Think about a humidor as a home for your cigars. It’s all about creating a habitat that keeps your smokes in perfect condition, so you can enjoy them the most when you light up.
For your cigars to stay in shape, they need moisture. Remember – cigars are basically just a bundle of leaves, and if they get dry they won’t taste good.
There are two main things you’ll want to consider when deciding on the best humidors for your cigars.
The number 1 priority of any humidor should be whether it holds a good, air-tight seal. Without that, you’re going to struggle to maintain your humidity and the whole exercise becomes pointless.
You need to be able to trust the seal on your container to protect your cigars, with no exceptions.
Once you’ve got that handled, then you can start to think about your individual needs:
- What size humidor do you need to comfortably store your collection?
- Do you want something transparent or with a viewing window so you can easily admire/monitor your cigars?
- How important is temperature regulation to you?
Just like the cigars themselves, buying a humidor is a very personal thing. What you consider value for money is going to vary based on what you actually need.
For example – A 50-cigar humidor is not good value if you want to store 500 – because you’ll need 10 of them.
So with that in mind, I’m going to step through the best solutions for whatever stage of the cigar journey you’re on.
Let’s get into it.
Acrylic Jar – The Best Choice for Beginners
If you’re at day 1 with cigar storage, I’d recommend an acrylic container.
They’re inexpensive and incredibly airtight.
An acrylic humidor is so much better than a cheaper wooden humidor because the seal is so much tighter.
Plus, you won’t need to season it. When you’re getting into monitoring humidity and temperature for the first time, it’s much more manageable to go for this low-maintenance option.
Most acrylic cigar jars have space to fit about 20 cigars, which should be plenty for you if you’re new to the hobby.
You can get some with a humidifier built in, but I find it’s best to just get an empty jar and throw a Boveda pack in there. These sachets are reliable and will last 6 – 9 months in an airtight jar.
It’s far less hassle than adjusting and maintaining a built-in humidifier that was probably made very cheaply.
Some acrylic jars come with a Spanish cedar base to add an aroma that will help your cigars age. If yours doesn’t, feel free to take some of the strips that often come in cigar tubes and throw them in your jar. The effect will be the same.
I prefer transparent jars so I can admire my collection and see my hygrometer without having to open the jar.
I’ve had this super airtight mason jar from Famous Smoke Shop for a few years now, and it’s never let me down. If I was starting from scratch with cigars today, this would be the pick I’d choose.
There’s enough space for 20 cigars, and this jar keeps humidity very, very consistent. Not bad for $17.
The only issue with transparent jars is that you don’t want to keep them in direct sunlight, or you’ll suffer a greenhouse effect that could spike the temperature inside the jar and damage your stogies.
If you want something that you can keep on display at all times, check out the Humi Jar.
- Best Price: Check Famous Smoke Shop Here
It’s just as effective at retaining humidity, but it will also prevent UV rays from corrupting your cigars. Plus, it looks more modern than a transparent jar, which may fit your aesthetic better.
Wooden Humidors – Keep it Simple or Don’t Bother
When you think of the word humidor, this is probably what you imagine. A classy-looking wooden box that you can present on your counter, probably with some kind of viewing window to show off your smokes.
The problem is unless you’re willing to throw down some real money, these things are mainly eye candy.
Real wood is unbelievably expensive, so any budget wooden humidors you buy on Amazon are going to be made from particle board. They’re just composite wood chips and glue with a Spanish cedar veneer, and look a lot classier than they actually are.
Compared to acrylic humidors, wooden humidors have far more seams that can leak humidity – not just the top like with a jar.
So the message here is that if you want a wooden humidor with all the bells and whistles, you need to be ready to invest some serious money.
For the same cash, it’s far better to go for a tightly sealed wooden box than something with flimsy glass, or a built-in hygrometer that’s unreliable.
Of the wooden variants, the one that’s served me best is the Old Glory by Quality Importers.
The lid has a really tight seal, allowing for consistent humidity levels. I’ve yet to find it over 70% or below 69% humidity – which is a great improvement on the flimsy glass top humidor I had before, which barely kept 50%.
Stand Up Cooledor – The Premium Pick (You Get What You Pay For)
This is a step up in terms of price, but if you want the perfect conditions for more expensive cigars, you’ll need a humidor with temperature regulation.
These cigar coolers go by many names – wineador, refigador, cooledor – but they all do the same thing. They’re basically a humidity-controlled fridge for your stogies.
We already spoke about the importance of a tight seal in retaining humidity, and you don’t get a better seal than a refrigerator door.
With options that aren’t temperature controlled, your cigar’s temperature is basically dictated by how warm the ambient environment is.
For example, if you keep your smokes at the office, you could be exposing your smokes to temperature shock whenever the AC goes off over the weekend.
With a regular humidor, the only way to maintain optimal conditions as the seasons change is by spending a fortune on AC or central heating.
Cooledors help you around this by keeping things nice and chill – and the best ones have the ability to lightly heat cigars in the winter, too.
Sure, it’s a more expensive option, but it will give you total peace of mind about your smokes. Definitely worth the investment if you have a lot of money tied up in your collection.
Some cooledors can arrive from the factory with a slightly plasticky smell that will bleed into your cigars over time and influence the taste. So before you rip up your receipt, open up the cooledor and check whether you smell cedar or plastic
I have the NeedOne Cooler Cabinet Humidor, which has shelves made out of Spanish cedar that produce a beautiful, classic aroma.
- Best Price: Check Amazon Here
It has a fan that keeps the humidity and distribution nice and consistent throughout the whole cooler, with space for 150 cigars.
