Why Buy A Desktop Humidor?
As the name suggests, a desktop humidor is essentially a chest that is placed on any surface for easy access. While this can indeed be a desk, some desktop humidors can be small enough for an end table while others are placed on buffets and sideboards.
As such, desktop humidors are typically somewhat decorative with finishes made from exotic woods. However, the interior should be made from Spanish cedar as we’ll explain in better detail below.
Nevertheless, not all desktop humidors are wooden humidors. In fact, acrylic humidors are slowly making themselves known as a viable and low-maintenance alternative.
A typically desktop humidor can offer anything from a storage capacity of 50 cigars all the way to 300. However, it’s rare that they’re ever above 200 as they start to become abnormally large at this point.
Therefore, desktop humidors tend to be the ideal storage solution for the average collection. Due to their size, convenience and ornamental properties, they’re a very popular choice for storing cigars at home.
Desktop Humidor Benefits
Firstly, it’s quite difficult to break down the actual benefits of a desktop humidor given that this a configuration rather than a construction. Each of the materials that may be used to build one will have its own characteristics and quirks.
Therefore, we recommend that you cast your eye to the following guides to learn more about the materials themselves:
When it comes to the configuration itself, desktop humidors are a go-to storage solution for a reason. As mentioned above, they can easily be placed on top of most surfaces.
Consequently, you can either showcase them as a room’s decorative centrepiece or discreetly tuck them away in a corner.
Furthermore, desktop humidor sizes are usually quite manageable and they often feature a number of trays and separators for easy organisation. Since most cigar collections on average range between 50 to 100 cigars, they’re a convenient format that should provide ample space for most people.
Desktop Humidor Drawbacks
Of course, desktop humidors aren’t perfect. However, that generally depends on whether they’re adapted to your own needs.
Firstly, most desktop humidors are quite large and bulky chests. Although some may have handles, they’re not designed to be moved. Meanwhile, coolidors are able to stock more cigars yet are easier to transport than desktop humidors.
That said, even if they’re bulky, desktop humidors aren’t as imposing as cigar cabinets! Therefore, they can be moved around if needed.
Additionally, if you want to make the most of your desktop humidor, it’ll likely take a fair bit of space. Not only do you need to take into account its size and shape but a desktop humidor usually requires easy access.
Given that they’re quite decorative, they’re often best showcased as centrepieces, which means that they may take up a bit of space.
Meanwhile, their placement should be carefully considered beforehand. Cigars aren’t fond of heat or UV light (the latter may be important to remember with transparent humidors). As such, care should be taken to not place it near a window where it will catch the sun’s rays.
Although desktop humidors are quite bulky, they store a surprisingly limited amount of cigars. Therefore, it can be surprising how quickly they can be filled. Bear this in mind when buying one as we’ll explain later.
Finally, if buying a wooden desktop humidor, you’ll have to keep an eye on the humidity levels. Wood is a natural material that breathes and allows for moisture exchange while the seals tend not to be as effective as synthetic humidors. It’ll also need to be properly seasoned before use.
Desktop Humidor Buying Advice
Now that you have heard the pros and cons of a desktop humidor, consider reading some advice before buying one.
Purchase From A Trusted Retailer
First of all, consider shopping and purchasing from a retailer that you can trust. A knowledgeable salesperson who has personally tested the products will be in a better position to advise you on what to get.
Some local tobacconists will be able to help. However, be mindful that they occasionally stock humidors out of convenience but don’t necessarily specialise in them. Therefore, ask a few questions when visiting to see how much they know their stuff.
Meanwhile, there are some online retailers that have excellent ranges of humidors. We’ve linked a few below but our favourite is Your Elegant Bar who specialises solely in cigar storage solutions. If you have any questions, you can reach out to them and they’d be happy to help you.
If you’re opting for a wooden desktop humidor, be sure that it’s lined with Spanish cedar. Although there are other types of wood sometimes used for lining, Spanish cedar has some pretty advantageous properties for cigar storage.
If a humidor has been advertised as cedar, make sure that it is indeed Spanish cedar. Other cedar varieties won’t offer the same benefits and may even be detrimental to your cigars’ health. Similarly, try to find a humidor that uses properly “kiln-dried” Spanish cedar.
An alternative wood is okoumé, a scentless moisture-repelling African wood. Unlike Spanish cedar, it doesn’t need seasoning. Yet, some people may miss the distinctive odour.
