OK, humidor and humidifier review! This will be long and rambling and full of pictures, as I'm bored at the moment and feel like sharing.
For context, I'm coming from two coolidors and a desktop. Approximately 1450 stick inventory to move to the new tower. I'm looking for a single solution. No more maintaining multiple units, recharging Boveda packs, recharging fan batteries, etc. Finally moved last Fall and work settled down a bit. Figured it was finally time.
I went with the Olde English Tower Humidor, Cigar Oasis Magna Humidifier, and Wireless Tag 3 pc Hygrometer.
I purchased the hygrometers based on the reviews from CG members, and used the 15% off code found here: CG Thread: WiFi Monitoring Services. Since I started posting questions in that thread, I'll just add my thoughts on the hygrometer over there!
Picked up the tower and humidifier (Cigar Oasis Magna) from CI. With a 20% off coupon, both items shipped for just shy of $1150. Very pleased with the price. Did a lot of comparison shopping. At $1000, this was easily the cheapest I could find the tower shipped. Not wanting to shell out for a Staebell (maybe next time), or having the necessary skills to build/refurbish something else, the only other option I was really considering was the Tower of Power. Could have gotten that for about $160 cheaper, but approximately 15% less interior capacity.
Speaking of, since I could not find this information anywhere and would love to have been able to use it to help my decision, here are the interior dimensions of the Olde English tower: 15.5" x 21.5" x 62". Approximately 12 cu ft. The Tower of Power is approximately 10.25 cu ft (based on spec at Tampa Humidor). The additional space and the different styling were worth the few extra $$ for me. I'm very happy with the walnut coloring. Fits the rest of my furniture. Scroll work doesn't, but looks nice. Seems to be mostly stained wood outside (not counting back panel pressboard and upper trim pieces). Love the height with the feet installed, 77". Gives is a bit more presence in the room. I like the beveled glass too.
Unfortunately there are some imperfections up close. The door sits at a bit of an angle. A scratch on the bottom trim. Upper trim looks a bit cheap. Again, these are all up close complaints. From 10' away it looks great. Also, once stocked I'm sure I'll focus more on the contents and the exterior imperfections will no longer be something I notice. They are there though. So if you want perfect, go with a Staebell. Or maybe another unit that is laminate covered instead of stained.
Unit came shipped via FedEx freight. Guys were great, but won't go up/down stairs or inside. It's packed super well. Fully assembled (except for the screw on feet), and seems pretty sturdy. Completely enclosed in foam and strapped to a palate. My only problem was the desiccant bags shipped with it. They shed fibers all over. A lot of fibers. Took about an hour to wipe down all the parts and pieces. Still noticed fibers as I worked on it weeks later.
The interior walls and shelves are a spanish cedar sheeting. Disappointed, but as mentioned earlier, you get what you pay for. The drawers and included shelves are all solid spanish cedar at least. Trim on the inside of the door is cedar as well. The sheeting is done well, and you need to look close to see it. Smells great.
In order to open the drawers, the door needs to be open almost all the way. Just guessing, but maybe 150º? I have a small corner I wanted to locate the tower in. This meant I had to place it at an angle, and reverse the door. It was pretty easy to do, and in fact allowed me to tighten up the fit which ended up in a better seal. Still a tad loose, so used weather stripping to tighten it up. 2mm foam on top, bottom, and latch side. V-Flex on hinge side. The lock housing ended up being about 2mm off after reversing the door, preventing the door from closing. Since I had no plans to use the lock, I just reversed it in the door so it would not strike the humidor wall. Could have reseated it and gotten the Dremel out to create a notch in the sidewall, but the door closes very well without it and I'm not planning on ever locking it anyway.
Now for my one big complaint. The power supply sucks. Completely. A lot. Big time. It's a total POS. Again, it sucks. I hate it. It has 2 outlets that are so close together I can only use one at a time. While setting up, I had to use a power strip inside which wasted a lot of space. The humidifier already takes up a lot of room on the bottom shelf. Ugh. Very lame. Ended up buying an adapter off Amazon to make extra room. Works, but just annoying. I also used Silicon sealant on the back around the outlet. The original outlet provided has almost a 1/4" gap!
I added 3 USB powered 100cm LED light strips (cut to size). Love the way it looks with these. Using a wireless remote power switch so I can control the lights without opening the door. Also using 4 80mm USB powered variable speed fans (AC Infinity). Running on high and still super quiet. Big fan of air movement. Helps keep a stable RH throughout the tower even with a single humidifier on the bottom.
Once set point is reached, there is approximately 1.1% RH difference between the bottom shelf and top shelf. The bottom and middle are the same. May see an additional .5% RH on the bottom shelf after opening while the humidifier is working to return to set point, but other than that this humidor/humidifier combo is turning out to be much more stable than I expected. (Numbers based on empty humidor, just filled it tonight!)
Oh yeah. Humidifier review. Almost forgot! The humidifier takes up a lot of space, but at least that means I don't have to fill it often. Been running about 2 weeks now (mostly empty and seasoning), and still seems to be rather full. Happy about that. I like that the sensor is mounted on the control unit, and can be moved away from the humidifier itself. Mounted about halfway up. Had to calibrate 2% up, but everything seems to be working well. A little louder than I expected, especially in a quiet room. The control unit RH reporting is rather annoying though. It will fluctuate up or down by 2% or 3% RH in seconds. It updates very fast, and to a tenth of a percent. It's very odd getting used to it.
The new hygrometers also measure to a tenth of a %, and after several days, I'm finally getting used to the fluctuations. At this point in time, I really don't use the control panel for anything but setting the humidifier. I monitor RH and º via the wireless tag hygrometers.
Once it reaches set point, the humidifier kicks on for 1-3 second bursts. In this tower configuration, it runs for an approximate total of 10-15 seconds over a 10 minute period. After opening, it seems to take about 10 minutes to get back to within a couple % of RH set point. After that, it could be about an hour before everything reaches stable. This is based off monitoring RH to the tenth of a percent. Otherwise, if monitoring just by whole %, it is anywhere from 15-30 minutes based on how long the door is open. (Again, numbers based on empty humidor, just filled it tonight!)
So far I'm happy with it. We'll see how long it lasts.
P.S. And just as I finished stocking the humidor, the velcro detached from the control unit. Just used a couple of command strips to mount it, but annoying.
And here it is, just finished transferring all my cigars. I was really worried about fitting everything, but it's handling it pretty well. Room to grow! At least a little bit. Most of the drawers are stuffed, but they hold cigars 3 deep. The short drawers are about 6" wide, so they holds a lot of shorter sticks sideways. This is ~1450 cigars...
Just wanted to share, since I had a ton of questions myself, having never purchased a furniture humidor before. Of the value models, this unit seemed to have the least available information too. Especially compared to the popular Tower of Power ones. Hope it helps anyone else who may be looking.
Wow Ted, that is a nice post. As one still hesitating to shell out so much money on a Tower although I truly need one, that load of information will surely come in handy at one point, even more so since the Olde English Tower is one I was interested in.
You have a great setup, thanks for sharing, and good to see you around
I went with the 80mm so that I could save a little space in the back, and the fact that they fit almost perfectly in the space between the drawers and the back wall. I have 2 on the main shelf, and two behind the very bottom drawers. They're USB powered. The fans are all daisy chained together, powered by an old cell phone charger. This is the model I bought...
They are waterproof and cool to the touch, but be careful testing them on the roll. They heat up and get pretty warm rolled together. I used the following remote control outlet (and another USB power charger) to power the lights...