Humidors run the gamut on price. Like all things, there’s a spectrum, and at the farthest end of ours are the humidors of status–those exorbitant, lavish things that go boldly into the realm of ludicrous. When you spend $1 million for a humidor, you aren’t just paying for substance or functionality. But at what point along the spectrum does the price tag justify what you can get from your humidor?
We’re looking at the $2000 range of humidors–the higher echelon of humidor options that might still argue having some merit beyond indulgence. In a recent post, we talked about the qualities you can expect to get from the $100-$300 range. We found you can expect quite a lot. And now, at ten times the price, we want to know if the quality and performance of a $2000 humidor makes sense.
A humidor, regardless of price, accomplishes the same thing: to preserve and protect the quality of your cigars and improve the smoking experience. We’re looking at the price component to understand the drastic differences and to learn what conveniences or functional improvements a humidor in the $2000 range provides.
Paying for Technology (and Convenience)
Complete humidity and temperature control are key elements to many humidors in the higher price range. Instead of having to monitor a hygrometer, manually add solution, add/remove cigars, or even open your humidor to control the humidity, why not control everything with an interactive digital LED display? Or keep your stash protected with biometric access? You’ll pay more for tech options, but they might bring the peace of mind you want.
Most electric humidors will allow the user to automate everything, including airflow, humidity levels, and temperature–so you can set it and forget it. And when it comes to qualifying the increased price tag, convenience alone might be enough. Lots of cigar lovers are willing to shell out more money if it means owning a reliable, self-managing piece of equipment, and humidor electric options can take the worry out of the game.
But just how much worry is there? Sure, the ease and streamlined capability of an electric humidor is nice, but a well-crafted humidor box with long-trusted, natural features like Spanish cedar inlay will more than suffice.
The Electric Humidor Humidifier (and How Many)
Why are electric humidors so expensive, anyway? Well, the humidification system is different–and more extensive, with the ability to more closely regulate humidity levels and distribute airflow with the use of fans.
While traditional box humidors rely on simple, standard humidification elements like trays, beads, crystals, or humidor packs, electric humidors will employ the use of electric humidifiers–and sometimes several of them.
Electric humidifiers have some great benefits, and they’re designed for tower humidor and humidor cabinet setups, where more humidity distribution is needed. But they also come with a high price tag, often ranging between $100-$250 each. The larger your humidor, the more you’ll need, and this adds up. Walk-in humidors, for example, will require electric humidifiers enough to match their cubic footage.
More Size, More Responsibility (and More Wood)
When it comes to many large humidors in this price range, maybe the word “humidor” falls flat–these are vaults. We’re talking about the +2000 cigar capacity humidors, humidor cabinets, and walk-in humidors. Not only do these require a robust humidification system–like electric humidifiers–but the sheer amount of material needed to build these increases the price tag.
We’ve seen DIY walk-in humidors quoted in the $2000 range. But using Spanish cedar can double the price of materials alone. Then add the cost of a commercial-grade humidifier or two depending on the size, more hardware for drawers, and circulation fans–the costs can grow. The bigger you go, the more work you’ll need to manage the distribution of humidity to all cigars in storage–and typically the cost goes up with size.
Aesthetic, Craftsmanship, Design (and Experimentation)
Especially for traditional box humidors, craftsmanship, design, and artistic freedom often earn a higher price tag. Just take a look at these lines of humidors from Elie Bleu–elegantly crafted and obviously focused on providing a humidor as an art piece as much as a functional cigar container. Here, the veneers used are of a higher quality and grade, and you’re paying for the craftsmanship and design as much as the materials and functionality.
If you’ve compared the interior of a $100,000 car to a $20,000 car, you know some of the bells and whistles just don’t justify the price. However, if you’ve ever driven a $100,000, there’s a good chance that experience left a lasting impression, and the bells and whistles were only a supporting feature. The functionality and performance have to speak for themselves.
There comes a certain amount of risk with humidors that sell for the aesthetic quality, and it doesn’t always work out as intended. Veneers, done imperfectly, come apart quickly. Without quality craftsmanship and expert knowledge of exotic woods, the joints and seals fail. Too often these higher-priced humidors never ante up with performance.
Brand and Pomp (and Fluff)
You’re going to see expensive humidors with bells and whistles, anniversary-issue or special-edition models, those with brand marketing in mind (like this $2.7 million humidor), and even antique humidors that attach their backstory to the price tag. This happens on a smaller scale too, and you're wise to investigate whether the higher price is attributed to quality or brand and pomp.
That’s not to say you can’t have both quality and pomp. Take for example the Davidoff Air De Famille Ziricote, a very high-end humidor with its cost attributed to craftsmanship, incredible exotic woods, and the fact that it's a Davidoff redesign.
Humidor boxes in this range are in a class of their own–because you can’t warrant the price with technology or extended function like you can with an electric humidor with a large capacity. Instead, the money goes to the rare materials, to the exclusivity factor (the Ziricote is a waitlisted item), and to the craftsmanship and wow factor.
The risk is the fluff–the humidors whose selling point is the jaw-dropping price tag itself. Because you’re likely not paying for quality–you’re paying for the image, the brand name, and the pomp.
Without question, the cigar industry can sometimes err to the side of status, class, luxury, and grandeur–and sometimes just for the sake of appearances. There’s nothing wrong with quality products on the high-end–especially when they’re functional. In fact, when you see some of the quality of these humidors in person, the price tag makes a lot more sense. But our job as cigar enthusiasts is to separate the filler from the killer and determine what’s legitimate.
Basics are important. As soon as different designs, exotic woods, and technology come into play, the better off you’ll be inspecting the seal, consistent humidity levels over time, and the quality of craftsmanship. In our experiences, the best humidors–even in the $2000 range–follow suit and hit the basics first before experimenting with luxury and aesthetics.
At Klaro, each of our humidors is designed and manufactured with the smoking experience in mind–your cigars should maintain their integrity during the storing process to ensure you experience the complete flavor profile intended by the growers, rollers, and tobacconists. That means a simple, consistent humidification process, reliable components like a hygrometer and Spanish cedar inlay, and careful evaluation of the humidor’s ability to stay consistent in different climates and environments.