Cigar humidifiers are produced for a single reason – to keep the relative humidity (RH) of your humidor box relatively stable around a certain level. That stable RH will allow your cigars to develop their natural taste properties and be stored for quite some time. And while there are countless humidifying solutions out there, there is a brand that really sticks out from all the rest.
Boveda has been a market leader in the humidifying business for the better part of a decade now. Their wide range of products allows users to control the humidity of their humidors with ease and surprising accuracy. In this review, we will go over most of their products and see how do they work and why are they so highly praised in the cigar world!
If you’re looking for a humidifying solution for your humidor box, make sure you check out my Buyer’s Guide on some of the best cigar humidifiers for this year! Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of these packs…
Overview and Features
Before we dive deeper into these two-way humidity control packs, it is important to mention that there are a ton of products in the Boveda line and only some of them are suitable for humidor use. Here are all the humidity percentages you can get with each of their products from lowest to highest:
Each of these relative humidity percentages is good for a different purpose. For instance, everything between 65 and 84% is good for wood containers. This is exactly where cigar humidors fit into the picture. 58% and 62% packs are used for terpene protection, and the lower 32% packs are used in both food and wood instrument protection. The 32% packs are also used in coffee protection, while the highest 84% number is used in some wood instruments.
In this review, we will talk mostly about the 72% RH pack since it is the most widely used for cigar humidors and other cigar storing boxes.
How they’re made
One of the standout features of each Boveda pack is its build quality. Apart from that, you can also see quite a lot of thought process going on behind the design and construction of the individual packs. Each one is made of four layers that sandwich into each other to form the perfect humidifying solution.
On the outside of the pack, you have 2 cellulose biodegradable membranes (made out of kraft paper). These control the amount of humidity passing through them and are the main determining factor between all the different RH% models. On the inside, you have a reverse osmosis membrane. Inside these reverse osmosis membranes, you have a pocket of natural salts and other secret ingredients that the company won’t disclose.
That reverse osmosis membrane emits purified water vapor that controls the relative humidity released by the pack. Each pack has a slightly different reverse osmosis membrane that can keep the RH at different levels. Furthermore, there is a slightly different outer layer that lets a certain amount of water molecules go in and out.
Sizes, Packs, and RH options
On the topic of different sizes, package options, and RH variations, Boveda is truly king. However, that can become confusing very fast, especially if you’re not sure which pack to go for. This is why I will now explain all of the different options that are being sold.
In terms of sizes, the brand offers the following models:
- Sizes 1, 4, and 8 – good for small containers up to 1 oz or 28 grams
- Size 60 – good for smaller humidors and/or up to 25 cigars (or 1lb)
- Size 67 – for bigger humidors. Also for tobacco containers up to 2 liters
- Size 70 – for medium airtight jars and containers up to 2 liters
- Size 320 – for large bins and transportation boxes up to 5 lbs
In terms of packs and bundle options, you can get almost any size in a single pack, a pack of 4, 10, 12, 20, 50, 100, 300, 500, 600, 1000, 1500, and even a custom number. This is truly great since you can get a much better price according to the number of packs you will need.
While I already mentioned the possible RH% options available by Boveda, it is also important to note that the brand offers almost all of their RH options at any size you want. This means that you can get a 72% RH pack, for example, as a size 1 for a portable jar that you take to the golf course!
All in all, once you figure out the desired RH of your humidor, you will have to see which bundle suits your budget the most. My personal advice would be to test out a single Boveda pack with your cigars and see if it works for you. As I already mentioned earlier, gel beads or simply water sometimes work better. This all depends on the type of humidor you have and how well-sealed it is.
Want to know how long do cigars last? Click here to read my detailed article on that topic!
How does it compare to other humidifying solutions?
While electronic humidifiers are truly some of the leading products on the market, these packs go head to head with the cheaper single-use products such as gel and bead humidifiers. The gel products from Joe Cool Cigar are some of the most popular alternatives out there and they do tend to regulate humidity just as well. However, they are a bit more expensive and last only around 2-3 months before they need a refill. Still, a single 4oz jar of humidifier gel can easily take care of 100+ cigars.
And while electronic humidifiers are the cream of the crop, my personal opinion is that they are slightly overrated. Not to mention they are also often overpriced. On top of all that, they do tend to fault out and give headaches to their users as they can malfunction or run out of battery if you forget about them. These electronic models will also need refills relatively often compared to Boveda’s “set it and forget it” type of packs.
If you want to check out some of the best offers I’ve found for cigar humidors, I highly recommend checking out my full buyer’s guide! Now, let’s check out one of the most suitable packs for most humidors out there…
The 72% RH 2-Way Humidity Control Pack
The size 60 (60 grams) 72% RH is one of my favorite Boveda packs. In fact, it is one of the best options you can use for the common humidor box that holds 25-150 cigars. As I mentioned earlier, a 72% pack can handle 25 cigars for the better part of a year. This means that you can just keep adding packs as you add more cigars to a larger humidor box. And the best part is that there is absolutely no issue in the pack touching the cigars, so internal spacing won’t be a huge issue.
