of tubo cigar history here. Leveraging the idea of quality (along with long-term freshness), the goal was to boost the sales of individual cigars at retail display. Aluminum had the benefit of being less breakable and lighter than glass; so while you couldn’t see the cigar inside the metal tube, the tradeoff was a tube that wouldn’t shatter – and a cigar that was a little cheaper than its glass-encased competitors. 

5 things about cigar tubes what are cigar tubes used for most popular size cigars

The Most Popular Tubo Cigar Sizes are Robustos & Toros 

Actually, any cigar can go into a tube…it’s just that the people who make the cigars tend to choose certain sizes. There are unique size tubos for Cuban cigars, and they do have small size cigars in tubos in Cuba

5 things about cigar tubes cuban Romeo cigars in tubes

But for US consumption, it’s mainly the standard Robusto and Toro – and in some cases, Churchill. (There will be occasional exceptions.)

More than anything, it has to do with the popularity of these sizes. Plus, most cigar makers will put only their best-selling vitolas in tubos. AVO XO and AVO Classic Robusto sizes are both available in screw cap tubes. So are fan favorites like Punch Gusto, Partagas Black Label Maximo, Romeo y Julieta 1875 Clemenceau, and a ton of others. Perdomo put the 6” × 50 Champagne Magnum in a tube – that pretty much says it all 

5 things about cigar tubes what are cigar tubes used for square cigar tubes

There Are Now Square Tubes for Box Pressed Cigars  

When it comes to box-pressed cigars, it is – literally – the square peg in a round hole. Only smaller box-pressed cigars would fit in a round tubo. Until recently, anyway. 

Square tubes have always been rare sight in the humidor – but Padron took them mainstream, putting select sizes of their 1964 Anniversary cigars in square tubes: the Presidente (6×50) and Soberano (5×52) in both Natural and Maduro wrappers. As Jorge Padron told Cigar Journal magazine in 2017, “It’s something that we haven’t had in our portfolio and since the cigars are box pressed, we thought it would be nice to have square shaped tubes.” 

And while Padron gets the credit for making the square cigar tube mainstream, cigar writer and reviewer Barry Stein reminded me that CAO Cigars actually did it first. Their cigar was a limited edition smoke that came in a square tube back in 2002. Davidoff and AVO Cigars now have square tubo selections as well. 

5 things about cigar tubes what are cigar tubes used for do cigars in tubes need to go in a humidor

Yes, Cigars in Tubes Need to Go in a Humidor 

One of the questions we get asked a lot is, “Do cigars in metal tubes need to be kept in a humidor?” 

Short answer: Yes 

Long-winded answer: while a tube will help keep a cigar fresh, you really can’t trust the seal at the end of the tube to be 100% airtight. And there’s nothing in the tube that’s actively humidifying the cigar – so into the humidor they go. Once they’re in there, however, consider leaving the cigar in the tube with the cap off. Tubes don’t breathe like cello doesso if there’s any excess moisture in the cigar, you run the risk of developing mold. Now, with the cap offproperly humidified air can still get to the cigar – but the wrapper leaf won’t get damaged next time you go rooting around in there, looking for a smoke. Going to take the cigar on the go with you? Just pop the cap back on and you’re ready to roll. 

10 Under 10: Top tubo cigars under 10 dollars cigars in tubes - how to store tubo cigars in your humidor

If you’re worried about losing the cap to the tube, Davidoff has thought of this too. That’s why the top and bottom of their cigar tube twists in opposite directions, revealing vent slots – they prevent excess moisture buildup when you put the cigar in your humidor.  

Meanwhile, cigars in tubes will stay fresher a little longer outside the humidor. That’s (partly) why there’s a thin sheet of cedar lining the inside of the Macanudo Portofino tubes you throw in your golf bag: it helps your cigar retain some moisture, and that cedary freshness. The cedar also keeps your cigar from rubbing against the aluminum inside. Which would probably make it taste terrible. 

5 things about cigar tubes what are cigar tubes used for recycle reuse empty cigar tubes

Reuse and Upcycle Your Empty Tubes  

Tinkerers, rejoice: there is plenty of life left in that tube after the smoke is long gone. Everybody’s got a life hack – the internet is full of ‘em. So in what unconventional ways can we reuse a conventional cigar accessory?  

First and foremost, it’s a cheap cigar carrier for when you’re on the runFor extra protection while traveling, stuff the end with a little bit of cotton to keep the cigar from sliding the length of the tube.  

A tube is also a great “warmer.” Guitarists and other musicians do this, “warming” their instrument inside its case, letting it slowly acclimate to the room’s temperature. That’s a good practice for cigars, too – and may help prevent burn issues or wrappers cracking from sudden expansion or contraction. When you take a cigar from your humidor to a hotter or colder locationtry giving the cigar some time to adjust to your new environmentLeave it in the tube for a little extra time. It’s worth it. 

Here’s another one…I keep a tube filled with Advil in my work bag.  

