NewAir continues to set themselves apart in the realm of premium cigar storage systems, specializing in temperature-controlled wineador-style humidors. Their offerings are updated on a fairly regular basis, taking an incremental approach to improvements with each generation. Currently, this includes options that range from 250 to 840-count humidors, ranging from devices that heat and cool, to cooling only, to those that include humidification systems, and others that do not.
The most recent addition to the lineup is the NewAir 840 Count Electric Humidor (model NCH250SS00), the most upscale offering from NewAir to date. As the name implies, NewAir rates the humidor at a capacity of 840 cigars. This is a four-tier setup that boasts NewAir’s signature Opti-Temp™ climate control system, a new blacked-out design, and the notable inclusion of a built-in humidification system, among other improvements from their previous releases.
NewAir NCH840BK00 Breakdown
- Style: Wineador
- Finish: Black
- Exterior Dimensions: 19.01″(w) x 32.30″(h) x 23.62″(d)
- Interior Dimensions: 15.875”(w) x 27.5”(h) x 18”(d)
- Volume: 4.13 ft3
- Capacity: 840 (Manufacturer Suggested)
- Levels: 4
- Price: $1,499.99 (MSRP)
- Warranty: Limited (1 year) | Extendable (1, 2, 3 additional years)
- Large capacity
- Opti-Temp™ climate control (heating/cooling)
- Built-in humidification system
- Digital hygrometer/thermostat
- Digital-touch controls
- Full glass front door
- Door-rimmed LED lights
- High-quality cedar shelves/drawers
- Full-extension drawer slides
- Key/lock set
- Adjustable feet for leveling
The NewAir NCH250SS00 is the most ambitious humidor from NewAir to date, rated at a capacity of more than twice the NewAir CC-300H Humidor (rated at 400 cigars), which is the next step down in the company’s collection. However, when compared side by side, the 840-count doesn’t appear remarkably larger, increasing roughly one inch in width, four inches in height, and three inches in depth. At a glance, the most noticeable difference between the two is the blacked-out appearance of the 840-count, moving away from the stainless steel trim seen on all former NewAir humidors. In my opinion, this is a cleaner look that falls in line with other appliances in the home, which have increasingly gone from stainless steel to black stainless in recent years.
The full-glass door remains, allowing for a quick visual of cigars without the need to open the device and subsequently/unnecessarily cause a dip in humidity. There is also a new door handle, differing from former designs (which had either no handle or an inlaid notch on the side of the door) by being affixed to the front of the door. This requires some assembly—including the removal of the door seal—but is a nice touch aesthetically.
It’s interesting to watch the evolution of NewAir’s control panel, moving from physical buttons on the CC-300H, to digital controls on the NewAir 250-Count Humidor, to the relocation on the 840-count—where digital buttons are concealed behind the door. This will likely be a pro to some and a con to others, trading function for form. This also means that the hygrometer/thermostat are only viewable when kneeling down and looking upward toward the display (or opening the door). This too can be a pro or con, as some will prefer being able to see the data from across the room, while others may find the glaring light from the LED lights to be an unnecessary distraction.
But the function of the control panel is clean, straightforward, and effective. Six digital buttons are flanked evenly to each side of the hygrometer/thermostat display:
- Temperature/humidity: toggles between the two attributes; use up/down arrows to select between 54–72°F and 65–75% RH.
- Power on/off: hold for three seconds to turn on or off.
- Light control: tap to toggle between auto (lights turn on when door opens) and always-on modes.
- Up arrow
- Down arrow
- Celsius/Fahrenheit: hold for three seconds to swap between Celsius and Fahrenheit on the display.
The most notable of these features are the humidity and light control functions—two of the key draws for this humidor. In terms of the lighting (we’ll get to the humidity in a moment), there are 10 LED lights (five on each side) running top to bottom, as well as an LED strip that runs across the full width of the humidor’s ceiling. Where NewAirs of old used only a small blue-tinged light at the ceiling, the 840-count has a clean, bright-white hue, making nearly all cigars in the humidor easily visible. This is quite literally night and day in comparison (pardon the pun), making the lighting of past NewAirs seem like an afterthought—a parlor trick of sorts, only used when setting up the humidor for the first time. I dabbled with the lights in always-on mode for a week or two, and then switched to automatic mode from then on. Of course, the LEDs don’t use up much energy, and they’re likely to last for quite awhile, but I eventually found them distracting. If you want the humidor to be a focal point, leave them on (it does look slick); if you want the humidor to recede into the background, auto is the way to go.
