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As you may surmise from the above, I use both water beads and Boveda packs in both my home humidors and at Black Dog Cigar. All bundles and 5-ers sold by Black Dog contain RH 69 Boveda paks in the packaging. We can now ensure that your smokes are ready to cut and light when you get them in your hands.
The Next is: Water Beads (various). These are beads of a water absorbing polymer sometimes refered to as superabsorbent polymer and were first developed as an absorbant (think Pampers). But, if intentionally soaked in distilled water these beads slowly give off water vapor to the ambient air. This is not a controlled dispersal of vapor, but is dependent on the "wetness" of the beads and general ambient temperature and relative humidity.
Almost as much discussion, ranting, and drama revolves around Relative Humidity as does the quality of a cigar or price of a box. Its because its IMPORTANT! But, its not rocket science, or even high school lab. And.... Its just got a whole lot easier for us all.
There is another technology that is talked about in print and on the internet, and that is the use of granular substances commonly found in cat litter. I don't understand the chemistry, those being more absorbent in my mind than a water storage material. I have never used it, and don't anticipate ever doing so. If someone has scientific or knowledgeable discourse on it, then please contact me.
So what now? The general consensus seems to be to use BOTH. That is, use water beads (with forced draft fans if necessary) for large cabinet humidors or other larger storage facilities (250-500 cigars). Use Boveda humidipaks in travel-dors or smaller boxes and tupper-dors of 50-200 cigars. The use of Boveda humidipaks is certainly favored if using a Tupperware or other plastic box with an air tight seal, as the Humidipak is self regulating both to add RH to the environment and remove it if its too high.
The First is: Boveda, Humidipaks. Theirs is an application of the basic physical effects of water and salt in regulating humidity, enclosing that active mixture in a filter type envelope that lets relative humidity travel in and out, AT A PREDETERMINED LEVEL.
The Second Thing is that now we have some new technologies (or applications of old technologies) that take all of the guess work and worry out of keeping our precious stogies in the proper environment . I am not going to go into all of the scientific explanations of how these thing work, that is well covered in the web sites of the manufacturers or dealers.
The first thing: Patience, my son, patience..... Relative Humidity is one of the slowest acting physical variables. Think of water pressure, or air pressure as volatile. Even temperature change in your household heating or cooling is really speedy compared to relative humidity. This means, that after you make a change to your humidification (any change at all), you have to wait for the results. It could take days... or even weeks....
Humidor Salvation - Boveda is Here