Active vs. Passive Humi.
Updated: Feb 10, 2021
There are pros and cons for both active and passive humidification systems. Before we delve into which system is better, it’s important to review your smoking situation before making a judgement on which system to use.
Cigar Aficionado defines Active Humidification as "a mechanical device the blows humidified air and recirculates dry air to maintain humidity in your humidor". Typically these active humidification devices have a built in hygrometer so it can regulate the rH, or relative humidity, in your humidor. One of the most popular active Humidification brands on the market today is Cigar Oasis. Cigar Oasis was started in 1997 in Farmington NY and their goal was to build active humidification systems that would not only work in tobacco shops with large armoires and commercial size cabinets, but also compact and convenient enough for personal home cabinets and humidors. The device I personally use is the Cigar Oasis Ultra 3.0.
It's an affordable device with an MSRP of $149, and in my opinion is a bargain. It has a built in WiFi system that you can link to your smartphone to keep an eye on the humidity as well as the temperature in the humidor. Not only can you monitor your rH from your phone, you can also change the humidity on the fly with their smart app. Just as a heads up, connecting to their WiFi system is not the most user friendly program and there is a small monthly subscription fee involved to continue using their app. All in all, to keep my cigars protected at a consistent humidity, I still think it's worth it.
Passive Humidification is pretty much exactly what you think it means; passive. Passive humidification is usually less expensive so it's easier on the pocketbook, but also has the benefit of being portable compared to the Active Humidity pieces. If you browse on any number of premium tobacco websites you can almost assuredly see an advertisement for Boveda.
Boveda Inc. (formerly known as Humidipak Inc.) started in 1997 in Minnetonka, Minnesota on the combined engineering efforts of chemist Albert Saari and packaging expert Robert Esse. Boveda products use a revolutionary two-way humidity control system that’s engineered to maintain a very specific, predetermined level of relative humidity (+/- 2%). The benefit of this product is that you can conveniently travel with your cigars and keep them fresher for longer without the need of a power outlet.
There are other inexpensive passive humidification devices, such as Xikars Crystal Humidifiers. Basically it's either a jar or a disc filled with gel crystals that are "charged" or "recharged" by filling the device with PG or Propylene Glycol solution. The gel beads absorb the solution and swell up. Over time, the gel beads slowly release the humification and atrophy until the desired rH is reached in the humidor (It's foolproof and easy to maintain). The only item in addition to the PG Crystal Jars or Beads, is to have an accurate Hygrometer to make sure the cigars are reaching their proper humidity.
Although there are a variety of similar humidification systems these are just some of the more popular systems that I am aware and have used myself. Both active and passive humidification systems have their benefits, but you must decide what is best for your situation and your budget. My advice is to also be aware of your environment and geographical location. If you live in an area high in humidity you may not need as powerful system to keep your cigars fresh. Likewise, if you live in an area with low humidity or higher altitude, you need to compensate with extra humidification. This is just my opinion, if you have thoughts or comments feel free to drop us a line or find us on Instagram or Twitter @cigartipsters. Thank you for reading!