The Science Behind Cigar Humidors: How They Work

June 20, 2023 by Melissa Bajda

Cigar humidors are a must-have for any cigar smoker, but many people need help understanding the science behind them.

This article will explain how a cigar humidor works and how it can ensure your cigars stay pristine.

How Does a Cigar Humidor Work

What is a Cigar Humidor?

A cigar humidor is a box or container designed to maintain and regulate the humidity level of cigars. It stores and preserves cigars, keeping them fresh and in good condition for extended periods.

The humidor can range from a simple wooden box with a lid to an elaborate, ornate piece of furniture. Regardless of its appearance, the humidor's primary function is to provide a stable and controlled environment for cigars to age gracefully.

With a proper storage container, cigars can quickly dry out and retain flavor, making the humidor an essential tool for cigar enthusiasts.

A Brief History

The origins of the cigar humidor date back to the early 19th century when cigar smoking was a popular pastime. Cigars were made by hand and were often shipped long distances, which led to concerns about their quality and freshness.

To combat these issues, cigar makers began storing their cigars in wooden boxes lined with Spanish cedar, a type of wood found to help preserve the flavor and aroma of the cigars.

The boxes were also fitted with a moistened sponge or cloth to keep the cigars at a consistent humidity level.

How Does a Humidor Work?

A humidor creates and maintains a consistent environment of controlled temperature and humidity to preserve the quality of your cigars.

But How exactly does a humidor work? Examining its components closely is essential to properly understanding how a cigar humidor works. Let's explore the components of a cigar humidor and how they work together to keep your cigars in perfect condition.

1. Humidifier

The humidifier is essential to any humidor. Its job is to add moisture to the air inside the humidor, which keeps cigars from drying out and losing flavor.

There are various types of humidifiers, but they all function similarly: by releasing moisture into the air through evaporation or other means.

Types of Cigar Humidifiers

Here are the most common types of cigar humidifiers you will find on the market:

A. Passive Humidifiers

These humidifiers are typically made from porous materials like clay or sponge and work by absorbing water from a reservoir or distilled water.

They don't require any external power source to work, making them the most simple and low-maintenance option.

B. Active Humidifiers

Unlike passive humidifiers, active humidifiers require an external power source to regulate the internal humidity levels of your cigar humidor.

They use advanced technology like sensors, fans, and water reservoirs to maintain optimal humidity levels automatically.

C. Gel Humidifiers

A gel humidification system is another popular option often used as a backup or supplementary humidifier.

They are designed to provide a steady level of humidity over time and are simple to use, all you need to do is add distilled water to the gel, and it will release moisture slowly into the air over time.

D. Electronic Humidifiers

Electronic humidifiers are high-tech options that control your cigar humidor's humidity levels.

These Electronic Humidifiers feature digital displays and temperature controls that allow you to accurately set and monitor humidity levels, making them an excellent choice for cigar aficionados who demand precision.

E. Bead Humidifiers

Bead humidifiers are relatively new cigar humidifier that uses a special type of silica gel to absorb more moisture from the air and release it back when necessary.

They are known for their accuracy and consistency and are often preferred by seasoned cigar enthusiasts.

Regardless of the type of humidifier you choose, ensure it is of good quality and regularly maintained to keep your fresh cigars in top condition.

2. Hygrometer

A hygrometer is a device that measures the relative humidity level within the humidor. It is typically placed on the lid or front of the humidor and may be analog or digital.

The digital hygrometers are more accurate than analog ones and are recommended for relative humidity control. The ideal internal humidity level for a humidor is between 65-75%.

3. Thermostat

The thermostat is responsible for regulating the internal temperature of the humidor.

The ideal temperature for a humidor is between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Most humidors do not have a built-in thermostat, but purchasing a small device can be placed inside the humidor to control the internal temperature.

4. Spanish Cedar Lining

Spanish cedar is the traditional wood used to line the inside of a humidor. It has a unique aroma that enhances the flavor of cigars and is also resistant to mold and insects.

