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How I Maintain My Humidity Beads

by Bryan Glynn, April 25, 2014
  • Cigar And Pipes Smokin' Deals

20090314_cigar_0003I’m tired of the fear mongering I see passed around all the time about how to recharge your beads. I have been doing this for the past 5+ years straight. Some people love to tell you about what ‘might’ or ‘can’ happen. I tell you what did. It works great, ’nuff said. Feel free to disagree or do your own thing. I just want to dispel myths and show you what works.

  • Dylan

    Haha love it Bryan! Way to many people believe way to many rumors they read on the internet! Keep it simple stupid! Thanks again for the awesome videos!

  • raja

    I use this method, but living in AZ (Mesa)where the tap water is funky tasting and smelling I prefer to soak ’em in distilled water. Works really well here where the humidity hovers around minus 10%. My major problem is paying the electricity bill to keep the temp below 75 degrees.

    • No one makes you live in an oven lol

      • raja

        Actually, I’ve gotten used to the heat and I prefer being a little hot from time to time than freezing my ass off and shoveling snow in winter. Too much humidity for me in a place like FL. The cost of living is manageable here. Can’t think of many other major metro areas where I could live as comfortably on my pension income. And an added benefit is I can fry my breakfast eggs on my driveway from mid June to mid September!

  • Boucher207

    BRYAN, I laughed so hard at this video! Love it, I do the same with my beads, I tried the whole syringe thing but I was constantly refilling them that way. Still laughing, at how you just dropped them in and turned on the faucet! nice vid.

  • pipebear333

    Bryan. I’ve tried using the beads. I’ve bought the 70% humidity rated, blue end, white tube type you show in the video. After doing just what you show, soaking the beads untill saturated, I place the tube in my tuperware tub with about 50 or so cigars. Problem I get is, instead of the beads just going to and staying at 70%, it spikes to well over 80 or more which completely freaks me out and I end up going back to my old standard of Bovida bags which always work well for me. What am I doing wrong with the beads? I know it’s not rocket science but I have never had the success with these things everyone else seems to have.

    • I think people freak out way too easily about fluctuations and spikes. Sure it goes up when you put them back in. Then it goes down. Cigars simply aren’t as fragile in all the ways people think they are. That’s one thing I learned years ago the first times I was exposed to the manufacturing sides of the industry. Boveda is fine to use for sure. I’m simply showing everyone what works too.

    • Oh yeah and blue is 65 red is 70. I would suggest a new hygrometer.

      • Trockman5150

        I agree. I was having a huge issue maintaing my humidor when I discovered my hygrometer wasn’t calibrated right. Once calibrated all was good.

      • PAG

        FYI, red is 60, blue is 65, and black is 70 for Heartfelt beads.

  • Boston Fireguy

    Bryan, instead of using the distilled water (which I once drank by mistake – yuck)next time I recharge the beads, I’ll try the water from the fridge water dispenser. Here south of Boston the water sodium levels are highest in the state but going through 3 filters the water tastes just like spring water.

    Is there a target all around humidity number you recommend for a humidor? I see you mention 65%. I often hear 70-72% as a target.

    • As I mention in many other vids there is no magic number you need to find what works best for your situation.

  • So, what your saying is that I DON”T have to use triple distilled water imported from Finland and a wooden soaking bowl (made from some endangered tree) that I imported from Paraguay, in a dark room, wearing a DuPont Tychem Hazmat suite…and only on a Tuesday when there is a full moon? Geez…

    • That’s just stupid. Everyone knows its on a Wednesday.

      • D’oh! That explains the problems…

        • Tim G

          You Guys just CRACK ME UP … All I’ve done for the last ten minutes was laugh… Thanks for the GREAT start to my day.

    • ParadiseCove

      ha! ha! ha! hee! ha! choke…ha! ha! Now that was f—n’ funny..!!!

  • natethebrewer

    Anyone have problems with them cracking?

    When they become opaque a spritz them with water and shake to evenly distribute until 50% of them are clear again, but they still seem to crack, because out of the tubes and the rectangular humidifiers Heartfelt sells, I get little bead ‘granules’ about the size of grains of salt… Nothing comes out of my bulk beads in nylon bags because they are a fine enough mesh like pantyhose to not let the stuff through.

    It’s just weird because the only time others have said they crack is when you submerge them for a looooooong time and really over-saturate them.

    I just brush them off the cigars but it kind of collects as a powder in all my humidors and I have to empty them all out now and then to blow it out with some canned air, and when some people were over the other day they were alarmed to see the powder all over everything (guess they thought I had an ‘issue’).

    • Totally normal the first few cycles. Non issue

      • natethebrewer

        Oh cool, I think I will take the beads out and shake them over a mesh strainer or something to get rid of the stuff… Thanks, no one ever said it was a phase they go through in the beginning.

