The race to cigar-storage perfection continues with increasing pace, with Chinese company Raching Technology Co. joining the likes of NewAir, Whynter, and more with an upscale suite of wineador-style cigar humidors.
Raching touts themselves as “China’s wine cooler and cigar humidor leaders,” being established in 2004 with storage solutions for wine, cigars, ham, sausage, cheese, and steak.
While the company offers various styles of cigar cabinets and humidors (going so far as to include custom cigar rooms fitting of retail or other large settings), it is their MON series that has been pushed to the forefront. These humidors range from 32 to 72 inches in height, 500 to 1,500 cigar capacity, and $2,899 to $4,000 in price.
Raching MON800A Breakdown
Exterior Dimensions: 23 ½” (w) x 32 ?” (h) x 24? (d)
Interior Dimensions: 20? (w) x 22 ½” (h) x 15 ¼” (d)
Volume: 3.97 ft3
Capacity: 500–600 (Manufacturer Suggested)
Price: $2,899.00 (MSRP)
Warranty: 1 year (Compressor: 3 years)
Each of the MON humidors arrive in either black or gold finishes, with the latter seeming to be the unit’s signature look (and is the style that most hobbyists are likely more familiar with). Having a bright yellow/gold exterior (complete with an intricate pattern) and a brass-finished metal frame around the door, it has the look you might expect from a lounge I’d imagine you’d come across in Dubai.
However, this review focuses on the black version of the humidor, which feels more suitable (in my opinion) for the majority of home-storage environments.
Highly accurate/stable temperature and humidity (listed at ± 1% difference)
Multiple temperature and humidity sensors
Full Spanish cedar wood liner and shelves
Built-in humidification system
Bare mode & Sommelier mode
Large-capacity water tank
Independent quick dehumidification area (dry-boxing drawer)
Plasma emitter intelligently eliminates ammonia gas
Full glass front door (anti-fogging)
Door-lined LED lights
High-quality cedar shelves/drawers
Adjustable feet for leveling
Compared to some of Raching’s competitors, the company’s lineup feels a little disjointed. There seems to be some leftover products that don’t quite align with the look and feel of the MON line, which seems to be leading a new direction for Raching. In fact, there’s a bit of a language/cultural barrier that runs throughout their website (including the bizarre imagery of one of their units taking a ride on a hoverboard…), instruction manuals, and user interface. Additionally, sales seem to be directed almost entirely towards Amazon and Shopify pages, which can take away from the seamless shopping experience (and reassurance of returns/warranty) you may find elsewhere.
The Raching MON800A humidor is well packaged, arriving on a pallet with a sturdy look and feel. It’s best to unpack the humidor with two people, as the unit is quite large (despite being the smallest in the series) and needs to be lifted out of its packaging. Unlike other similar humidors, there is almost no assembly required—simply add in the shelf dividers (if desired), plug it in, fill with water, and input your desired settings.
Water Set Up
This humidor has a dramatically larger water reservoir than any other such unit we’ve tested at the Dojo Studios. As such, I’d recommend getting the humidor in its final location before filling with water. In fact, this is the first wineador I’ve come across that arrives with siphoning tools in order to remove water from the tank (which you’ll need to do in order to move the unit).
Filling the humidor with water is an easy and straightforward process: simply remove the cedar shelves, remove the bunghole (that’s a legit term, by the way), insert the included funnel, and add distilled water. With the shelves removed, you can actually fit an entire gallon inside the unit to pour from. This is especially relevant, as the reservoir holds an astonishingly large TWO FULL gallons of water (technically listed at 7.2L).
You’ll want to make sure the unit is plugged in before adding water, as the display will let you know when it’s filled. Before filling, the display panel will show an “Add Water” symbol. This icon will flicker as you get closer to filling the unit. Finally, the front LED strips of the humidor will shut off briefly and the unit will beep, letting you know it is filled (the “Add Water” symbol disappears).
Removing the water will likely not be needed by most, though it is similarly straightforward. This process involves placing a water line (included with the unit) into the same reservoir and pumping a siphon (also included). If the humidor is located on the floor, it can be a little tricky to remove all of the water, as the siphon’s outlet will need to be lower in height than the humidor’s water reservoir. You can get around this by removing as much water as possible, then placing the unit on a table, etc. to finish the emptying process.
Located on the front of the humidor, the digital touch-panel display is fairly large and easy to use and see at a distance.
Pressing “Set up” allows you to set desired temperature using +/- buttons (ranging from 61 to 72°F); a second press of the settings button allows you to select your humidity range (from 60 to 75% RH).
Bare mode is for storing cigars without packaging. This gets into the language barrier mentioned above, and can be a little tricky to understand without some research. Basically, this mode handles your settings for you, locking the RH at 65%—which is Raching’s recommended setting for storing cigars outside of their boxes. Raching recommends this storage method for short to medium term, and advises box storage for longer-term aging.
