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May 18

How To Build A Cigar Coolidor

Posted on Saturday, May 18, 2013 in Accessory Reviews


I get this question so much I had to make a video – even though it’s nothing magic! It’s kinda like doing touchups – there is so much mystery, myth and pure bullshit about the subject people just think there’s more to it than there really is. So here’s all it takes in a nutshell. Buy cooler. Wash Cooler. Dry cooler. Put in cigars, the more the better, including boxes. Use good beads. Enjoy! ANYTHING else is your personal choice, but nothing else is needed to function. I’ve been running this configuration for many years. The last 600+ reviews have been out of this exact setup.

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Bring on the comments

  1. Chris Tivnan says:

    Now this is what I’m talking about.

  2. Dale says:

    That is they way I did mine and it works well.

  3. Derek says:

    Bryan you’re about ready for your own walk-in humidor!
    Another great thing to do to hold moisture in is put a thin weather stripping in the lid.

  4. JJO says:

    Hey Bryan, that first part with the hose does not bode well for us old farts and our bladders. And you forgot step number one: remove beer bottles.

  5. TimB says:

    I see you have some boxes of Cuban Paradise cigars going to review them later?

  6. PsycotikMind says:

    Kinda felt like a Cuban Paradise commercial. ;)

  7. TheSmokingGunman says:

    Awesome, makes me feel like a moron for the several hundred bucks I spent on the wineador I’m putting together. Getting the custom drawers in next week. However, being that the ambient temp in my room is about 81 to 84 in the summers, I kinda need the temp control I get with the wine cooler I guess. Sad thing is I will only get about 1/4 the storage as that cooler. :(

  8. Jason Isbaner says:

    Very helpful, thank you!

  9. Tommz81 says:

    Thanks for doing this on Bryan.

  10. Sinsandman says:

    I actually just put one of these together out here in Afghan…only problem is the beads. I run a weekly cigar smoke out here for soldiers to ease their minds. Reached out for support and many cigars came in. Recently reached out to Heartfelt to see if they wanted to support us and their “response in 24 hours” apparently is “won’t respond to soldiers”.

    • TheSmokingGunman says:

      You can get Kitty Litter really cheap and I hear from tons of folks who swear by it. I’m sure it holds really well as it is designed to absorb moister but doubt its designed to release any certain amount. Still, there are people who use it religiously and swear it works just as well as the HF beads. If I could afford some beads at the moment, I would certainly ship some your way, however, my niece works at Pet Smart and I could get a discount on the Kitty Litter and would gladly ship a canister out to you if you want to give it a shot. Its odorless and safe for use.

      • Bryan Glynn says:

        Don’t bother with it. Yes it functions well as far as humidity, but it all over the place in size uniformity. most of it is dust, barely any chunks are the size of beads, plus most have some ‘freshening’ particles mixed in. It becomes a mess very quickly. Been there done that.

        • Dylan says:

          I read through every comment just to see if I needed to ask you this very question. forums are one thing, but I trust your thoughts on KL vs. beads. BEADS IT IS! Thanks, Bryan.

      • lostonmonday says:

        The kitty litter I got worked too well, so I added salt a little at a time to dial it in. It took month to do. To me, its not worth the hassle or risk of ruining the cigars if I had to do it again.

        • TheSmokingGunman says:

          That was my conclusion after the month of research I did while planing the construction of my wineador. Sounded like a great idea as far as saving money. I had to buy 1.5lbs of beads and KL sounded like a way better idea in terms of money. But the hassle absolutely did not sound like it was worth the savings.

    • lostonmonday says:

      How do we get cigars and beads to you sinsandman?

      • Chris says:

        If there aren’t any restrictions on shipping beads Sinsandman, just get me the address. I have about a pound laying around I would be happy to donate to the troops.

        I am happy to take up a collection and handle shipping costs if others are interested in supporting the cause.

        I am not sure how to organize this, but any advise or ideas would be appreciated!

  11. Andrew says:

    I assume you can use boveda humidipaks instead of beads?

  12. rockjock says:

    Boveda packs would get expensive quickly. They recommend 2 packs for 50 cigar. I build my first one last year and love it. I rather spend my money on good smokes than a fancy box. The only thing I did different is let the cooler air out a couple days to off gas that plastic smell.

    • smokethis says:

      Ya, i use Boveda(10 Packets at a time for 4 different humi’s) and it gets insanely expensive, since they need to be replaced every 1-3 months. I think i may switch to beads simply for cost effectiveness.

  13. USA2ndAmendment says:

    Haha, awesome, I have always wondered how you used a cooler as a humidor. I don’t have near enough cigars for a cooler, but it’s a great idea especially to save money :)

  14. mufdvr6976 says:

    nice informative video, would like to see more info on beads, such as how to activate stuff like that!! good job.

