What Distinguishes a Great Humidor vs. a Mediocre Humidor?

What Distinguishes a Great Humidor vs. a Mediocre Humidor?

A humidor is necessary for proper cigar storage and an investment every serious cigar smoker should make. Cigar humidors are designed for proper storage of your cigar collection. This task requires maintaining the exact right temperature and relative humidification within that prevents the tobacco drying out or becoming too damp and growing mold. As long as you have a humidor that performs as it should your stash will be smokable for the foreseeable future. But, just like with automobiles, there are some known lemons out there in humidor land.

Distinguishing between a great humidor and one that’s run-of-the-mill or even subpar can sometimes be difficult. And just because a specific humidor checks all the boxes for one cigar lover doesn’t mean its the right choice for you to stash your stogies. Here we delve into just what distinguishes a great humidor from a mediocre one.

What Makes a Humidor Great?

There are many different humidors available for the discerning cigar lover. Finding one that appeals to your sense of style, demands of your cigar collection, personal preferences and wallet isn’t all that difficult. With the array of available humidors there really is something for everyone. Look around and you’ll find stunning heirloom quality boxes, large capacity humidors that are part of the room’s furniture, colorful boxes that are part of a collection of stylish cigar accessories and simple-yet-elegant humidors that perform as well as the more extravagant styles.

The last thing you want to do is subject your beloved cigar collection to a box that just can’t keep up and keep your stogies in excellent smoking shape. Even with a vast array of humidors in various sizes, styles and price points it can be difficult to identify a great humidor among some that may be mediocre. At Northwoods Humidors we don’t let you settle for mediocre. Here we present the ways you can distinguish between a great humidor and a mediocre humidor.


While cost may be an indicator of humidor excellence there are some great humidors that don’t carry a hefty price tag at all. There are differences in the materials used in the humidor’s construction and they will absolutely have a bearing on the price, but there is also a wealth of diversity among today’s humidors that have a bearing on whether you find a great humidor or a mediocre humidor.

Cheap humidors, or the mediocre ones, are sometimes difficult to spot outright. Of course if the price is unbelievably low then it may only last a few months at best and at worst, ruin your entire cigar collection. Sometimes you can tell from where the humidor is manufactured. Made in China? Look at the humidor very closely before you opt to purchase. The construction may be shoddy and the materials subpar.

Construction Materials

A great humidor is constructed from Spanish Cedar. This is considered the optimum wood for keeping your cigars in excellent shape. The wood retains the right amount of moisture so your smokes don’t dry out or become damp. Spanish Cedar lined humidors also prevent cigar tobacco beetle infestation which can and does decimate entire cigar collections. You sure don’t want your cherished cigars going buggy.

While humidor purists do rely on Spanish Cedar and would never think of using another wood some of the better humidors may be lined with American Red Cedar or Honduran mahogany. Don’t rule them out just because of the wood.

If you find yourself leaning toward a humidor made from something other than Spanish Cedar perform your due diligence; read reviews and research before investing. Also stay away from Cedar veneers. You want a great humidor box that is constructed from cedar planks.


No matter the cost of your humidor the great ones will seal completely. If your humidor can’t maintain a proper seal the relative humidity fluctuates causing the humidification system to work overtime and require frequent calibration. A faulty seal can also cause your sugars to degrade rapidly.

The quality of the seal corresponds directly with the construction of your humidor. Materials that warp or bow or seams that aren’t flush to begin with will prevent your humidor from sealing. Maybe not right away but in pretty short order.

Humidification System

The humidification system is the heart of your humidor. No matter how much Spanish Cedar or how expensive or even how thoroughly your box seals, if the humidification system is mediocre the humidor won’t function as it should.

There are two basic reasons for insufficient function of the humidification system. The first is the size of the system isn’t sufficient for the number of cigars your humidor can store. The smaller desktop designs may be able to rely on smaller humidification systems such as packs or gels or even the sponge-type humidification system. But anything larger than 10-50 cigar capacity should have a more thorough humidification system.

Poor Placement of The Hygrometer

The quickest way to know if your humidor is doing its job or not is by reading the hygrometer. And being able to depend on your hygrometer reading requires proper calibration and proper placement of the hygrometer to assess the humidor’s performance. When your hygrometer provides an inaccurate reading you can’t trust that your humidor is doing the job.

A great humidor has the hygrometer in a place that provides exposure to the actual air flow. It needs to be near the top and easy to read. A built-in hygrometer is a sign of a great humidor. Of course even some mediocre humidors have built-in hygrometers. A great humidor hygrometer is easy to remove so that it can be calibrated to insure accuracy.

We Know Humidors

Whether you’re a newbie to the world of cigars or a passionate aficionado you probably have questions about the performance of your chosen humidor. Let us help. Before you stash your stogies in a humidor that’s just OK contact our staff. We’re extremely knowledgeable about all things cigar, especially humidors. Our owner, Kevin, is a certified tobacconist and has been in the cigar humidor and accessories business for decades. Don’t trust your collection to just any old box, and don’t trust anyone to help guide you like we will at Northwoods Humidors. We look forward to hearing from you.

7th Mar 2024 Colleen D.

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