  • CigarNole

    This is why I come here, I love the no BS and no nonsense approach you pass on. Thanks

  • EA_Man

    I’ve been using kitty litter with distilled water – works well enough, though the beads seem a little more fool proof and less messy. Love the straight forward, common sense, no BS approach on these videos.

    Keep up the good work, Bryan.

  • Justin

    This post is definitely in response to my comments on Facebook yesterday.

    • Nathan Steiger

      Don’t be a queer, oops, too late!

  • Justin

    Okay I’ve been a fan of CO for a few years now, never been anything but pleasant with you, but this video is directed primarily at me for the comments I made on Facebook yesterday.
    I told him that he should only wet down about 3/4, because his humidor may have excess humidity that the beads can absorb to get him to the right area.
    They can’t do that if they are soaked.

    You say (indirectly to me) that my tips to him are bullshit, but that’s your opinion, and I don’t feel the sarcasm and passive aggressiveness in this video were necessary.

    I take one cap off one side of my bead tube and pour water into it. And it works fine.

    I do know however, that running them under a stream of water can ruin them, Heartfelt said it themselves.

    I’ve been a fan of CO for awhile, and I don’t want to seem like a dick, but Bryan, relax.

    There’s no need to call me out like this. When I watch this video I know you are talking directly to me, as you restated my comments. I don’t know why other people giving advice pisses you off so much.

    Sorry for trying to help someone out.

    Like I said, I’ve been a fan for years, but go ahead and ban me if you really think you need to.

    -Justin B.

    • new2sticks

      Uh, pretty sure you just called yourself out.

      • Justin

        Maybe so, but anyone who saw my comments on Facebook would know this video is a result of them.

        • Trockman5150

          Damn, I though Bryan was calling me out! JK. After watching 100’s of CO videos I would say Bryans sarcasm is what makes him so entertaining to watch.

    • Sorry to burst your bubble but not only does it have nothing to do with you, I don’t even know what comments you are talking about. What you said above, people have said for years. Yes that is the INFORMATION I talked about but it’s not about anyone in particular saying it. I made the video on a whim in response to a new smoker asking about beads in the CO Fan Group. Elijah commented to him that you are supposed to mist them but he dunks them. That gave me the idea to share my details.

  • WyattJones

    Bryan I also just soak my beads too. I do use distilled water, it’s not that costly.
    I do another thing that I have read can’t be done. I use 69% Boveda packs in several of my desktops. When they dry up and get hard, I put them in a Ziplock baggy and just add water and let them re-hydrate. Got some that has got to be 5-6 years old.

    • Bigdave

      Ever use the 50/50 solution to soak them? I try to recharge mine before they go completely dry. About once a month maybe.

      • NEVER use glycol solution on anything except foam and only for the first time. It has nothing to do with humidification and everything to do with preventing surface mold growth on the foam. It does not evaporate, only the water does. Using ‘solution’ DOES plug up whatever you put it in. That crap doesn’t even need to be on the market, neither does foam.

    • bs_kwaj

      Well, that’s interesting. So, you just put them in a bag of water and let ’em soak and then … what? Does the outer jacket dry out, like a normal pack? And then the innner part of the pack goes back to normal, squishy?


      • WyattJones

        I put 4 to 6 in a ziplock sandwich bag, initially I usually add 1/4 cup distilled water. That will be soaked up in a couple days, then another 1/4 cup. This usually gets them close to back to factory. I then just add more water until they feel right to me. And Yes, the cover does dry, they will go back just like you buy them. I do it in stages as to not to overdo it.
        As I stated I have a few dozen I have been doing this for years.
        Try it before you throw them away. If you don’t want to, I’ll pay postage to take them off your hands. That way, we can do our part to save the environment and stop Global Warming !

  • wm2slc

    Great video.. Direct and to the point. Some may still need to massage their beads or whatever, but what works, works. I do pretty much the same but do use distilled water.
    Thanks again.. Oh and thanks again, I received the 5 pack from one of your many great contests.

  • Bigdave

    Just because Bryan has been to Nicaragua on the Drew Estate tour he’s become the king of cigar knowledge. And don’t dare try and do something that doesn’t jive with his method. You will get called out and embarrassed.:)

    • Uh, yeah, ok.

      • EA_Man

        I always thought it was “jibe” rather than “jive”.

        In any event, Bryan love the juxtaposition of the “glam shot” of the glass front humi with the beautiful drawer fronts against the shot of dumping the bead packs into the sink with faucet running – it really drives the point home of simplicity versus overly complicated.

  • AngSolo

    I just switched to the Heartfelt beads a little over a week ago. I had been using Boveda packets which work great but were starting to get expensive especially through winter which of course is very dry here in the northeast. I got the beads based on Bryans previous videos. I noticed they made a crackling sound when I first poured water on them and my humidors did initially spike but in a few days everything got to a perfect 65%. And yes I also have been following the 65% advice from Bryan. Ever since I came down from 70-72% I find my cigars don’t go out on me unless I’m rambling about something.

