When you are a cigar lover, whether an aficionado or a recent devotee, you will begin amassing a collection of your favorite cigars. That presents the dilemma of storing your cigars and keeping them in good shape for future smoking. Enter the humidor.
A humidor is a box, lined with a special kind of wood, usually Spanish Cedar, and designed to seal in a way that maintains an interior environment ideal for preserving and protecting your wonderful cigar collection. In order for the tobacco that makes up your favorite smoke to retain its integrity, preserving the oils that contribute to the flavor and the even burn, it must be stored in the ideal temperature and humidity. Your humidor performs this task of protecting and preserving your cigars with the help of the hygrometer.
Calibrating Your Hygrometer
The hygrometer is one of the most important tools to ensure proper storage of your cigar collection. Cigars need to be kept at the right humidity level so as not to dry out and not to mold. The ideal level of humidity for maintaining your cigars in perfect smoking condition is usually between 68% and 72% relative humidity.
Your hygrometer measures the humidity of the inside environment of your humidor. By keeping track of this vital information you know that your cigars are being stored appropriately and will be ready to smoke when next you want one.
Calibrating your hygrometer is a necessary duty for any cigar lover. There are a few different ways you can calibrate your hygrometer and ensure the integrity of your treasured stogies. One of the easiest ways is by the “salt method”. Here’s how it works:
- Place a teaspoon of salt in a small cup.
- Add a few drops of water. Add enough to make the salt wet but not cause it to dissolve.
- Place the cup with the damp teaspoon of salt in an airtight container. Many people use a zip-top baggie or a sealable plasticware container. Just make sure it is airtight.
- Set the container with the cup containing the damp salt somewhere where it won’t be disturbed for up to eight hours.
- After six to eight hours take a reading with your hygrometer.
- If the reading differs from 75% relative humidity calibrate your sensor until you achieve a reading of 75% relative humidity.
While this method isn’t the most exact, scientifically, it does work to calibrate your hygrometer. This method is also a reliable one to reset your hygrometer. If you think your hygrometer is providing you with inaccurate information use the salt method to reset your device.
If you are skeptical regarding the salt method for calibrating your hygrometer there are other ways to do so. The Boveda One-Step Hygrometer Calibration Kit works with both analog and digital hygrometers and takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out if the reading you’re getting is accurate. In fact the Boveda Kit is so dependable it’s used in laboratories and by professional chemists. Reliable and professional, what else would you expect from the Boveda brand?
Reading Your Hygrometer
Hygrometers for cigar humidors come in two types; analog and digital. Digital hygrometers, much like digital scales, provide readings so exact you’ll see fractions of percentage points. An analog hygrometer is much like an analog scale in that it does not express the reading in decimal points but is fairly easy to discern nonetheless.
Because humidity is essential to the integrity of your cigars and their safe keeping you must become familiar with your hygrometer. In other words you must trust and work with this device to ensure protection of your stogie collection. Once you’ve properly seasoned and prepped your humidor in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions simply place your hygrometer inside the humidor for about four to six hours. After this time check the relative humidity. For optimal cigar storage it should read between 68% and 72%. This is the measurement of the humidity in the box in which you store your cigars.
Always place your hygrometer inside the closed humidor to make sure you get a proper reading. If you believe your hygrometer is not accurate simply follow our instructions for resetting it via the salt method or use the Boveda Kit available from Northwoods Humidors.
What Type of Hygrometer is Best?
Both the analog and digital hygrometers are adjustable and easy to recalibrate. While some cigar aficionados claim that the digital versions are more accurate than the analog hygrometer this has never been proven. Both digital and analog measure relative humidity inside your humidor within 2%-5%. But remember you do need to calibrate either type regularly.
Of course the traditional aesthetic of the analog is preferred by those who like the old school look. Others prefer the modern appearance of the digital format. The single most important factor is personal taste. Just like selecting the perfect humidor let your sense of style be your guide when deciding on the right hygrometer.
The Importance of Your Hygrometer
Cigar humidor hygrometers are extremely important because of the information they provide. You really can’t, nor should you, “guesstimate” the relative humidity inside your humidor. Your home environment, where your humidor is placed and even how often you open it to retrieve a cigar all have an impact on the interior humidity. Guessing puts your favorite cigars at risk for drying out and degrading, mold and mildew ruining them and an infestation of tobacco beetles. The hygrometer is the surest way to keep your treasured smokes in ideal condition so the next time you desire a moment of pause and reflect complete with your favorite cigar it’s ready.
Cigar Storage Expertise
For more on hygrometers and the best way to store your cigars contact the cigar pros at Northwoods Humidors. We offer a full one of humidors and accessories including the latest in hygrometers. Reach out to Northwoods Humidors today and stop putting your cigar collection at risk.