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Accessory Discussion / Reviews>Beads questions
nutcracker 06:24 AM 04-23-2019
I've had some 70% beads in my humidors for about 5 years now. Im looking to upgrade my big cabinet to a Remington and thought it time to re-examine old assumptions....

1.) Do beads have a finite lifespan? i.e. Should I replace them, or just shake and spritz and assume they are good?
2.) Which beads do you guys think are the most stable?
mosesbotbol 06:39 AM 04-23-2019
Switching to beads vs. water in my Aristocrat, so curious on this too.
BigAsh 07:36 AM 04-23-2019
I think our resident "bead-tologist", Michael/CigarNut, is out walking the dog....I'm sure he'll chime in soon...
CigarNut 09:04 AM 04-23-2019
Naturally, I have a bias :-)

First any and all bead products are better than PG, kitty litter, gel and foam.

HCM Beads do not have a life span — the pores in the beads are very small so they only adsorb water and ammonia — they do not adsorb hydrocarbons (out-gassed by cigars as they age).

Other beads do adsorb hydrocarbons because their pores are bigger. This causes them to discolor and become less efficient over time. This will not happen to HCM Beads (the bags may discolor, but not the beads themselves).

HCM Beads can be set to any RH you desire, so as your tastes, climate or cigars change you can adjust HCM Beads accordingly.

If the RH in your humidor rises or falls from your desired RH, you can adjust (dry-out or re-hydrate) your HCM beads as needed.

You cannot put HCM Beads in direct contact with water; to re-hydrate HCM Beads, you place a wet (distilled water) sponge near them and allow the beads to adsorb the moisture.

HCM Beads can come into direct contact with your cigars without harming either your cigars or the beads. Other beads are coated with salts to regulate their RH, and they can damage your cigars should they come in contact.

If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to ask!
nutcracker 12:15 PM 04-23-2019
So forgive my ignorance Michael. I've been using a big Oasis Magna with auxillary fans and bags of competitors beads as a "stabilizer". The issue I run into, despite the fans going is a RH gradient from bottom to top.. To date this has been helpful as it has stayed in the 65 to 72 RH range. Thus I can place cigars soon to be smoked at the top, and the boxes nearer the bottom.

I'm not sure the beads are serving any function at this point - are they simply taking on the RH of the environment and holding it there?

Its a fairly big cabinet, but I am planning an upgrade. Remington has electronic temperature and humidity control, but looking at the wimpy humidifier in the thing I have some concerns.....
CigarNut 01:22 PM 04-23-2019
First, an RH difference between the top and bottom is common. The competitor beads don’t take on the RH, as they are at a fixed RH, so they many not be helping as much as you would like.

You mentioned fans — can you feel the air moving when you check with your hand?

HCM Beads could help, but I imagine that you would need to dry them out periodically to maintain your RH. HCM Beads tend to operate more like micro-sponges in the way that they tend to hold and release moisture.