  15. smokethis says:

    It’s like a cigar warehouse! Nice lol

  16. cigarraider says:

    I was one of those guys asking about coolidors cause I got spooked from this statement off of’s “cigar 101″ page about coolers: “You get no monitoring of humidity or temperature, no cedar lining to trap in flavor, and all sorts of weird flavors are going to seep into your sticks.” Glad it wasn’t your first rodeo, Bryan. Almost gave them a good chunk of cash for a cigar cabinet. Much obliged.

  17. Tuxedoman says:

    Bryan, just wondering about preparation of the heartfelt beads. Do you need to pay attention to how much distilled water you apply? I noticed in the video you mentioned saturating them.

    • Bryan Glynn says:

      I dunk them in water – again – shown in a previous vid, watch the vids on the left.

      • Boucher207 says:

        BRYAN, i know this is an old post, but i was just incontact with Heartfelt Industries and they say not to dunk their beads in distilled water since the beads are comprised of different salts and other materials it can wash awayu the needed materials and make them less effective. Have you seen any adverse reaction to the RH in any of your Humidors from this? I dunk mine as well and have been for quite some time now.

  18. Camshaft83 says:

    Great instructional video Bryan. Wish I had enough cigars to make 1 of these let alone how many you have lol.

  19. lostonmonday says:

    Bryan, this was totally just an excuse for you to be like, “Nah-na-Nah-na-Nah-na-na, I got more cigars than you do!”. Hahaha, just kidding. I know you’ve been asked for years now to show off your humidor(s). It was nice to get a glimpse of your impressive setup though.

  20. lostonmonday says:

    I just built one and used a Coleman 28 quart performance series at Walmart for $20 with about the same amount of HF beads Bryan used. This particular cooler seals so poorly that it has a hard time keeping the humidity from spiking. I know coolerdors work, so it might be money well spent to get something a little nicer than the particular model I got. Shoot, I think a $5 Styrofoam cooler would be a better bet.

  21. LordCybor says:

    When I setup my coolidor, I went one step further after washing it with dish soap. I also gave it a thorough alcohol wipe down. Helps to remove any soap residue that may have been missed while rinsing.

    • lostonmonday says:

      I’ll have to try that on the next cooler :) Some auto body guys use alcohol as the last cleaner used because it’ll remove any film left over by other solvents. How’d the b-lines treat ya’ LC?

      • LordCybor says:

        Yeah, I do airbrush artwork and paint in general. I use a grease and wax remover for final clean up but, if I run out though I will use a little rubbing alcohol. ;) … The B-lines are not to bad. They light and smoke just fine when in a pinch! I’m just not a big connecticut wrapper kinda guy. I love rich bold full bodied smokes. So, on the other hand, the Don Lino and the GH were great for low priced stick’s! I think I will pick up the 2-fer deal on CI for the Lino’s! …Oh, and I have a little 5 pack I’m gonna shoot your way soon! Thanks again man!

        • lostonmonday says:

          No way, I do a little airbrushing too. I make prosthetic limbs, and 5-6 years ago I painted a patients leg after hours. The higher ups were so pissed i almost got myself fired, but the patient loved it and I’ve been airbrushing legs since then. My avatar is a leg from a few years ago. I’m glad you liked the sticks :)

          • LordCybor says:

            That eagle looks very nice indeed! If you can, email me a larger pic. I would love to see it in more detail.

  22. mfsaur says:

    nice… baller on a budget lol

  23. yosef5 says:

    Puff is having an article now on Coolidors also

  24. vscarpine says:

    Thanks Bryan I want to do this in the near future and now I see how simple it is….dont know why but I always pictured it be very difficult to set up

  25. dbfr181 says:

    Wow never knew it was that easy!! Thanks Bryan !!

  26. primox1 says:

    With the coolidor, you dont need a tight air seal?

    • lostonmonday says:

      It doesn’t have to be perfectly air tight, but it does have to limit airflow. The 28qt cooler I posted about has a horrible seal and isn’t working well. For reference, I filled it up, closed the lid and turned it upside down. It only took 10 seconds to completely drain. That’s too loose of a seal.

      • primox1 says:

        Thanks for the reply. So is there any big advantage(s) of using a cedar humidor except for aesthetics?

        • LordCybor says:

          If you are storing singles in the coolidor, its best to buy or make some spanish cedar trays to stack them in. So, just the lack of a cedar interior inside the cooler for singles is the only negative.

        • Bryan Glynn says:

          The only thing it does, is take up space and provide a very slow humidity buffer. If you are constantly opening the lid exchanging the air, the cedar will help balance it out, but very, slightly at best. Using beads as I went through in detail – is all you need.

          • LordCybor says:

            I agree for long term storing, I might be wrong but it seemed like he was referring to a daily use humidor option. In which case a cedar lining and or tray system would be optimum.

