If you have ever tried to smoke a cigar without your normal cigar tools—lighter, cutter, ashtray, etc.—you will find that the specialized tools are likely worth it. The frustration of trying to smoke a cigar without a cigar cutter, torch lighter and ashtray will become quite apparent if you are trying to smoke a belicoso on a windy day. And if I had to guess, most of you would suggest that the lighter is most important, the cutter is second and the ashtray is a distant third.
And I’d agree with you.
But if you are regularly smoking cigars outside on windy days, having an ashtray that can stand up to the wind is important. As someone that previously smoked 95+ percent of his cigars outside, I can attest that having an ashtray that can stand up to the wind is a must.
WHAT IS IT?
The Ash-Stay is one of the weirdest-looking ashtrays I’ve ever seen, but the company’s pitch is that it’s been designed specifically to try to combat the negative effects of wind while smoking. According to the company’s website, the idea seemed to have come more from arguments with the co-founders’ wives about messy ashes and smells. But the solution to those problems ended up being an ashtray that does really well for those smoking in windy conditions.
The end result is a three-piece plastic design. The bottom piece is a simple bowl that is used to collect the ash. As for the other two pieces, they are connected together. The upper most piece is a cover that spins around the inner piece which has three areas for your cigars to rest and the ash to fall. Each cigar rest has two holes, a large one at the front and a smaller one at the back which allows the ash to fall in when you want to knock the ash off on the back of the ashtray.
In terms of cleaning, the top section and bottom bowl are attached more or less like a pot and its lid. There’s an overlap that’s a bit more than a pan, but there’s no real seal.
For those wondering, there’s no way to just open one hole. It spins open to reveal either all three holes or no holes.
HOW MUCH DOEST IT COST?
It’s available in black, white and brown.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The top pieces cover the bottom piece. It’s not an airtight fit between the top and bottom sections, and that’s for the better. It’s tight enough that you aren’t going to easily knock the top piece off, but an airtight fit would inevitably cause a mess when you went to empty out the ash.
From there, smoke your cigar like you normally would. Knock the ash off and into the ashtray like you normally would. But when you are done, things get a bit more interesting.
You can either simply drop your cigar butt(s) inside and close the ashtray and be done with it. If left indoors, I found that I could smell the cigar butts the next day. Leaving the ashtray outside, however, negated this issue. For me, the best option was to simply dump the ash and cigar butt(s) out and then close the ashtray. I skipped my normal routine of wiping down the ashtray with a cloth because that wasn’t necessary from an aroma perspective.
- This is the Best Ashtray for Smoking Most Cigars in Heavy Winds — At a certain point, the wind is too much for any cigar. But I don’t think I’ve seen an ashtray that’s going to work this well in windy conditions. For its ability to both keep the ash inside and to keep the cigar in the ashtray, this is a great ashtray for those who smoke in heavy winds.
- It’s Generally Easy to Clean — I think for the most part this is a pro, but it’s not easy in every aspect. The great news is, this is pretty low maintenance for outdoor use, just spin the top closed and be done. For indoor use, just dump the ash and cigar butt(s) and close it. If you want to a deep clean, it’s dishwasher safe and the dishwasher did a great job cleaning my ashtray. The bad news is anything in between. Cleaning this ashtray with a cloth is going to be a struggle given that it’s not one big bowl. The different surfaces and smaller holes are going to be a pain. That being said, unless you were using this in a retail environment, I don’t think this would be something you’d need to do. Just use it until it gets dirty enough to be put in the dishwasher and then let the machine do the full cleaning.
- Knocking Off Ash is Easy — The different surfaces inside the ashtray make it easy to knock off ash. Unlike most ashtrays, the inside holes have some pretty thin edges which make knocking off ash easier than most ashtrays.
- It’s Alive — Not really, but some people will probably get a kick out of watching the smoke exit through various holes in the ashtray. It’s an interesting effect. For those hoping that the ashtray would simply redirect the smoke, that’s not what happens, most of the smoke leaves the cigar without ever going into the ashtray.
