Introduction - Why Do I Need a Cigar Case?
If you’re asking this question, you’re probably buying your first case of high quality cigars. That’s awesome! You have to start somewhere, and since you’re reading this guide you’ll be pointed in the right direction. You should value the taste of a fresh, flavorful cigar. But to keep them fresh for more than a few hours, you need to store cigars in the right environment.
Cigars need a warm, slightly humid environment (the plastic bag in your car with the windows rolled down does not count). If they are too wet, cooled, overheated, or frozen, the tobacco will start to mold. If they are kept too dry, the flavor will suffer and they will burn too quickly to enjoy. Tobacco is a finicky plant - you have to baby it and keep it in a moderated container to control both temperature and humidity.
Can you guess what a cigar case does? If you’re thinking it controls the temperature and humidity, you’d be right on. For your average cheap cigar, it might not matter to you. But if you want to graduate from being an amateur smoker to a cigar connoisseur, then you will need to look into cigar cases for your collection. Cigar cases aren’t that expensive. Replacing your expired cigars because of improper care will be much more costly than investing in a nice humidor for home or travel.
We’re hoping that you haven’t run across anything that tells you to store your cigars in a plastic bag or to just throw them in the fridge until you’re ready to smoke. Yes, people do it, but they really shouldn’t. Even if you’re going to smoke them all that week, you need to keep them in a dark, warm, slightly humid environment. If not, you’ve essentially just lost the value of an entire pack of cigars.
It’s best if you buy your humidor before you start shopping for cigars. If you order online or pick up some from your local tobacconist right now, you’ll have to smoke them all immediately (which we don’t recommend) to enjoy them at their freshest state. At best, you’re looking at a couple of days, a week of reasonable freshness before they start to dry. If you have a humidor at home, you can store cigars for months at a time.
A small personal cigar case holds between 5 and 75 cigars at a time. Usually you want to fill the humidor at 50% capacity, so that the humidifier can regulate the environment more easily. Cheap Humidors has cases that can store up to 5000 cigars at a time, but you may want to wait to invest in one of these until you have a personal or travel-size humidor and learn how to use it.
Personal Cigar Cases
Your first cigar case should be small. If this is your first time shopping, you probably don’t need 1000-count cabinets yet. A personal humidor serves both the beginning collector and the cigar aficionado. Sometimes you can find cigars packaged in a small humidor, which is a good start. But you really want one that is slightly larger than you need. First, you don’t want to run out of space. Second, if your cigars are too cramped they will absorb all the water and you’ll have to recharge the humidifier more often.
These are our top five favorite personal cigar cases. You can take a closer look at each one, but we want to give you a brief overview of why these would be a good fit for your first cigar collection.
Brazilian Rosewood Sliding Ashtray with Humidor. We’re all about simplicity here. When you want to light a smoke, take your humidor and ashtray with you. You can keep up to seven cigars in the case, which is just about as many as you need to travel with on any given occasion. The sliding ashtray makes this little baby super compact but just as stylish as any full-size humidor. The black lacquer finish over authentic Brazilian wood is sure to impress.
Addison 40 Count Glass Dome Humidor. This one is a little pricy, but if you’re really getting into cigars, it’s well worth the extra cash. This humidor is lined with cedar, but the exterior is made of walnut. The glossy finish and beveled glass top are a most elegant design. This humidor comes with two foam humidifiers and a hygrometer. You will need to get an external thermometer, but aside from that this humidor is ready to go. We recommend the Addison for someone who wants to show off their fine cigars in style.
The Squire Desktop Humidor. You probably need at least one or two cigars for your desk, to enjoy with business partners after hours or smoke at the end of a very long day. You can store up to 20 cigars in this Spanish cedar lined case, which comes with one humidifier. The kiln-dried cedar retains great flavor, plus it gives this humidor an older, more refined look to it. This case does not include a hygrometer, so you’ll need to look into purchasing one if you buy this humidor.
50 Cigar Executive Burl Cigar Humidor Kit. While this kit is a little more expensive, it comes with everything you’ll need to get started. Get you humidor, leather travel cigar case, humidifier, hygrometer, and cigar cutter all in one shipment. We highly recommend this one for beginners actually, because once you purchase your first humidor and pack of cigars, you’ll want all the accessories too. Even if you have all these extras, this could be a great present for someone you know how wants to get into the tobacco craft.
