The singular purpose of a good humidor is to control the relative humidity of your storage environment. So if humidors are all essentially the same tool for storing cigars, why are there so many options available?
From converted ammo boxes to humidors that cost tens of thousands of dollars, you have a wide range of options. So just how do you know you’re buying a humidor that makes sense for your cigar collection? Start by understanding the differences in humidors, and consider these ten humidor traits to help you decide which is right for you.
An easy filter for your choice in a humidor is size. How many cigars do you currently own, and how many do you expect to own in the future? It’s pretty straightforward. And almost all humidors will list a maximum limit to help prevent overcrowding, which can cause a humidor to underperform.
But how sure are you about the size of your cigar collection and how many cigars you’ll want to store? You might be used to smoking ten cigars a month, so you would only expect to need a humidor with a capacity of around twenty-five to thirty cigars. But what happens when you decide you want to try your hand at aging cigars? Some collectors will age their cigars as much as a year or more, making for a crowded humidor if you haven’t planned accordingly.
There’s not a significant argument against storing a small number of cigars in a larger humidor, so if you have any uncertainty about the number of cigars you’ll want to keep on hand, go a bit bigger on humidor size.
While acrylic and metal humidors exist, most are built with wood or contain wood elements. The reason for this is wood’s ability to retain and release humidity into the air, and there is no better wood for this than Spanish cedar. Even when using an acrylic or non-wood humidor, you’ll often see Spanish cedar planks included–an attempt to get the same properties as from a fully-cedar humidor.
When your humidor is entirely wood, there are typically two different kinds of wood used, one for the interior (Spanish Cedar) and one for the exterior. There are alternatives to Spanish cedar on the humidor's interior–American red cedar or Honduran mahogany–but nothing matches the quality of Spanish cedar.
The exterior wood affects the quality of humidity control less. Cherry, walnut, mahogany, maple, and oak are popular exterior woods.
There are no shortages when it comes to types of humidors. Go by category alone, and you have your work cut out to pick what’s right for you. From vehicle humidors to travel humidors to pocket-sized options, the type of humidor you choose is the basis for this article: what do you want out of a humidor? But here is the shortlist of valid types you might consider based on your cigar collection and usage.
From gels and beads to hydration sticks and humidor packs, humidification systems are what allow a humidor to regulate the relative humidity for your cigars. On many industrial models and some personal humidors, you’ll even find electric humidification systems that give you even more control.
Which is the best for your humidor? Some of this comes down to preference, but consider some practical components, like price, lifecycle duration, refilling, and ease of use.
For example, compare the Case Elegance Hydro Tray with another common humidification system, humidor packs. The Hydro Tray requires refilling, and you can choose between two different types of solution based on the season (winter, non-winter). These are easy to refill. Just adjust frequency and amount based on how dry your cigars are. Humidor packs, alternatively, do not require any type of refilling, but once they’re exhausted, you will need to replace them, and this cost can add up quickly.
Humidor aesthetic is essential. Just consider that there are types of humidors marketed as “humidor furniture.” How your humidor looks on the outside not only should work with the aesthetic of your room, but it’s also a means of expression. Find something that makes sense with your vibe, whether that’s a humidor that resembles a gun case, a more classic, natural look, or something sophisticated, sleek, and modern.
Humidors can do more than hold cigars. Why not include a tray (or trays) to house the various accessories related to cigars. From torch lighters to ashtrays to cigar cutters, the average cigar smoker has at least a handful of options. And the accessory tray can be great for storing humidification supplies, like humidor packs or humidor solution.
Most humidors include a hygrometer, internal or external. So already you have options–would you prefer a hygrometer built-in that’s viewable on the outside of your humidor or placed inside? The benefit of an external hygrometer is that you can check the humidity without opening your humidor.
What about a digital hygrometer versus an analog hygrometer? You can find accurate versions of both, but digital hygrometers are generally more accurate. If you choose to use an analog hygrometer for the sake of aesthetics, just ensure you have it calibrated to ensure accuracy. Look for analog hygrometers built into the humidor case, like the Klaro Renzo.
Ah, the glass dilemma… Many humidors will include a glass component on the cabinet doors or on the top of a desktop humidor to allow a view of the cigars inside. This option is practical and stylish because your humidor will be opened less often to see the contents inside. The less often the humidor opens, the more controlled the relative humidity inside. A win overall.
But the glass poses a problem–hence the dilemma–and it involves the added seal.
Consider a fully wood humidor case, sans glass: there is only one seal to maintain, where the lid or doors meet the humidor's body. Your humidor will generally maintain an airtight seal using built-in magnets and unwarped wood, but a humidor with a bad seal will lose humidity quickly, putting your cigars at risk. An added glass component creates more potential for an imperfect seal because now the air can enter or leave the humidor in two places.
Conclusion? If you go with a glass-top humidor, invest in quality to ensure a trustworthy seal.