LAST UPDATED: November 24th 2019 – The Whynter is currently selling at a decent discount to its RRP and presents one of the best value for money options. The deal may end at any time – click here to take a look.
When searching for the best cigar coolers (wineadors) or thinking about buying and using a cigar cooler, there are a couple of questions that need answering.
- How many cigars do I need to store?
- How much space do I have?
- What kind of price range am I in?
- Why should I use a cigar cooler instead of a humidifier?
Once you answer a few of these questions, you’ll find yourself able to more easily identify the right cigar cooler for you. The last question is the one that requires the most forethought in order to make a decision about if you should get a cigar cooler.
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- Are These The Coolest Whiskey Decanters?
- 1 Why Should I Use A Cigar Cooler Instead Of A Humidifier?
- 2 1. Whynter CHC-120S Stainless Steel Cigar Cooler Humidor
- 3 2. Clevelander Thermoelectric Cigar Humidor Cooler
- 4 3. NewAir CC-300
- 5 How To Use A Cigar Cooler
- 6 Preparation and Seasoning
- 7 Humidification
- 8 Tips for owning a cigar cooler and preserving cigars
- 9 Other options aside from a cigar cooler
- 10 Converting a wine cooler to a cigar cooler
- 11 Cigar Coolers vs. Cigar Humidors – Which One Is Right For Me?
- 12 In Finishing…
Why Should I Use A Cigar Cooler Instead Of A Humidifier?
Having a cigar cooler to house your collection presents several benefits over a regular humidifier. These advantages mainly boil down to storage space, temperature and insulation.
Flawless Temperature Control
The biggest advantage over using a humidifier is the level of temperature control you have over your cigars, and the differences here are significant…
If you live in a hot, arid or desert-like environment that experiences large temperature fluctuations, then it’s best practice to use a cigar cooler to store your stogies. In this case you will have cigars that will last a lifetime.
Temperature fluctuations affect the ambient environment of the cigars, changing the humidity levels resulting in your cigars being damaged.
A cigar aficionado’s worst nightmare!
Unbeatable Storage Space
The other reason to get a cigar cooler instead of a humidifier is if you have a large collection of cigars.
Cigar coolers can store up to 500+ cigars which means you will be able to house your entire collection in one space, reducing the amount of time you need to care and maintain appropriate humidity and temperature.
They also present significantly better value for money in terms of storage costs.
Cigar coolers already have the temperature control, so what use is insulation?
For most, it probably won’t be the most important selling feature.
But for those that experience rapid drops or sudden spikes in temperature, the insulation becomes a key player in preserving your cigars.
Not only this but the cigar coolers are usually built with double paned glass so as to further protect from harmful UV rays.
When you move into the larger sizes of cigar systems and higher price range, the options tend to reduce. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality.
For the best cigar cooler system on the market, check out the Whynter CHC-120S.
Feel like trying some DIY?
You can build your own cigar cooler from a wine cooler – called a wineador.
1. Whynter CHC-120S Stainless Steel Cigar Cooler Humidor
What makes this the best cigar cooler system on the market?
Simply, their quality and attention to detail.
Right from delivery and unpackaging, you could see how they meticulously and thoughtfully wrapped the item up.
The unit is double packed in styrofoam which prevents any damage during shipping.
The door is taped completely shut with the how to user guide inside and even a second hygrometer.
- Holds 250+ cigars
- Temperature Range: 50F – 66F
- Dimensions: 13.5” W x 20” D x 18” H
- Includes Hygrometer
- LCD Temperature Display
- Vibration Free Cooling
This is how it looks fully stocked out.
After testing for several months the temperature and humidity control is as close to perfect as one can get.
Even after opening and closing the doors a couple of times, it simply does not budge.
If you’re looking to age some of your highest quality cigars then you can’t beat this option.
There is currently a sale on the Whynter model, check it out by clicking here.
2. Clevelander Thermoelectric Cigar Humidor Cooler
A quick rundown of the Clevelanders features:
- Holds up to 250 cigars
- Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 19 inches
- Includes Hygrometer
- LCD Display
- Temperature Range: 51°F – 64°F
Now, while this unit does present a decent build quality, it isn’t without some flaws:
- Firstly, the analogue hygrometer supplied is not to be trusted. It can have errors of around 10%. If you purchase be sure to include your own digital hygrometers, preferably one on the top and bottom shelf.
- There seems to be some variance in the quality of the locking mechanism. This can have serious negative consequences as it can affect the humidity stability of the unit. It really comes down to the day of manufacturing and who has put the item together. The good news is that this is an easy fix, but it’s important to be aware of it.