Spanish cedar also absorbs excess moisture and helps to regulate and prevent the humidity drops within the humidor.

5. Seal

A good seal is essential to maintain humidity inside the humidor.

This is why high-quality humidors are typically constructed from materials like Spanish cedar, known for its ability to maintain a tight seal.

6. Divider Trays

Many humidors come with divider trays, which help separate different types of cigars and keep them organized.

They also help to prevent the cigars from touching each other, which can cause them to stick together or transfer flavors.

In summary, a cigar humidor maintains consistent humidity and temperature levels for cigars. This is achieved through a humidifier, hygrometer, thermostat, Spanish cedar lining, tight seal, and trays.

Properly maintaining your humidor ensures that your cigars stay fresh, flavorful, and aromatic for longer.

The Importance of Proper Humidity

Cigars are delicate and require a right humidity level to maintain their flavor and aroma. Without proper humidity, cigars can dry out and become harsh and bitter.

On the other hand, too much moisture can cause the cigars to become spongy and difficult to smoke. The ideal humidity range for storing cigars is between 65-70%.

When cigars are exposed to low humidity, the essential oils and flavors inside the tobacco leaves begin to evaporate, resulting in a loss of flavor and aroma.

Dry cigars can also crack and break, making them impossible to smoke. Conversely, if cigars are exposed to too much humidity, the wrapper can become sticky and difficult to remove. The excess moisture can also cause mold growth, ruining the cigars completely.

Proper humidity is essential for maintaining the quality of cigars and preventing them from deteriorating.

How to Maintain Your Cigar Humidor

A cigar humidor is not just a storage box; it's an investment in the enjoyment and longevity of your cigars. Therefore, it's crucial to maintain your humidor properly to ensure your cigars stay fresh and delicious. Here are some tips to help you maintain your cigar humidor:

1. Keep the Humidity at Optimal Levels

Maintaining proper humidity levels is vital to the freshness and longevity of your cigars.

Check the humidity levels inside the humidor regularly, and if necessary, adjust them using a hygrometer. The ideal humidity level for storing cigars is between 65 and 75%.

2. Use Distilled Water

It's important to use distilled water to keep the humidity level in your humidor at the right level. Using tap water can introduce impurities that may affect the flavor of your cigars.

3. Don't Overfill Your Humidor

While filling your humidor to the brim with cigars is tempting, it is important to avoid overfilling it. Overcrowding your humidor can lead to insufficient airflow, which can cause mold and affect the quality of your cigars.

4. Rotate Your Cigars

Rotating your cigars in your humidor is crucial to ensure they age evenly. Move cigars from the top of your humidor to the bottom and vice versa. Also, switch the position of cigars to prevent them from resting against the same side of the humidor.

5. Clean Your Humidor Regularly

Keeping your humidor clean is essential to its proper maintenance. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the humidor interior regularly. Avoid using chemicals, as they can leave behind residue and affect the flavor of your cigars.

By following these tips, you can maintain your cigar humidor's proper functioning, ensuring your cigars remain fresh and delicious.

Choosing the Right Cigar Humidor for Your Needs

After understanding the importance of a cigar humidor and how it works, it is time to choose the right one for your needs.

With various types of humidors available in the market, selecting the one that best suits your requirements can be daunting.

Here are some factors you should consider while making the selection:

1. Size

Consider how many cigars you intend to store and how much space you have to keep the humidor. Choose a humidor that can accommodate your cigars without crowding them.

2. Type

Different types of humidors exist, such as desktop, travel, cabinet, and end table humidors. If you travel frequently, a travel humidor is a better option.

However, a desktop humidor is suitable if you plan to keep your cigars at home or in your office.

3. Material

Humidors can be made of different materials, such as wood, glass, and acrylic.

Wooden humidors are more traditional and can provide better insulation, while glass humidors are perfect for displaying your cigars. Acrylic humidors are durable and lightweight, making them an ideal choice for travel.

