From the freshly initiated to the practical semi-professional, walk-in humidors are something of a dream among cigar aficionados. It’s a mark of commitment to the hobby when you graduate from a small humidor—whether you’re using a kitchen storage container or a nice, personalized humidor box. Moving to a walk-in version, though, is proof that you’re very serious about the hobby. It’s also proof you have way too many cigars to fit casually in one or two personal humidors.
Are you considering a walk-in humidor? They’re not quite the same as more traditional types of humidors. Here, we’re going to look at walk-in humidors to figure out exactly what marks them tick, why they’re so special, and help you determine if a walk-in humidor is right for you.
What is a Humidor?
A humidor is ultimately a storage vessel for your cigars–even walk-in humidors. For relative long-term storage (as in, longer than buy-it-and-smoke-it), cigars need a special type of environment to thrive. Humidity levels are very important to cigars, and humidors provide them with the optimal conditions to maintain excellent smokeability.
When cigars aren’t stored in a humid environment, they dry out. All of those rich, luxurious oils within the tobacco evaporate away. Instead of a premium, enjoyable smoke full of flavor and aroma, you end up with one that’s acrid and unpleasant. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when cigars are stored in an environment that’s too humid, there’s a big risk that they’ll go moldy. As if the thought of smoking a moldy cigar wasn’t bad enough, they might also become infested with tobacco beetles.
A humidor is—usually—a box that helps keep cigars at the perfect humidity and temperature. These come in a wide range of sizes, from travel cases that hold two or three, to personal humidors that fit up to 50, to mini-fridge-sized humidors that can hold many more. Some small humidors require seasoning, which is the process of humidifying the interior of the box to help create that perfect storage environment. By introducing liquid inside the humidor, the Spanish cedar lining absorbs part of the humidity. When the box breathes, it creates the ideal place to store stogies.
But a walk-in humidor is obviously in a different category than a desktop humidor. What makes it different?
How is a Walk-in Humidor Different Than a Traditional Humidor?
There’s one clear distinction marking the difference between a walk-in humidor and a traditional, personal humidor. Just like a walk-in closet or a wine cellar, you can walk into your walk-in humidor and have more space to find exactly which cigar you’re looking for. It’s a perfectly sealed environment—one that has a door that keeps the humidity inside.
Another big difference is the seasoning process of a walk-in humidor. Likely, the walls will still be lined with Spanish cedar—a particularly absorbent type of mahogany—though it’s not always necessary. It will still take time to get the wood humidified correctly, but instead of re-introducing humidity, your walk-in humidor will likely have a humidification system that keeps the humidity and temperature set perfectly. Simply dial in the number and forget about it.
Aside from the massive amount of space that a walk-in humidor affords you, the biggest perk is the ability to maintain consistent humidity levels without intervention. (Though humidor seasoning isn’t a difficult process—you can read all about seasoning a personal humidor in our guide to seasoning).
How Much Does a Walk-In Humidor Cost?
There are clear perks to owning a walk-in humidor, and as long as you have the space to dedicate to it (and the cigars to fill it) it may be perfect for you. But the real question: how much does a walk-in humidor cost? Unfortunately, that’s not an easy question to answer.
If you’re handy and choose to build your own, you can save a decent amount of money. That said, it’s very important to know what you’re doing when you’re not only investing a good chunk just in the materials but also trusting in your new creation to appropriately store your presumably large stogie collection. Many choose to convert small closets into walk-in humidors. The cost for this to build it yourself, based on a closet that’s about 6 feet wide x 3 feet deep x 9 feet all should be around $2000—if you choose a wood other than Spanish cedar. If it’s Spanish cedar or bust for you, then expect that cost to double and make it around $4000.
That is, of course, if you’re handy enough to do the build yourself. If you’d like a professional to build and install your new walk-in humidor, you should expect to pay no less than $5000, but realistically, you’ll probably want to double that number as well and assume about $10,000 all told. They’re not cheap, but a well-built walk-in humidor is well worth the effort when you’re serious about your cigar appreciation.
Do I Need a Walk-In Humidor?
Now you know all about walk-in humidors, the question remains: do you need one? That question is ultimately up to you (and any partner who helps you make big financial decisions). If you’re opening a store that specializes in cigars, then absolutely you do. If you’re looking for a home version, there’s more to consider.
Is showing off your cigar collection inside your home something that you really value? As useful as a walk-in humidor is, another aspect of it is the aesthetic and its museum-quality display of your cigar collection. But could you get the same effect from a glass top humidor?
How many cigars do you really own? Are you buying many, many more than you’re removing? Walk-in humidors usually hold upwards of 50 boxes of cigars—and each box usually holds 25-50, depending on their size.
Do you have space in your home to dedicate to a large humidor? Walk-in humidors can be as small and practical as you need (like a repurposed closet mentioned above) but they do take up real estate that can only be used as a humidor in the future. Also consider that if it’s not your forever home, a walk-in humidor might not add value when it comes time to sell—given that your buyer may not appreciate cigars as much as you do.
If a walk-in humidor isn’t right for you, protecting your cigars should still be a top priority. Instead, check out our complete guide to humidors to learn which might be best for your collection.