Humidor Buying Guide


While many of may dream of having a walk-in humidor at home, for most of us, a desktop humidor is the practical choice.  Available in a variety of sizes, finishes and styles, it can be difficult terrain to navigate. We’ve put this Humidor Buying Guide together to help, sharing the same information we do when working with customers in the store.

When you’re buying a humidor, you’re really buying a piece of furniture that should serve you for many years— even generations, to come. That said, what are some of the key decision points to consider when making a purchase?

    • Fun Fact #1: Zino Davidoff is credited with inventing the desktop humidor, as well as the walk-in humidor. 

After spending two years in Cuba as a young man, Zino Davidoff returned to his father’s tobacco store in Switzerland convinced that cigars should be maintained in the tropical, humid environments in which they are made. Thank you, Zino!

Factor 1- Aesthetic: There are seemingly endless options when it comes to the outside of any humidor, be it  something with an exotic wood veneer, a traditional solid wood, leather, glass topped, or an intricately built showpiece with bright colors, inlay and marquetry.

    • Where are you going to put it? Depending on the the answer, you might choose a humidor that complements your decor, or something that will standout and draw attention (wherever you put it, keep it out of direct sunlight).
    • Buying as a gift? Think about if the person you’re buying for has more traditional or modern taste, and let that be your guide.

Factor 2- Size:  Yes, it really does matter.

    • What size cigars do you generally smoke? Humidor manufacturers indicate the cigar capacity of their models, but don’t let that fool you.  A “50” cigar humidor will not likely hold 50 cigars if you smoke cigars with wider ring gauges.
    • How many cigars do you want to store? Come up with your best guess, knowing that most boxes of cigars come with 25 cigars in them.  Now add to that number.  One of the joys of having a humidor at home is the ability to store and age cigars for years.  When you find cigars you really love, or the newest limited edition release comes out, you want to be sure you’ll have room to store and them without having to invest in another humidor when you come across others you’d like to bring home (though we’ll be happy to help should that be the case).
    • Where are you going to put it?  It’s not just about looks. Make sure you have enough physical space to accommodate your new pride and joy.
    • Desktop” or “Cabinet”? Desktop humidors have a hinged lid and are used to store single cigars.  These generally have a maximum capacity of “200.” Any larger than that, it becomes more challenging to maintain proper humidity inside. Cabinets  have doors that open like a… well, like a cabinet. Cabinets can store single cigars and cigars in boxes.  (Given the amount of physical space these take to display, we do not carry them here at Georgetown Tobacco.)

Factor 3- Quality and Construction:  In the furniture world, there’s Ikea, Ethan Allen, and Erik Joergensen (and countless others).  They all make a sofa you can sit on comfortably that will last for years.  That said, there are inherent differences in the quality and the only way to really know is to sit on one.  Please don’t ever sit on a humidor— here are some key characteristics of quality to look for:

    • The Seal:  Maintaining great humidity in your humidor will ultimately come down to this. Make sure the lid comes down solidly and that there are no gaps anywhere along the seam where the lid meets the body of the humidor.
    • Weight: Humidors (like that sofa) will likely make several moves throughout your lifetime. Solid construction is something you can feel.  Literally pick up the humidor and feel its heft (or lack thereof).
    • The Hinges: Over time, opening and closing the lid of your humidor causes natural wear.  How well the humidor’s seal will be maintained is dependent on those hinges.  Inspect them to see what material they are made of and how solid or flimsy they may feel.  A strong hinge is a must for long term use.
    • Fabrication: Where, how, and with what materials the humidor was made is critical to the quality factors mentioned above. Whether a humidor is made by a single master woodworker, a small workshop of craftspeople, or mass produced in a large factor, the final product will be a reflection of the time and attention to detail that went into making it.
    • Fun Fact #2: Spanish Cedar is neither Spanish, nor cedar. 

The wood used as the interior lining for most humidors today is actually part of the Mahogany family.  Spanish Cedar is not prone to rot or cracking, and is naturally resistant to insects.  It is due to all of these properties (along with availability) that lead to its ubiquitous use for cigar boxes and humidors. It is not, however, a requirement for good storage.

Factor 4- Budget: 

Desktop humidors can be found at every price point. The goal should be to find the best quality and value for the amount you’d like to spend. Explore the options so you understand their differences and can make an informed decision.

The Final Factor- Your Tobacconist: With over 59 years in business, we have sold several different humidor lines over the years.  Today, you’ll find we carry a wide range of choices from three main manufacturers in our store: Savoy, Brizard & Co. and Elie Bleu.  We’ve honed in on this selection because of our experience with each of them.  We’re confident they represent the best possible quality in their respective price ranges, and they all offer something unique to meet a variety of tastes.  Especially if making a humidor purchase online, it’s important to buy from a retailer you trust— we’ve done all of the quality checks for you!

p.s. There’s plenty more to cover on humidification devices, proper seasoning of your humidor, and cigar storage, but this is a blog post, not a book.  We’ll save those topics for a future post or video. In the meantime, don’t miss our YouTube video on Choosing a Humidor and please don’t hesitate to stop in, call or email us with any questions!