4. Humidity Control

Consider the type of humidification system the humidor uses. Humidors come with either electronic or manual systems.

An electronic humidification system provides consistent humidity levels but must be plugged in and require regular maintenance. Manual humidifiers require adding distilled water or solution regularly, but they are more budget-friendly.

5. Budget

Humidors can range from inexpensive to very expensive. Decide on a budget and look for humidors within that range.

Considering these factors, you can choose the right cigar humidor that suits your requirements.

Here are Our Pick for Top Cigar Humidors

Many options suit your needs if you are in the market for a cigar humidor. After thorough research and consideration, we've selected our top picks of high-quality cigar humidors.

1. High Gloss Humidor

The High Gloss Humidor is an excellent choice if you are looking for a sophisticated and stylish humidor to add to your cigar collection.

This humidor is practical and visually appealing with its Golden Cherry Finish, Beveled Glass, and Internal Locking Hinges.

The removable tray and three dividers make it easy to organize your cigars, while the included humidification system and hygrometer keep the cigars fresh and flavorful.

2. Cherry Wooden Humidor

This Classic Humidor is made of high-quality cherry wood and can be personalized to make it your own.

With up to 50 cigars capacity, it is ideal for cigar aficionados who want a reliable and elegant cigar storage container solution for their cigar collection.

3. Personalized Cherry Humidor

This Personalized Cherry Humidor is similar to the Cherry Wooden Humidor but with a capacity of up to 20 cigars.

This desktop cigar humidor is lined with Spanish Cedar wood and has internal locking hinges for security. Plus, you can personalize it with your name or initials to make it truly unique.

4. The Treasury Humidorluxury techwood cigar humidor

This Treasury Humidor is perfect for cigar lovers who want a blend of function and style.

It has a 25-35 cigar storage capacity and is made from African Obeche Techwood, which gives it a sleek and modern look.

The recessed gold humidifier and hygrometer, along with the Spanish Cedar lining and glass top, make it an excellent choice for maintaining the ideal humidity levels for your cigars.

5. Glass Top Humidor

This Personalized Cherry Wood Humidor features a beautiful glass top, a cherry wood finish, and an adjustable divider.

It also includes a humidifier and hygrometer to ensure your cigars stay at the optimal humidity level.

6. Monogrammed Digital Hygrometer

This Handcrafted Modern Cedar Humidor is designed with a sleek carbon fiber finish and features a front digital hygrometer.

The customizable monogram adds a personal touch to this already impressive humidor.

7. Scotte Leather Portable Jar Humidor

If you love to enjoy a good cigar on the go, the Scotte Leather Portable Humidor is the perfect solution.

This stylish and compact humidor is made from high-quality leather and cedar wood, providing the perfect environment for storing and keeping your cigars fresh for an extended period of time.

The Scotte Leather Portable Humidor can hold up to dozen cigars, making it perfect for a weekend trip or a night out.

8. Lacquer Ebony Finish Ultimate Humidor

The Spanish cedar lining and polished adjustable vent humidifier make this Ebony Humidor a top pick for serious cigar aficionados.

It also features a magnetic humidifier and hygrometer attachment and three adjustable dividers. Plus, the digital hygrometer calibration feature ensures proper humidity levels.

9. Classic Cigar Stash Humidor

This Classic Cigar Stash Humidor is perfect if you are looking for a classic and affordable option.

With a glass window, high-grade MDF with Spanish cedar lining, and room for around 25 cigars, it also comes with a hygrometer and cigar humidifier.

This humidor is made in the USA by one of our favorite cigar stores.

10. Personalized Stogie Stasher

The Personalized Stogie Stasher is a sleek and stylish option for cigar aficionados.

These cigar humidors feature a burl finish lined with Spanish cedar, essential for maintaining your cigars' flavor and freshness.

With internal locking hinges, you can ensure your cigars are secure and protected. This humidor has a capacity of 20 cigars, making it perfect for personal use or as a gift.

