As you might already know, a cigar humidor is a device that helps provide your cigars with the optimal level of moisture. Not only do humidors help regulate temperature and humidity, but they also helps protect the cigars from other external pressures. And just like most things in life, the materials used to construct a humidor will have a direct correlation with its ability to function. So to get to the point, what is the best type of wood for a cigar humidor? Does choosing the right wood even matter? Well, yes, it does. Cigar humidors can be constructed from many types of woods, some of which are better than others. In the following sections, we’re going to show you the different types of woods that exist for cigar humidors, as well as discuss each of their benefits and potential drawbacks.
Why is Choosing the Right Wood Important?
Cigar humidors are designed to help you store and preserve your cigars for a long time – for many years in fact – and the way that it does this is by regulating internal humidity and temperature.
Unfortunately, there are some woods that aren’t able to adequately withstand high humidity levels, and as a result, the moisture inside humidors fluctuates, something you never want to happen.
- As a general rule of thumb, the inside of a cigar humidor is supposed to be around 70°F and have about 70% humidity.
- If you choose the wrong wood, and these numbers go too high, you’ll probably ruin your cigars. It may even encourage the buildup of tobacco beetles.
- It’s imperative that you purchase a humidor that is constructed from high-quality wood (which we’ll discuss below), so that the unit can retain its micro climate.
Does the Humidor Always Need to Be Constructed from Spanish cedar?
This is one question that almost all cigar collectors will have. After doing some research online, you’ve probably noticed a trend – Spanish cedar is considered the best wood for a cigar humidor. And this is true. In fact, Spanish cedar is so good at withstanding humidity and maintaining temperature that all of the higher-quality models are built from this type of wood.
However, this doesn’t mean that all units need to be made from Spanish cedar.
In fact, some of the other woods cigar humidors are made from include American Red Cedar or Honduran Mahogany. While these aren’t nearly as popular as cedar, they are still a quality option to consider for the inner lining of a humidor.
Just keep in mind that you’ll be paying much more with Spanish cedar than you will with any other type of wood.
What Are the Advantages of Spanish cedar?
Some of the primary advantages associated with Spanish cedar include:
- Protection from Tobacco Beetles: If you’ve been collecting cigars for any significant amount of time, you probably already understand how frustrating dealing with tobacco beetles can be. Fortunately, this type of wood can help prevent them from building up in your humidor.
- Positive Effect on Cigar Flavor: One of the main purposes of a humidor is to ensure that your cigars retain their freshness and taste for years. If your cigars are losing their taste, then your humidor isn’t doing its job. Spanish cedar is well-known for preserving cigar flavor for extended periods of time.
- Regulation of Humidity/Temperature: Spanish cedar is, by far, the most effective wood type for helping regulate the temperature and humidity levels within your cigar cooler.
Despite what its name might imply, Spanish cedar doesn’t get imported from Spain – it gets imported from Brazil, as well as other counties in South America. It’s definitely recommended for anyone who is searching for a quality humidor that will get the job done.
Overview of American Red Cedar and Honduran Mahogany
After Spanish Cedar, American red cedar and Hondoruan mahogany are the two most popular woods for cigar humidors.
American red cedar isn’t as effective as Spanish cedar, but is still a reliable wood used in the construction of many cigar humidors.
It’s important to note that this type of wood tends to give off a strong aroma, but the good news is that it costs significantly less than Spanish cedar. One of the downsides associated with this type of wood is that overtime, your cigars might developed a “woody” flavor, which of course, isn’t desired.
On the other hand, you have Honduran Mahogany.
The absorption rate for this wood is actually similar to that of Spanish cedar, and it doesn’t have an intense odor like red cedar either.
Unfortunately, it isn’t as strong a deterrent on tobacco beetles and worms as Spanish cedar, and doesn’t help maintain flavor as good either.
Nonetheless, both wood types are budget-friendly, relatively effective, and are the second and third most popular options behind Spanish cedar in the humidor marketplace today.
Solid Wood Vs. Veneer Wood Construction – Which is better?
You’ve probably noticed that we spent a lot of time in this article talking about the interior lining of a humidor. But it’s equally as important to know that a cigar cooler can also be constructed entirely from a specific type of wood – not just the interior lining. Thus, we can further breakdown humidors into one of two categories:
- Veneer Wood Construction: With veneer wood construction, only the interior lining of the humidor is going to be constructed from the wood type. The rest of the unit can be made from other materials including glass or metal.
- Solid Wood Construction: In a solid wood construction, the entire humidor is going to be built from the same wood (both the outside and inside). So instead of only having the interior lining made of Spanish cedar, the whole thing will be constructed from that type of wood.
Which of these two wood construction options are better? Contrary to what most people believe, a solid wood humidor won’t necessarily reign supreme over one with a wood veneer.
In general, solid wood humidors, especially those made from Spanish cedar, are going to be very expensive. Their construction also tends to be a little more complicated than that of a veneer humidor.
A veneer humidor will have the added advantage in the sense that much less tension will occur within the interior lining of the humidor.
As you might have already guessed, excessive tension can lead to a crack in the humidor, which would ultimately render it ineffective since it wouldn’t be able to be able to regulate temperature or humidity. Furthermore, high gloss finishes can be applied to the inside of a veneer unit, helping it last longer.
In a nutshell, it seems that veneer humidors are becoming the norm, with solid wood construction options falling in second place.
Solid wood humidors are simply more susceptible to damage and dents, since the wood is generally very soft. In this case, while Spanish cedar is considered an excellent wood for building a humidor, it’s only recommended that it be used in the interior of the unit – not the entire thing.
What Other Materials Can a Humidor Be Made From?
You might be wondering: if only the inside of a cigar humidor should be constructed from Spanish cedar (or any other type of wood), what should the outside be made from?
- Some other popular exterior material options include metal, glass, and even acrylic.
- Each of these vary in price and effectiveness, but ultimately do a pretty good job at keeping your cigars safe from the elements.
- Wood tends to fall somewhere in the middle regarding its popularity (sometimes first depending on where you are in the world).
As far as shape and design is concerned, you won’t find too many dramatic differences in looks between the different materials.
Most come in either a rectangular or square shape, and will either have rounded or sharp edges depending on the manufacturer. Some humidors take up entire rooms while ones are designed to be portable.
Bottom Line – Which Wood Type is the Best?
Most modern humidors are going to have an interior that is constructed from some type of wood.
These can include mahogany, cherry, walnut, maple, oak, and of course, cedar.
As you know by now, cedar is by far the best wood you can choose to line your cigar humidor. It does an excellent job at insulating temperatures and humidity, and can easily last you for many years as long as you maintain it properly. The only drawback is the price. A Spanish cedar cigar humidor is going to be expensive.
Though not as effective, American red cedar and Honduran mahogany are also quality woods for a cigar humidor, mainly because they do a good job absorbing humidity and don’t cost as much as Spanish cedar models.
Then you have other less prominent wood types like maple, oak, and cherry. While they aren’t as common, they can still get the job done to some degree, and are the most cost efficient options to consider.
No matter which type of wood you choose, make sure that it can adequately alienate the inside of your cigar humidor from the outside environment – it’s the only way that you’ll be able to retain the freshness and quality of your cigars over the long run.