- The interior is thinly lined leading to a somewhat poorer performance than some of the other models. It will more easily leak humidity and an eye must be kept on it from time to time to ensure it is at the appropriate levels.
So while the Clevelander has some downsides, these are only minor in the context of the features it offers. For just over $200 it is a well deserved second place for the money.
What’s the best cigar cooler for a large cigar collection?
It might be the NewAir CC-300.
This thing holds in excess of 400 cigars and up to 500.
- Dimensions: 20.9 x 18.1 x 29.2 inches
- Temperature Range: 54-74° F
- Vibration-Free Thermoelectric Cooling
Be forewarned that many have experienced issues with this product, specifically its inability to maintain a constant temperature and humidity, stemming from an air circulation issue.
Some have recorded their unit varying up to 13 degrees both ways after having it set at the same temperature the entire time – that’s a temperature fluctuation of 26 degrees.
Others have recorded much lower temperature fluctuations of around 4 degrees total.
For just under $300 you’ll want to keep your eyes closely on this if you feel like purchasing. It does come with a warranty, so you’re covered if you happen to get a faulty unit.
How To Use A Cigar Cooler
Using a cigar cooler is undoubtedly a great way to store your cigars and keep them in a fresh and ready-to-smoke condition throughout the entire time. However, preparing the device itself is also quite important.
Failing to follow the necessary steps is going to result in catastrophic consequences for your cigars and it might as well ruin them.
Therefore, what you need to do is you need to prepare the cooler properly before you start using it. This way you can rest assured that everything will be handled properly and as per the highest standards.
We’ve taken it upon ourselves to provide you with a few quick tips which will hopefully help you out substantially when it comes to keeping your cigar cooler in proper condition.
Preparation and Seasoning
Now, as we mentioned above, preparing your cooler for storing the cigars is essential with regard to the quality that the cigars will maintain throughout their life.
With this in mind, the first thing that you need to do is to get a brand new, unscented sponge which is free of any soap or other detergents.
Dose it liberally with distilled water and make sure to wipe down the exposed wood. This includes the trays as well as the dividers and the interior lid.
You should avoid using any type of paper towels or fraying cloth as these are going to leave an unwanted paper trail on the wood. When done, squeeze the sponge conveniently and put it in a plastic bag inside the device.
This is a process which is also referred to as seasoning the humidor. That’s right – your cigar cooler also needs to be seasoned in order to ensure that it will perform optimally. The idea of the previous exercise is to make sure that the wood has absorbed the necessary amount of humidity in order to become the perfect home for your cigars. It’s nothing fancy but it’s important to make sure that you’ve taken care of it.
Now, the humidification process is important for a few different reasons. Premium, handmade cigars are only going to last long enough if you use a properly prepared and seasoned cooler. That’s just a fact.
Therefore, it’s absolutely critical for you to keep the cigars close to the conditions that they went while aging in the factory as it is actually possible. What is more, if you order cigars online, it is likely that they will dry out a bit before they arrive – during the transit, especially if they come from a long distance.
On the other hand, failing to humidify them properly might make them way too moist, ruining the sensation of smoking them at all. This is why you need the proper humidification process to be put in place. Below are a few tips that you can take advantage of when using your cooler.
Tips for owning a cigar cooler and preserving cigars
Now that you are aware of the importance of humidification as well as the things you need to do to “break in” your new humidifier, let’s have a look at what you need to do in order to maintain the cigars in proper condition.
You should add distilled water to the humidifier every time the relative humidity starts to dip. Of course, this should be done slowly and gradually. Never saturate the Credo – you should always only moisten it to avoid ruining it. This is undoubtedly the biggest mistakes people do.
Additionally, you should make sure to use only distilled water because tap water has too much chemicals and minerals.
Any number between 64% and 72% when it comes to the RH humidity is fine – don’t be overly worried about it. This depends on the cigars, of course.
Humidity is a lot more important than temperature control – keep this in mind.
Other options aside from a cigar cooler
Storing a cigar doesn’t really require a cigar cooler. Of course, this is the best and most comprehensive way to do so, but you could use cost effective alternatives which are also quite useful
A Ziploc bag
The first method is to use a common Ziploc bag as well as a moist sponge. Take a larger freezer back, place the sticks right inside, wet the sponge and ring out the excessive water. Place the sponge in your bag, seal tightly and relax – the sponge will keep the cigars in proper condition for a few weeks.
This is pretty much the same principle with the only difference being the change of protection. This is going to ensure that everything is handled properly and that the sponge doesn’t come in touch with the cigars.
Converting a wine cooler to a cigar cooler
This pretty much depends on the type of wine cooler that you are using. However, it could be as easy as plugging your drain hole and conveniently loading it with cigars. The truth is that some newer units have a strong and plastic smell and as such it’s good to make sure they are properly washed out and sanitized before you start storing your cigars. Fill them up with newspaper for a week while changing the paper every day in order to ensure that all the moisture is actually eliminated.
The truth is that some newer units have a strong and plastic smell and as such it’s good to make sure they are properly washed out and sanitized before you start storing your cigars. Fill them up with newspaper for a week while changing the paper every day in order to ensure that all the moisture is actually eliminated.
After that, you should make sure to prepare the cooler using the same preparation and seasoning tips and tricks that we informed you about in the beginning. Maintaining it is also done in the same way. This is a convenient alternative if you have a wine cooler that you don’t need and you don’t want to overspend on a cigar cooler.
As you can see, there are quite a few things that you might want to take a look at when it comes to storing your cigars. Hopefully, these tips and tricks are of great help to you and that you are already well aware of how to keep your cigars in a smoke-ready state throughout the entire time.
Cigar Coolers vs. Cigar Humidors – Which One Is Right For Me?
There are two sides to everything nowadays. It has always been that way. Apple vs. Android, Chelsea vs. Manchester United and Cigar Coolers vs. Cigar Humidors.
When it comes to passionate smokers, the ones that enjoy their cigars and need to age their collection over a long period of time, the question is raised… Where should you keep them?
The question alwas seems to boil down to cigar cooler vs cigar humidor.
As we have covered earlier in this article, the main reason why people decide to get a cigar cooler is for the temperature control.
Humidors lack this feature and if you are looking at aging a large collection of cigars then you will either need to have your cigar humidor or cigar cabinet in a stable temperature environment (think down in your wine or cigar cellar), or get a cigar cooler that can be placed anywhere without concern.
Cigar coolers are also the best option for those people who want to store cigars at a cheaper price. Cigar coolers can store 500 cigars and more, depending on the model, which makes it an absolute cigar tank! The prices per cigar are cheaper due to the materials used in the construction of the cooler – metal, glass and plastic are cheap and easy to source so it keeps costs low. Cigar humidors on the other hand quickly run in the thousands of dollars for similar storage spaces – they are constructed from expensive hardwood materials and lined with Spanish cedar.
The large global demand in Spanish cedar has caused an inflation in prices further driving up the cost of cigar humidors – this makes the cigar cooler a much more attractive option in the context of price.
The advantage of humidors in the cigar cooler vs cigar humidor debate is that they come in a range of sizes that can perfectly suit your storage needs. You can get small cases of 10-20 cigars or you can go right up to the big guys and have ample storage space for thousands of cigars (probably nearing cigar cabinet territory now).
There are mainly three types of humidors. We recognize them by the material they are made of – wood (most common case), metal, acrylic glass.
Humidors also have the added benefit of being lined with Spanish cedar – this is crucial for repelling cigar beetles and can be sometimes overlooked.
So, humidifiers are a more traditional way of storing your cigars with class, under lock and key.
So What’s Better?
It really comes down to your choice. Cigar Coolers require some space, which could be a down side, however, they also give you more than enough space for your cigars at a fraction of the cost of humidors.
Humidors are a more traditional choice, however if you plan on aging your cigars you can’t just put them anywhere. You will need to ensure you have the correct temperature controls in place to ensure the success of their long term storage.
It really comes down to what you NEED right now and what you are planning for the future.
Do you have a stable temperature environment all year round and don’t mind spending a bit of cash? Then get a cigar humidor.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to store cigars or your home experiences changes in temperature around the year then the cigar cooler is the best choice for you.
That clears some things up in this Cigar Coolers vs. Cigar Humidors debate.
My picks for the best cigar coolers:
- Whynter CHC-120S
- Clevelander Thermoelectric
- New Air CC-300
The Whynter is the standout winner. If you’re looking to upgrade from a humidifier or expanding your collection and need more storage space, then this option can’t be beaten.
Cigar coolers and wineadors present the premium storage option for serious cigar aficionados and will help your cigars age with the utmost quality.
Read Next: The Best Electronic Cigar Humidifiers.
Goodluck finding your new cigar cooler or building your homemade wineador!