This cooledor looks beautiful and high-end, and always gets attention when I have guests over. It’s really easy to examine your collection through the glass, and the premium look makes it a feature piece of my living room rather than just a practical object.
You control it through a touchpad that’s super-easy to use, and it runs incredibly quietly – which is more than can be said for some cooledors. It sounds about as loud as a laptop, to give you some idea.
So if you’re looking for a zero-compromise humidor investment that is built to last, this is what I’d recommend.
If You’re Not Ready to Invest…
If you’re on a tighter budget, there’s still plenty you can do to keep a smaller cigar collection fresh.
Humidor bags are a great way to keep your cigars fresh for up to a year if you’re more concerned about freshness than presentation.
Best Price: Check Amazon Here
Humidor bags cost about a buck each and let you keep around 10 cigars in an airtight, humidity-controlled environment with their set-it-and-forget-it packs.
Just be aware that the same rules apply here as with transparent acrylic containers. They won’t control the temperature, and they won’t protect your cigars from sunlight.
Be aware: a zip lock bag is not the same as a humidor bag.
Zip locks are not airtight and won’t offer you anything like the same level of humidity retention.
You’ll also need to include a boveda pack to regulate the humidity. These sachets last for months at a time and are very effective in my experience.
The Humble Tuppedor
If you’re looking for a DIY quick fix, you can always turn to the trusty Tuppedor.
The most important thing about retaining humidity is a tight seal, and that’s exactly what Tupperware boxes are designed for.
I recommend picking up a Rubbermaid container, which has a flexible plastic lid to give the tightest possible seal.
- Best Price: Check Amazon Here
Throw in a boveda pack and a digital hygrometer and you’ll have an improvised humidor that actually works surprisingly well.
What You Need to Know for Your Humidor to Perform Best
Use a Digital Hygrometer to Track Your Humidity Accurately
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.
I like the look and feel of an analog hygrometer, but in the end, I had to move over to a digital hygrometer. They are just so much more accurate, and that matters for protecting my best cigars.
I use the Cigar Oasis Caliber 4R. It looks more like a pocket watch than a digital humidor, with a round face and a wonderful gold matte finish that looks amazing. It’s also very accurate with just a +/- 1% variance.
Best Price: Check Amazon Here
It’s designed to fit snugly inside the lid through a strong magnet and adhesive mount, making it easy to read temperature and humidity even through the glass of a cigar humidor.
Best of all, the Cigar Oasis Caliber 4R is very reasonably priced. So you can get the premium feel, without a premium budget.
- To find out which digital hygrometer is best for your humidor, check out our full guide.
How to Calibrate a Digital Hygrometer For a Humidor
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.
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.
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.
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.
For more tips on setting up your digital hygrometer, check out our full guide.
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.
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.
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.
Monitor the Humidity Levels
If the humidity has dropped after a while, it could be that your boveda pack needs replacing or your humidification device needs recharging.
There can be more reasons why the humidor is losing humidity. The most common problem is that the cigars block the humidification device. Simply move the cigars, and this should not be an issue anymore.
A loose seal on your humidor may also lead to a drop in humidity. Ensure to check the seals more often just to be sure they are not leading to loss of humidity.
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.
How to Maintain Your Humidor for Excellent Performance
Here are the steps I take to maintain my humidor and keep it working properly:
Keep the humidor out of the sun
You are trying to keep the internal humidity at 70%, and having the humidor exposed to direct sunlight might prevent this from happening.
It is advisable to keep the humidor in a cool dark place for the best performance. Still, ensure the place is not a humid environment as this may damage the wood.
Keep your humidifier device in good condition
For humidors with built-in humidifiers, make sure you check on the humidifier every few weeks and refill it if necessary.
If you’re using boveda packs to regulate your humidity, make sure you’re replacing them regularly. They normally last for between 6 – 9 months in an acrylic jar or 2 – 4 months in a wooden humidor.
Keep an eye on the hygrometer
The hygrometer is essential to tell you about the humidity level in the humidor.
We recommend checking on the hygrometer reading each week. If the humidity level is around 70%, then it is all good. However, if it keeps dropping drastically, it might be time to check what the issue is.
Sometimes the humification device needs recharging after using it for several months. Another reason could be the cigars are blocking the humidification device.
Always take the right steps to restore the humidity to the optimal level to keep the cigars fresh.
How to Season a Humidor
If you’re using a wooden humidor, you’ll have to make sure you season your humidor before using it for the best results.
I have written a full guide on how to season your humidor properly, but here’s the quick version:
Dampen the Humidor
Use the soaked sponge to wipe the inside of the humidor.
Make sure to dampen the humidor inside rather than wet it. Too much water may damage the wood in the humidor.
Activate the humidification device
Soak the humidification device in activating solution or distilled water to activate it.
Place the humidification device back into the humidor once it is activated.
Add a seasoning agent to the humidor
A “seasoning agent” is a water source to get the humidor working at the right humidity level.
If your humidor doesn’t have a water tray, using a sponge soaked in distilled water will work just fine.
Add your seasoning agent and close the humidor.
Give the humidor time to reach optimal humidity
Most cigar brands recommend keeping the humidor with a humidity level of 65% to 73% – so you should shoot for around 70%.
This process can take a few days, depending on the ambient temperature and humidity in the room.
Once the humidity level has been achieved, remove the seasoning agent.
Keep the humidor cigar-free for at least 24 hours. The aim is to monitor the humidity levels just to be sure it is being maintained within the right range for cigar storage.
Once you are sure the humidor is maintaining a humidity level of around 70%, you can add cigars to it.
If you enjoyed reading about how to choose a humidor that’s right for you, check out some of our other guides for beginner cigar fans: