In the Wild West of cigar storage (i.e. 10 to 20 years back), cigar hobbyists were limited in terms of larger-scale options on the market. Sure, there were the cabinet-style setups, but those often look like they’d fit your mom’s decor better than your lounge. With desktop setups being too small to get the job done, hobbyists turned to building their own setups, often gutting wine coolers for a makeshift setup that somewhat looked the part and kept a decent amount of cigars in equally decent condition.
In recent years, proper manufacturers have taken over, tipping their cap to the efforts of the DIYers while making enough improvements to render the home build all but obsolete. And as wineador-style humidors have taken shape, leaders in the space have emerged—one of which is NewAir.
In recent years, the company has settled in on a humidor style that seems to meet most hobbyists needs. This includes the 840-count NewAir NCH840BK00 and the 1,500-count NewAir NCH1K5BK00. Both units have similar designs and features, primarily differentiating themselves in size and storage capacity.
NewAir 1500 Count Electric Cigar Humidor Breakdown
Exterior Dimensions: 23 ?” (w) x 34 ½” (h) x 23 ?” (d)
Interior Dimensions: 20 ¼” (w) x 26 ?” (h) x 18? (d)
Volume: 4.48 ft3
Capacity: 1,500 (Manufacturer Suggested)
Price: $1,999.99 (MSRP)
Warranty: Limited (1 year) | Extendable (1, 2, 5 years)
Opti-Temp climate control (heating/cooling)
Built-in humidification system
Full glass front door (double panel)
Door-rimmed LED lights
High-quality cedar shelves/drawers
Full-extension drawer slides
Adjustable feet for leveling
The NewAir 1500 Count Humidor is the largest such humidor we’ve tested—expect a substantial box that’ll be delivered on a pallet. Unboxing is a straightforward process, and I’ll note that a second helper comes in handy to get the packaging out from under the unit. For the most part, the humidor comes assembled, which includes the most important feature: the fully extendable sliding shelves. The only assembly needed is on the door handle and lower plate.
For the handle, it’s the same as the 840-count unit. You have to remove the inner lining to reveal the inserts; then simply screw on the handle and reattach the lining. What’s new is the bottom plate, which now conceals the lock function. More importantly, this allows for a roller stop (which attaches above the bottom plate) to rest between the door and the bottom plate… solving the issue of the door bouncing back when closed (oftentimes without you realizing, thus exposing your cigars to the elements). This bottom plate simply needs to be screwed on. The roller stop can be adjusted by loosening its screws and moving up/down.
NewAir recommends allowing the unit to rest with the door open for 24 hours before powering on.
Another strong point for NewAir. This is a look I can get on board with—no flashy chromes or stainless steel, receding nicely into the background with a clean black design. NewAir lets the interior do most of the talking, as the full-sized glass door makes for easy viewing of each shelf. I’m torn between whether or not a notch-style handle (on the side of the door) would make for an even cleaner look, but the matte-black handle is easier to use and attractive in its own right. The NewAir is designed to be built into a cabinet or positioned on its own, and is among the most aesthetically pleasing humidors in either situation.
Virtually identical to the smaller NewAir NCH840BK00 (840-count), the NCH1K5BK00 (1,500-count) can either be extremely simple or… more challenging than I’d like. If all goes according to plan, you simply extend the lowest drawer and slowly pour distilled water into the circular cutout. The water will run its way down a chute and begin to fill a reservoir that sits to the left side underneath/behind the drawer. It is then pulled into another reservoir within the humidor (out of sight), where it can be expelled into the unit as necessary. There is a marked line within the first reservoir, allowing you to know when to stop adding water.
Here’s the challenge: looking into the humidor to view that aforementioned reservoir and fill line. In our scenario, our floor is sloped at such an angle that—even after leveling the humidor with the adjustable feet—the water does not naturally run its course down the chute and into the reservoir. Therefore, you have to extend the drawer and maneuver a small bottle (one liter or so) over the drawer and into the open space of the back of the unit. It’s dark in there (even with the LED side lighting), so I also turn the LED light on my phone and place that beyond the drawer so that I can see where I’m pouring the water (and how much the reservoir is filled). Of course, this is easier if you’re able to fill from the intended circular cutout on the drawer, but you still need to get a phone light in there to check your levels.