The Newport White Oak Humidor. This humidor is perfect for someone looking to upgrade from a small or cheap travel cigar case. Everyone eventually buys a bigger humidor, so you may as well get this one and save the money in buying a large one first. It’s lined with Spanish cedar, but the white oak is timeless - it just makes anything look “vintage.” Plus this case can hold up to 50 cigars. It comes with a humidifier and hygrometer so you’ll be all set to smoke!
We can assume as a cigar connoisseur you’re probably on the road travelling to exotic destinations or going on safaris and mountain climbing expeditions on a regular basis. You can’t leave your cigars at home, in the off chance you get to take a break between scaling the summit and shooting wild boar out in the great plains. We know how it is, so we’ve compiled a category of travel humidors for you to check out. These are our top three picks for the road:
Leather Wrapped 7 Cigar Travel Tube. This is a mix between a traditional cigar case and a humidor. It has a built in humidifier, but is so compact you would never guess it could hold up to seven cigars. Leather wrapped and cedar lined, this case is great for longer periods of storage. Take this case on your next road trip, you’ll want to enjoy a cigar or two on the way.
Five Cigar Leather Scoping Travel Case. We personally think this case is pretty badass. It’s really made for the aficionado, with black leather and cedar lining for the best tasting cigars you have. The case only holds up to 5 cigars at a time, so you’ll have to travel light. But the quality of this case far surpasses most others. While it’s rated for 5 cigars, its telescoping design helps fit any size cigar (unlike fingered designs which don’t always fit every width).
4 Cigar Triple Travel Accessories Combo Featuring At Ease Cigars. Long name, but there’s a lot to say! This cigar case comes with the accessories you’ll need for taking your smokes on the road. The case design was military-inspired, as its very durable and compact. When you order you’ll get the case, a guillotine cigar cutter, and a variety of our favorite At Ease Cigars. This is also a great gift for family and friends, especially if they serve or have served in the military.
You can also get vehicle humidors, or pocket cigar cases from retailers. Two-finger cigar cases are good for daily use, while a cigar flask might better suit a formal event. Or you just might want a cigar flask because it sounds like the coolest thing you could imagine being invented (which it definitely is). Whatever you’re looking for, you can probably find it on CheapHumidors.com. If you can’t, your expectations might be just a little too high. Maybe, we’re just guessing.
Everyone has their own budget, and we respect that. For the beginning tinkerer in cigars, dropping $200 or more on a humidor seems a little outlandish. But if you’re a veteran, you’ve probably spent that much or more on your entire cigar accessory collection. On average you’re going to spend between $150-$300 on their first cigar setup: that includes a case, cutter, humidor, humidifier and humidifier solution, hygrometer, and ashtray. Some of you will want to go crazy and buy the high end humidors and cases. But we’re not recommending you do that just yet.
We have a basic outline of what you can expect to get within a different price range. Some of our cheapest cigar cases start under $15. So don’t worry, you don’t have to blow this month’s budget on a bunch of unnecessary gadgets. We’ll start you off with the necessities, and as you graduate from the beginner’s level we can give you recommendations to add to your collection.
If you’re looking to spend less than $30, the first thing you need is a basic leather cigar case. If you don’t have a humidor, however, get a cheap one and a leather case. The case will keep your cigars protected wherever you take them, and some come with a humidifier to keep them warm and flavorful. You can purchase a $12 case and a $15 humidor, which would hit your max budget. But it’s definitely worth the expense to have both. If you’ve already got a case and/or humidor, check out some of our accessories, like the hygrometer calibration kit or humidor seasoning kit.
Once you get into the $30 to $50 price range, you can look into upgrading your humidor or buying a cigar caddy. Cigar caddies are like briefcases for your smokes. They protect them while travelling with a cedar lining and usually plastic exterior. If it’s your first time buying and you have a higher budget, look into humidor kits. Then you won’t have to wonder what accessories you’ll need and what else to put in your order. Throw in an ashtray or cigar flask to complete your set.
If you’re planning to spend $50 to $100, you could probably buy a medium-sized humidor and fill it with some of our house brand cigars. Medium sized humidors run between $60 to $100 on average. So if you’ve run out of room in your personal cigar case, you may want to go ahead and upgrade. If you really want to go all out, get a custom engraved humidor or case. These are great personal mementos or gifts (and presents you yourself definitely count).
