Regulating humidity is a difficult but necessary part of a diverse array of activities and often a source of great frustration.
However, thanks to Boveda humidity packs it’s not as difficult as it used to be. These revolutionary products have quietly taken over a niche market over the past 20 years. These reusable packs have an inspired design and are easy to use. All you have to do is select the level of humidity you want to maintain, buy a couple Boveda humidity packs, and place them in the respective container.
You can use as many as you’d like and they maintain the ideal level of humidity for your cigars, stored foods, or other moisture-sensitive items. There have been products that tried to do what Boveda does before, from gel crystals to humdifying solutions. Yet, these packs use a simple recipe of pure water and natural salts that, when deployed in a properly seasoned container, can last for up to a year. We'll walk you through everything you need to know about the Boveda humidity packs to help you decide if these are a practical solution for your cigars.
A Little Bit About Boveda Humidity Packs
It’s always good to know where your favorite products come from and how they’re made. Yet, with Boveda humidity packs, it’s a genuinely interesting story. This product fills a niche need so well, they have almost no true competitors.
History of Boveda
For a period of time in the late 1980s and early 1990s, cigar smoking had a kind of renaissance. It was very chic, with a number of female celebrities professing their love of cigars. Still, maintaining humidity was a difficult and surprisingly labor-intensive task. Seeing an opportunity, former General Mills chemist Dr. Albert Saari set about solving that problem.
He devised a way to use supersaturated salts to humidify the air around it. They just needed something to put the solution inside. Saari’s friend Robert Esse, who’d worked as a packaging specialist at General Mills, got called in. He was able to discover a packaging that allowed water vapor to pass through but not salt.
They patented the packaging and Boveda humidity packs hit the market in 1997, though the company was first known as Humidipak. Since then, they’ve won distinction in a surprising number of areas outside of cigar circles.
How Are They Made?
The specific construction of Boveda humidity packs is the trade secret. It’s their McDonald’s “special sauce” or KFC “11 herbs and spices” secret formula. Only instead of a tasty condiment, theirs a strange membrane that holds the solution of distilled water and supersaturated salts.
The patented design allows water vapor to diffuse from inside and maintains a very specific relative humidity in a proper container. The paper packaging around the pack is used mostly for printing and logos is just as sturdy.
The specific ration of salt to pure water depends on the relative humidity level you want to maintain. Boveda humidity packs range from 32 percent relative humidity all the way up to 78 percent relative humidity. They also offer specialty deals for bulk purchases ranging from 13 percent to 95 percent relative humidity levels.
How Do They Work?
The salts mixed in with the water are what ensures that the relative humidity will be a certain percentage. Yet, what allows this to work for long-term moisture-level stabilization is the membrane and packaging that diffuse the water vapor through, presumably, microscopic holes.
They come in a range of sizes, so you can use them in a travel humidor or your cello case. What’s so remarkable about this product, however, is the membrane works both ways. If the pack dries out, you can effectively refill them by soaking them in distilled water.
Some users on social media claim they’ve used the same Boveda humidity packs for decades, back when they were called Humidipak. It’s a remarkably simple product that works well in properly seasoned containers.
Features and Benefits of Boveda Humidity Packs
The Boveda humidity pack is a very simple product. Essentially you put it inside something and leave it alone. Naturally, the size of the container compared to the pack and how often its opened plays a role. Also, the company claims you can use as many packs of the same relative humidity level as you want. In this case, less is not more.
1. Great for Humidors
Cigar humidors are what Boveda humidity packs were invented for. Previously, cigar aficionados relied on sponges or diffusers to maintain humidity levels. This means that the humidifier needed almost constant refilling. It’s an easy enough job, but it’s certainly not convenient. With Boveda humidity packs this concern is a thing of the past.
So long as the humidor is properly seasoned, your relatively humidity level will be near-perfect every time. If you are an infrequent cigar smoker, one pack could last as long as a year. However, if you open your humidor often, it will likely run dry in a matter of months. Keep enough on-hand so that you can recharge your packs and always have one ready.
2. Improve Efficiency for Curing or Storing Herbal Medicine
In over half of the United States of America, Cannabis is legal in some form or another. Whether it’s medicinal use or recreational, that means that cannabis is now a big, legal business. With professionals on the case, the quality of their product is going to be high (no pun intended).
One way to cure the cannabis, after it’s been harvested, is by using Boveda humidity packs. Rather than a process involving complex gas exchanges to ensure the product is ready for user, Boveda humidity packs help maintain a constant relative humidity.
So, rather than a complicated process, growers can use Boveda humidity packs and just leave it until it’s ready to sell. This also allows for that product to stay fresher for longer, whether stored at a dispensary or with the end-user.