The H-Sommelier button activates the dehumidification (aka dry boxing) drawer, claiming to lower humidity to ranges between 55 to 60% RH. If you remove the upper two drawers, you’ll see a small fan near the water bunghole; pressing the H-Sommelier button turns this fan on, which dehumidifies the shallow dry-boxing drawer beneath. Raching recommends this setting for cigars that will be smoked in the very near term. Without pressing this button, this drawer will act similarly to the other two shelves in the unit.
The Lighting button switches between “on,” “off,” and a short-term duration of roughly 30 minutes.
Like virtually every humidor sold, there’s a decent disparity between the rated cigar capacity and real-world cigar capacity. However, depending on how you choose to stock the humidor, I found that you can get a lot closer to the manufacturer’s estimated results (500–600 cigars) than many of their competitors’ lofty goals. There are two large shelves and one smaller dry-boxing tray; I filled each of these with various configurations and arrived at these results:
All 10-count bundles: 180–240 cigars
All boxes: 60–100 cigars
All cigars: ~165 cigars
Dry-boxing shelf: ~15 cigars
Boxes & loose cigars: ~100 cigars
Boxes: ~215 cigars
Boxes & loose cigars: 215–280 cigars
Loose cigars: ~345 cigars
All bundles: ~500 cigars
Total “Real-World” Results
Shelves / Build
The Raching MON800A’s cedar shelves are of a high-quality cedar, having a nice depth to accommodate boxes, bundles, and/or stacks of single cigars. The smaller third shelf (dry-boxing shelf) is an interesting feature to set this unit apart from the competition. Additionally, it’s not often that you’ll find a fully cedar-lined wineador such as this, with most units in the category simply featuring cedar shelves inset into a plastic shell. Nearly every square inch of the interior is cedar, including precisely cut grilles behind the shelves and at the front lower section that allow for humidification.
Unfortunately, the large upper shelves do not have a mechanism to keep the shelves’ tracks from tipping downwards as the shelves are retracted (there are wooden slats underneath the shelf tracks but not on top). This means that there is no way to prevent the shelves from falling out of the humidor (along with countless cigars spilling onto the floor) without supporting the bottom of the shelf with your spare hand… this happened to us many times during our testing. With fully stocked shelves, I found that they could only extend around four and a half inches before crashing from the humidor. Oddly, this is not the case with the dry-boxing drawer, which does have an upper stopper that the shelf track slides through.
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Temperature / Humidity
Over the course of roughly two months, the unit was tested in our detached studio building. This environment is heated only during portions of the week (tune into Smoke Night LIVE and Flavor Odyssey every Wednesday and Friday!), leaving the humidor to do some intensive heating on its own during what has been a rather cold winter in Colorado. This is never a recommended setup by manufacturers, but we like to push humidors to their limits in the Dojo Studios.
The temperature setting was placed at 70°F and the humidity was set at 69% RH for virtually the entire duration of our testing.
Placing one Govee hygrometer on the upper shelf and one in the dry-boxing shelf, you can see that the unit handled humidity more consistently than temperature, although both metrics were among the best I’ve ever tested. This includes the extreme cold stretch that we faced around Dec. 22, where outside temperatures reached lows of -18°F. The humidor handled this with a respectable low of 61.5°F and 54.4% RH. You’ll also notice that the only real dip in humidity came on Jan. 27; this was due to the humidor needing to be re-filled with water for the first time.
Being somewhat cutoff from the rest of the unit, it’s not so surprising that the dry-boxing shelf showed more inconsistencies. For this shelf, you’ll want to pay more attention to the lows of the stats, as this is closer to the intention of the drawer. I tested this functionality (by pressing the H-Sommelier button) a few times, and it generally dropped the humidity to 55% range. Interestingly, it also raised temperature during this same period (to around 75°F). Unfortunately, this setting only seems to engage for short periods of time. I’d assume this feature would be turned on with the intention of acclimating the cigars for two or three days, but the humidity really only drops for around an hour, climbing back relatively quickly.
Finally, when testing the Bare mode, the results were in fact close to Raching’s advertised settings, averaging out at 64°F and 64% RH. Unlike the H-Sommelier mode, this function does seem to stay active once set.
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Misc / Extras
Raching lists the unit as having seven temperature and humidity sensors, claiming this is how it maintains the advertised ± 1% consistency. I could only find three such sensors. It could either be that some of the sensors are hidden or that the number listed applies to the larger humidor units.
There is also a plasma generator, which removes odor and ammonia from the cigars. This works automatically, starting up periodically and running for 30 minutes. This is described as “[Removing] 93.7% ammonia odor for fresh cigar, aging for better taste.” On some units, this device is placed on the back of the humidor. On this device, it is apparently tucked away from view. I can’t say whether this has any effect (positive or negative), and could not find any signs of if/when it was running.
The LED lights run up the full height of the humidor on the left and right sides. It’s an impressive look, lighting the humidor much more clearly than other humidors in this category that I’ve tested. It’s a much warmer color temperature as well, which I found attractive and fitting for the warm nature of cigars (many other such humidors use only a few circular lights from top to bottom, with a cool temperature that seems more suited for beverages, etc.). My only criticism for the lights is the customization on the display panel. Preferably, the light settings would be “on,” “off,” and “on for a brief period whenever the door opens.” Instead, that third desired option is replaced with “on for 30 minutes,” which I don’t find particularly useful.
