What is a Hygrometer?
If you’re going to spend your hard-earned cash on some quality cigars, you need to make sure they’re stored correctly.
That’s why I made it my mission to find the best digital hygrometer for cigar humidors.
Sure, there are plenty of general-use hygrometers out there that will put you in a ballpark, but that’s not really good enough.
You need to keep track of humidity and temperature as accurately as possible if you want your cigars to stay factory fresh.
I used to have an analog hygrometer, but as much as I loved the design and aesthetic, it could never stay properly calibrated. Once you move to a digital hygrometer, you can basically set and forget.
Most of the models with wireless connectivity will even send you an alert if something is out of order, so you can make the necessary adjustments – from anywhere in the world.
So, check out my top picks below:
Cigar Oasis Caliber 4R Gold
Cigar Oasis Plus Humidifier
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Hygroset II Round
Cigar Oasis Caliber 4R Gold – Best Hygrometer for Humidor
Personally, I like the look and feel of an analog hygrometer. It’s only a matter of utility that forced me to move over to a digital hygrometer. They are just so much more accurate, and that matters for protecting my best cigars.
Cigar Oasis Caliber 4R Gold
The Cigar Oasis Caliber 4R Gold looks more like a pocket watch than a digital humidor. The round face has a wonderful gold matte finish that feels premium to the touch and looks amazing.
It’s designed to fit snugly inside the lid through a strong magnet and adhesive mount. The color-coded bar around the edge of the display is easy to read – even through the glass of a cigar humidor. The dial displays the humidity, with a well-sized temperature display just below.
It’s also tied for the most accurate digital hygrometer on our list, with a variance of just +/- 1%. That’s as good as you’re going to find anywhere, let alone in such a stylish package. It’s basically a more aesthetic version of the Oasis Caliber IV (more on that in a moment).
In my experience, it’s very accurate – once you’ve calibrated it. It does, supposedly, come pre-calibrated out of the box, but I found it was a little wonky until I’d set it myself.
Every room and environment is slightly different, so I’d recommend setting up your hygrometer manually to account for any fluke variance in your environment.
Best of all, the Cigar Oasis Caliber 4R gold is very reasonably priced. So you can get the premium feel, without a premium budget.
Cigar Oasis Plus Humidifier – Best Wifi Hygrometer for Humidor
One of the major perks of a digital hygrometer is the ability to integrate your humidor with smart home technology. The Cigar Oasis Plus allows you to control your cigar humidor from your smartphone, meaning you can keep tabs on your cigars from anywhere in the world.
Cigar Oasis Plus Humidifier
amazon: Check price
This is an all-in-one humidifier that comes with a hygrometer built-in, which connects to an app on your smartphone. The app displays all the information you could need and allows you to set your temperature and humidity settings manually or via a timer. The large LCD front display is easy to read too if you don’t have your phone to hand.
It’s worth noting that the Oasis Plus is a big boy. It’s designed to house up to 1000 cigars over 10 cubic feet of space. That’s plenty of space to store your stash.
The powerful fan provides excellent distribution of temperature and humidity but is still quiet enough to go unnoticed from a few feet away. The humidification is consistent, reliable, and low-maintenance, everything I expect from a top-shelf humidifier.
Hygroset II Round – Best Budget Digital Hygrometer
The Hygroset II is the best value for money I’ve been able to find – you’ll find it for under $20, no problems.
Hygroset II Round
The variance here is +/- 2%, which is not terrible but could be improved upon. If you can tolerate a couple of percentage variance it’s still an excellent pick for the price – but if your cigars are particularly sensitive to humidity you might want to spend a little more for that peace of mind.
The refresh rate is once every ten seconds, which is frequent enough to get a real feel for the state of your cigar humidor and identify any anomalies.
Unlike most of the models here, the Hygroset II doesn’t come pre-calibrated, so you’ll have to set it up before you can use it at all. I’d recommend calibrating any hygrometer before you use it anyway, so it doesn’t make much odds to me.
The screen is clear and uncluttered, which might be part of the reason the battery lasts so long. The Hygroset II might have the best battery life of all of the smaller hygrometers here, despite being the cheapest.
Oasis Caliber IV
This is the original model from Cigar Oasis that spawned the winner on our list, the Cigar Oasis Caliber 4R Gold.
Oasis Caliber IV
My favorite feature is the 3-day average reading, which gives you a great sense as to whether your humidity levels are straying too far beyond the mean.