Since the ideal humidity for a cigar humidor is around 65-72%, these 72% packs tend to do the perfect job. While they might sometimes struggle to reach exactly 72% (due to leaky humidors, for instance), they are more than good enough to keep the RH at least above 65. And as I’ve discussed a lot of times, it is almost impossible to over-humidify your humidor with these packs or any other type of humidifier for that matter.
Most commonly, the 72% RH pack comes in a 1-count resealable bag. However, there are other bigger package options that allow you to save some money on bulk order. There are 4-pack, 12-pack, and 20-pack options available. Additionally, there are 72% RH packs that come in size 320 which is meant for huge humidors, cabinets, or tobacco containers up to 5 lbs.
How to use the Boveda Packs?
Using a Boveda pack is a straightforward process. You can either place the pack on top of your cigars inside the humidor or you can use a holder. The brand makes special holders for their own packs which work really well if you don’t want the pack to touch anything inside the box. Once the pack is inside, you can close the lid and let it do its job. It is really that simple and that is one of the main reasons these packs have become so popular over the past couple of years.
One thing to note is that every now and then it is good to test your packs. Admittedly, some batches could be bad and the pack can dry out a few months before it is supposed to. To check whether that has happened, simply open the humidor and press against the pack. If it’s dry, hard, and crumbly, it is time to change it.
To make sure that your humidifying solution or pack works well you have to first set up your hygrometer properly. To learn how to calibrate your hygrometer the right way, click here!
With all that being said, let’s sum up some of the most important pros and cons of these packs!
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Perfect for most humidors
- Wide range of RH %
- Work great for cigars with fragile wrappers
- Can be used for food, coffee, tobacco, and wooden instruments
- Much easier to use than beads, water, or gel
- Can work for months
- They can be tested via the touch test
- All-natural ingredients
- Made in the USA
- Come in large packs for greater convenience and better price
- These packs tend to cost more than most other options out there
- The 72% packs are not good for humidor seasoning
- In some cases humidifying gels tend to work better
- Cannot be mixed between each other (packs with different RH ratings)
Now that we’ve discussed most of the features, pros, and cons of these packs, let’s answer some common questions people have about them…
Frequently Asked Questions
How many Boveda packs do I need for my humidor?
First of all, it is important to know how air-tight your humidor is. The rule of thumb is that for wooden humidors you will need at least 1 pack for every 25 cigars. What that means is that if your box can hold 125 cigars, you will need 5-6 packs thrown in there. Make sure you regularly check on the packs and on the RH of the box, especially if you open it a lot.
How long will Boveda packs last in my humidor?
Again depending on how air-tight the humidor is, most Boveda packs should be good for at least 2 months. On completely air-tight humidor boxes, these packs can last up to 6 months, which is truly market-leading, especially for this type of humidifier. Also, larger humidors tend to use their Boveda packs faster, so make sure you perform the “touch-test” every few weeks to see if the packs have hardened and dried up.
Do these Boveda humidity packs really work?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is also yes but the packs rely on a variety of conditions in order to work properly. First and foremost, your humidor has to be sealed properly. Additionally, you should have your humidor set up correctly as well so that you can accurately measure and control your box’s RH over time. Leaky humidors will eat through the packs much, much faster than normal and will just be a waste of money with a side risk of ruining your cigars.
Can the packs touch the cigars inside the humidor?
Yes, your packs can be in touch with your cigars as much as you want. The natural ingredients used in these packs have no way of damaging the wrapper of your cigar, even less so if the cigar is wrapped. The outside of each pack is made out of biodegradable cellulose material that cannot react with the environment or the cigar’s leaves.
Can you over-humidify your humidor with Boveda packs?
As with most other humidifiers out there, you cannot over-humidify your humidor box, or rather it would be nearly impossible. This is precisely the reason you constantly see about using a “minimum” amount of packs per number of cigars or cigar humidor volume. You never hear about a “maximum” of Boveda packs per humidor. With that in mind, you can rest assured that you cannot go over the RH of the specific Boveda pack you’re using.
Conclusion and Rating
To put it short, the Boveda packs are something that not everyone will be able to afford. However, throughout all my tests with them, one thing has become abundantly clear – they work. And boy do they work well. While there have been some issues with consistency throughout the months in which they’ve done their job inside the humidor, the hassle-free way these packs work is what makes them a fan favorite. And while I won’t argue they are cheap in any way, the bigger packs tend to offer some sort of practicality and can save you some bucks.
The thing that stands out the most to me about this brand is that it constantly expands and thrives to become better. This clearly shows in their new products which are geared towards anybody that might need their original packs. Also, if you’re in need of humidity control in other things like your coffee jar, acoustic guitar, or food packs, there are alternative RH packs that will do the job.
All in all, for the price you’re paying there are quite a lot of gel and bead alternatives out there. However, none of them tend to be as easy to work with nor as tremendous in their effect on your cigars. If I had to choose a favorite cigar product for this year, this will definitely be it!