The biggest differentiator with the 840-count is the addition of a built-in humidification system, along with the accompanying switch from thermoelectric cooling to compressor cooling. Before all-in-one setups such as NewAir’s became readily available, cigar hobbyists often converted wine coolers into humidors. For this, rule number one was always to look for wine coolers with thermoelectric cooling, as this style allows the unit to be sealed off (i.e. no loss of humidity).
But the NewAir 840’s humidification negates this issue (adding humidity into the environment as needed, as opposed to merely retaining humidity), allowing the unit to make use of a more traditional compressor cooling system. This cooling method is known for being less expensive to operate, providing more storage room, and cooling more consistently. While our climate required much more heating than cooling during testing, we did find the cooling function to work quickly and flawlessly.
This unit includes NewAir’s Opti-Temp™ climate control technology (the terminology to look for if you’re trying to separate models that cool only, vs those that heat and cool), an important upgrade for those in cold climates (Denver, in our case). This heating function works similarly well compared to the NewAir CC-300H Humidor, which we tested during the same time of year during 2019. In both cases, our testing went beyond the bounds recommended by NewAir, who suggests keeping the unit in an ambient temperature range of 61–109°F. The humidor was kept in the Cigar Dojo Studio (aka Magic HERF Submarine), where the temperature is either 75°F when the heat is on, or roughly 15°F warmer than outside temperatures when the heat is off. Denver’s average temperature during testing saw a high of 50°F and a low of 31°F, meaning the humidor was most often in ambient temperatures of 46–75°F. The coldest night of this range was likely March 15th, hitting a low of 19°F (theoretically 34°F in the studio); again, well beyond NewAir’s guidelines.
To combat the cold, we set the unit at 72°F—its hottest setting—during the winter months. Using a SensorPush hygrometer for our testing, we found the internal temperature for this period to be 65°F. This is 25°F warmer than Denver’s average, and 10°F warmer than our theoretical studio average. During the lowest low (March 15th, 19°F), the NewAir was operating at 63°F. During the highest high (April 3rd, 77°F), NewAir clocked in at 65°F.
Unfortunately, a combination of heating, humidifying, and the double-panel glass of the unit’s door caused excessive condensation during the coldest nights. This amounted to foggy glass and puddles of water that managed their way out of the humidor and onto the floor. This didn’t seem to have any impact on the cigars, though it may be worrisome enough to suggest keeping cigars off the bottom shelf during the winter (or take NewAir’s advice and keep the unit in a warmer location). The only lasting effect of this is within the door of the unit, leaving water marks between the glass panels that cannot be cleaned.
This amounts to what I consider an impressive level of consistency. The unit doesn’t seem capable of hitting its highest setting of 72°F, which it should have accomplished with ease during the 77°F high of April 3rd. Instead, its highest recorded temperature was 68°F (not shown on graph). This sort of discrepancy is common, in my experiences, which is why I set the unit at its max in the first place. Consistency is much more important to me—so long as it’s within a somewhat acceptable range of 60–70°F—which the NewAir 840-count accomplished to an impressive degree (only wavering by 5°F throughout the span of a month).
Expectedly, the humidity ebbs and flows at roughly the same pace as temperature. It’s not quite as consistent as the temperature numbers, though it seemed to outperform our previous tests with the CC-300H unit (which relied on beads for humidification). The unit was set at 68% RH, hitting a high of 68%, a low of 64%, and an average of 66%. Some may prefer more humidity, but this was perfect for my preferences. As the unit is rated at a max of 75% RH, I have no doubt you could reach higher averages, if desired.
With the entirety of my storage consisting of humidity beads up until this unit, I hadn’t considered that a unit like this does not need to be seasoned (or very little seasoning, at least). This is because you want the cedar to absorb a high level of humidity before adding cigars to a non-humidifying unit, as the wood will otherwise soak up humidity—rather than put out humidity—that is intended for the cigars. The NewAir 840 is self-regulating and will keep the desired RH levels, regardless of what substance—tobacco or wood—is making use of it. I also noticed that cigars seemed to acclimate in this humidor more quickly, performing as desired within days, rather than weeks. Admittedly, this could’ve just been my imagination.