11. Personalized Leather Humidor

The Personalized Leather Humidor from these cigar shops is an excellent choice for those who prefer a more modern look.

It features a glass top and an MDF with Spanish cedar wood lining, which ensures the perfect humidity for your cigars.

The soft leather outside gives it a luxurious feel, and it comes with both a hygrometer and cigar humidifier to ensure that your cigars are always at their best.

12. The Aficionado Humidor

The Aficionado Humidor is the perfect option if you are a serious cigar enthusiast.

These cigar humidors feature three separate drawer compartments, allowing you to organize your cigars based on type or brand.

The analog hygrometers allow you to monitor the humidity levels quickly, and the humidifier at the base of each drawer ensures that your cigars are always at the perfect humidity level. This humidor has a capacity of up to 150 cigars.


1. How long can a cigar last in a humidor?

    The lifespan of a cigar stored in a humidor varies based on a few factors, including the quality of the cigar and how well it is stored. Generally, cigars can last for years in a properly maintained humidor.

    2. How long does it take to humidify a humidor?

    The length of time it takes to humidify a humidor depends on the size of the humidor and the method used to humidify it. It can generally take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to fully humidify a humidor.

    3. What happens if you don't humidify cigars?

    Cigars that are not properly humidified can become dry and lose their flavor and aroma. They may also crack and become non-smokable. Maintaining the correct humidity level is essential to keep your cigars in optimal condition.

    4. Do you put water in a humidor?

    Yes, you put water in a humidor to maintain humidity. However, it is important to use distilled water to prevent any mineral buildup in the humidor and on your cigars. Using a humidifying solution designed explicitly for cigar humidors is also recommended.

    5. How do you know if a cigar is bad?

    You'll know it is a bad cigar when it is too dry. They shrivel up and lose their appealing aroma and flavor. Dry cigars burn too hot, which makes them unpleasant to smoke.

    On the other end, if cigars are exposed to too high humidity, the result is that the cigar develops mold, rot, and even an infestation of tobacco beetles.

    6. How much does a cigar humidor cost?

    Whether you settle for a small or large, both cigar humidors work in similar ways, and that is to maintain the steady temperature and humidity that your cigar needs.

    The humidor can cost from $40 to $40,000 or even more. It depends on your preference. It doesn't matter if you spend so much or so little on your humidor as long as it can preserve the flavor and aroma of your cigar.


    Personalized Cigar Humidors Collection for Stogie Lover

    Travel Humidors for the Cigar Lover On the Go 

    15 Best Cigar Brands to Experience Luxury, According to the Aficionados

    Melissa Bajda

    About the Author

    Melissa Bajda is an gift-giving expert with a decade-long track record of curating gifts that create lasting memories. Her insight into the art of gifting and staying on top of trends by her consistent presence at major gifting trade shows, including her annual participation in NY Now trade show in New York City. With a passion for thoughtful, personalized gifts that truly make an impact, Melissa has built a reputation as a go-to source for unique and meaningful present ideas.

    More Gift Ideas for Your Man

    75th Birthday Gifts for Him
    54 Unique and Thoughtful 75th Birthday Gifts for Him

    by Melissa Bajda June 17, 2024

    From personalized mementos to thoughtful experiences, these 75th birthday gifts for him will show how much you care and make his birthday a memorable one.
    Read More
    Romantic Anniversary Ideas
    30 Romantic Anniversary Ideas to Make Your Spouse Swoon

    by Melissa Bajda June 16, 2024

    Celebrating anniversaries is a unique way to remind them how much you care. This blog will give you best romantic anniversary ideas to make your spouse swoon.
    Read More
    10th wedding anniversary ideas
    50 Best 10th Wedding Anniversary Ideas for Couples

    by Melissa Bajda June 16, 2024

    Discover unique 10th wedding anniversary ideas to celebrate a decade of love. Find creative and romantic ways to make your 10th anniversary unforgettable.
    Read More