As expected, the heating/cooling systems are designed to not affect the humidity, and are described as being engineered in such a way that the humidor’s glass door will not fog up. This can prove somewhat of a problem when placing the humidor in a cooler environment (as we have done), with some humidors showing excessive condensation on the glass and pooling water that will drip out of the humidor when first opened. I found that the Raching did in fact handle this quite well, although even this system showed some condensation on our coldest days (around the 0°F-and-lower range).
I’m torn! On the one hand, you have a large, attractive humidor with the most accurate/consistent results I’ve ever tested. On the other, you have a language/cultural barrier that’ll have you scratching your head, a very premium price point, and little cigar-storage capacity to show for it. Despite having our three most primary pros and cons listed in the summary section below, I feel like I need to spell out a more comprehensive list first:
Well-built cedar shelves
Fully cedar lined interior
LARGE water reservoir (pro & con) means only filling up a few times per year
Extremely accurate/consistent temperature and humidity (perhaps worth the price alone)
LED lights have full coverage of the front of the unit (with a fitting warm temperature)
Ammonia removal (?). This will likely only be noticeable in the multi-year timeframe
Dehumidification drawer (?). Not really necessary in dry Colorado climate, but more humid situations could benefit from this. If only there were more functionality to keep the setting running as long as you wish
Panel on front of device with large, clear display (pro & con)
Clean design overall. This includes the flat, boxy look of the exterior (which recedes nicely into the backdrop, rather than demanding attention), as well as the LED-lit cedar interior, and even a consumer-friendly backside (which is somewhat Apple-like, in that nearly all knobs, hoses, compressors, and other unsightly mechanics are tucked neatly out of sight—you are left with only the grille-covered coils and a cord)
Confusing options/controls on display (you’ll have to do your research in order to (sort of?) understand buttons like “Bare mode” and “H-Sommelier.” Additionally, if you hit the +/- buttons without first pressing “Set up,” the unit will show strange settings labelled “H51” or “H52” along with different temperature/RH readings. I never really got confirmation on what these mean. Perhaps readings from the various sensors throughout the unit?)
LARGE water reservoir (pro & con) takes up at least a third of the interior space of the humidor
Price! Depending on how many cigars you’re able to fit, you’re looking at something in the range of $6–$21 “rent” per cigar in terms of the space it takes up in the humidor (put another way: $0.63 per square inch of usable space)
Lack of proper ball bearing drawer slides. Where competing humidors in this class have smooth-sliding drawers that can be fully extended (and NEVER fall out of the humidor), the Raching MON800A’s drawers can only be extended four and a half inches without tipping out of the humidor and onto the floor (potentially cracking cigar wrappers, etc.). Even the hillbilly-hacked wineador I jerry-rigged together has slots routed into the side of the unit, allowing extended slats on the bottom of the cedar shelves to slide in and out of (albeit not smoothly) without falling
Panel on front of device with large display (pro & con). It’s a pro if you want to see your stats at a glance. It’s a con if you find the cold glow of LED lights distracting. Personally, I’d rather use a hygrometer/app combo (like Govee) and not be distracted by the display when I’m not fiddling with its strange inputs
LED light controls need an option to turn on (preferably for a custom-determined length) when the door is opened
H-Sommelier mode should either work indefinitely or turn off automatically after a longer period (three days? seven days?)
When the water eventually needs refilling, it literally doesn’t stop beeping until you fill it back up (a beep here or there every six or so hours would suffice)
All this is to say that the Raching MON800A is a sleek humidor with the level of control and consistency worthy of the most demanding/obsessive cigar enthusiast. If you have the cash to spare (and you value temperature/humidity stability over storage capacity), I’d go ahead and pull the trigger.
When we first got the humidor, we couldn’t get the humidity running for a few weeks. After going back and forth with Raching, we dove deep into some obscure, hidden settings that had me feeling nostalgic for my SNES days and the cheat codes that I oddly still remember… (select > a > b> right > left > down > down > up > up, anyone?). We eventually jumped the unit into gear by setting the temperature and humidity on their highest settings and… banged on the side of the unit swiftly and with purpose (again, like my SNES). I didn’t include this in my cons because: a) it’s worked as intended ever since and b) I do feel like we got an odd outlier bug that’s likely not common.
For those not familiar with this type of unit, make sure to get the humidor up and running with stable temperature and humidity for at least a week before adding cigars.
After filling with water on Nov. 9th, the unit didn’t require a fill-up until Jan. 27th. Not only this, but it could likely last MUCH longer, as it only required a top off of around half a gallon (remember, it holds around two gallons). This makes it all the more annoying that it beeps nonstop until refilled.
Click images below for full resolution
Extremely accurate/consistent temperature and humidityLarge water reservoir only needs to be refilled a few times per yearFully cedar lined
Small storage area considering priceShelves fall out shockingly easilyConfusing options/controls on display
The post Raching MON800A appeared first on Cigar Dojo.
Originally posted on February 1, 2023 @ 6:17 am