Every cigar aficionado out there has probably asked whether or not they should use a cigar cooler or a humidor.
That’s totally understandable. After all, we want our cigar collections to look good, stay fresh, and taste great.
In the battle between a cigar cooler vs humidor, how do you figure out exactly which one to get?
Don’t worry; we are here to clear the line between these two.
What Is a Cigar Cooler?
A cigar cooler humidor almost looks like a regular fridge or a wine cabinet cooler. Depending on the model, it can be anywhere between two and five feet tall.
Cigar coolers can store 250 to 5,000 cigars and come with various features that make them a must-have for countless cigar smokers.
One thing that separates them from other cigar storage options is their built-in temperature control.
This technology allows you to adjust the temperature range of the storage.
As we all know, cigars do not fare well in extremely hot climates. With the temperature control, you can adjust the level of humidity and keep your cigars fresh.
Additionally, if you live in an area where the climate switches from extremely hot to extremely cold, the moisture levels of your environment can be bad for your cigars.
That’s why you want your cigars stored in a container with consistent temperatures. A cigar cooler will let you do that.
Nonetheless, cigar coolers do not just set the correct humidity level. They are also a safe place to keep your cigars away from children, pets, or pests.
Cigar Cooler Benefits
You want to keep in mind that wooden humidors do not offer adequate insulation for your cigars. That’s where cigar coolers take the trophy.
The most effective cigar cooler humidors benefit cigar collectors who love to age cigars.
That’s because this type of cigar storage offers a wide range of temperatures, allowing you to use a low setting.
On top of all the cooler’s benefits over cigar humidors, another thing worth mentioning is its airtight quality.
They are almost like a typical beverage fridge, meaning all the cigars’ aroma stays trapped inside.
Most cigar coolers also have glass doors, making them an attractive option if you like admiring your collection or showing them off to your friends.
Also, they have multiple wooden shelves to store individual cigars or even entire boxes of cigar.
Some cigar coolers would even use Spanish cedar shelving. If you are unaware, this is the best type of wood to control humidity.
Spanish cedar wood is capable of not just absorbing but also releasing moisture.
They work with the cooler’s advanced features in terms of maintaining consistent temperatures and humidity.
What Is a Humidor?
Avid cigar smokers will argue that traditional wooden humidors are the only acceptable cigar storage device.
Basically, a humidor is a wooden box used for storing cigars.
Some cigars come with their own humidors when you purchase them from different brands. On the other hand, you can also buy a humidor individually.
Most are equipped with multiple features aimed at keeping your cigar fresh.
Again, special-grade humidors also use Spanish cedar wood. As we already know, it is the best wood for aging cigars and protecting them from humidity.
Since Spanish cedar wood or other types of solid hardwood is relatively heavy, it creates an aggressive seal. This allows the flavors to evolve the longer you keep them in the box.
Most humidors feature interlocking joints and hinges that allow you to open them from the top.
Boxes like this can often hold 10 to 50 cigars, depending on how big the humidor is.
Unfortunately, humidors do not have advanced features that allow you to control the temperature within the box.
That’s why they are best used for beginner cigars that do not need to be kept at a consistent temperature despite the erratic climate of the environment.
One of the most important benefits of humidors is that they don’t need electricity. When you buy one from a cigar shop, you can immediately use it as it is.
Furthermore, this characteristic of humidors makes them portable. You’d be able to carry multiple cigars wherever you’re headed without diminishing their flavors.
Humidors also help prolong the lifespan of your cigars by protecting them from direct sunlight and other harmful elements within your immediate surroundings.
Numerous manufacturers produce different types of humidors since they are relatively easier to make than coolers.
As a result, cigar enthusiasts can be picky and choose a humidor that suits their taste or is aesthetically pleasing to them.
Lastly, humidors are significantly more affordable than coolers.
Humidor/Cigar Cooler Buying Tips
At the end of the day, we are all about helping you choose the right cigar storage option.
That’s why we have listed some important factors you need to consider when choosing a cigar cooler or a humidor:
When we talk about the size of the cigar storage solution you need, we are not talking about dimensions. What we want you to figure out is its capacity.
As a rule of thumb, you should buy a cigar cooler or a humidor that can hold more than the cigars you want to store.
This ensures you have adequate space for when you acquire new cigars to add to your collection.
Keep in mind that cigars need just the right amount of air to stay fresh, so you need to take this step seriously.
If your humidor/cooler is overly populated, it affects the perfect climate inside the box or cabinet. This can rapidly ruin the quality of your cigars.
Make sure you purchase a humidor/cooler that can hold twice the number of stogies you currently have. A humidor/cooler should not be confused with a wine cooler, which are becoming increasingly more popular with consumers.
Type of Cigar
Generally, cigar enthusiasts choose between mild, medium, and full-bodied cigars.
If you only stick to one type of cigar, then you don’t have to worry about this part.
However, if you tend to switch between these three cigar types, make sure they are all divided according to their types.
If a full-bodied cigar is next to a mild cigar, the flavor profile and aroma of each of them can quickly deteriorate, ruining your smoking experience.
The best humidors/coolers for this type of collection are those that have multiple drawers.
If you plan to store your cigars while displaying them in your living room, think of your humidor/cooler not as a storage solution but as a piece of furniture.
You want a storage solution that fits the visual appeal of your home, so make sure you get the right type of wood for that purpose.
Humidors/coolers can have various finishes like mahogany, walnut, dark cherry, and a whole lot more.
You can also consider whether you want a desktop, travel, end-table, or cabinet humidor/cooler.
We’ve mentioned numerous times that your environment’s climate will affect the quality of your cigars.
If you live in an area where the temperature stays within a consistent range, you probably won’t face this challenge.
However, if your geographic location experiences different seasons, especially chilly winters and scorching summers, you need to be careful with your choice.
You want a humidor/cooler that can withstand these climates.
Measuring Devices and Temperature Control
Building upon what we’ve just talked about, it is best to go for humidors/coolers with measuring devices and temperature control features.
For instance, a humidor/cooler with a digital hygrometer will allow you to measure the amount of vapor inside the box/cabinet.
Additionally, some humidors/coolers also have thermometers to inform you of the box/cabinet’s internal temperature.
These are all vital in keeping your cigars fresh.
Obviously, readouts would not suffice to keep the flavor profile of your cigars. That’s why you need a humidor/cooler that lets you manipulate the temperature of the storage unit.
Aside from your geographic location and the capacity of the humidor/cooler, you also need to consider the space it will take up.
If you have plenty of room, desk humidors or cabinet-style units are excellent choices. They double as furniture, so you don’t have to worry about positioning them aesthetically.
You also have to keep in mind that the majority of cigar coolers require electricity, so you need to place them near a wall socket.
On the other hand, you can opt for smaller units if you are trying to save space for other equipment.
There are also numerous humidors that can accommodate five to 40 cigars that are perfect for traveling.
Quality and Seal
The quality of the materials used on the unit is also important. More often than not, the type of wood is what you need to pay attention to.
Spanish cedar humidors are often more expensive, but they offer many advantages you wouldn’t find in any other type of wood.
Make sure you also inspect the sealing quality of the unit. There is no point in having a unit with Spanish cedar shelves if it does not have proper insulation.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to inspect the sealing quality.
Your best bet is to read reviews wherever you can find them and buy only from an authorized dealer.
Lastly, make sure you figure out your budget for the unit. How much are you willing to spend? What features are you ready to sacrifice to save a few bucks?
Keep in mind that high-quality coolers/humidors, despite being more expensive, will outlive and outperform cheaper units.
Cigar Cooler vs Humidor: Which One Do You Need?
In the battle between a cigar cooler vs humidor, the one you need ultimately depends on you.
If you have a small cigar collection and want to save money, you can stick to the traditional wooden humidor.
On the other hand, if you intend to keep thousands of stogies, have the budget for it, and need temperature control to keep your cigars fresh, a cigar cooler is your best option.