- Large Ring Gauge Cigars — Most cigars have a decent gap between the top of the cigar and the top of the inside of the Ash-Stay, sort of like the cave of a ceiling. But for anything 60 ring gauge or above, the cigar is going to touch the top part of the ashtray. This means it’s going to create a flakier ash and—in my case—also lead to some discoloration on the inside of the ashtray. At 70 ring gauge, the sides of the cigar are also touching the sides of the ashtray, which would seemingly make this even messier. If you are someone that smokes a decent amount of cigars 60 ring gauge or thicker, I’d probably recommend something else.
- Cigar Butts Still Smell — I really don’t think this is going to be the solution if you want to smoke a few cigars and not have to throw them out, particularly if you are storing this inside. I can’t imagine traveling with this thing in an RV for a week and not dumping out the cigar butts.
- It’s Not Going to Stay Dry in the Rain — This isn’t so much a negative compared to other ashtrays. The ashtray isn’t going to be able to stay dry during a rainstorm. If you leave it closed and it gets wet, water will get in the bottom part.
- The Brown Color is Really Ugly — We purchased the brown color because it’s easier to edit the photographs compared to black or white plastic. But boy is this not a great color. I’d recommend the white or black.
At $30-40, the classic, four stirrup Stinky ashtray is the main competition. Quite frankly, it’s the main competition for just about any ashtray. Prior to reviewing the Ash-Stay, the Stinky would have been my recommendation for outside smoking without a second thought.
It’s the ashtray I previously used for years of smoking on my patio. The Stinky does a great job keeping the ash inside the bowl, particularly if you get a deep-bowled version. Where the Stinky will occasionally struggle with wind is keeping the cigars on the stirrup. This would be an area where I imagine the Ash-Stay would do a bit better given the design, though I didn’t test it in super strong winds.
- HF Barcelona Melamine Grid Ashtray ($19.99) — If you want an ashtray that you can place outside that has a bowl for ash to fall inside, the HF Barcelona certainly can do that. I found that a lot more ash gets caught on the grid pattern and doesn’t create as clean of an appearance as I’d like, but it’s certainly a more attractive option.
- 8″ Round Melamine Windproof Ashtray ($17.95) — This seems similar in its ability to close, but it lacks some of the features when it comes to holding a cigar.
- XIKAR Ashtray Can ($19.99) — If you want to be able to smoke a cigar while piloting a boat, the XIKAR Ashtray Can—also called Ash Can—seems like your best option. It features a cigar holder inside so it will prevent your cigar from getting knocked away. This only works when the cigar is long enough to reach it, but it works very well. The Ash Can also does a good job sealing so that you can’t smell the ash or cigar butts when it’s closed. The downsides are that once your cigar is shorter, the cigar holding feature isn’t as good though there’s another place to rest your smaller cigars. Also, it can only hold two cigars at once.
- Stinky Car Ashtray ($26.99) — Patrick Lagreid says this is a better option for car use than the XIKAR. I’ve never used it before, so I can’t comment on that fact. Of note, this looks to be a bit less stable than the XIKAR for non-cupholder use. Stinky’s website recommends using rocks to help weight it down.
- A Cup/Bowl of Water — If you really want to prevent ash from flying out of an ashtray, water is your best friend. Sure, it doesn’t have a place to put your cigar, but if the goal is to keep the ash from flying around, a half-filled cup of water is going to be tough to beat.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
If you smoke cigars outside and want an ashtray, it’s a choice between this or the Stinky. I don’t think there’s a perfectly clear choice, but if the Stinky has failed to keep your cigars and ash in place, the Ash-Stay would seem to be a great option to consider. If you smoke cigars indoors or don’t have issues with wind, there are options that will function as well as you need them to and look a bit better.
If you only occasionally smoke cigars outside, this might be a better option as you could just dump out the ash and cigar butts, slide it closed and store it in outdoors or in the garage with probably less cleaning required than the Stinky.
The ashtray for this review was purchased by halfwheel.