July 04, 2021 4 min read

Cigars are nothing without humidors. They’re the lifeline of good quality smokes, and finding the best one isn’t merely enough.

You need to ask yourself, especially if you’re a beginner in the hobby, “how does a humidor work?” This would help you figure out how to take it a notch higher and purchase cigars in bulk if you deem fit. 

How Does a Humidor Work?

When it comes to cigars, they’re as good as aged wine, which means the best puff you could get lies on the way it’s preserved. Natural oils and aromas are created to achieve a maturation process in a controlled environment. Cigars need precisely controlled temperature and moisture levels to stay fresh in the long run.

Storing cigars in a humidor will keep your cigars from drying out and collecting mold. Since most humidors are made with cedar-lined wood, they can slowly and steadily control the exchange of gasses. This is a process not often achieved by tupperdor or make-shift humidors using Zip-lock bags.

When buying a cigar, the rule of thumb is to either smoke it immediately or get an equally promising and long-lasting humidor to store them. They go hand in hand and make a difference when it comes to the quality of your smoke. 

How to Prepare Your Cigar Humidor

Cigars all rolled up

Like anything else, preparing the humidor is a must to get it to work effectively and deliver optimal results. Since it’s built to ensure the precise amount of humidity, setting it up for optimal conditions is essential.

Step 1: The Wipe Down

Grab a paper towel or any soft cloth of your choice and start wiping the entire inner surface of the humidor. Don’t forget to wipe the inside of the lid using distilled water since warm water from the tap or any other source can disrupt the humidification unit. 

Step 2: Dipping 

The next step is to dip the humidification unit in a bowl of water. Don’t put too much water and let it soak for 10 seconds at most. Proceed with shaking out the excess water and lay it over a paper towel for a few minutes, then attach the humidification unit under the lid of your humidor or follow specific directions for customized humidors that used glass tops or doors. Close your humidor and let it sit for a minimum of 12 hours. 

Step 3: Repeat Step 1

Now that you’ve waited for the humidor to set for 12 hours, ensure you perform the wipe-down process again. Do not place a batch of cigars earlier than the rest of the set; this will force the cigars to compete for humidity with a porous cedar lining. Storing them in batches will not provide balanced and accurate humidity to all cigars.


The core component of a humidor is a smart humidification system. Whether it’s a traveler humidor or a humidor cabinet, the humidifier makes the most significant difference.

It adds moisture to the humidor and forces the cigars to stay fresh and burn slowly in a controlled and moist environment. Setting the humidifier in place also provides longevity in preserving the essential oils and enjoy that distinct aroma in your favorite smoke.

Humidifresh High-Performance Cigar Humidifier

Humidifresh High-Performance Cigar Humidifier


A hygrometer can come in analog or digital form. It’s a must-have component in a good humidor to help you maintain your cigars from the outside. It also allows you to skip the guesswork when it comes to getting the proper humidity.

Analog hygrometers resemble a needle that spins in a marked circle or semicircle. On the other hand, digital hygrometers are popular amongst connoisseurs. Since hygrometers should be checked once or twice a week, the digital variant is a more convenient and reliable option. 

Round Digital Hygrometer

Round Digital Hygrometer


Cigars need to be stored at a steady temperature, which is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit in most cases. You can keep your fresh cigars as cool or warm at 60 or 72 degrees respectively and still have them maintain their top condition. 

For humidors without thermometers to monitor the inside's conditions, you can use an external one to know what's happening with your stash, whether you're looking to heat or chill things up by turning the thermostat.

The Lifespan of a Humidor

Cuban Cigars with Humidor in Background

With consistent maintenance and an excellent humidification system that keeps your humidor up and running, there’s no doubt it can last you a couple of years. If you buy a well-built humidor, one that’s made of Spanish cedar, you may be able to stretch out its life expectancy by up to five years.

travel humidor may be a different story due to its intended purpose; wear-and-tear will decrease the life span of these types of cases. When considering your options for storing cigars on trips away from home or traveling around town in between cigar stores, think about how long they might stay fresh. It's not only about the size of the humidor but also your specific needs.


Cigars are a prized commodity for many enthusiasts, and any one of them will tell a beginner that it’s nothing without a good humidor. Knowing how a humidor works is essential in keeping your hobby with cigar collecting alive and well. 

If you’re interested in getting quality cigar humidors, see the extensive list of the best humidors from Your Elegant Bar for excellent quality and design in one.

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