Cigar Humidors Explained From A to Z

Cigar Humidors Explained From A to Z

If you smoke cigars regularly then you need a high-quality humidor - it's THE essential storage device for cigars, cigarettes, and pipe tobacco. A humidor is not just a stylish and convenient storage box - its primary purpose is to control the humidity and temperature of your cigars to preserve their quality, flavor, and aroma.

In the below guide, I answer a range of questions including what does a humidor do, how does a humidor work, and why do cigars need a humidor.

What is a Cigar Humidor?

First, let’s start with a basic introduction. A humidor is a storage box typically used for cigars, tobacco leaves, and cigarettes. It’s not just a storage container though and it contains a range of components that allow the internal humidity and temperature to be controlled.

Humidors come in many shapes and sizes ranging from small, portable humidors for travel use, to walk-in humidors that cigar bars usually have. With these walk-in humidors, a room is essentially converted for cigar storage with a complex humidity control system installed.

How Does a Cigar Humidor Work?

As you will see below, cigar humidors have several important components to control the humidity of your cigars, these include:

  • Humidifier
  • Thermostat
  • Hygrometer
  • Storage element

They work together so that you can control the humidity and achieve ideal levels of between 65-72% together with a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This humidity and temperature range preserves your cigars and maintains the flavor, quality, and aroma for longer.

Components of a Cigar Humidor

To the uninitiated, a cigar humidor may look like a simple wooden box. Still, they are so much more than that and have an array of features specifically designed to maintain the humidity and quality of your cigars. Below, I explain the main components of cigar humidors:


The humidifying component is hugely important and the traditional system includes a foam sponge soaked in a solution of 50% water and 50% propylene glycol. This is then stored inside a container and capillary action allows the liquid solution to be released into the humidor to maintain a desirable humidity level.


Aside from humidity, it’s also essential to control the temperature of your cigars, and a general rule of thumb is to achieve a constant temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is done via a built-in thermostat that allows you to change the interior temperature.

Spanish Cedar

Traditional wooden humidors are typically made from Spanish Cedar which is the perfect material as it has a range of important characteristics that help the preservation of your cigars:

  • Greater moisture retention compared to other wood types.
  • Resistant to cupping and warping at higher humidity levels.
  • It can enhance the aroma of your cigars.
  • Prevent an infestation of tobacco beetles.

There is no other wood that is as beneficial for cigar storage but it also looks incredible too. A classic humidor with a gorgeous cedar wood construction will stand out and make a statement when you want to share a cigar with your friends or coworkers.


The final critical component is the hygrometer and this is a simple device that accurately measures the humidity levels inside your humidor.

This is essential as without the correct humidity and moisture, the tobacco inside your cigars will become dry and lose its flavor and aroma. Humidors have either classic analog hygrometers or more modern digital displays.

Why Do Cigars Need to be Kept in a Humidor?

So, what’s all the fuss about using a humidor and why is the humidity important? Simply put, without these controls, the tobacco inside your cigars will become dry and lose its flavor and aroma. This, in turn, means you won’t get the same pleasure, satisfaction, and enjoyable experience as you would from a fresh cigar.

Tobacco grows in certain conditions and the humidor essentially allows you to recreate these conditions and replicate the climate where the plants thrive. Benefits of using cigar humidors include:

  • Keeping the tobacco fresh.
  • Maintaining the flavor and aroma of the cigars.
  • Preventing the growth of mold.
  • Elegant storage solution.

Consider this - without a humidor, an unwrapped cigar typically lasts for just three days before it becomes dry and stale. In contrast, when kept in a humidor with proper humidity and temperature controls, cigars can last for years and still smell and taste fresh.

How to Choose a Good Cigar Humidor?

You should now have a clear idea of what does a humidor do, but how do you choose the right one?

As you can see, at Northwoods humidors we have a superb collection of cigar humidors and you may feel overwhelmed by the volume of choice. To help, I have listed the main features to consider below when choosing your perfect cigar humidor:

  • Size: There are typically four categories of humidors which relate to their size - walk-in (entire storage rooms), cabinet (essentially a piece of furniture), desktop (the most common size - can sit on a coffee table), and travel (much smaller for portable use). Think about how many cigars you usually keep, and which size is suitable for your needs.
  • Quality control: It’s important to assess the quality control features of cigar humidors. Look at the features it has and make sure it includes humidity control, a hygrometer, and temperature control. Also, look at the type of humidity control so you know how often you need to change it to maintain the quality of your cigars.
  • Design: Cigar humidors also make a statement and you want one that appeals to you from a stylistic viewpoint. You can go for a classic wooden design, or maybe you prefer a modern design made with different materials like metal, acrylic, or plastic.
  • Storage: Lastly, consider how many cigars you want to store, and look at the storage compartments inside the humidor. Does it have dividers so you can store different cigar brands? How many cigars can you fit inside?

With these factors considered, you should easily be able to browse our selection of high-quality cigar humidors and find something suitable!

24th Sep 2023 Kevin Kauzlaric

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