It’s no doubt that maintaining proper humidification is the single most important part of keeping cigars fresh and ready to smoke. After all, it is the entire driving force behind the creation of BLÜME.
For those just getting into cigar smoking, or perhaps those who love the technological aspects of BLÜME but don’t have full knowledge of the cigar industry, here is our Cigar Humidification 101 lesson; diving into the different types of humidifiers out there, and what makes BLÜME the best (not that we’re biased or anything).
There are five main types of humidification systems: Floral Foam, Silica Beads, Crystal Gel, Humidipaks (Boveda), and Electric Humidifiers. BLÜME falls into its own category: Active Humidification. But let’s go through the rest of the options available and see how they stack up.
1. Floral Foam
Perhaps one of the most passive of the humidification systems, floral foam is a staple in most new humidors. Similar to a sponge, the foam absorbs the distilled water you drip onto it and then expels that water as vapour as it sits in your humidor. Because floral foam is so absorbent, you have to be careful not to saturate it too much and to drain out any extra water before placing it into your humidor. Floral foam requires the highest degree of maintenance as the foam must be refilled every 1-2 weeks and fully replaced every 6-12 months.
2. Silica Beads
When you buy a new pair of shoes, they usually come with a little packet of silica beads. This packet of beads is meant to pull moisture from the new shoes, keeping them fresh and free of mold or other substances that may appear on the journey from production to sale. Silica beads in your humidor work in a similar way. They are used to both release and adsorb moisture from the environment. Silica beads must be soaked in distilled water until they expand, then drained of excess water and placed into your humidor. While silica beads need to be refilled every 2-4 weeks, they don’t need to be replaced for 3-6 years. They do however require a certain level of care to ensure they’re refilled properly and aren’t used for too long, since tobacco oils and chemicals can start to stick to the beads’ surface after the recommended use time.
3. Crystal Gel
Crystal gel humidifiers are similar to silica beads in that they are soaked in water until expansion, drained of excess distilled water, and place into your humidor in a crystal container. Their hard crystal-like shape turns to rubber when soaked. These crystals can absorb up to 500 times their weight in water, and release the evaporated water fairly quickly into the humidor’s environment. Every 2-4 weeks, the crystals will return to their original form, which means it’s time for a refill. They should be replaced every 1-2 years.
Boveda Humidipaks are packets filled with a salt water solution that promotes precise levels of water vapor. Users can choose their desired humidity level (either 65, 69, 72 or 75) and purchase that pack, placing it directly on top of their cigars, or anywhere in the humidor. Each Humidipak humidifies up to 25 cigars, which means that any smoker with more than that will need to purchase more packs. They are relatively inexpensive but add up depending on how many cigars you own. Boveda Humidipaks need to be replaced every 2-3 months.
5. Electric Humidifiers
Electric humidifiers are just that – powered by battery or ribbon cable, these devices use sensors to determine the humidity levels in your humidor and expel water vapor when needed. The vast majority of electric humidifiers use a fan-over-water attempt at evaporation, meaning when the device senses humidity levels are getting low, the fan will kick in, and (hopefully) evaporated water will be expelled. Many are equipped with built-in hygrometers and thermometers, which are read right on the device. This means you need to open your humidor each time you want to see a reading, thus releasing important humidified air.
Where BLÜME differs from this definition of active humidification is in its core functions and connected capabilities. Instead of using fans to intermittently release water vapor, BLÜME uses the system of atomizing transduction which means a vibrating nozzle creates ultrasonic waves that then turn water into tiny droplets which are constantly expelled into the humidor’s environment for an even humidification. The device’s connected app is where you’ll find hygrometer and thermometer readings, meaning you only ever need to open your humidor when refilling BLÜME’s water reservoir (which lasts approximately one month). The best part? There’s no replacing BLÜME after months or even years. The chrome body and sophisticated internal processes are built to last.
It may be difficult to give up your current method of humidification. We get it, change is hard. But when you look at the features of BLÜME compared to the rest of this list, it just might make that change a little bit easier. Remember, you can still pre-order your own through Indiegogo.