You have a wine refrigerator and a beer fridge, yet you keep your cigars in a large plastic Tupperware container. How’s that for consistency? Maybe you recently got into cigar smoking, and you don’t feel like making a commitment. Just remember that cigars are arguably a tad more delicate and prone to ruin than your adult beverages. So even if you only keep a few on hand, it’s important to make sure they’re properly stored to ensure they’re optimal for smoking when the moment descends upon you (nightly for us). That’s where a good humidor comes in.
What is a Humidor?
The simplest definition of a humidor is an airtight container designed to retain moisture for cigar storage. Most humidors take a conventional form of a rectangular box with a lid and base. Most often, humidors are made of wood and have a Spanish cedar lining that’s chosen for its ability to retain moisture over time. They can range from basic boxes to more ornate designs. The aesthetics are secondary, although a still important part of the cigar experience. A humidor’s main purposes are storage and humidification.
Why Do You Need a Humidor?
Even your own home’s environment is subject to large fluctuations in temperature and humidity. A humidor works to maintain at least a consistent relative humidity level, although electric humidors also have the capability of keeping a consistent (and generally cooler) temperature while also keeping the humidity level just right for your sticks.
Even if you smoke infrequently but you choose to keep a box or two on hand, it’s imperative to own a humidor so your sticks stay in optimal condition and ready to smoke. Too much change in humidity and your cigars will go stale, split, or decay if left unattended and poorly maintained. Plastic containers are fine for the short term, but they do nothing in terms of retaining moisture.
What You Should Look For in a Humidor
A decent humidor shouldn’t have to cost you a ton of money, and regardless of what your budget is you should look for one important detail.
The use of Spanish cedar is imperative. Spanish cedar actually isn’t from Spain, nor is it cedar. It’s actually sourced from South America and is from the mahogany family. It’s typically found in humidors because it retains moisture better than most woods. This means repeated openings won’t affect humidity significantly, and this provides a stable, mildly moist environment for your cigars.
For the purposes of this buying guide, we’ll focus on humidors that fall within a reasonable budget of around $200 or less for guys who are just starting to get into cigar smoking. If you’re a beginner smoker, then you’re likely going to be pretty careful about how much you spend on a humidor, and we don’t blame you. I’m still using the $180 Ebony Wood humidor I bought twenty years ago. It’s more than enough for my needs, and that’s really the maximum we would recommend spending for any cigar-smoking novice. We’ve curated the best humidors for beginners below. For recommendations on picking out your very first cigar, we’ve got you covered.
The Best Humidors for Beginners
Case Elegance Renzo Glass Top Humidor
For less than a hundred bucks, you get one of the most complete humidor setups around. The Renzo has wood construction with a full Spanish cedar lining. Perhaps its most vital feature is the Hydro System that consistently maintains 65-70% relative humidity edge to edge, and it also saves space. The glass top is sealed firmly, and the magnetic closure ensures a firm close. The accessory drawer keeps your stogie accouterments front and center, and you can even opt to have a case, cutter, and torch lighter included for a little extra.
Prestige Import The Salvador Humidor
If you got hooked on cigars from the word go, you might want to start with a larger humidor that still fits on a desk. With two levels of cigar storage for up to 250 sticks of capacity, two humidifier units, and a digital hygrometer, this is a humidor you can grow into. The humidification system provides calibration features, temperature and humidity readings, as well as electronic storage of minimum and maximum RH values. The high-lacquer rosewood finish is stunning, and it’s mated to polished silver feet, silver locking hinges, and a silver lock and key set.
Xikar Travel Case Humidor
This should be your secondary humidor for travel. We swear by ours. Not only is it built to withstand globetrotting, but it also seals in humidity with its twin latches and locking ring. The case is crafted of impact and crush-resistant ABS molded plastic, and the seal is so strong that it renders the case airtight and watertight. A contoured foam liner prevents up to 40 cigars from rolling around, and the hinged handle makes for easy carry. A humidification unit comes attached to the inside of the lid, so it’s ready to use.
Bey-Berk Carbon Fiber Humidor with Yellow Lacquered Wood
For a more modern-looking humidor, this version fits the bill. It also looks like it came out of a Cohiba factory with its yellow lacquer exterior and carbon fiber festoonery. The briefcase-style humidor is slim in profile, and the curved ends give it a more artful appearance than your standard box humidor. It holds 25 sticks and comes with a Spanish cedar lining and divider, a built-in external hygrometer, and a charcoal humidification system.
Luenmook Humidor Cabinet
If you prefer a more vertical humidor setup, then the Luenmook Cabinet is ideal because it has the ability to store 100 sticks with a smaller footprint. Three separate Spanish cedar drawers have ample capacity, and they safely keep different sticks apart from each other. The matte finish black walnut exterior is handsome and understated, and the glass door provides viewing pleasure. It comes with a highly accurate digital hygrometer, twin humidifier units, and brass handles for the door and drawers. You get executive-level style and serious cigar storage capacity for less than $200.
Craftsman’s Bench Laredo Humidor
If you prefer your humidor to be understated but capacious, the Laredo is a good choice. The box-style humidor is simple with a wood veneer exterior that’s free of adornment or pattern. Inside, it swallows up to 90 stogies in a Spanish cedar lining, and the hygrometer and humidifier unit are included. It might not qualify as the sexiest humidor around, but it gets the job done with minimalist looks and generous amounts of cigar-loving space.
Case Elegance Carbon Fiber Humidor with Front Digital Hygrometer
If looks, value, and functionality were crammed into one humidor, this would be our choice. The carbon fiber finish looks ultra-modern, and the built-in digital hygrometer that’s exterior-facing is truly unique and prevents your having to open the lid to check. Like all CE humidors, there’s a magnetic closure for security, as well as the Hydro system that maintains 65 to 72% RH at all times.
Jansfuren Humidor with Thermometer Digital Hygrometer and Front Humidifier
Just because you buy a truly affordable beginner humidor doesn’t mean your choice has to look like a glorified shoe box. The Jansfuern has just about everything you’d want for what should be twice its asking price. It has a Spanish cedar interior, a magnetic closure, a glass viewing top, a divider, a humidifier stick, and a built-in digital hygrometer. It’s our guess your first box of cigars will cost way more than this.