It’s also an incredibly accurate hygrometer, matching the same +/- 1% variance of the Caliber 4R Gold.
The Oasis Caliber IV does have a larger footprint than most of the other hygrometers on this list, but I think the peace of mind is worth it. At 4 inches it only takes up the space of one or two cigars anyway.
If that’s a dealbreaker, you could probably benefit from reorganizing your collection anyway.
Xikar Purotemp Round
Depending on your tastes, the Xikar Purotemp is just as pretty as the Cigar Oasis Caliber 4R Gold.
Xikar Purotemp Round
This round hygrometer is made with brushed steel for a modern look that feels sleek and premium, a little like a MacBook pro.
The large display has a clear view of temperature and humidity, displayed in Celsius or Fahrenheit depending on your preference.
It’s compact and comes with a magnetized back for easy placement.
The thing that lets it down is a +/- 2% variance. I’m really looking for 1% for maximum peace of mind.
Also, a top-tier hygrometer should offer self-calibration. Xikar says it should work just fine out of the box, and I’ve found it to be pretty reliable, but I would expect at least the option to self-calibrate.
Inkbird ITH 10
The Inkbird ITH 10 is a popular, no-frills hygrometer that’s easy to interpret and has impressive battery life.
Inkbird ITH 10
The LCD display is easy to read and displays readings in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, depending on your persuasion.
It is a perfectly serviceable general-use digital hygrometer, for sure
But, it’s not without its drawbacks.
Firstly, it’s not specifically built with cigar humidors in mind. This means it doesn’t come with an adhesive backing or magnet system, for example, meaning you’ll have to place it at the base of your humidor.
This might not be a problem if you have an appropriate viewing window, but will not be appropriate for some depending on their cigar humidor layout.
Also, the variance is rather wide at +/- 3%. That is perfectly fine for plenty of humidification purposes, but cigars require a high level of accuracy because they are so susceptible to drying out and degrading. With premium products, attention to detail matters – with 3% on either side, that’s a 6% range!
To cement the point that accuracy is hardly top of Inkbirds priorities, you can’t even calibrate the Inkbird ITH 10 yourself. It comes preset, so you’d better just hope it’s accurate. Not good enough.
Still, it is fairly cheap, so if you can’t get hold of the Hygroset II, for example, it’s certainly better to have an Inkbird ITH 10 than nothing.
Why Do You Need a Hygrometer?
Without a hygrometer, you’ll have no data to confirm the levels of humidity and temperature inside your cigar humidor.
Obviously, this is important information to have on hand if you want your cigars to remain in prime condition. Too hot and dry, and your stogies will simply dry out and burn far too quickly.
Too moist and cold, and you risk your cigars developing mold or becoming unsmokable due to water saturation.
Why would you spend your hard earn cash on premium cigars, and then use guesswork when storing them?
A general-purpose hygrometer might give you a sense of the humidity and temperature of your house, but these readings can range drastically based on which room you’re in and where exactly your cigar humidor is positioned.
For the best results, you need to be taking readings from amongst the cigars themselves – you’ve gotta get inside the humidor.
How to Calibrate a Digital Hygrometer For a Humidor
While a majority of hygrometers will come “pre-calibrated” out of the box, you’ll want to run your own tests for the best results. Nothing in life is an exact science, and a percentage of hygrometers are going to leave the factory wonky, let’s say.
For the sake of a few minutes of work, it’s worth using a Boveda calibration kit. They’re the most reliable and widely available calibration kits on the market, and pretty straightforward to use.
Sure, there are some more homemade methods out there where people get creative with milk cartons, but the point of calibration is to ensure accuracy, right? Spend a few dollars to make sure you get it right.
Here’s how you do it:
- Step 1: Take the Boveda calibration bag. Put your hygrometer inside, and seal that bag
- Step 2: Leave the hygrometer in the sealed bag for at least 24 hours at room temperature.
- Step 3: The hygrometer will display a reading. Compare the reading you get with the percentage advised on your kit (either 75% or 32%).
- Step 4: Adjust your hygrometer accordingly, or if that is not possible keep a note of the discrepancy to apply to your future readings.
Remember, humidor hygrometers are designed to be stored inside your cigar humidor, but you’ll want to get a general sense of where the cigars actually are. Storing it too close to the reservoir (the water source) will get an inflated humidity reading unrepresentative of the environment.