Don’t want to spring for an over-the-counter humidifying element for your humidor? Make one

cigar tube humidifier
It ain’t the prettiest thing, but a gold star for you if you can recycle your cigar tube into something that promotes the health and well-being of your other cigars. Click the picture for the how-to.

You could also get creative like this guy, and make an airplane: 

airplane cigar tube
This started as a project to make a Christmas ornament…click the pic for the Instructable.

Do you have an intense need to keep a secret cache of valuables or a small bank roll? And do you have a hollow-core closet door? Then a stash tube is the way to go:

cigar tube stash tube
Go full secret agent and hide your valuables. Click the pic for the how-to.

Any other tube uses you’d like to add? Comment below! 

21 Comments
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Rodgerick Lamb
6 years ago

Interesting.

Jarry Owen
6 years ago

When out for the day, I keep a cigar in the tube to keep it from getting damaged and it also keeps them from drying out.

Joel Coley
6 years ago

Travel spice kit.

Jill Holtzman Larson
5 years ago

I have some of my grandfather’s cigar tubes & keep my crochet hooks in them. Great for keeping them organized & from snagging my project.

single cigar tube – ERRVR
2 years ago

[…] What are Cigar Tubes REALLY Used For? – Cigar Advisor […]

Ron Borczyk
2 years ago

My wife fills them with water, freezes them and rubs them over sore arm and shoulder joints for ache relief!

Longrider
2 years ago

Use them to hold every day cigars in the saddle bag on my horses while I move cattle, the cigars don’t get smashed.

Lou Ann
2 years ago

I used the glass tubes at Christmas and filled them with home-made bath salts. Tied a label around the top with a ribbon and a tag with ingredients. I used epsom salt, pink himalayan salt and eucalyptus oil.

Cigar Smoking
1 year ago

A Cigar is prepared from good quality tobacco leaves which are rolled to various lengths and girths.

My Homepage
1 year ago

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[…] Find More Informations here: famous-smoke.com/cigaradvisor/why-are-cigar-tubes-used/trackback […]

I. C. All
1 year ago

I fill glass tubes with water, freeze them, and use them to keep my bourbon chilled while enjoying a cigar/bourbon moment. Keeps the bourbon chilled without watering it down. I haven’t tried this with aluminum tubes; afraid they might affect the flavor of the bourbon, even though they’re painted.

Editor
Gary Korb
1 year ago
Reply to  I. C. All

Great idea! Thanks for the tip, and I agree on the aluminum tubes.
G-~

Lesley
1 year ago

Hi. I have some Henri Wintermans Corona de Luxe that my Dad had for a number of years. They are in cellophane, in tubes and then in a box. Does anyone know how long they last and if they will be any good? Thanks

Editor
Gary Korb
1 year ago
Reply to  Lesley

Hi Lesley –
Even if they’re in the original box. Unless they were kept humidified – you say a few years – they may be dried-out by now.
My advice is to open the box, take one out, and if it feels hard and brittle, you’re past the point of no return.
Good luck, and let us know how they were.
G-~

Emory Jones
1 year ago

I just recently finished converting a LaCache Wine fridge into a humidor and had custom drawers made. I needed Pulls for the drawers so made several tubos into drawer pulls

Editor
Gary Korb
1 year ago
Reply to  Emory Jones

Excellent idea. That wine fridge should keep your ‘gars in ship shape. Send us a picture and we’ll post it.
G-~

Jean-Pierre
1 year ago

I’m only an occasional top shelf cigar smoker. When I do get a tube I wear the hell out of it. I rarely finish my cigar in one sitting so I extinguish it in the tube by gently capping it off. Looking for one that can hold a gordo.

Editor
Gary Korb
1 year ago
Reply to  Jean-Pierre

Hi Jean-Pierre. I’m not a fan of putting a smoked cigar back in its tubo. But if you do, I hope you cut off the ash before you put it in there. I would think that the cigar would get very smelly etc.
But if it works for you, that’s fine. There may be a couple of Gordo (6×60) tubes you can find.

MIKE GUENTER
1 year ago

I’ve got a Haddon Hall glass cigar tube that someone used for a sail makers kit, all the various size needles and a couple of bone/ivory awls.

Editor
Gary Korb
1 year ago
Reply to  MIKE GUENTER

That sounds great. Send us a picture of it.

Cigars and guitars: turning junk into music - The Nature of Music
5 months ago

[…] I didn’t encounter many cigar boxes, but my uncles smoked cigars that came individually in thin metal tubes. These, combined with other items such as the tops of toothpaste tubes, could be readily fashioned […]

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John Pullo

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This is not his picture, nor does he even have a beard. A solid 'B' student and occasional low-fi musician, John is a medley of cynicism and sarcasm crammed into a wrinkled Oxford shirt who makes it nearly intolerable to watch reality television with him in the same room. Interestingly, his Social Security number is all ones.

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