Ordering from Amazon can feel like the ideal online experience, especially when it comes to products like cigar and humidor accessories. Convenience, affordability, fast and reliable shipping, pages of options to choose from. And there are options: find everything from accessory standards like torch lighters and cigar cutters to gimmicks like cigar-holding whiskey glasses and a cigar draw enhancer tool.
What you’ll also find are strikingly affordable humidors. Usually, these are alternatives to commonly recognized brands. You can fetch a humidor on Amazon for less than fifty bucks and probably have it delivered the next day to your house if you’re a Prime member. They look, feel, and have the same allure as the humidors you know and trust.
By most indicators in the product description, these more-affordable humidor options on Amazon seem to offer everything their counterparts do, including the standard requirements we know to look for in a quality humidor: Spanish cedar inlay, digital or analog hygrometer, humidification system, aesthetic and functional humidor box. So, what’s the catch?
Let’s explore some caveats to know if that too-good-to-be-true humidor on Amazon is legitimate or not.
How Much Spanish Cedar Does the Humidor Have?
One of our first indicators of quality in a new humidor is the element of Spanish cedar. It’s an easy minimum standard to know just what quality of product you’re considering purchasing. If it has Spanish cedar, it’s a good sign. And many of these humidors on Amazon do.
Spanish cedar, while not the only permissible type of humidor wood, certainly stands as the gold standard when it comes to building a humidor’s interior. This wood is nothing short of miraculous in its ability to hold and release moisture without its integrity being compromised by rot like other porous woods. Spanish cedar also naturally repels insects, putting a good buffer between your cigar loot and tobacco beetles.
Spanish cedar is great, and its price tag matches. This is why, when a suspiciously affordable humidor on Amazon claims to be made with Spanish cedar, we bat an eye. No, it’s not false advertising. Upon inspection, we find that many of these humidors skimp on the cedar, using an almost paper-thin layer to cover the interior.
What should you look for? In the Klaro humidor models, you’ll find fat cedar inserts to ensure an adequate amount of moisture stands in reserve for times when it needs to be released to maintain proper humidification levels. With a sufficient amount of cedar, seasoning your humidor will help it function better for longer. You won’t get that functionality with a deli-meat slice of cedar in your humidor.
How Does the Humidor Control Humidor Humidity?
When it comes to functionality, there’s a bit of Russian roulette you play when purchasing a humidor on Amazon, sight unseen. Sure, buying online comes with its fair share of risk, especially when trying a new brand or product. But with humidors, your chances of getting a dud seem higher. And there are usually a couple of reasons for this:
- Insufficient design and materials (i.e. thin Spanish cedar).
- Poor design quality resulting in a bad seal.
- Shoddy construction (bad joints, excess use of glue.)
Or, worst of all, there’s no humidification system built into the humidor.
When your humidor doesn’t have a dedicated humidifier, you’re left to fend for yourself and rely on humidor packs at $15.00 a bundle, which you’ll have to continue to buy for the longevity of your humidor. Follow the math on this, and that reduced price tag for a “functional humidor” isn’t as appealing when you consider the cost of humidification month over month, year over year.
Often, when a cheap humidor on Amazon claims to include a humidification source, it’s nothing more than an attachable ventilated plastic receptacle that includes a sponge or floral foam inside. These have to be re-moisturized every week or two, and the foam itself needs to be replaced every six months or so–cumbersome upkeep. With a full stock of cigars to support, that’s a lot to ask from a two-inch plastic humidifier.
A quality humidor should include a humidification system that thoroughly supports a full assortment of various cigars and types–and that requires a humidifier that’s purposeful in the design of the humidor. Klaro humidors include a Hydro System, which includes a full-sized tray at the floor of the humidor that contains a propylene glycol solution designed to help regulate humidity levels and that lasts longer than water.
What You Need to Know About Hygrometers for Humidors
The next important component to identify and scrutinize: the humidor hygrometer. It’s an incredibly important component for any humidor–it’s your weathervane, how you know if the humidor is doing its job–and simply slapping an analog hygrometer on the side of a cherry wood box will not give you the accurate information you need. Hygrometers must be well-calibrated to provide a consistent and accurate reading, and the hygrometer needs to be incorporated into the humidor’s design correctly and with precision. Placed in the wrong location or without the correct seals to ensure a quality reading, you’ll struggle to dial in a hygrometer for as long as you own it.
What can you expect from hygrometers on cheap humidors on Amazon? Most humidors on amazon provide humidity gauges that are either analog or their inaccurate digital counterparts. Many analog hygrometers are finicky, and any turbulence to the humidor can also cause them to malfunction. And with humidors on Amazon that have analog hygrometers, there’s a good chance you’ll struggle to maintain a good reading.
Klaro humidors include a custom-designed hygrometer that’s built with multiple silicone seals throughout and includes a silicone backing, ensuring the reading is accurate. After performance testing, Klaro reconfigured the placement of their hygromters to protrude the humidity sensor deeper into the humidor to get a more accurate reading.
Tobacco Nerd Note: You should regularly calibrate your hygrometer, but be especially wary if it provides the same reading, day after day. Your humidor might be that good at maintaining humidity levels, but, more likely, your hygrometer has become defective. Perform calibration and you should see the reading change relatively quickly. If not, the hygrometer is likely defective.
Does Your Humidor on Amazon Include Everything?
Should you decide to add that affordable humidor on Amazon to your cart, pay attention to everything else you end up adding to your cart to go along with it. Better yet, scroll beneath the humidor listing and reference the “Frequently Bought Together” items: humidor packs, crystals, or gels, solution, digital hygrometers, humidifiers, cedar strips. If you have to buy all of this in addition to the humidor box, are you really buying a humidor?
Klaro humidors come with everything you need to start storing your stogies as soon as it arrives. If fact, time it right so the cigars from your cigar subscription arrive that same week. Each humidor comes with Hydro humidification system (humidor solution, the Hydro tray, and gel solution) and you also have the option to add on accessories like Xikar cutters and torch lighters. In fact, Klaro humidors are unique in that many have built-in accessory drawers to store those cutters, lighters, and humidor accessories.
Parting Puffs: Are Humidors for Cheap Worth It?
The trick with a resource like Amazon is to separate the wheat from the chaff, to determine the difference between saving a couple of bucks with a good deal or getting hosed with a rip-off product you were better off never ordering in the first place. We know you might be able to find a functional humidor on Amazon for under $40 dollars, but at what risk of getting a dud? Or a humidor that won’t last the year?
When perusing humidors on Amazon–or anywhere else, for that matter–take stock of the functional elements that matter most. Spanish cedar, a humidifier, a real hygrometer, attention to detail in design. Watch out for product that cut corners–because that could mean putting your cigars at risk, wasting the money, and not finding something you truly value.