cigars on top of a black travel humidor

Micheal Laffey

How Long Do Cigars Last Without a Humidor?

The lifespan of cigars can be complicated. Different factors affect the quality of the cigar and how quickly it will expire. You may wonder if cigars will last outside of a humidor and if you need a humidor. This article will answer all of your questions on this topic.

By the end of this article, you’ll know the best ways of storing cigars and the importance of cigar humidors.

How Long Do Cigars Last Without a Humidor?

Humidors keep cigars stored under the best possible environmental conditions. When you store cigars without a humidor, they will often only last a few days before drying out and becoming stale. An unwrapped cigar will stay fresh outside a humidor for no longer than seven days.

However, a wrapped cigar will last longer, even without the environment in a humidor. A wrapped cigar outside of a humidor can last between three and six months, depending on where you store them. For example, cigars should be kept out of direct sunlight, even in a plastic wrapper or Ziploc bag.

Benefits of Humidors

There are so many benefits of humidors for cigar lovers. Cigar enthusiasts know that the quality and condition of a cigar can vary wildly. If they are not stored properly, the smoking experience goes downhill, and sometimes the cigars become completely ruined and unsmokable.

Below are the top four benefits of humidors. This is how they keep your cigars fresh and make each smoking experience brilliant.

Controlled Humidity

The humidity level you store your cigars in is the most important factor to preserve their quality. Cigars can become too dry or too moist depending on the humidification, which can cause problems and, unfortunately, ruin the cigars.

Too Moist

If cigars absorb too much moisture from the air, they can grow mold and mildew or begin to rot. Another risk is that your cigars can become infected by tobacco beetles and other pests attracted to the leaves and the smell.

Too Dry

If the humidity level is too low, you end up with dry cigars. When this happens, it creates a harsh and unpleasant smoking experience. The cigar’s flavor will subside, and it will lose a significant amount of aroma, making the cigar less satisfying. It may taste like dirt or sand, and you won’t want to smoke it anyway.

Controlled Temperature

The temperature of the air will also have effects on the relative humidity. So, in addition to monitoring the humidity level, humidors will also regulate the temperature to keep the cigars as fresh and flavorful as possible.

Longer Lifespan

When you store cigars in a humidor, you drastically increase their life. If you’re a cigar aficionado, you probably want to save special cigars for life milestones and important events, so making a premium cigar last as long as possible matters.

But that doesn’t mean you buy the cigar the day of the event; instead, you want to hold onto one until the right time. Humidors allow you to keep cigars for years and years while keeping them fresh and tasty.

Organized Storage

Along with all the high-tech properties that humidors can come with, they also provide pleasant storage for your cigars. Many cigar enthusiasts are proud of their collections and want to display them in a well-presented manner. Humidors are the best way to organize and store your cigars in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Cigars in humidor

Types of Cigar Humidors

To give you an idea of the options available for you, here is a quick summary of the types of humidors you can buy.


Desktop humidors are small devices that you can pick up and move. They typically are a cedar box with temperature and humidity control that sits atop a dresser or desk. These humidors are wonderful for people that keep a small collection of cigars. These can be electric or not, which will affect how much effort you have to put in to maintain the atmosphere in the humidor.


Electronic humidors automatically maintain the temperature and relative humidity. These are wonderful because they come in a wide range of sizes and require less effort on your part. All you need to do is set the humidor to the appropriate levels. Then, you can check in on it every few weeks to ensure it is at the right levels.


Cabinet humidors are massive humidors that can be freestanding or anchored onto a wall. These are what they sound like. It is a whole cabinet that is a cigar humidor and can hold many cigars for a long time. These are best for extreme cigar-lovers with a huge collection of cigars they need to preserve.

How Long Do Cigars Last in Cellophane Wrapper?

If you store cigars in their plastic wrappers without a humidor, they will usually stay good for three months. It depends on the type of cigar, but some can expire after just a month, even when kept in the plastic or cellophane wrapper.

If you store your cigars in a humidor and keep them wrapped in plastic, they can last forever. Not only will they be at a controlled, ideal temperature, but they also have another barrier between the tobacco and the air, keeping them fresh.

Storing unwrapped cigars in a humidor will keep them fresh and plump for as long as a decade or longer if they are well-monitored and cared for.

Many people choose not to store their cigars still wrapped in plastic. While this may sound odd, there are benefits to keeping your cigars unwrapped that will benefit your smoking experience when the day comes.

Why Unwrap Your Cigars?

People unwrap their cigars before they’re ready to smoke them so the air can season the cigar. You aren’t sprinkling salt and pepper on your cigars, but when cigars are exposed to air, their flavor enhances, and they are more enjoyable when you’re ready to smoke them.

Storing your unwrapped cigars in a cedar humidor is the best way to season them, as the flavor and moisture in the cedar wood will slightly infuse into the cigars. So the humidors not only keep the cigars fresh and plump, but they also enrich the flavor!

If you can’t keep your cigars in a humidor, you should keep them wrapped in plastic until a few days before you plan on enjoying it. If you leave them out and unwrapped for longer, they will expire and not be pleasant.

cigar with other stuff


Humidors are excellent for cigar collectors and connoisseurs. If you are considering investing in one, experts highly recommend them because cigars can go bad so easily for so many different reasons.

Plastic wrap does not keep cigars nearly as fresh and high-quality as a cigar humidor will. Plastic can only do so much, but a humidor controls all aspects of the cigar’s environment to keep it ideal. 

No one wants to spend money on fancy cigars to realize they are dry and expired when you go to smoke them. Prevent this by buying a humidor for your precious cigars. Many cigar enthusiasts will agree it is well worth the investment.


Here are frequently asked questions about how long cigars last to give you more information on the subject.

How do I know if a cigar is bad?

A bad cigar will be super dry or have spots of mold, which is how you can visually tell the cigar has expired. Another way is to smell the cigar. If it has little to no smell, it is likely bad and won’t be enjoyable. And if you light it and it tastes awful, it probably went bad.

Do I need a humidor?

If you don’t have a cigar collection that you hold onto for months or years before smoking them, you probably don’t need a humidor. But if you plan to hold onto even one cigar for more than three months, you should consider buying a humidor.