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How to Store Cigars for Maximum Freshness

Chris, Chief Editor

Updated Jan 24, 2024

Human experts evaluate all our content

Storing cigars for maximum freshness requires maintaining optimal conditions of 70% humidity and 70°F (21°C), preferably in a humidor. A humidor is the best way to ensure the long-term preservation of cigars while maintaining ideal humidity levels.

Cigars can be stored temporarily in airtight containers with a damp sponge or a humidification pack if a humidor is not available. Alternatives like Tupperware, jars, cigar pouches, a Ziploc bag, or a Coolerdor all work as makeshift solutions.

Beware that cigars will dry out over time without proper humidor storage, and the general recommendation is to invest in a real humidor. There are relatively cheap humidors to buy, even on a tight budget.

Regular monitoring and adjustment of humidity levels are necessary to keep the maximum freshness of cigars, as is rotating the cigars for even distribution of humidity. How to store cigars properly is explored further and at length below, with or without a humidor.

Store Cigars

Why Do You Need to Store Cigars Properly?

You need to store cigars properly to maintain their quality.

Cigars, delicate and finely crafted, are sensitive to their environment and quickly lose freshness, flavor, and quality if not stored under the right conditions. Proper storage helps to preserve the cigar’s humidity, prevents it from drying out, and allows it to age, which enhances flavors over time. Improper storage leads to a ton of issues, such as dryness, mold growth, and even infestations of tobacco beetles (although rare).

Whether you own prized Cuban cigars or enjoy them occasionally, ruining expensive cigars due to not using cigar boxes would be a shame and a waste of cash.

What Storage Factors Affect Cigar Quality?

Humidity and temperature are storage conditions that affect the quality of premium cigars.

The 70/70 rule is a guideline in the cigar world that suggests maintaining 70% humidity and a temperature of 70°F (21°C) for ideal cigar storage conditions.

These conditions closely mimic the natural environment where cigars are grown and fermented to preserve their delicate flavors and aromas. It’s a simple rule of thumb and easy to remember.

Correct storage allows your cigars to age well.

What is the Best Humidity for Cigars?

The best (optimal) humidity for cigars is generally around 70%, per the 70/70 rule. However, a slight variation relative humidity of between 65% and 72% still provides a suitable environment for cigars.

  • Below 65%: Cigars tend to dry out at this range, losing their oils and flavors and leading to harsher and faster burn when smoking.
  • 65% – 70%: This is the ideal range for many cigar enthusiasts to preserve the natural oils within the tobacco for a smooth and flavorful smoke.
  • 70% – 72%: This higher humidity level can make cigars a bit harder to light and keep lit but some smokers prefer this range as it potentially enhances certain flavors in the tobacco.
  • Above 72%: Humidity levels above 72% lead to over-humidification, causing cigars to become too moist with the potential for mold growth. Not to mention, cigars become hard to light and keep lit.

These are general guidelines and it’s perfectly fine not to hit 70% humidity exactly. Some people stress out over this. Make sure your humidor stays within 65-72% and you’ll have perfectly stored cigars for a long time.

If you use a natural humidor made of cedar wood, monitor your humidity frequently to keep it within the ideal range. An electric humidor will regulate this automatically for you.

What is the Best Temperature for Cigars?

The best (ideal) temperature for storing cigars is around 70°F (21°C). This temperature is often paired with the 70% humidity rule to create the perfect conditions for preserving cigars.

  • Below 60°F: At lower temperatures, the cigars’ aging process slows significantly. This leads to a lack of flavor development over time.
  • 60°F – 70°F: This is the ideal temperature range for storing cigars to maintain the cigar’s quality and allows for a steady, slow aging process to enhance the flavors.
  • Above 70°F: Higher temperatures lead to increased humidity, negatively impacting the quality of your cigars.

To maintain the optimal temperature, cigars should be stored in a humidor or a specially designed cigar cooler.

How do you store cigars in a humidor?

Storing cigars in a humidor involves a few basic and necessary steps to ensure your cigars remain fresh and flavorful:

  1. Prepare your humidor: Before storing your cigars, you need to season your humidor. This process involves wetting the interior of the humidor to raise the humidity level.
  2. Arrange your cigars: Once your humidor is seasoned, you start placing your cigars inside. Lay them flat and avoid stacking them too tightly. This allows for proper air circulation, necessary for an even humidity level.
  3. Monitor the humidity: Most humidors come equipped with an analog or digital hygrometer to monitor the humidity level inside your humidor. Monitor the humidity levels at least once a week and stay within 65% and 72%.
  4. Maintain your humidor: Regularly check the humidity level in your humidor. If it falls below the ideal range, add a humidification device, a Boveda pack, or a damp sponge to increase the humidity. If the humidity is too high, leave the humidor open for 10-20 minutes to let some moisture out.
  5. Rotate your cigars: Every few weeks, rotate your cigars for an even distribution of humidity.

Effective storage of your cigars only requires a few simple steps outlined above and checking in once in a while on the humidity levels. Most quality humidors are low-maintenance and easy to manage.

How do you Season a Humidor?

You need to season a brand-new humidor and prepare it for cigar storage by raising the humidity level inside. This allows it to absorb enough moisture to create an ideal environment for your cigars.

These are the steps to season a humidor correctly:

  1. Gather your supplies: To season a humidor, you will need distilled water, a clean sponge or cloth, and a plastic bag. Do not use tap water, as it contains minerals that can damage your humidor and affect the taste of your cigars.
  2. Wipe the interior: Dip your sponge or cloth in the distilled water and wring it out so it’s damp but not dripping. Gently wipe down all the cedar wood inside the humidor, including the trays and dividers. Be careful not to over-saturate the wood, as this can cause it to warp.
  3. Fill your humidification device: Fill your humidification device with either distilled water or a propylene glycol solution, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Propylene glycol helps regulate humidity, releasing moisture when the levels drop below 70% and absorbing it when they rise above 70%.
  4. Place the device and a bowl of water in the humidor: Put your humidification device back in the humidor. Also, place a small, shallow bowl of distilled water inside. This will help to increase the humidity level inside the humidor more quickly.
  5. Close the humidor and wait: Close the humidor and let it sit undisturbed for at least 24 hours.
  6. Check the humidity level: After 24 hours, check the humidity level using a hygrometer. If it’s reached 70%, remove the bowl of water and start using your humidor. If not, repeat the process until the desired humidity level is achieved.

Patience is key when seasoning a humidor and can take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on the size and material of the humidor.

How Often Should You Refill Your Humidor?

The frequency of refilling your humidor largely depends on the size of the humidor, the number of cigars inside, and the climate where you live. As a general rule, you should check your humidor at least once a week to ensure it maintains the ideal humidity level of 65-72%.

If you live in a dry climate or have a large humidor, you may need to refill your humidification device more often. Conversely, you may need to refill it less frequently in a humid climate or with a smaller humidor.

How to Store Cigars Without a Humidor?

While a humidor is the best option for storing cigars, there are ways to store cigars without a traditional humidor, to help maintain the freshness and quality of your cigars until you get yourself a suitable humidor.

1. Use a Tupperware or Plastic Container: Airtight containers like Tupperware or sealable plastic bags can work temporarily. You can maintain the necessary humidity level by including a damp sponge or a humidification pack in the tupperware container.

2. Use a Jar: Another short-term solution is to store cigars in a tightly sealed jar. Adding a small dish or sponge saturated with distilled water helps maintain the required humidity.

3. Use a Cigar Pouch: Cigar pouches are designed to keep cigars fresh for a short period of time. They are ideal for traveling or if you plan to smoke a cigar within a couple of days.

4. Use a Coolerdor: A Coolerdor is a cooler converted into a humidor. It’s a cost-effective way to store a large number of cigars. You’ll need to add humidification devices and a hygrometer to monitor the humidity level.

Cigars will dry out over time without a humidor, but these methods can help to preserve a few cigars’ freshness and flavor for a short period, similar to storing them in a cigar box.

How Long Will Cigars Last Without a Humidor?

Cigars can last up to a month without a humidor if stored with appropriate alternative solutions. The freshness and quality of the cigars will deteriorate over time without proper storage conditions.

Investing in a quality humidor is the best way to ensure your cigars remain fresh and flavorful for extended periods. And they look gorgeous on your office desk or in your home, a real eye candy for the refined professional.

How do you store a box of cigars without a humidor?

Storing a whole box of cigars without a humidor can be a bit tricky, but it’s not impossible. A few solutions that come to mind are a Coolerdor or a Wineador.

We mentioned the Coolerdor as an alternative solution to storing cigars without a humidor, and the capacity is ideal for larger amounts of cigars.

A wine cooler, or Wineador, can also work as a great option for storing boxes of cigars. The temperature-controlled environment is helpful for preserving cigars and it offers plenty of space.

The main challenge with storing a box of cigars is the space required. If you’re limited on space, you might need to get creative. You could consider splitting the box between multiple smaller airtight containers or storing the box in a seldom-used area like a closet or basement, where it can stay cool and out of the way.

Whatever you do, avoid the fridge or the freezer for storing your cigars.

Is It Good to Keep Cigars in the Fridge or Freezer?

Storing cigars in the fridge or freezer is not recommended, as it damages their quality in almost all cases. The low humidity in these environments dries the cigars, while the temperature fluctuations can cause the wrapper to crack.

There have been so many times I’ve walked into a tobacco shop looking for a cigar, only to see them getting pulled out of a fridge in the back. They are always dried out and cracked and horrible to smoke, in my experience.

Instead, store your cigars in a proper humidor or an alternative storage solution.

Does Freezing Cigars Keep Them Fresh?

No, freezing cigars does not keep them fresh. Although freezing cigars can sound like a logical method, freezing and thawing will cause them to become mushy and lose their flavor.

Can Dry Cigars be Rehydrated in a Humidor?

Yes, dry cigars can be rehydrated in a humidor if not too damaged.

Gradually reintroducing humidity to the cigars to help restore their moisture levels and flavor. The cigars may not be salvageable if they are excessively dry and brittle.

In such cases, investing in proper storage solutions is best to prevent future issues.

Why Are My Cigars Peeling?

Cigars peel due to improper humidity levels or handling. Maintaining the humidity and temperature in your humidor to prevent the wrapper from peeling.

Gently handling your cigars and avoiding abrupt changes in humidity and temperature also minimize the risk of peeling and damage.

What are the Best Cigar Humidor Storage Solutions?

The best cigar humidors come in several types, each with unique features and price points detailed below.

  1. Desktop Humidors: These are the most common type of humidor, ideal for beginners. They are compact and designed to sit on a desk or tabletop. They typically hold 20-100 cigars, perfect for casual smokers. Prices can range from $50 to $300, depending on the quality and design.
  2. Travel Humidors: As the name suggests, these are designed for on-the-go cigar enthusiasts. They are compact, durable, and typically hold 5-10 cigars. They are perfect for vacations or business trips and usually cost between $20 and $100.
  3. Cabinet Humidors: Large, furniture-style humidors holding hundreds or even thousands of cigars. They are ideal for serious collectors or cigar shops. Prices range from $500 to several thousand dollars, depending on the size and quality.
  4. End Table Humidors: These humidors double as furniture, typically in the form of a small end table or nightstand. They hold several hundred cigars and are a stylish addition to any room. Prices generally range from $200 to $1000.
  5. Electric Humidors: These high-tech humidors, often called thermoelectric humidors, automatically regulate humidity and temperature levels. They are a convenient option for those who want to minimize maintenance. Electric humidors range in size from desktop to cabinet and generally cost between $200 and $2000.

The best humidor for you depends on the size of your cigar collection, budget, and style preferences.

How Much is a Good Humidor overall?

You can find quality humidors for as little as $30, but I recommend investing in a mid-priced desktop humidor such as the Case Elegance Renzo Humidor, which retails for around $99 and is the best bang for your buck.

How to Store Cigars During Everyday Carry?

For on-the-go cigar carry, consider using travel humidors or protective cases to preserve freshness and quality. These portable storage options are designed to always keep your cigars fresh and in their best condition, allowing you to enjoy a flavorful smoke wherever you go.

Chris Starkhagen MSc.

Entrepreneur and Founder of chrisstarkhagen.com

Chris writes for men about what to know and how to be a high-value man and networking with high-net-worth individuals. Chris guides readers on men’s business, men’s home office, men’s performance, men’s accessories, and the best products for men to craft a timeless style. Whether you’re already a high net-worth man seeking your next luxury watch or a young G who wants a lifestyle upgrade, Chris connects men with the resources needed to elevate life as a man.