Invest In Quality
There are a lot of cheap desktop humidors on the market. However, refrain from pulling the trigger on an affordable humidor just because it looks nice. Always do a little research beforehand as some cheap models may have poor quality seals use inferior materials for their construction.
We’ve seen a number of very cheap humidors that only have a thin veneer of Spanish cedar on the interior but are otherwise made of composite wood. Meanwhile, others just have a cardboard base, which doesn’t hold any moisture at all.
Be Wary Of Glass
While acrylic humidors are often made with an airtight seal, be mindful that anything that uses a mix of materials may have leakage issues. Glass top desktop humidors are notorious for this as the seal between the wood and the glass tends not to be airtight.
Use Quality Hygrometers
We’re rarely fond of the hygrometers and humidity devices supplied with humidors. While there may be exceptions, they tend to be unreliable.
Firstly, most humidors are equipped with cheap analogue hygrometers, which are rarely accurate even after calibration. Consequently, we always replace these with digital hygrometers that offer a much more precise reading.
Nevertheless, even some digital ones can be imprecise, too. We suggest that you check out our guide to the best hygrometers to find the most suitable one for you.
Invest In Reliable Humidifiers
Most humidors are equipped with floral foam-style humidifiers. Occasionally, more expensive humidors may feature silica gel beads. However, these aren’t much better.
Not only do they require frequent recharging, but they also rarely provide a consistent level of humidity. One of the biggest issues with this is that they continuously diffuse moisture even when the desired level has been reached.
We only rely on humidifiers that offer two-way humidity control, which means that they absorb excess moisture and maintain a consistent level. Overall, we favour using Boveda’s humidity packs in our humidors.
Not only do they provide reliably consistent RH levels, but their two-way humidity process also diffuses moisture evenly throughout the humidor rather than within a fixed radius.
For larger humidors, there are 320g packs that can be used with a mounting plate for a cubic foot of storage space. Otherwise, most will fare well with a 60g pack for every 25 cigar capacity that can be neatly presented holder.
Buy The Right Size
Finally, avoid buying a smaller desktop humidor just because it’s more affordable. Instead, think about the long-term investment and the ultimate cost involved. If you buy a humidor with a capacity that will eventually be too low for your future collection, you’ll likely have to buy another, larger humidor anyway.
That said, we prefer not to leave all our proverbial eggs in one basket and depend on a single storage solution. Indeed, it’s better to separate them in case one has problems. However, if you want to consolidate your collection in one place, bear in mind that a desktop humidor can fill up pretty quickly!
Desktop Humidor Preparation & Maintenance
Depending on your choice of material, some desktop humidors will require more maintenance than others.
For instance, while acrylic humidors will generally require no preparation (unless they have wooden shelving), wooden desktop humidors will need to be seasoned. Seasoning a wooden humidor is essential as the dry wood of a humidor will zealously absorb moisture.
If you were to place cigars in a dry humidor, not only will the wood absorb the moisture from the humidifiers but it may well suck it from your cigars too. You can learn how to prevent this with our detailed guide to seasoning a wooden humidor.
Meanwhile, some acrylic humidors may have a strong plastic odour when first unboxed. While this may seem disconcerting at first, simply leaving it open for as long as a day will likely help it dissipate. Alternatively, add cedar sheets found in cigar boxes to the humidor and keep it closed. These will also absorb the smell.
Whatever material you choose, be sure to periodically check on your cigars and the humidor’s relative humidity. This is another reason why calibrated digital hygrometers are important as inaccurate readings won’t give you a reliable reading.
Failing to check regularly may mean that you miss any drastic changes in temperature or humidity, which may cause irreparable damage to your cigars.
Best Desktop Humidors To Buy Online
Below you can read about the best desktop humidors that you can buy online:
- Premium: Daniel Marshall Signature Burl
- Handmade: Americana Rustic Humidor
- Best Value: Old Glory Humidor
- Military Humidor: Case Elegance Klaro
- Elegant: Solana Mappa Burl Humidor
- Acrylic: Boveda Large Humidor
- High Capacity: Landmark Cherry Humidor
- Trunk Design: Admiral Humidor
- Vintage Rustic: The Nottingham Humidor
- Decorative: Cordoba Diamond Inlay Humidor
- Small & Cheap: Diplomat Cherry Humidor
Scroll down to see them all or jump ahead using the links above.