Cigars need to be kept in humid air, roughly 60% to 70% depending on the type of cigar. However, too much humidity and mold will grow. Various types of humidifiers are available to keep a humidor at a constant humidity. They vary in ease of use, reliability or accuracy, and price. Most can add humidity to a dry humidor but aren’t dehumidifiers. They can’t reduce humidity in humidors that are in a humid climate. However, a few can.

Some of the information in this article is based on user reviews of humidifiers on the Amazon.com website.

Distilled Water and Sponge Humidifiers

These are the simplest humidifiers, often built into small travel humidors. A sponge or other absorbent material is dampened with distilled water.

Advantages

  • Cheap.
  • Small and unobtrusive, often built into the humidor cover or case.

Disadvantages

  • No real humidity control. The level of humidity depends on the amount of water used. Some trial and error is required.
  • Requires constant refilling.
  • Requires constant monitoring with a hygrometer.

Propylene Glycol Solution

A mixture of propylene glycol and water can be used instead of distilled water. This allows more automatic control of the humidity level.

Advantages

  • Relatively cheap.
  • Humidity level can be controlled by changing the proportion of water mixed. Madelaine sells bottled propylene glycol and water, premixed in a 50/50 proportion. They claim that this will maintain humidity levels at 70% to 75%.

Gel Humidifiers

Gels are like propylene glycol, but easier to handle because it is premixed, and isn’t liquid so it doesn’t spill. They come in a small jar and the opened jar is placed in the humidor. Brands include Humi-care and Ci-Gel.

Advantages

  • Easy to use.
  • Usually refillable a few times with distilled water.
  • No problems with spilled water.

Disposable Humidifier Packs

These are prepackaged gel or other materials. They cost more but are easier to use. Some come in cigar-sized tubes, so that they can fit into any humidor, including small travel caddies. Examples are Boveda (with either 65%, 69% or 72% humidity), Humid-EZE and HumidiTube. Boveda claims that its packets are both humidifiers and dehumidifiers, able to bring down moisture levels that are too high.

Advantages

  • Most are not damp and can be stored with the cigars touching them.
  • Easy to use.
  • No problems with spilled water.

Bead or Crystal Humidifiers

Distilled water is sprayed onto the beads or crystals (the crystals soften and become gels). The beads or crystals are then placed in the humidor, usually in a small plastic container filled with holes. Heartfelt’s Humidity Beads come in 60%, 65% and 70% humidity selections. They are stored in a flat disc case. DryMistat sells its crystals in a cigar shaped tube, while Xikar sells their crystals in a small jar (like gel humidifiers).

Advantages

  • Some manufacturers claim that they can both humidify dry air, and dehumidify air that is too moist.
  • Most are not damp and can be stored with the cigars touching them.
  • Can be refilled many times.
  • No problems with spilled water.

Electronic Humidor Humidifiers

Electronic humidifiers are the most expensive, with some costing over $100. They run off mains AC electricity. The Hydra and Cigar Oasis humidifiers have a thin ribbon power cord that is designed to squeeze between the cover and body of the humidor. They have an electric fan, an electronic humidistat to automatically control the fan, and a refillable tank of distilled water. The Cigar Oasis humidifiers can also run off AA batteries.

Advantages

  • Suitable for large humidors. Some are designed to humidify as many as 1,000 cigars.
  • Different humidity levels can be set.

Humidor Seasoning

A new humidor needs to be slowly dampened over a few days or weeks before a regular humidifier is placed inside.

For convenience, Boveda sells “One Step Seasoning” packets.

Hygrometer Calibration

It’s important to check that the humidifier is setting the correct humidity level. An accurate hygrometer is necessary. Hygrometers are notoriously inaccurate. Both analog and digital hygrometers need to be periodically calibrated.

It’s a good idea to always use at least two calibrated hygrometers, in case one starts to misbehave.

The Best Cigar Humidifier

Different people report different experiences with the same type of humidifier. This could be due to differences in climate, usage (how often the humidor is opened), humidor absorbency or the number of cigars in the humidor. It’s best to read a few humidor humidifier user reviews to learn from other people’s experience.

One of the prepackaged disposable humidifiers is probably the best way to get started. They offer a good balance of low cost and ease of use. For long term use, it’s worth experimenting with a reusable solution. Getting the right humidor is also important.