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Cigar 101

Glass Top Humidor vs. Solid Wood

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

It’s easy to be wooed by a glass top humidor when you’re shopping for a new box. Who doesn’t want to stare at their precious cigar collection all day? Glass top humidors make better sense in certain environments than others. The Rochester Glass Top Humidor has been a popular model for years, but there are few things to consider before buying a glass top model. The type of material your humidor is made of can affect its performance and how you maintain it. Let’s examine the pros and cons of a glass top humidor versus a solid wood box.

Role of a Humidor

Regardless of what kind of humidor you decide on, the purpose of storing your cigars inside is to keep them fresh and humidified – ideally at 70% RH (relative humidity) and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Cigars dry out after a few days if they’re not stored in a humidified environment. That’s why you can’t store cigars in their original boxes to keep them fresh. A traditional humidor is made of cedar, or is at least lined with cedar, because that’s the best type of wood for absorbing moisture and maintaining a consistent humidity level for your cigars. Today you’ll find a variety of alternative humidors, though, including coolderdors, wine fridges, humidity bags, and even DIY Mason jars and walk-in humidors you can build in your home.

Displaying Cigars

The biggest advantage you get with a glass top humidor is transparency. You can display your cigars for all your fellow cigar lovers to gaze upon. If you are selling or sharing cigars during an event like a bachelor party or wedding, a glass top humidor is ideal. People can see the cigars without constantly opening the box and allowing the humidity to escape. It’s tough for a humidor to maintain humidity when the lid is up – and, fluctuation in temperature and humidity is bad for premium cigars. Glass top humidors can be effective when you want others to see your cigars.

Aging Cigars

If you like to age your cigars for several months and years, a solid Spanish cedar humidor is best. Storing your cigars in a sound cedar environment with a tight seal and no access to light will encourage consistent conditions and a desirable evolution of taste as they rest. A glass top is not the best option in this case.

Glass Top Humidor Problems

Glass top humidors get a bad rap for a few reasons, but most of the problems you’ll encounter in a glass top model are avoidable if you know how to prevent them.

Continuous Exposure to Light is Bad for Cigars

The biggest concern with storing cigars in a glass top humidor is the continual exposure to light. Do not leave your humidor near a window or under a lamp. More light will reach your cigars than you really want, so be careful where you store a glass top humidor. Glass also changes temperature much faster, and cigars age best in consistent conditions.

Rotate Your Cigars More Often

Rotate your cigars more often – at least once a week or more – so that the same row isn’t always near the glass. If you’ve ever shopped for cigars in a retail environment where the product doesn’t sell very quickly, you’ve likely noticed the cigars on the top row are faded. Most of us won’t bother with those and we’ll reach deeper into the box or the shelf until we find one that’s dark and oily all the way around.

Glass Does Not Absorb Moisture  

Glass is stark and it doesn’t absorb humidity. Therefore, you’ve got a less-desirable surface than cedar making up a good portion of your humidor. Regular cigar rotation and keeping the box away from light mitigates the issues glass can create.

Humidification Device Doesn’t Mount Under Lid

One of the biggest reasons people love glass humidors is aesthetics and showing off their cigars. However, you can’t mount a traditional humidification device on the lid of a glass top box. You’ll have to set it along the side or on the bottom, which can impact how the humidity is dispersed. And if you use Boveda packs to keep your cigars fresh, you may want to tuck the packs under your cigars so that your glass top humidor looks tidy when people see it. If your humidor is naturally disorganized because you don’t like to spend time stacking your cigars, stick with a lower-maintenance solid cedar humidor, like a Savoy. Close the lid and keep it simple.

Discover the best humidors to meet your needs when you check out our advice on how to choose a good one and how to season and set it up.

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