Beads: The Best Humidifier for a Desktop Humidor.
QUICK TIP: Using humidity beads is the best way to keep your desktop humidor at just the right RH level. One advantage to beads is that they are a two-way humidifying system i.e., they will both produce humidity (if your humidor is too dry) and they will absorb humidity (if your humidor is too moist). A dry humidor can ruin cigars by making them brittle, crack and fall apart. But worse than that, your cigars might taste harsh if they are too dry. However a humidor can also become too moist, in which case your cigars might not burn properly, have a tough draw, or even worse… they might get moldy. Therefore having your humidor at the perfect RH is absolutely necessary.
The perfect range of RH is between 65-69% RH.
A bead pouch should be about the size of a large lime or lemon. The standard green foam humidifying device that comes with your humidor should be crushed and thrown in the trash. Do not use the black plastic with green foam humidifying device as it is almost certain to cause you headache and likely ruin your cigars. Also, I do not recommend gel jars and other similar humidifying options. Those types of humidification devices are “one way”, in that they only know how to produce humidity and not absorb it.
Boveda packs are a good “two-way” option but I recommend these only for small 20 count or travel humidors because they dry up quickly and therefore they will be expensive to use in a desktop humidor over the long haul.
Beads are the way to go! Beads last forever and all they need is a couple of sprays of distilled water every week or two. There are two types of beads you can buy and they are all very similar.
- Heartfelt Beads (possibly the best option but also the most expensive)
- Crystal type kitty litter (the cheapest solution but it’s important you not get the wrong type)
The correct type of kitty litter is a crystal pearl that does not contain blue fragrant chunks. Some people have argued that kitty litter isn’t as good as Heartfelt beads. They could be right, but in the testing I have done kitty litter performs just as good as the Heartfelt beads. (keep in mind I’m no scientist)
To set up your bead humidity bead pouches use the follow step by step guide:
Setup is as easy as this:
- Pour 1/4 cup of beads (or litter) into the toe of some new panty hose.
- Tie off panty hose and cut-off excess.
- Spray with 3-4 squirts of distilled water.
- Place in humidor where it’s NOT touching your cigars.
- Relax, and smoke a cigar knowing your worries are over.
Simply spray with distilled water every week or two depending on your RH reading of your digital hygrometer (do not rely on the analog hygrometer that comes with your humidor as those are wildly inaccurate). Depending on your humidor setup you might need to add more or less bead pouches but a good rule of thumb is a one 1/4 cup pouch per 50 cigars. Here in the dry climate of Colorado I double my recipe. For reference your bead pouch should be about the size of a lime.
And that’s all there is to it! Your beads will never go bad or need replacing. All they will need is a few squirts of distilled water every couple of weeks. And the fun part is after a few months in there with your cigars you bead pouch will smell like delicious cigars!
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