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Hygrometers.jpgHygrometers can be useful for determining the moisture content of tobacco. Hygrometers come in two forms, mechanical (dial) and electronic.

Most dial hygrometers are inexpensive and unreliable. Out of the box, the number they read is almost guaranteed to be inaccurate. Their readings aren't consistent and they don't stay calibrated. Overall I've found them to be more of a PITA than useful.

Electronic hygrometers are more consitent, accurate, and user friendly. My Western Caliber III has been well worth the $20 investment.

You can calibrate dial hygrometers using table salt (Boveda packet will get you in the ball park). Place a teaspoon or two of salt in a lid and add just enough water to dampen the salt (castle building sand consistency). Put the lid and hygrometer in an airtight container and let it be. After a few hours (some say 6-8hrs.) the hygrometer should read 75% RH at 70deg.

Comments [ new ]

How to measure humidity
Posted by syo_turf on Sunday, 17-Apr-2005

I got one of the small hygrometers to measure humidity ($14 included shipping on ebay). I plopped it into the tupperware canister where I am storing my danish export and it reads 62%. Is this an accurate measurement of the tobacco's RH? Before I got the hygro, I thought that the danish export was too high in moisture and dried it out a bit before stuffing. I put it into the canisters where I am storing various other tobaccos and they all read in the 50% range. Should I hydrate these up to 60% before stuffing? I stuffed some of the danish out of the can and noticed that it was smoother than it was when I let it dry out first. Since I am new to this, I can't tell the moisture content by feel.


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Re: How to measure humidity
Posted by Tim Aydt on Sunday, 17-Apr-2005

I, too, recently got two hygrometers, and placed one in the cabinet where I store my tobacco. Even with a tub of polymer water crystals, the humidity in the cabinet is running less than 50%. These are the same type of crystals that Bargain Humidors sells.

But, my tobacco seems to be at the right moisture content.

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Re: How to measure humidity
Posted by Dave L on Sunday, 17-Apr-2005

I don't have any experience with the digital hygrometers but the dial ones typically aren't calibrated or very accurate. They are adjustable and there are methods to calibrate them. I wouldn't put too much effort into calibration. I've got two dial hygrometers and I've not been able to keep them reading the same. You do need to leave them in the container for a relatively long time because the RH of the air inside the container needs time equalize relative to the tobacco. Dial hygrometers are really only good for giving you a relative/comparative idea of the tobaccos moisture content.

Tobacco with too much moisture requires more crank force and is more likely to jamb the machine. The most common cause of filter end voids is tobacco that is too moist. The only reason to dry tobacco out is if you are having problems stuffing it. The only reason to hydrate tobacco is if you're hoping to improve its taste (e.g. reduce harshness).

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