    • Bryan Glynn says:

      Just make sure the cooler lid snaps shut. As you saw, I had difficulty prying it open with one hand, that’s what you want not just a floppy lid.

  27. weimerad says:

    I might have to start to this

  28. weimerad says:

    Bryan what RH level beads did you use for the cool idol? Or is it personal preference?

    • lostonmonday says:

      I can’t remember which video he details all the info on which beads he uses, but he uses 65 beads because he lives in a humid area. I use 70rh beads because I’m in a more arid area, and could probably do better with 72.5.

    • PAG says:

      My house in PA is always dry and my humidors are in the bedroom so I use 70RH beads also from Heartfelt. My brother lives down south and his humidors are in a finished basement so he uses 65 RH beads. It all comes down to what you want your RH to be and what ambient conditions you’re dealing with when you open your humidor.

  29. samgiroux42 says:

    Very informative! I cannot wait to received my beads. I ordered them about a week or so ago, but I guess heartfelt goes on vacation for about a month each year. So I need to wait until Monday before they will ship out.

    How often (if ever) do you rotate your stock in the coolidor?

    Thanks again!

  30. Romel says:

    That’s awesome. I guess the people that wanted to see your coolers got their wish haha. Great cheap way to keep tons of cigars and by saving money on a humidor, you can spend more money on cigars!

  31. stevesatch says:

    I use a coolerdor. $100 will get you a 120 quart extreme cooler, silica kitty litter, and a digital hydrometer.

  32. stevesatch says:

    Forgot to mention that is the exact cooler I use.

  33. stevesatch says:

    If you use silica kitty litter for beads when you go to petsmart to buy the kitty litter look in the fish section for media filter bags. They are what people put charcoal in to make their own aquarium filtration system. 99 cents for the large size. Use these to put the kitty litter in.

  34. phillyb says:

    Tupperware (at least in my case). Not just for food anymore!

  35. Daniel.A says:

    very informative. i think i will try this. can’t wait to have a collection like that. boxes and boxes of cigars. OH YEA!

  36. MorganGeo says:

    Bryan, I’d be happy to pay postage if you just mailed that cooler to me! :)

  37. bmac7754 says:

    Great Instructional video Bryan

  38. Daniels says:

    Thanks BRYAN, I’ve been using clear pasta containers that hold about 25 Cigars for a while and found they work great too. I think I’m going to try this too for my boxes too. NICE!!!

  39. Daniels says:

    Sorry’ I meant Bryan.

  40. MaxDuo says:

    Uh oh Bryan, you have almost shown off your collection with this video! ;)

    Nice to see a video on it. I would do this if I ever got a huge amount… but for now my little 50ct is never too filled. Until college loans are gone, I don’t see that changing :(

  41. jpculp57 says:

    This was a great video on the coolidor. It’s always super amusing to me when you get so many questions on things that you’ve already answered in other videos. The main reason I check your site daily is because of all the info you provide and have provided through all of your videos. I normally search your archives routinely to watch your older videos and check to see if you’ve answered questions I might have. Excellent work and great archives. Thanks for everything Bryan G!

  42. eric.hanson says:

    Great video! I’ve made a few coolidors before and I’m glad to know I’ve build them similar to how you’ve shown. Thanks for sharing though. And I think we all know you know what you’re doing ;)

  43. PAG says:

    Great video, Bryan. So when is the “Subscriber Appreciate Party” at your place? I’ll bring a six-pack.

  44. rgmenke says:

    Humidor vendors everywhere are not smiling. ;-)

  45. nelsontcp says:

    hi bryan,

    thanks for the video! Really help newbies like me.

    Btw, i live in a country which has high humidity throughout the year, Average about 80%-85% RH.

    I’m not a regular smoker. I keep my small stack of cigars in tubbleware. Can i just put in the dry beads without spraying distilled water since the ambient humidity is so high?

  46. Pokesfan says:

    I can only dream about having that many cigars! I have about 50 and can’t find the time to smoke as often as I’d like. The wife won’t let me have that kind of time lol…

  47. Fabbio says:

    New to the site and this post just made my year!!! A while back on a camping trip I pondered about the possibility of using a cooler to do this and was verbally torn apart by some friends and family that are self professed “seasoned cigar vets”. I may rip this to a dvd and give to them as a gift. After I mod my cooler over first of course..

  48. ctigers15 says:

    That’s a ton of cigars, I would love to have that many, I might invest in a cooler soon.

  49. jamesh says:

    Thanks Bryan, until now all I have seen is guys converting small wine chillers into a coolidor. The igloo cooler method you show is a lot easier. Now, if I could just afford that many cigars.

  50. Dexterous says:

    Wouldn’t having the cigars in boxes massively increase the time for the cigars to get properly humidified? I’ve always thought the same thing about cello wrapped cigars in humidors, just doesn’t make sense to me. Does anyone know anything about this?