  • Greg Bellante

    Well, different strokes for different folks!
    I try to do things in the simplest, easiest, way with no fuss or fooling around with water bags full of beads or having to refill jars with beads in them. I just toss in a couple of Boveda 75% packets in my humidors and i am good to go. They last from 2 to 3 months then you take them out 86 them in the nearest garbage can and replace them with new packs. They keep your humidity at the constant desired level and that’s all there is to it. Thanks to Bill Paley of La Palina Cigars and the folks at Ohlone Cigar lounge for turning me on to these wonder packets.

  • tjbear

    It’s like Bryan said, “whatever works for you”.

    Here in Minnesota 65% beads will only keep my Lucky 7 about 60-62% in the winter so I use 70% beads and it keeps it at 65-67%. In the summer I switch to the 65% beads and they keep it perfect.

    In my storage humidor I use 69% Boveda packs year round because I think higher humidity keeps the flavours better prior to lowering them in the Lucky 7 as I prepare them to smoke.

  • Mr. Guy

    Wonderful video, Bryan! I read waaayyyy too many “always do this” and “never do that” comments when browsing cigar sites, and in my other hobby, traditional wet shaving with vintage razors. The only time those words should be used is, always do what works for you, never do what doesn’t.

  • Trockman5150

    I love the cigar reviews but I really enjoy your informational videos such as this – would like to see you do more.

  • smokethis

    I have always gently misted mine with fresh toilet water.

  • Quadfour44

    Funny video but very true ,thanks …. one thing , I’ll stick with my distilled water the brown stuff on the side of your white tubes freaks me out… LOL

    • Nathan Steiger

      Then you clearly have vision problems! There’s zero brown anything, clean your glasses and understand what the beads look like in the tube when wet, dope! You’re freaked out bc you don’t know what you are even seeing!

  • EA_Man

    Given that commercial humidification systems will use gallons of “tap water” with additional filtration to maintain RH, the degree to which using tap water versus distilled makes any difference in soaking beads I think is insignificant. If it’s safe to drink, I’m thinking it’s safe to use on your beads.

    • Bigdave

      If your realy paranoid. Just boil the tap water for a few seconds. That’s what I do. 🙂

  • raja


    In one of your replies you said it wasn’t uncommon for the humidity level in humidor/coolerdor to spike to 80% after recharging beads. If you’re sure your hygrometer is accurate, how long should it take for the humidity level to get closer to the 70% mark?

    • JayK

      There’s no way to answer that accurately -how long your humidor takes to stabilize depends on the conditions where you are.

  • chief791

    Exactly what i have done for years. Never had a problem.

  • Bigdave

    I been using the Boveda packs a lot lately. But my El Diablo has beads in it.

  • cameronjm

    Ha haha I was sure I was going to be sent to cigar hell for using filtered not distilled water on my beads but you saved me Bryan. Great Video.

    Bryan can you do a video on the best way to touch up a cigar that is having burn problems?

  • byar

    Good job, Bryan.
    I use distilled water to soak the beads simply because the water out here in the country is pretty funky.
    In support of your soaking method, in several of my smaller humidors I use Cigar Mechanic (Beads in a container that can attach to the lid of the humidor) because they save space. The Cigar Mechanic instructions are to soak the beads for 45 seconds (which thoroughly saturates them), shake off the excess water, towel dry the outside of the container, and put the container back in the humidor.
    So soaking is the way to go.

  • santo316

    hi brian can i get some information on the brand of beads you use and those small tube containers? like where to find the and prices.

    thanks for the help

  • Moogula

    Thanks for the review Bryan. Been using two Xikar gel 4 oz. bottles but been having a problem with the humidity level here in Arizona with my new 100 count humidor. Now I am going to switch to the Heartfelt blue tube with the beads 65% xlage to keep in the bottom I am sold.

  • PAG

    The only product I’ve had problems with from Heartfelt is a small round humidifiers. The plastic mesh on one of two I bought is not as open like it should be. I have a half dozen of the tubes and they all work just great.

  • cigarsonist

    not gonna lie; i nearly shat myself when you turned on the tap water. like you said, “whatever works” but that scared the shit out of me. at what point did you decide to forego the distilled water and start using tap? or was it always?

  • peterkp

    Looking for info on the Heartfelt beads that Bryan uses/recommends, came across this vid / discussion… not only very entertaining like all of CO videos (and subsequent comical / weird-o-rama comments), but, best of all demonstrates a simple process even I can accomplish… thanks Bryan!

  • Min Chung

    Guys, please help… I have a 150 count desk top humidor and looking for best humidification device/method to maintain my cigars. I live in Austin, Texas and I usually keep my house around 73 degrees in the summer time.

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