QUICK TIP: Using humidity beads is the best way to keep your desktop humidor at just the right RH level. One advantage to beads is that they are a two-way humidifying system, i.e. they will both produce humidity (if your humidor is too dry) and they will absorb humidity (if your humidor is too moist). A dry humidor can ruin cigars by making them brittle, crack and fall apart. But worse than that, your cigars might taste harsh if they are too dry. However, a humidor can also become too moist, in which case your cigars might not burn properly, have a tough draw, or even worse… they might get moldy. Therefore, having your humidor at the perfect RH is absolutely necessary.

The perfect range of RH is between 64-69% RH (relative humidity).

RELATED ARTICLE: How to setup a coolidor

Humidor beads

A bead pouch should be about the size of a large lime or lemon.

The standard green foam humidifying device that comes with your humidor should be crushed and thrown in the trash. DO NOT USE THE BLACK PASTIC WITH GREEN FOAM HUMIDIFYING DEVICE as it is almost certain to cause you headache and likely ruin your cigars. Also, I do not reccomend gel jars and other similar humidifying options. Those types of humidification devices are “one way”, in that they only know how to produce humidity and not absorb it.

Boveda packs are a good “two-way” option but I reccomend these only for small, 20 count or travel humidors because they dry up quickly and therefore they will be expensive to use in a desktop humidor over the long haul. Yes, it is possible to “recharge” Boveda packs, but it’s much more effort than necessary.

Beads are the way to go!

Beads last forever and all they need is a couple sprays of distilled water every week or two. There are two types of beads you can buy and they are all very similar.

  • Heartfelt Beads (possibly the best option but also the most expensive)
  • Crystal type kitty litter (the cheapest solution but it’s important you buy the right kind)

The correct type of kitty litter is a crystal pearl that DOES NOT contain blue fragrant chunks. Some people have argued that kitty litter isn’t as good as Heartfelt beads. They could be right, but in the testing I have done, kitty litter performs just as good as the Heartfelt beads. (keep in mind I’m no scientist)

To set up your humidity bead pouches use the follow step by step guide:

setting up humidity beads for a desktop humidor

Setup is as easy as this:

  1. Pour 1/4 cup of beads (or litter) into the toe of some new panty hose.
  2. Tie off panty hose and cut-off excess.
  3. Spray with 3-4 squirts of distilled water.
  4. Place in humidor where it’s NOT touching your cigars.
  5. Relax, and smoke a cigar knowing your worries are over.

Simply spray with distilled water every week or two, depending on the RH reading of your digital hygrometer. Do not rely on the analog hygrometer that comes with your humidor as those are wildly inaccurate – our recommended hygrometer is the XIKAR Round Digital Hygrometer. Depending on your humidor setup, you might need to add more or less bead pouches, but a good rule of thumb is one 3 ounce pouch per 50 cigars. Here in the dry climate of Colorado, I double my recipe. For reference, your bead pouch should be about the size of a lime.

Reference: How Much Beads to Use
The rule of thumb is to use 1 ounce of humidity beads for every 500 cubic inches of humidor space.

That information can be found by simply multiplying the length x width x height of your humidor.

Example: If your humidor measures 10″ x 24″ x 36″ = 8,640 cubic inches. Divide cubic inches by 500 and you’ll see you need roughly 17 ounces of beads.

We’re going to make this even easier. Here’s a basic guide on how much beads to use for different humidor sizes. Remember, one bead pouch is about 3oz (about the size of a lime)

1 – 20 count travel humidor Small, half-sized bead pouch
20 – 100 count humidor 1 bead pouch
100 – 300 count humidor 2 bead pouches OR 1 half-pouch on each shelf
500 count humidor 3 – 4 bead pouches
1,000 count humidor 3 – 4 double-filled bead pouches OR 3 cigar boxes filled with 10 ounces of beads
25 quart 1 pouch
70 quart 2.5 pouches
150 quart 2 cigar boxes filled with 9 ounces of beads

As Cigar Wineadors consist of a wide variety of sizes, you’ll need to calculate the interior size yourself, simply by measuring.

IMPORTANT: Do not over spray or soak your beads with too much water. Just a few squirts is all you need (too much water can cause the beads to crack and become less effective, or worse yet, too much water could lead to mold).

And that’s all there is to it! Your beads will never go bad or need replacing. All they will need is a few squirts of distilled water every couple weeks. And the fun part is, after a few months in there with your cigars, your bead pouch will smell like delicious tobacco!

Heartfelt Industries humidity beads for cigars

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20 Responses

  1. pill28

    I followed everything to the T for the litter deal.. I put a 1/2 cup of litter in the stocking and squirted it down. So far the humidity is not moving. It’s been about 3 hours. Any idea what to do next?

  2. 302JH

    MS looking to buy some beads as a result of this article. I have two 50 ct Humi’s and a medium tupperdor. Do you recommend buying a 1/2 pound bag of beads.. Will that be enough for 3 or 4 pouches of beads?

  3. Godfadr

    Anyone tried these beads in a full tower? I have three towers at home (two running with CigarOasis).

    • Jason

      Yep I have. They work great. I usually use the mesh stick bead tubes full of beads. It keeps them in place and doesn’t waste all your room like it would if you put in a dish. You can find them on etsy.com ebid.net or at http://www.cigarhumidification.net fairly inexpensively.


  4. Chris

    Check out http://www.cigarhumidification.net for great deals on humidity beads in 65% and 70% RH. There’s also a great selection of tubes to hold the humidity beads in sold with or without beads. You can get 2 pounds for cheaper than a pound of Heartfelt! I recommend taking a look!


  5. Polish Hammer

    Exquisicat is the brand of litter I bought for my wineador and it works flawlessly. Great tip here by the way!

  6. Bill

    Again guys, great article! I’ve been struggling with one of two 100 count humi’s over the winter (suspect the seal isn’t that great), and even 75% Bov pacs don’t keep it in the proper range. Hey, has anyone tried the Heartfelt Tubes? Looks pretty easy, not sure they are worth the price or if they even work. Agree though the beads seem to be the easiest solution! Thanks guys, I’m off to by me some beads ! lol :)

  7. Mike

    Great article! I actually went and ordered a 1/2 pound of Heartfelt beads right after reading this. When they arrived, I decided to try and improve on the black plastic ‘humidifier’ and pried it open, took out the green foam, and (carefully) filled it with the beads, and snapped it back shut. The existing mesh holds the beads in place. I sprayed with a few squirts of distilled water, and now I rest easy knowing my humi is set. Thanks for the tip!

  8. Drewc577

    I have some crystals I bought from watersororb.com and was wondering will they be as good as the options listed here??

  9. Dan

    So I’ve got a 28 QT coleman coolerdor that I use and I just have one small jar of gel in there. I think I have about 50-75 sticks in there right now, would you think 1 or 2 bags of beads would do the trick? I like to stay around 68% RH level. I have plenty of spanish cedar lining the sides of the cooler, 1 tray and about 5 boxes so there is plenty of cedar in there to soak up the moisture. The jar does the trick for maintaining 68% but whenever I introduce new sticks or a new box it takes a long time to get back to normal, I’m looking to avoid that. Thanks in advance!

    • Master Sensei
      Master Sensei

      Beads are the best source of humidification but when you introduce new sticks there will always be a drop in RH until the sticks acclimate to the humidor.

  10. Jay


    Question. I never seasoned my humidor with propylene glycol solution, that said i am tired of monitoring the box and already purchased the beads from cheaphumidor.com. Anyway, i bout a bottle of the solution also, just casue I’m terrified of mold, (I invested a lot in the cigars in teh box) so should i try and re season with teh solution? What do you think?

    Thanks for your advice.

  11. Chuck

    Is there a list of kitty litter brands to look for, or one to stay away from? I’ve never tried the kitty litter route but have thought about it. Just want to make sure I get the right one and avoid a terrible mistake.

  12. Andrew

    Regarding Boveda packs, despite what what is on the pack itself they are rechargeable. What I do is just put the dried out ones in a ziploc bag and I have a spray bottle that I spray the inside of the bag with the dry packs daily. After a couple to a few days they will be recharged and ready to go again.

    I always have a couple extras to rotate so the humidor never is without. Look on Ebay and cheap Boveda humidipacks can be had.

    • Master Sensei
      Master Sensei

      Thanks for the tip Andrew. Please don’t take this as an argument but my followup question is… why go to all the trouble of recharging Boveda Packs in a zip lock baggy over the course of several days when you can simply spray a bead pouch and be done with it?

      Seems like recharging Boveda packs would be a waste of time and effort in my opinion.

      However, it is good to know you can recharge a Boveda pack that way you can have some on-hand to use in your travel humidor.


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