Description: This blog explains the purpose of the hygrometer and what it does to help keep cigars at their optimal humidity level for enjoyment.
If you love to smoke a good cigar, then the most important thing to do is ensure the cigars are being stored under the proper conditions. All that is needed for this is a good humidor and a hygrometer that indicates the proper range of humidity inside the humidor.
A hygrometer is an instrument that indicates the amount of water vapor in the air, or within the controlled space where the cigars are kept. That space is the humidor, also known as a cigar box. Having a hygrometer attached to the box is important because knowing the humidity level of the air where the cigars are kept is important. Keeping the cigars in a humidor allows the cigars to be kept in a humidity-controlled space.
Cigars must be kept at the proper range of humidity. Generally, cigars should be stored in a higher humidity than normal room temperature, but not in so moist a place that they become moldy or get too damp to light. On the other hand, a cigar that is too dry is unpleasant in flavor, and unpleasant to smoke. A safe humidity range is generally between 65% and 70%, and knowing that your cigar humidor is at this level is what a hygrometer will tell you.
Hygrometers can be analog or digital. The analog types are common and popular among cigar smokers, but they do need an occasional adjustment. Some are better than others, and all can use an occasional recalibration check to be sure that they are measuring properly. The cigars, the humidor and the hygrometer as well are all an investment, and you don’t want anything to go wrong. For example, you may put dry cigars into a humidor that you know to be at the proper humidity level, only to have the hygrometer tell you that the humidity level has dropped. Just wait a few days, and then reset the humidor. Now the cigars will be at the right level, and so will the humidor.
How can you test the accuracy of the hygrometer?
There are two tests that will show you whether or not the hygrometer is reading properly. A simple test is to wrap the hygrometer in a damp towel and leave it for 30 or 45 minutes. The hygrometer should give a reading of between 80 and 100 percent.
A more accurate test is the salt water test. When salt and water are in perfect balance, the resulting humidity is 75%. Put a tablespoon of salt in a small container such as a bottle cap and dampen it with water. Not too much, not too little. Seal the small capful of salt water in plastic bag (such as a Ziploc®) with the hygrometer for eight hours. At the end of this time the hygrometer should read at 75%.
A hygrometer is an essential tool for measuring the moisture of the cigars. Because the enjoyment of the cigar is dependent on how it is stored, then having a good humidor with an accurate hygrometer is vital.