But while the built-in humidification system provided great results, its setup is not so forthright. The system begins on the bottom shelf; pull out the shelf and there is a circular cutout where you pour distilled water. The water runs down a plastic reservoir beneath the cutout in the Spanish cedar and into another reservoir that is located at the back-left of the unit. From here, the water makes its way behind the curtain and into the humidification system as needed. NewAir lists the water tank capacity at 50.7 fl oz, which can come in handy to make sure you don’t overfill the device. There is also a fill line gauge in the reservoir, but this is much harder to make use of than expected. The reservoir is tucked somewhat behind the bottom shelf, and the shelf above it is not easily removed (NewAir advises not to remove the bottom shelf at all). Even with the side-lining LED setup, the reservoir is tucked away in a dark and cramped location. To see what you’re doing, you basically need to turn on your phone’s LED and reach your arm to the back of the device. Then tilt your head and peek between the slats of cedar to catch a glimpse of your water level (made harder still, as water against black plastic is like black on black).
Click images below for full resolution
Speaking of shelves, NewAir excels in this category. I’ve praised both prior NewAir humidors reviewed for the quality of their Spanish cedar shelves/drawers/trays, practically being reason enough to warrant the purchase alone. The 840-count retains a similar level of craftsmanship, adding trim here and there to give a more elegant look. Most notably, the top three shelves use heavy-duty ball bearing drawer slides, differing from the usual method of simple grooves in the humidor wall that the cedar trays slide in and out of. These ball bearing slides make for a solid feel, smooth travel, and a full extendability, allowing you to view the entire shelf with ease. Additionally, the slides have a subtle locking mechanism when closed, requiring a slight tug when first extending. This is great for transportation, as the shelves stay put, no matter the humidor’s orientation. On the downside, the shelves are not easily removed, losing the advantage of customization that other NewAirs offer (shelves, trays, and drawers could quickly be moved to any slot within the humidor). Because of this, NewAir made each shelf identical, taking away the option of customization entirely.
View this post on Instagram
Of course, NewAir bills this humidor as capable of housing 840 cigars. Hobbyists should be accustomed to halving suggested humidor capacities in real-world use, and I found this to be the case here as well. With the bottom drawer being shallow in depth and roughly four times the height of the other shelves, NewAir recommends storing boxes in this area. This makes sense, as single cigars would be stacked much too high to reach anything but the top few, and air and humidity flow would not be ideal. Still, I filled the drawer both ways to compare. With singles, the drawer holds roughly 140 cigars. For boxes, you’ll want to use flat-style 10-count boxes, which holds six. This allows the boxes to rest vertically, making for added variety, as each box can be accessed without any rearranging.
The other three shelves are identical, being two inches tall and split down the center with a non-removable cedar divider (making for six and a half inches width on each side). These shelves are the region of the humidor intended for single-cigar storage, which I found to hold 90 cigars per shelf, on average. With a height of only two inches, you can realistically only stack two to three layers of cigars. Interestingly, there is five inches of space from the top of one shelf to the bottom of the next. This allows for some versatility, where boxes can be stored easily in place of singles. My guess is that if a precise-fitting box took up the entire area of each shelf—vertical area included—that you could theoretically arrive at the 840 cigar count. Realistically, you’re going to get 330 to 410 cigars in this unit (storing boxes or singles on the bottom drawer, respectively).
View this post on Instagram
Rounding out the observations are the odds and ends that either make themselves known with extended use, or are common enough in humidors that they are simply expected. In the latter camp, you have adjustable feet for leveling (always welcome) and a key/lock set. I think the best use for this is transportation, keeping the door from opening while moving (small children also come to mind). As the unit is compressor cooling, there is added noise associated, which NewAir rates at 43 dB. It has a somewhat loud gurgling startup, and the running hum is noticeable—certainly louder than the other units we’ve tested—though not overly distracting. More irking is a sharp clicking sound that comes from behind the unit. This seems to be when the humidor is teetering between the desired heat (or possibly humidity), turning on and off continuously. Finally, the door does not take kindly to being swung with even the gentlest of force. Basically, unless you guide the door with your hand until it is fully closed (and hold for an added moment to be sure), it will bounce back and be left open.
If you have the cash to swing, this is the unit for you. This is practically the last step between external humidors and taking the full plunge into building your own walk-in. If you’re not quite ready to dedicate a room of your dwelling to cigar storage, split the difference with the NewAir NCH840BK00 and you’ll have yourself an attractive addition capable of keeping your stash at peak conditions. Between the three NewAir units we’ve reviewed thus far, this humidor is by far the best, though the 400-count NewAir CC-300H is still the best bang for your buck.
- Heating/cooling are incredibly consistent
- Ball bearing drawer slides are a game changer
- Humidification works quite well
- Messy condensation in cold weather
- Surprisingly difficult to view water level for humidification system
- Door bounces open very easily