For this reason, it’s best to attach the hygrometer to a corner of the humidor away from the reservoir.
Digital vs Analog Hygrometer
Analog hygrometers generally require more frequent tuning to remain accurate, as they rely upon physical mechanisms to detect humidity and temperature. With digital hygrometers, once I’ve calibrated for the initial set up I can generally forget it and trust it will stay accurate.
Also, because digital displays are easier to real than a needle and dial, you’ll generally get a more accurate reading from a digital hygrometer. It’s like the difference between reading the time from your phone screen or glancing at an analog clock on the wall.
So in short, a digital hygrometer is definitely a worthwhile investment if you’re planning to spend a chunk of change on your smokes.
What is the Best Humidity and Temperature For Cigars?
As a general rule of thumb, plenty of cigar stores and aficionados go by the 70/70 principle. That is, store your cigars at 70% humidity and at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
That’s a good ballpark to shoot for, for sure – and easy enough to remember that I can understand how it stuck as a rule.
Your cigars are unlikely to experience permanent damage unless they’re stored under 55% humidity for a decent length of time, or above 80% on the other end of the spectrum.
However, each cigar is different, so it’s not quite as simple as using a “one size fits all” rule if you want the best results.
In my experience cigar conditions are more of a range, depending on which cigar we’re talking about and when you intend to smoke it.
Generally speaking, darker cigars require a lower humidity, as they are easier to over-humidify and saturate with moisture.
Similarly, you’ll want to taper it off the closer you get to the “smoke date”. An elevated moisture level will help retain the freshness of a stogie, but when you come to light it the burn will be choppy and inconsistent.
How is Humidity Affected by Where You Live
I also find it useful to employ a little discretion depending on where you live. The aim of the game is to keep the cigars in as close a condition to the environment in which they were manufactured
If you live in a super humid environment, you might get better results from your cigar humidor by turning it down a step or two. Similarly, if you’re in an arid, dry landscape, a humidor might need to do more work to keep the balance right.
This is particularly a slightly older humidor that has worn down over time and is not as perfectly sealed as it used to be.
What to Look For in a Digital Hygrometer
Here are the top criteria to keep an eye out for when considering a new digital hygrometer:
Cigar Humidor Specific
You want the right tool for the job.
There are dozens of general-use hygrometers out there that will put you within a reasonable ballpark, but because they’re designed for large areas they’re generally more approximate than cigar-humidor-specific hygrometers
General use hygrometers are also generally quite clunky or difficult to read properly from inside the humidor.
Humidor-specific hygrometers are built with our specific purpose in mind. They’re more compact, function for longer periods in terms of battery life, and all come with some sort of visibility solution – either adhesive or magnetic.
The gold standard for humidity measurement variance is +/- 1%. In a pinch, I’ll accept 2%, but by the time we get to 3%, that’s getting pretty approximate for such a delicate operation.
Remember, a +/- 3% variance accounts for a 6% range, which is pretty significant.
Temperature is easier to measure than humidity, so pretty much every hygrometer you encounter with a built-in thermometer will be able to get you within +/- 1% temperature variance.
Easy to Read
You don’t want to spend your time trying to decipher your hygrometer. They’re supposed to make life easier.
Go for a digital hygrometer with a simpler, clean display that shows you what you need to know. Humidity and temperature, that’s about it.
This point relates to the need to buy a humidor-specific hygrometer. You’ll need one with an attachment so you can see it at a glance, rather than having to lay it on the base of the humidor and crane your neck to take a peek.
Otherwise, you’ll have to open the door to take a reading, which will unbalance both humidity and temperature
It’s a little like how you wouldn’t want to open the oven while cooking, or you will lose the what as it equalizes with the ambient temperature.
Sometimes if you want a job done properly, you’ve gotta do it yourself.
Most digital hygrometers tend to come pre-calibrated out of the box, but you can’t account for performance changes in different environments and locales.
Even if you find your hygrometer is operating accurately right off the bat, you at least want the opportunity to adjust it later if you choose to.
Smart Sensor Features
Sure, there’s a premium to pay for wireless connectivity, but in my view, it’s worth it for the convenience. Particularly if you go away for a trip, it’s a blessing to be able to keep on your stash from a distance.
FAQ – What you Should Know About the Best Digital Hygrometers
Now you’ve got the right gear, check out our guides below to make sure you’re getting the best deals on your cigars: