When cigars burst back into popularity in the 1990s, people began paying more attention to the old-fashioned idea of owning a humidor. After all, a good cigar represents an investment of sorts. When you purchase a box, the cost can be significant. For anyone who maintains a stock of various brands and sizes, a humidor is an absolute requirement.

Humidors allow you to store your cigars in carefully maintained 70 percent relative humidity at a temperature of 70 degrees. This ideal atmosphere not only keeps your cigars fresh, it allows them to age. Cigars continue improve for five to 10 years after their creation, and they can be stored for an indefinite period beyond that.

As a result, there is no rush to get through a supply of cigars before the expiration date. Kept well, that box of Presidentes that your best man gave you at your wedding can be enjoyed at your child’s graduation.

Cigar connoisseurs have a variety of other opportunities for keeping their cigars properly stored. Tabletop humidors are extremely popular and won’t break the bank. Depending on your need you can get models that store from 10 to 250 cigars. Many of them come with separate compartments that keep the different cigars from touching and “sharing” their flavors, which can ruin the taste.

Most tabletop units are made out of a variety of woods, although many of the better ones come with a thin cedar lining. The cedar helps regulate the moisture and keeps the other wood from cracking. Regardless of which kind of humidor you choose, it is important to keep it out of direct sunlight. The sun isn’t good for your cigars, and it also causes the temperature in the humidor to increase.

Another important factor in choosing a tabletop model is the seal. The units should close tight enough to keep the moist air from escaping and allowing the cigars to dry. Always check the seal on a humidor you are thinking about buying, especially Plexiglas models. Some of models come with rubber or nylon gaskets that help lock in freshness.

Average tabletop models can range in price from $50 to more than $500. Of course, specialty models can be quite expensive. When buying a less expensive version, be very careful about examining the seal.

Perhaps even more important than the seal is the gauge, called the hygrometer, used to measure the humidity level. These also range in price from very inexpensive to professional quality. Really inexpensive models use a cheap coil and are not very accurate. You can get by without the gauge if you have a good feel for the humidity and temperature levels in your home or office.

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