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How To Build A Cigar Coolidor

by Bryan Glynn, May 18, 2013
  • Cigar And Pipes Smokin' Deals


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.

  • Now this is what I’m talking about.

    • JJO

      You’re going to have to get more than 15 cigars.

  • Dale

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

  • Derek

    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.

    • Absolutely zero need. It seals tight as a drum on it’s own. Didn’t you listen to the multiple times I said that’s all you need πŸ˜‰

  • JJO

    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.

    • AHHHHhhhhhhhhhhh……….

      • JJO

        Is this a Depends ad?

  • TimB

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

    • Yes, his whole line including new ones releasing soon, over the coming months. He has a very diverse line because he blends his sizes to be all different – almost 30 different blends!

      • Craig

        Looking forward to those reviews! Thanks for all the great video’s Bryan. Keep them coming.

  • PsycotikMind

    Kinda felt like a Cuban Paradise commercial. πŸ˜‰

    • Yep – I had to get the cooler going today because that’s what I came home with this afternoon!

  • TheSmokingGunman

    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. πŸ™

    • Nope, not a moron at ALL, you did the only thing possible if you don’t A/C your house. With a humidor or coolidor, the house must be cool.

  • Jason Isbaner

    Very helpful, thank you!

  • Tommz81

    Thanks for doing this on Bryan.

  • Sinsandman

    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

      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.

      • 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

          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

        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

          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

      How do we get cigars and beads to you sinsandman?

      • Chris

        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!

  • Andrew

    I assume you can use boveda humidipaks instead of beads?

  • rockjock

    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

      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.

  • USA2ndAmendment

    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 πŸ™‚

  • mufdvr6976

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

    • <--- Answering Viewer Questions. I swear I should make it a requirement to go through the basic vids before entering the site LOL And thanks :)

      • Boucher207

        Thats what i did! Love the heartfelt beads as well! BRYAN, just curious, were all the boxes you placed in the Cool-a-dor in the video gifts from companies?

        • Only 2-3 boxes in my collection left are ‘gifts’, such as the Gurkha stuff from last xmas. Everything else is mine or like I mentioned at the start of this vid, product for a photo shoot.

          • Boucher207

            Very cool. thanks!

  • smokethis

    It’s like a cigar warehouse! Nice lol

  • cigarraider

    I was one of those guys asking about coolidors cause I got spooked from this statement off of bestcigarprices.com’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.

  • Tuxedoman

    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.

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

      • Boucher207

        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.

        • Boucher207

          Im not really worried about this, but i was just curious.

        • Like I said in the vid – people can do what they want, but what I showed was what I’ve been doing for YEARS. I still have the first batch I bought right after starting CO. All are working fine and get recharged through soaking every few months. Just sharing, everyone is free to do as they wish πŸ˜‰

  • Camshaft83

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

  • lostonmonday

    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.

  • lostonmonday

    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.

  • LordCybor

    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

      I’ll have to try that on the next cooler πŸ™‚ 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

        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. πŸ˜‰ … 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

          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 πŸ™‚

          • LordCybor

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

  • mfsaur

    nice… baller on a budget lol

  • yosef5

    Puff is having an article now on Coolidors also

  • vscarpine

    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

    • Probably because virtually everywhere you read about it it’s trumped up with so much bullshit everyone figures it’s a multi-day operation needing exotic materials and a 30 minute trainer course.

      • malfre01

        Don’t forget the MD in science too πŸ˜‰

  • dbfr181

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

  • primox1

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

    • lostonmonday

      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

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

        • LordCybor

          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.

          • I guess you missed the fact I have been using zip locks for years and have hundreds and hundreds stored that way. No cedar.

        • 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

            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.

    • 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.

      • primox1

        Thanks to all that replied. Sounds like Im done looking for cigar humidors. Thanks for the video BG.

  • weimerad

    I might have to start to this

  • weimerad

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

    • lostonmonday

      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

      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.

  • samgiroux42

    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!

  • Romel

    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!

  • stevesatch

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

  • stevesatch

    Forgot to mention that is the exact cooler I use.

  • stevesatch

    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.

    • TheSmokingGunman

      I thought about trying that but sounds like a hassle to get the RH stable with KL

  • phillyb

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

  • Daniel.A

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

  • MorganGeo

    Bryan, I’d be happy to pay postage if you just mailed that cooler to me! πŸ™‚

  • bmac7754

    Great Instructional video Bryan

  • Daniels

    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!!!

  • Daniels

    Sorry’ I meant Bryan.

  • MaxDuo

    Uh oh Bryan, you have almost shown off your collection with this video! πŸ˜‰

    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 πŸ™

  • jpculp57

    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!

  • eric.hanson

    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 πŸ˜‰

  • PAG

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

  • rgmenke

    Humidor vendors everywhere are not smiling. πŸ˜‰

  • nelsontcp

    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?

  • Pokesfan

    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…

  • Fabbio

    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 β€œseasoned 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..

  • ctigers15

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

  • jamesh

    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.

  • Dexterous

    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?

  • Dirk

    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..

  • KG

    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

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

      • bond007

        yeah that is a great set up you have going on

        • KG

          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

            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.

  • garlar10

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • bond007

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

  • RamzaFreak20

    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 ^^

  • PrinceHector


  • sagxman

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

  • I like that this is straight forward too

  • mghwah

    Nice video. Thanks for the information.

  • dcpeters

    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.

  • carlos05194

    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!

  • Philly5800

    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.

  • LunchBox87km

    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?

    • Absolutely not. You need to ac the room or use a wineador or not store them at home.

      • LunchBox87km

        Ok thanks, I’ll start saving up to buy a wineador now that winter is ending I’m having a hard time finding a spot in the house that maintains a constant temperature

  • v12jagman

    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.

    • Open bags. It makes no difference what you do with boxes or what’s in them. I soak them for 10 seconds or so until they stop crackling.

      • v12jagman

        Got it!

  • EA_Man

    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.

    • Beads man, beads πŸ™‚ Nope, I don’t need gauges in everything. I do spot checks, but I know when the beads are dry, it aint rocket science or nearly as finicky as the myths let you believe…

  • Ellis

    Thanks for the awesome vid! (Saw it on a cigar.com forum…which lead me here!) Question! I’m going to do this using a 50qt cooler…what size/amount of heartfelt beads should I use? Should I buy the 1/2 lbs bag and use a little more than half of that? Thanks!

  • Peter Brown

    This was a excellent video on making coolidor. Great information and very nicely described. By this I can make my own very easily. Thanks for this.

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