Once you hit a budget more than $150, you may as well go for broke and get whatever the heck you want. Most cases, small humidors, caddies, or cigar accessories on CheapHumidors.com are below $200. The larger and speciality humidors are more expensive, but if you’re just looking for a personal humidor or case you don’t have to spend that much.
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What Makes a Cigar Case High Quality?
So now that we’ve covered price ranges, let’s delve into what makes one cigar case high end and what doesn’t. Tobacconist could tell you all about the perfect conditions for storing and aging your cigars. The process is somewhat the same, so you need a good case whether you plan to smoke your cigars right when you get them or if you want them to age in before enjoying the flavor. There are a few characteristics you should look into when you start browsing for cases:
Interior design. A case lined with cedar is by far the most prominent marker for quality. Cedar (especially Spanish variety) retains moisture better than any other wood, and is supposed to enhance the flavor of the tobacco. Be careful though, aromatic cedar can sometimes change the flavor and make your cigar more bitter. Spanish cedar is best for repelling tobacco beetles - if you haven’t had a problem with them yet, you’re lucky. Or you have a really great humidor, which in that case, good for you! The placement of your hygrometer also matters a lot. If it’s on the inside it will take up space and limit the cigar capacity of your case.
Exterior design. Believe it or not, the exterior is just as important for keeping your cigars secure and humidified. A well-made cigar case should have no visible adhesive to show it is properly sealed and won’t let moisture or heat escape. It’s preferred to have the hygrometer on the outside, so you have more room inside for storage. Some exteriors are made from woods other than cedar, like rosewood, white oak, and cherry. Plastics, leather, and wood are the most common mediums for cigar cases just because of how durable they are. You want a case that’s scratch resistant and creates the optimal environment for moisture and heat.
Humidification and Temperature Control. This is by far the most practical measurement of quality for cigar cases and humidors. If your humidor allows for changes the humidity levels or temperature, you’ve probably bought a dud. Of course you may want to check your hygrometer calibration first, just to be sure it’s set right. Well-made humidors will have no visible evidence of sealants or junctions in the wood. Again you want to keep the cigars in a case that protects them from outside influences, maintaining that 70/70 optimal environment.
Manufacturer Guarantees. Before you purchase any cigar product, read a little into the manufacturer. CheapHumidors.com only offers products from quality brands. We want to make sure that no matter what someone buys, they’ll be happy with it. Our manufacturers follow the SureSeal Technology Standard, which is a basically a guarantee that your humidor was made without any major flaws. Some brands offer lifetime warranties or money-back guarantees, but hopefully you won’t have any issues. The best way to check out a manufacturer's reputation is by reading their reviews on multiple products.
Cases versus Humidors. Which One Do I Need?
Technically, you need both. If you want to think of it this way, your cigar case is like your suitcase, while your humidor is the closet. You need the case for when you travel, so that your cigars aren’t exposed to the heat or cold. But cigar cases don’t retain moisture like a humidor does. Some cases or cigar caddies come with a humidifier and hygrometer, but they aren’t built for long term storage. However it is preferable to keep them in the case than leaving them out or putting them in the fridge.
You need a cigar case for…
- Carrying in your car
- Going out on the water
- Camping, hiking, or outdoor sports
- Keeping cigars out of the rain
- Keeping cigars warm during the winter
- Maintaining moisture right before you smoke
- Short-term storage outside a humidor
Unless you want to have a travel humidor on you at all times, or are going to smoke cigars straight out of the humidor every time, you need a case. Cigar caddies are probably the most durable - most of these are airtight, waterproof, and scratch resistant. They’re made for the outdoorsman. If you want something really minimal, you may just want to go for a cigar tube. These are relatively inexpensive, and carry only one cigar at a time.
Humidors are much more complex, and obviously much less portable. Even travel humidors are much larger than your average cigar case. They’re meant to preserve and age cigars in optimal conditions, so the mechanics are more complex. You need a humidor because your cigars will dry out, crack, and lose their flavor if you don’t store them properly. Smoking a cigar that’s been left out to long is unpleasant to say the least. Plus you’ve wasted your hard earned money on a cigar that’s not half the quality it was when you bought it.