3. Keep Food Fresher Longer
If you buy foods in bulk or have some ingredients you don’t use often, Boveda humidity packs can help you make the most of your stores. For example, if left in the store packaging, sugar can become discolored or harden. Storing these ingredients in a sealable container with Boveda humidity packs will ensure that the next time you open the sugar, it’s just like the first day you bought it.
They come in incremental relative humidity levels and sizes small enough for storing spices. For some foods, like unpopped popcorn, maintaining proper humidity levels can help it last years if you need it to. Because only pure water diffuses from the packs, the flavor of the food or spice remains unchanged. To be clear, these will only work with a properly sealable container.
4. Storing Wooden Instruments, Electrical Devices
It’s not just consumables that need ambient moisture stabilization, but also honest-to-goodness items like guitars and cameras. Too much or too little moisture can play havoc with the meticulous construction of wooden instruments or the hundreds of tiny components in today’s electronics. These items have an ideal relative humidity at which they should be stored.
In the case of wooden musical instruments, the proper relative humidity improves how the instruments sounds and reduces the stress on the wood. With electronic devices, you often see humidity control in the form of packets of silica gel. Yet, with Boveda humidity packs and a properly seasoned container, you can store these things at the perfect relative humidity level.
What People Have to Say About Boveda Humidity Packs
The overwhelming response to Boveda humidity packs has been a positive one. In fact, in many negative reviews for cigar humidors, people state that they use Boveda humidity packs as evidence that any problem is a result of the container and not user-error. This is a trusted product that fills a niche need so well that there are few, if any, real competitors.
Perhaps as patents expire or new innovations present themselves this will change. Until then Boveda is the brand name for two-way humidity control. They also have an engaged customer service department that customers who wrote reviews seem pleased with. If customers are unsatisfied for any reason, they can return the Boveda humidity packs for a full refund.
The only consistent complaint about Boveda humidity packs are they don’t last as long as they are supposed to or have trouble maintain the promised relative humidity level. In some cases, this could be the cause of a problem with the construction, the ratio of ingredients, or some other manufacturer fault.
Yet, what’s equally (if not more) possible is that the fault lies with the container. Humidors, guitar cases, and the like need to be properly seasoned in order to maintain the proper humidity. This can be a laborious process depending on the container. Still, the overwhelming majority of reviewers are extremely happy with these products. Also, if the pack is damaged or pierced somehow, the solution inside will, obviously, leak out.
Alternatives to Boveda Humidity Packs to Consider:
Boveda humidity packs are a unique product, and they don’t have any serious competitors. However, in the free market there are always alternatives to anything. From what people used before Boveda humidity packs to competing two-way moisturizing packs, you’ve got options if you’re still not convinced.
Before Boveda humidity packs, a cigar-lover’s options for their humidor was either water or a propylene glycol solution. When mixed with distilled water, these solutions extend the length of time the relative humidity would stay constant. Meant to reduce time between refillings, these solutions can be tricky, and your individual results may vary. Luckily, this stuff is not very expensive. For a gallon of Stogie’s brand solution, pre-mixed with distilled water, is less than $40. This should last for quite some time if your humidors are properly seasoned.
Integra Boost is the company that looks to nip at Boveda’s heels, and—on paper—their products are not that different. The Integra Boost offers humidifying packs that will maintain a specific relative humidity level. These packs are also reusable, but they come with an indicator card that changes color when it’s time to replace them. This is handy, because you have to touch the Boveda packs to see if they have gone too dry. There aren’t many reviews for this product available.
From sponges to specially-designed devices, these sorts of humidifiers are what you will find included in most humidors. This is a passive system through which the distilled water or solution maintains relative humidity with just evaporation and diffusion. It’s not all that precise and it can be very difficult to maintain. However, for some folks, this is the way they know how to do it. It works for them, and they see no reason to change. If maintaining the humidity of your cigars or whatever is part of the hobby you enjoy, then maybe the old ways are the best ways.
The Boveda humidity pack is a revolutionary product that works incredibly well and simplifies a previously difficult process.
We live in an age of constant miracles. From luxury smartphones that beam signals to space and back to virtual reality bringing real and fictional worlds alive, our technology is amazing. Yet, sometimes the best innovations are remarkably simple.
Just like when Dr. Saari and Mr. Esse developed Boveda humidity packs, a simple system that maintains a specific relative humidity. It’s reusable, works perfectly (most of the time), and makes something that used to be major headache very easy. If you are a cigar smoker, a musician, or just want to store beans, sugar, and spices long-term, Boveda humidity packs are just the tool you didn’t know you needed.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t forget to share the article on social media to let your friends now about these awesome little humidifiers.
Related Article: Best Cigar Humidors: How to Select One to Keep Your Cigars Fresh