Friday, July 9, 2010

Cigar Essentials: The Humidifier

A humidor is basically useless without a good humidifier. I have bought many humidifiers to try to find one that keeps perfect humidity, but doesn’t require changing it every week. Through my trials and tribulations, I have found a few good ones that have worked for me. They all work the same way, fluid is added and slowly evaporated into the humidor, simple! The price, operations, and frequency of care are the most important aspects of a humidifier. When you talk about humidifiers you need to address the different kinds of humidifiers….

Traditional Sponge Humidifiers: These are the most common and some of the cheapest. They are basically an antifungal sponge housed in a plastic casing. They can be fitted to the inside of humidors using Velcro or magnets. They require “cigar juice” or polypropylene solution to keep them moist and humidifying your stogies. I have several of these from many different brands, but my favorite are the VG humidifiers. I have found that these are very effective but require some attention to keep the right humidity. I have found that after some time they need a “time out” and need removed from the box temporarily, to dry out. I place new ones in and let the older ones dry out completely before cycling them back in. This works great and seems to help the humidifiers work more efficiently.

Gel Humidifiers: These are great and require very little care. They are a crystalline gel substance that is saturated with the solution. They usually have markings on the container to show when to fill them up and when to replace, making them very simple. The only problem I have seen is that they are very moist and certain containers are basically open and can spill those little jelly crystals into your humidor. They also seem to have a shelf life and are a little pricier (over the long run) compared to the traditional sponges. Some good brands are Dry-Mistat and HUMI-CARE. 

Electric Humidifiers: These are by far the best and also the most expensive. There are many different models and brands but most have a hygrometer built in and release the evaporated solution to keep that perfect humidity. The biggest problem with these is the large size and battery requirements. If you have a humidor with over a 200 cigar capacity you might as well keep them perfect with one of the best and least maintenance oriented humidifiers. When I get my big cabinet humidor, I am definitely getting one of the mini electric humidifiers. Some good brands are Cigar Oasis and Hydra.

Packet or Pillow Humidifiers: I have had limited experience with these but they have been pretty effective. Most of my online orders come with the pillow humidifiers. They have kept the cigars moist but they are wet and have caused swelling because of the cigar being pressed against the actual wet pillow. They now have plastic trays that can be inserted into humidors that house the pillows and separate them from the actual cigars to keep them from touching. I think this would make changing out the pillows every month or so, very easy but my only concern is that your spare pillows will dry out over time and require constant ordering. It is much easier to store a bottle of cigar juice than to store pre-moisten pillows. A good brand is Boveda

So there you have it! That is everything I have learned from taking care of my precious little stogies, I hope this has helped. As for my recommendation, just use the traditional ones till you get a big humidor for all those fancy cigars you will be smoking! At that point the mini electric ones will fit your needs better.

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