You need a humidor for…
- Keeping cigars at the right temperature
- Maintaining moisture for your cigars
- Storing cigars long-term
- Storing more than 6 cigars at a time
- Retaining tobacco flavor
- Keeping out tobacco beetles
- Aging cigars for better flavor
You do need both, but if you had to choose get a travel humidor. They have the same functionality as a case, but you can store one pack for more than a few days. Some travel humidors are relatively small, and cheap. But if you have the budget, get both a humidor and cigar case when you order. You’ll be glad when you don’t have to get either later on down the line. You can get a small humidor and cigar case for a $40 budget.
Parts of a Humidor
The purpose of a humidor is to maintain temperature and moisture in a closed environment. Cigars need to be kept at approximately 70% humidity and 70° Fahrenheit. You don’t have control over this in a regular room or cigar box. Humidors are specially designed to regulate both temperature and moisture consistency, and you can set them to the perfect conditions for aging or storage. They also protect your cigars from mold and excessive heat.
The best cigar cases are made from Spanish cedar. The wood holds moisture and helps the tobacco retain its rich flavor. Inexpensive alternatives include red cedar and some types of mahogany. These wood types work perfectly fine, but are considered lesser quality because Spanish cedar contains heat and moisture better than any other type of wood, plus it repels tobacco beetles naturally. You can choose a a solid wood case or a veneered wood (where only the lining is cedar). The primary components of your humidor are:
Humidifier - The humidifier is basically an electronic device or an absorbent sponge that provides the moisture for optimal humidity levels. Traditional humidifiers evaporate the seasoning solution you use, and you manually control the humidity levels by adding more solution or letting it dry. An electronic humidifier will regulate the moisture emissions for you. You have to recharge the humidifier with a distilled water and propylene glycol solution about once a month.
Hygrometer - The hygrometer measures humidity levels inside the cigar case. A humidor hygrometer should be within 2% margin of error, or else you will need to recalibrate it. To test if your hygrometer is accurate, simply use the “salt test” method. Fill a water bottle cap with salt and dampen the salt with water (not enough to dissolve it. Seal the bottle cap in a plastic bag and wait 8 hours. The compound of water and salt will create an exact 75% humidity environment. If your hygrometer reads 75% when you test it inside the bag, it reads correctly. If it doesn’t, use the screw on the back to set the needle to 75%.
Thermometer - Temperature is just as important as humidity for cigar storage. You want the temperature to stay right around 70℉ for optimal aging. The location of your humidor in the home will affect the temperature - don’t place it too close to heaters or in direct sunlight unless you live in a cold climate. Keep your home thermostat at 70℉, at least in the room where you plan to store your cigars. Don’t leave travel humidors in your car for too long! They will heat up and start to dry the tobacco.
Setting Up and Cleaning Your Humidor
Your first humidor won’t be ready to use until you “season” it. Seasoning is the process of getting your humidor to a 70% humidity level. At that point you can put cigars in one, but until you season it your humidor isn’t doing much good. Fortunately, seasoning your humidor is pretty simple. You can even buy seasoning kits to do the job for you. The Boveda EZ Seasoning Kit creates an 84% environment, which will drop into the 70%-75% after a few days. We recommend this kit for first-time humidor owners, but if you want to try your own method, follow these guidelines:
Place a humidity solution inside the humidor. Typically distilled water is the easiest and best solution for seasoning. Using pure distilled water will let the humidity level rise to it’s maximum, which you can them adjust. Some humidity solutions will also have propylene glycol in them. It acts as an agent to release or absorb moisture to regulate humidity levels.
Place the hygrometer inside and wait for the humidity to reach 75%. The longer your distilled water hits in the humidor, the higher the humidity levels will rise. Monitor the hygrometer while you wait until it reaches peak levels. It may take a few days for the humidor to season fully, so keep a watchful eye on it.
Meanwhile, charge your humidifier. Once the humidor is fully seasoned you want to have the humidifier ready to go. If you’re using a foam humidifier, soak it in the humidity solution of distilled water and propylene glycol. If you want to use an alternative method, check out electronic humidifiers, crystal humidifiers, or humidity beads. These work just as well as foam humidifiers and some people prefer using the over charging a traditional one.
Once the humidor is seasoned, place the charged humidifier inside. After a few days your humidor should be fully seasoned and you can add the humidifier and your cigars inside. You will need to recharge the humidifier every month or so, but it should stay relatively moist now that it’s seasoned.