  51. Dirk says:

    great information.. I have a ton of empty cigar boxes I could be selling.. I could call them “Bryan’s coolidor shelving”.. thats the ticket..

  52. KG says:

    Just thought I’d add a twist since you are using the same model cooler I am.

    I glued two cedar trays together (from cheaphumidors, but they seem to be sold all over) and they fit perfectly on the inside lip of that Coleman Extreme5 120qt. They stack two deep from the lip up (with plenty of space before the lid). When rotated 90 degrees, they stack three deep from the bottom up almost to the lip. I turned 8 trays into 4 that all rest on the lip and plan to leave boxes / fans / KL underneath. Just a cheap organizational option I thought some might like that adds some stable cedar.

    If anyone’s interested, here’s a pic (yes, I need to get some stock!)…

    • cigarraider says:

      Geez. Maybe you should start your own site as well. Very nice set up, KG.

      • bond007 says:

        yeah that is a great set up you have going on

        • KG says:

          Thanks guys. This is my first rodeo, so I had additional organizational needs. I’ve noticed most long term BOTL can recognize a cigar very quickly with a glancing view. I’m still reading labels!

          • CajunCigarlover says:

            KG, your coolidor setup with shelves looks great for storing singles and will provide nice air circulation. Very nice setup!
            However, I believe the point of BG’s coolidor setup is to store large amounts of cigars economically, hence the boxes and ziplock bags full of cigars. I haven’t gotten to the point of storing several boxes at once, but now that I see how easy it is to do, the box storage coolidor will probably be happening sooner rather than later. I’ll keep my 150 count humi stocked with my daily smokes and the backlog in my coolidor. Will be nice to do away with my smaller humi’s and the pain in the butt humidification that comes along with them. The smaller humi’s will make nice holiday gifts…LOL.

  53. garlar10 says:

    Thanks for the video. About time I upgrade to one of these…

  54. KnightRid says:

    I have been wanting to build one of these for a few years but I never had any luck with beads. I may have to give it another try.

    Do you have any problems if you don’t fill the cooler the whole way? Could always fill it with empty boxes but was just curious.

  55. ghostshadow says:

    Very nice! I didn’t know there was so much mystery around the coolidor. I was more surprised by how much you have in storage, haha!

  56. bond007 says:

    when I assemble a cigar stockpile I will defiantly make one of these!

  57. RamzaFreak20 says:

    I made one out of my college beer cooler. It held a couple 6 packs, now it holds ~150 sticks. Pretty convenient herf-a-dor ^^

  58. PrinceHector says:


  59. sagxman says:

    I loved the end! How in the hell are you EVER going to smoke all of those cigars? Party at your house!

  60. Chris Tivnan says:

    I like that this is straight forward too

  61. mghwah says:

    Nice video. Thanks for the information.

  62. dcpeters says:

    Bryan, Love the site! Awesome review. I have seen many, but personally, I love to see the cigars from the outside. Call me crazy. Question. I have an old wine cooler that I have. It cools to about 50-60 degrees, but sometimes a little warmer. Is this reasonable? also, what would you (and if other people see this) recommend to remove the plastic and metal smell from a unit that has to be plugged in? I have tried air drying it, but it didn’t work.

  63. carlos05194 says:

    there are a lot of guys and girls out there that need this vid this is one of the top Coolidor vids on youtube I have been looking for this vid for some time you did it you again Bryan another great vid!

  64. Philly5800 says:

    Bryan, how do cigars age and maintain moisture if they are all inside sealed boxes inside the coolidor? I’m considering “making” one of these so I can fit whole boxes but wonder if the stogies need to be unpacked first. Thanks.

  65. LunchBox87km says:

    Hey Bryan

    I’m thinking about making a coolidor the only issue I have is that I don’t have a spot in the house that would maintain a cool enough temperature, could I put a small piece of dryice on the bottom and build a small shelve so that the cigar boxes are above the dry ice. Do you think this could work?

  66. v12jagman says:

    Great instructions! My question is on the zip lock bags. Do you seal the bags or leave them open? Is it also beneficial to crack the boxes open a little?

    Also so you just do a quick dunk with the heartfelt beads into the distilled water or let them soak a few seconds?

    Any benefit to having completely full boxes or can I take out part for my display humidors and continue to do so as I smoke them?

    Ok, that was more than one question.

    Many thanks in advance. your advise on keeping the air conditioner on was invaluable.

  67. EA_Man says:

    Hi Bryan,

    It appears as though you don’t use a hygrometer in your coolidor setups, is that correct?

    Was there a point in time where you were monitoring the RH with a hygrometer and then concluded that it wasn’t necessary due to consistent readings?

    Great job on the vids and the site in general – very informative and entertaining.

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