There are a lot of cigar aficionados that take their cigar appreciation seriously. Very seriously. And rightfully so. There are so many makers, so many types, so many styles of cigars available on the market today that if you really want to get the most enjoyment from your cigars, it’s best to try a wide variety so you can be absolutely certain what you like the most.
Of course, no matter what level of appreciation you find yourself at, a humidor is an obvious choice to amplify your enjoyment.
Not unlike cigars themselves, humidors come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. Some are perfectly happy with a simple travel humidor which easily holds just a couple of cigars at a time. Some buy up several at a time and require larger space to store their cigars. Others go all out with the hobby and buy up as many as they can find, which requires a larger style of humidor, called a cabinet humidor.
So how do you know if a cabinet humidor is right for you? There are several factors that can help you find an answer.
What is a Humidor?
Before we go too far, let’s look at what a humidor is and how exactly one works. In short, a humidor is a device that stores your cigars in an optimal environment. Cigars can be fickle things. They prefer a very certain level of humidity. Should they be stored in an area that’s too dry, the tobacco’s oils will dry out and evaporate, leaving the cigar brittle and producing an acrid, unpleasant smoke. Should they be stored too moist, your stogies may get damp and mold—and even become a breeding ground for tobacco beetles.
Most commonly, humidors are small- to medium-sized boxes that hold a certain number of cigars, depending on size. Check out our line of Klaro humidors for this style of humidorHowever, they can range from very small (travel-sized) to as large as a room, which you’ve likely seen if you’ve ever visited a store with a specialized walk-in humidor.
Most casual smokers don’t need a full walk-in humidor, but many find themselves with plenty to fill up a small or medium-sized version.
How Does a Humidor Work?
Humidors are built to maintain a very precise level of humidity inside—hence why cigars thrive in them. This is in part due to their construction, what they’re made of, and a special process called “seasoning.”
Their inner lining is made of a wood with particularly absorbent qualities, called Spanish cedar. During the seasoning process, the Spanish cedar soaks up a certain amount of moisture. As the wood naturally breathes, it releases some into the box itself and the cigars, in turn, absorb part of the moisture.
The seasoning process is what makes the magic happen. While there are a lot of theories on seasoning, our research and experience with our own Klaro humidors uses a process that is proven effective.
Instead of rubbing the Spanish cedar with water like others recommend (this can actually cause the wood to warp, which damages the humidor and makes it less efficient at holding humidity), our process uses a specially designed formula and crystals in a specified hydrotray to help reach ideal humidity. It’s our experience that another common two-way humidification system also is less than ideal to create the perfect environment for your cigars.
What is a Cabinet Humidor?
So what does all this have to do with a cabinet humidor? Well, everything. A cabinet humidor works the same way as a traditional humidor does—just on a larger scale.
While a traditional humidor is a small box with a hinged lid—like our Desktop Analog Cherry Humidor—a cabinet humidor is just what it sounds like: a large cabinet, usually with one or two doors that swing out, though a cabinet humidor may utilize drawers as an alternative. The more tech-forward versions may look more like a wine fridge than a cabinet.
Cabinet humidors can themselves be large or small. They’re made to hold anywhere from 600 to 4,000 cigars. Clearly, if you’re someone who likes their stogies, then you’re the type of person who may need a cabinet humidor.
Some cabinet humidors come with built-in or adjustable temperature control and humidification systems. They still require regular seasoning, but often less thanks to these controls.
A nice feature on many cabinet humidors is glass in the doors—although that’s not one that’s unique to cabinets. You’re able to clearly see and pre-select the cigar you want to smoke before opening the door, thereby mitigating the amount of time you spend with the door open (which reduces the amount of moisture lost).
Do You Need a Traditional Humidor or a Cabinet Humidor?
As you can probably tell by now, the primary difference between a traditional humidor and a cabinet humidor is the number of cigars it fits. Realistically, for most cigar aficionados—from the casual even to the quite serious—a traditional humidor that holds up to 100 cigars will do just fine.
One clear note of distinction between the two: cabinet humidors lean on the expensive side. This is by no means the rule, but once you’re looking at a cabinet, you should plan on spending a healthy amount of money. Many cigar smokers would prefer to invest in cigars themselves, rather than an expensive storage system.
For the serious collector or a particularly generous cigar-lover, on the other hand, a cabinet humidor is far better suited. Cabinet humidors aren’t rare in homes, by any means, but they’re far less common than traditional humidors. It’s great fun to invite a bunch of friends over for a game or celebration, and crack open your cabinet humidor to spread around a number of cigars. If nothing else, you’re bound to make the crew plenty jealous of your set up.
Where cabinet humidors are more common, however, is in places like airline lobbies, hotels, lounges, clubs, and stores that specialize in cigar sales. And if you’re interested in or planning to get into the cigar selling business, then you should absolutely be considering a cabinet humidor. Otherwise, if you live by the old adage “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em,” a traditional humidor box should serve your needs just fine.