Cleaning your humidor is a very simple process. Wiping down the inside with a lint-free cloth will keep it from getting moldy, and may actually improve the humidity retention. But you must use distilled water only! The added minerals in tap water or other cleaners will damage the wood and cause corrosion over time. Wipe down the inside with a cotton cloth, but don’t scrub. You only need to do this once a month or so, since humidors stay relatively clean on their own.
Case and Humidor Accessories
Now that you know everything about cigar cases and humidors, you may as well look for cool stuff to add to your collection. Part of the fun of learning about cigars is knowing all the nuances of smoking and understanding the terms aficionados use at the tobacconist shop. Building your collection makes the entire experience more enjoyable. You can impress friends and other smokers with your extensive knowledge. You don’t need too many accessories - just these essentials to get you started:
Humidity Beads - if you have a foam humidifier and are happy with it, stick to that. But if you want an alternative humidifying, try humidity beads. These silica-based packets keep humidors at the right levels with little to no effort. All you have to do is spray them with distilled water and watch for when they start to dry. Humidity beads are a little easier to manage than foam, plus they’re preset to 70% humidity.
Boveda Humidity Packs. Boveda has two really great products out right now - the seasoning kit and humidifier packs. Both are so simple to use. You just open up the plastic packages, and let the Boveda do all the work for you. We highly recommend these to newbies who haven’t seasoned before. Or you just may not feel like setting up a seasoning kit yourself. Either way, these Boveda packs are humidor life savers.
Calibration Kits. Boveda also has calibration kits for when you first set up your humidor. You want to ensure that your hygrometer reads correctly. This pack mimics the salt test method, creating an exact 75.5% humidity for you to adjust your settings. Home calibration methods is relatively effective, but this calibration technique works every time. Just like the seasoning kits, you simply put the package inside and wait for it to reach 75.5% to adjust.
Sampler Packs.This isn’t exactly an “accessory,” but you need cigars to fill your case or humidor once you buy it! Actually, you always need cigars to fill it, so you may as well try a sampler pack to see which ones might be your favorite. We have all sorts of brands to choose from, and update all the time. Choose from 6-packs under $20 to high end brands up to $70 a box. Try any one, we’re sure you’ll enjoy!
Hopefully by now you feel confident in picking the right humidor or cigar case for your first collection. We’ve compiled over twenty years experience among our staff to give our customers the best knowledge. CheapHumidors.com actually cares about cigars. Though everything we do is online, we want to build good rapport with the other cigar enthusiasts out there. Reach out anytime you have a question, and one of our staff members will be happy to help. Or if you’ve got a product recommendation, let us know!
You should look into both cigar cases and humidors before you get your first pack of high end cigars. A case will keep them protected when you’re on the go, and a humidor will keep them fresh whenever you want to light up one. You can get a personal humidor for your home, and a travel humidor when you want to take cigars on the road. We have cases and humidors that hold anywhere from 5 to 75 cigars at a time. Depending on how many you want to order at a time, we can match you with an affordable case and humidor.
Humidors can be less than $30, or over $150 depending on the manufacturing quality. Some things to look for include the interior wood quality, sealants, humidity and temperature control, and manufacturing guarantees. You can usually tell if a manufacturer has a high reputation if they have positive reviews on multiple products. Customer feedback usually tells you a lot more than product descriptions, which is why we list them right on the page. If you have questions about a specific cigar case or humidor, please ask us!
You should know the basic parts of your humidor, and how to clean and care for it. Humidors have a hygrometer and thermometer to measure humidity and temperature, respectively. These are important to make sure your cigars have a 70% humidity and 70℉ environment at all times. When you get a new humidor, you have to season it first. Seasoning will take 2-5 days, after which you should put a charged humidifier in with your cigars. You also need to calibrate your hygrometer before you use the humidor so you can adjust the humidity. Clean out your humidor about once a month to decrease the likelihood of mildew and tobacco beetles.
If you have any other questions, check out our Cigar University or read the Official CheapHumidors.com Blog. Our staff knows their stuff, so feel free to contact us about anything we left out here. And browse the rest of CheapHumidors.com! We’ve got more stuff than just cigar cases and humidors. Anything the first-timer needs, we’ve got it in stock. Thanks for reading, and please let us know how we’re doing!