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Cigar 101

What Are Cigar Humidifier Crystals & How to Use Them

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Humidifier crystals are a popular method for humidifying your cigars. Cigar humidification was once accomplished by one or two rudimentary methods – clay bricks that were soaked in water or a traditional humidification unit composed of a spongy green floral foam. Today, dozens of humidification alternatives exist, including Boveda pouches, electronic humidifiers, humidity bags, and more. Let’s take a closer look at humidifier crystals.

What Are Cigar Humidifier Crystals?

Humidifier crystals are made from high-grade sodium-based polyacrylamine – a non-toxic, non-biodegradable material which can hold several hundred times its weight in fluid. A couple of grams of crystals can adequately humidify a standard 25 or 50-count humidor for several weeks or months once they have been charged with moisture.

Cigar humidifier crystals release humidity at a more gradual pace than other forms of humidification. Because your cigars acclimate to the desired humidity level with a slower, steadier momentum, there is less risk you can shock them with a spike in humidity. Sharp fluctuations in temperature or humidity are bad for premium handmade cigars because unwanted expansion and contraction of your cigars can occur and compromise their construction.

How Do Cigar Humidifier Crystals Work?

There are slight variations in use depending on the brand of humidification crystals you choose. Some beads are charged with humidity when you buy them. You simply open the lid on the container and the beads will begin working as soon as you place them in your humidor. When the humidity dissipates, you have to replenish the moisture. 

Xikar suggests propylene glycol (PG solution) as opposed to distilled water to replenish the humidity in the Xikar Crystal Jar because distilled water can lead to over-humidification. The same rule applies for the Xikar Crystal Humidifier, a standard puck-shaped unit.

You can use either PG solution or distilled water with the Humi-Care Black Ice Jar. The Black Ice Jar possesses an added advantage – when you unscrew the lid, the jar separates into four pie pieces you can arrange in the corners of your humidor for an equal distribution of moisture.

Whichever brand or method you prefer, monitor the humidity in your humidor with a reliable hygrometer and replenish your crystals humidifiers when needed. Humi-Care recommends refilling the crystals with moisture every 2 to 4 weeks, while Xikar crystals can last up to 90 days before replenishment. We suggest refilling your crystals when the humidity level dips down into the lower 60s. 

How Long Do Cigar Humidifier Crystals Last

As long as you don’t let them dry out, humidifier crystals can last 3 to 6 years or longer. Some connoisseurs have gotten as much as ten years of use out of one batch of crystals before replacing them. Regular recharging is required for the crystals to last a long time. The steady humidity levels they deliver combined with their long-lasting lifespan makes them one of the most efficient humidity options available.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Humidifier Crystals?

If your cigars have become excessively dry, you might consider other humidification options. Because humidifier crystals release moisture at a slower pace, they are excellent for maintaining cigars that are in optimal condition but will take longer to remedy cigars in need of an immediate dose of humidity. 

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