Finally, the tank houses 50.7 fl oz (and 6.7 fl oz in the reservoir on the side of the drawer), which seems to need more frequent refills than I’d like. This seems to be about once every two weeks, but it’s hard to tell, as the unit doesn’t give any warning beeps when it needs filling. In other words, the front reservoir becomes empty rather quickly, leaving you guessing as to when the larger, out-of-sight reservoir is empty.
The display panel is the same as the 840-count unit. It’s an elegant setup with six buttons—three on each side of the LED panel that shows temp and RH. The buttons are digital in touch, meaning you don’t have to wonder how hard to press down to make sure your input is being received. The placement is behind the door, which can be a pro or a con. Some people might want to see their levels at a glance (such as with the Raching MON800A humidor), while others may prefer to keep all distractions out of sight, making for a cleaner overall look. I’m personally a fan of this method, though I do wish it was tucked a bit higher out of sight (you can still see the glow of the LED display from under the door, even when it’s closed).
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 off, auto (lights turn on when door opens), and always-on modes.
Celsius/Fahrenheit: hold for three seconds to swap between Celsius and Fahrenheit on the display.
There are a thousand ways to stock any given humidor, but as a general estimate, I stocked the three shelves of the BODEGA with boxes, bundles, and single cigars (of various sizes). It’s really no surprise that the humidor falls short of the manufacturer rating, as do virtually all humidors on the market. Manufacturers typically use corona (or smaller) cigars to reach these numbers, so if you want to stock this humidor entirely from identically-sized petit cigars, you might be able to hit that 546 number…
All cigars: ~115 cigars (filled to shelf edge) or ~165 cigars (piled above shelf edge)
All 10-count bundles: 110 cigars (filled to shelf edge) or 200 cigars (piled above shelf edge)
All boxes: ~70 cigars (~7 boxes)
All cigars: ~100–150 cigars
All 10-count bundles: 100 cigars
All boxes: not ideal for boxes
All cigars: ~445—645 cigars
All bundles: ~430–700 cigars
All Boxes: ~210 cigars
Total “Real-World” Results
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Shelves / Build
As with the 840-count unit, these shelves are among the best quality you will find. Solid cedar construction is instantly apparent, having an attractive front shape that slopes from left to right with clean/modern edges. On the higher (left) side, there are two cutouts (dubbed Peek-In by NewAir), which the company says makes it easier to see your cigars. In reality, it’s just an attractive look. The shelves are slatted horizontally, allowing the cigars to breath, and there are no dividers included (I always find those sort of annoying anyway, though it’s an interesting omission, as the 840-count unit does include partitions).
Each of the three shelves are sized at 18 ?” (w) x 15 ¾” (d) x 2 ¾” (h), although the actual height of cigar-storage space is 1 ¼”. The drawer at the bottom is 18 ?” (w) x 7 ?” (d) x 4 ?” (h), but the water reservoir cuts the usable cigar space down to 16 ¼” (w) x 7 ¼” x 3 ?” (h).
This differs from the 840-count unit, being significantly (4 ?”) wider, about the same depth, and slightly shallower in height (the 840-count is ¼” higher). One of the more noticeable differences is the bottom drawer, with the usable space of the 840-count being 12? (w) x 7 ?” (d) x 6 ½” (h). Let’s put this into more digestible numbers:
Total Shelf/Drawer Area
Interesting numbers, to say the least; but it doesn’t tell the whole story. This is because the 1,500-count unit has more space between each shelf (especially between the top shelf and the ceiling), allowing for more versatility in stacking boxes, etc. The average space between each shelf comes out to 4 ?” (1500-count) vs 3 ?” (840-count). And then there’s the actual “real world” capacity. When we tested the 840-count in 2021, we came up with a max of 410 cigars; compare this to the 1500-count, which we found held a max of 520 cigars.
Finally, the chef d’oeuvre: the fully extendable ball-bearing shelf slides. This is the same setup as the 840-count unit, and equally appreciated. Not only does this system allow the shelves (not the drawer, mind you) to be extended completely out of the humidor (allowing for easy access to any/all cigars), but the actual movement is buttery-smooth. When the shelves are brought back in, you can feel them lock into place, alleviating any concerns of the shelves sliding back out on their own. This is one of the best selling points for the humidor, in my opinion.
