A couple of months back, I received a pretty cool device in the mail from a company called Cigarmedics. They asked if I would be kind enough to review their product, known as the HumidiMeter, on Stogie Press. This is not the first I have heard of the device. My friend and BOTL, Kevin Shahan did a detailed review of it and has been a staunch supporter of the product ever since. So, I was happy to get my engineering hands on this and study what it is all about.
My first task was to introduce the device and show what it does. This I did through the Stogie Press YouTube channel here:
That was just the introduction to the HumidiMeter. Since then, I continued my study, did some more experiments, and spoke to the company behind the device – Cigarmedics. The HumidiMeter It is a simple device that allows you to determine if your cigars are properly humidified before firing them up.
Why Use the HumidiMeter?
We all have humidors and we do are best to keep them maintained at a desired Relative Humidity using humidifiers, Boveda packs, beads, Cigar Oasis’, etc. – but do you really know if those cigars are maintaining the proper moisture content? Or in more scientific terms, Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC). The EMC of a cigar is when the moisture inside the cigar reaches a balance with the relative humidity (RH) and temperature of the surrounding environment i.e., your humidor. So how do you measure this? Enter the HumidiMeter. This handy device can help answer that question.
The patent pending device is designed to measure the moisture content in your cigar. The inventor of this device knows that cigar enthusiasts understand the importance of Relative Humidity in keeping their prized stash properly stored. We have been educated to keep them somewhere around 70% RH and 70 Degrees F. What is most important in cigar storage, is the moisture content in the cigar which is not being measured by your hygrometer. Depending on the size of your humidor, the humility level can vary from top to bottom. Humid air rises, so in a larger cabinet style humidor, the humidity can be higher at the top then at the bottom. Of course a good air circulation fan can help with that.
What CigarMedics did with the HumidiMeter was extrapolate a conversion factor based on moisture content and present to the user a RH value. I was told it is calibrated at a 70% RH factor which corresponds to about 15% moisture content under controlled conditions. Cigars are best stored between 12% and 15% moisture content. Anything higher for prolonged periods of time will subject the cigar to growing mold, anything less, the cigar starts to dry out. Presenting the value in RH instead % Moisture, makes it easy for most consumers to understand, since we all think and talk about RH. Many times, manufacturers ship cigars from the factory with a slightly higher moisture content to account for the harsh environment of shipping containers so being able to tell the moisture content in your cigars is helpful – you may not want to smoke that cigar fresh of the box.
The company notes the following:
“To verify meter accuracy , we have performed 2 comprehensive tests where we tested 280 cigars that were kept in humidors for a minimum of 3 months. All humidors were at 68-70% Rh and 68-72 deg. F. All makes and sizes of cigars were tested with cello and without.
Results were as follows: AVG FOOT READING WAS 68.30 AVG CAP READING WAS 70.20 We realize it is not for everybody and we don’t intend to discount hygrometer accuracy but cigars are expensive so we wanted to make this a cool little tool to help people get the most out their sticks. “
Let’s Do Some Experiments
Being the engineer I am, I wanted to run my own tests on the device to see how it is performing and if I can trust the readings it was giving me. Here is a list of the short but interesting experiments I did.
- Check Cigars on Different Shelves of my Cabinet Humidor – Even though my controlled environment is set at 67% RH and 68 Degrees, I noticed that the cigars on the bottom had a lower reading than those on the top. Makes sense, as humidity rises.
- Cigars Stored in Desk Top Humidor – My desktop humidor has ciagrs stored in for well over a month, these are normally the ones I plan on reviewing. I uses a 69% Boveda Pack in that and when I tested various cigars with the HumidiMeter, they each were reading 69% on the device. OK, I am happy with that. It is a small volume as compared to the cabinet so I expected them all to read about the same.
- Head vs Foot – This was an interesting experiment, I noticed when I stabbed the foot I got a slightly lower reading then when I stabbed the head. This seems to make sense, as the foot is open and the moisture is breathing out.
- Stab the Side of the Cigar when Ignited – Another interesting experiment, since heat excites molecules, you will notice if you stab the cigar on the side as you are smoking it, the reading will be much higher, close to like 82% is what I got. Again that made sense to me.
- Freeze the Cigar – My curiosity continued, so I took a cigar and stuck in my freezer for about an hour and then stabbed the foot. The reading dropped way down to about 35%. So cold, freezing temperatures, have a dramatic effect on the moisture content of your cigars. Now that is a curious result, as one would think colder temps would increase the relative humidity because when air temperature increases, air can hold more water molecules, and the RH decreases and when temperature decreases the RH increases.
- Microwave the Cigar – OK, I know what you are going to say, why in the world would you microwave a cigar Jimmie? Well it is an experiment. Most of us know that microwave ovens heat food by exciting the molecules in the food as the waves penetrate it. Water molecules when excited become water vapor and that produces heat to cook the food from the inside out. So putting a cigar in the microwave, excites the water content in the leaf. After 15 seconds I took out the steamy hot cigar and stabbed the foot, the reading was 88% at that moment. But once left to rest for a few minutes, I stabbed it again and the reading was 25%. The cigar was dried out. It broke apart easily in my hand and turned into tobacco dust.
So there you have it, I feel based on these experiments, the CigarMedics HumidMeter is giving me a decent indication of the moisture content in my cigars, and if nothing else, it helps me rotate my cigars in my large cabinet. For $29.99, this is an inexpensive and fun device that you may find useful in your cigar hobby and help you learn a little more about cigar storage. We would not recommend taking this to a shop and start stabbing cigars, I am sure that will be frowned upon, but once you purchase a cigar, it would be fun to see what the moisture content is in the cigar before you smoke it. If you have used this enough, you would know your comfort factor and maybe that cigar you just bought, should be stored in your personal environment to give you your optimum smoking experience.
If you would like to purchase the CigarMedics HumidiMeter, you can go directly to their website here. They also have a storage case for it and even a calibration standard that you can use be sure it is still properly reading correctly (as the battery wears down). I also do not know the life of the battery, but I have been told it is good for a more than a year.