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Temperature / Humidity
NewAir’s heating/cooling stabilization is dubbed Opti-Temp, which is a necessity for extreme climates such as ours (tested at our freestanding studio, located just outside of Denver, CO). When combined with the system’s fairly accurate humidification control, the unit practically becomes a “set it and forget it” operation, only requiring water fill-ups every two to three weeks.
Technically, NewAir advises storing the unit in an area with ambient temperatures between 61–109 °F, but we like to push the extremes (i.e. we need quick access to our cigars, and we’re going to keep them in the studio, dammit!). While I can’t say our test unit has ever seen temperatures of 109 °F (seriously? who’s keeping their humidor in such hell?), it has experienced the low end, including the extreme cold stretch that we faced around Dec. 22, where outside temperatures reached lows of -18°F. I don’t have exact measurements for the studio, but it was likely between 30 and 40 °F during that time; the humidor handled this well, with an average 68 °F temp.
For reference, we set both temperature and humidity to 70, knowing the winter months often need slightly higher inputs to get the desired results. In terms of humidity, it did a fair job; though, in retrospect, I’d recommend an even higher RH setting during the winter to hit the target (I’d like it around 68% RH in the winter).
Conclusions: this is a steady unit, especially considering we’ve placed it in a more demanding situation than most hobbyists. I’ll be sure to bump the RH up to around 74% next winter (and will lower to 68% / 67 °F for the summer), but these are honestly very good numbers. I should also note that the extremes you see in the data are likely due to the door being left open.
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Misc / Extras
The NewAir NCH1K5BK00 has a decent light setup. There are six circular LED lights on each side, located near the door. These are joined by a large LED across the ceiling (also near the front/door), making for 13 total light sources. These lights are a bit on the cold side and, when compared to the broader cover of the Raching MON800A, seem like an area for improvement. However, I am a fan of the light settings, allowing the choice of “off,” “always on,” and “auto” modes (the latter only turning the lights on when the door is opened).
Of course, there’s a lock/key set (which I’ve never used on any humidor, other than to check if it works… which it does) and adjustable feet for leveling.
One thing I found worked especially well was the unit’s defrosting and condensation-minimizing abilities. When lower than 53 °F, the humidor activates a defrost system, where frost is melted, collected, and recycled into the unit’s humidification system. Additionally, it’s equipped with a double-panel glass door and a third internal acrylic layer, designed to minimize condensation. This is a common problem for cold locations (such as our setup), and we often find puddles of water at the bottom of humidors, sometimes even spilling out and onto the floor. This wasn’t an issue with the NewAir NCH1K5BK00, and was probably the best humidor we’ve ever tested in this respect.
This is a bit trickier to answer than I’d originally expected. Yes, it’s a sleek and attractive setup; yes, it’s cedar shelves are top-notch (and those fully extendable ball-bearing slides are *chef’s kiss); and yes, it does well with climate control; but is it $200 better than the smaller 840-count? Taking into account the measurements and “real world” capacity mentioned above, the 1500-count humidor costs $3.85/cigar storage space (or $1.32 / available in3 on the shelves/drawer). Compare this to the 840-count humidor, which is $4.39/cigar storage space (or $1.12 / available in3 on the shelves/drawer). It’s almost a tossup; basically, the smaller humidor has better shelf design, but the added space between each shelf allows for stacking, and therefore more versatility on the larger humidor. If you can handle the larger footprint, you should probably pull the trigger on this humidor over its smaller sibling—what’s $200 when you’re already in for $1800, anyway.
You’ll notice this humidor scored two points less than its smaller sibling. This is for a few reasons: a) despite being $200 more, it doesn’t hold that many more cigars; b) it didn’t seem to hold humidity quite as well as the smaller unit; c) I now have a better feel for reviews on this style of humidor, and the 840-count’s “94” was probably a bit too high.
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Great temperature accuracy/stability (two points off, year-round)High-quality cedar and fully extendable shelf slidesSleek, attractive, and all-around well-made
While humidity accuracy/stability is good, it requires a more hands-on approach in the winterNeeds frequent water refills, and it could be better at giving a heads up when running lowCan be difficult to fill and/or check water levels in reservoir
Originally posted on June 26, 2023 @ 6:18 am