Wireless hygrometers have been around for some time, but their introduction to the cigar market has been slow. I’m not entirely sure what the reason is, but if I had to guess, it’s because their value might be limited. Regardless, XIKAR’s foray into the segment with the PuroTemp Wireless Hygrometer has been successful. The sales of the product are somewhat shocking, particularly considering the $79.99 list price.
For that you get two different pieces of equipment. A large base unit that can connect to up to three different remote units, of which one is included. The base unit shows the time and can alternate between the temperature and humidity of each remote unit, but it itself is not a hygrometer. This means $80 gets you only a single hygrometer in the form of the remote unit. The remote units have a small screen to display humidity and temperature and retail separately for $39.99.
XIKAR pre-calibrates its hygrometers and includes a battery for both devices, which would seem like a great thing. The problem is that the batteries seem to be defective. My unit consistently displayed a humidity reading 4-5 percent relative humidity below actual relative humidity until I took out the included batteries and replaced it with a Duracell. After talking to a handful of people, this seems to be a fairly common error and prescription.
After the batteries are replaced, the unit works great. There’s an audible beeping alarm that will sound if humidity or temperature falls outside of a range set by the user, I disable that as soon as testing that it works. From my tests the remote unit seems to relay information back to the base unit every 45 seconds or so. The company claims the remote units can be placed 60-feet from the remote unit, I did not personally test this at the office—our unit was maybe 25-feet and a wall—but I have seen the unit working in a retail environment far further than 60 feet. I tested the unit compared to our calibrated scientific hygrometer, as well as placing it in sealed environments with Bovedas. Each time the unit worked, it should be noted, both read outs will come without any decimal places, so you will get readings of 67 percent, not 66.7 percent.
A button on top of the base unit easily shifts through the up to three remote sensors you can connect to the unit while two warning lights sit at the bottom to warn you if any of the humidors have left your preset range. The clock feature is also nice, although I probably would have rather had it split to display the readings from the other two remote sensors, or at least that option. On the back are three buttons to adjust time, temperature and humidity ranges and the alarm. It’s all fairly intuitive, even without the included instructions.
There are three types of applications this device seems uniquely suited for. The first is for those with coolidors, marine-style coolers turned humidors. Given the coolers have no see-through parts and people often stack coolers on top of one another to save space, the PuroTemp Wireless can be very useful, as one base unit can easily shuffle through three different coolers without having to actually open any. Along those same lines, anyone storing humidors under counters or in closets could benefit from the PuroTemp Wireless. However, for those with a single cooler, or a series of humidors that feature glass, the XIKAR’s hefty price will likely make it more logical to stick to tradition hygrometers.
Finally, for those with walk-in humidors, this unit could be ideal. Take the three remote sensors and place them in different parts of the humidor to ensure there are no abnormal zones in the humidor. This becomes particularly useful when you pair it with XIKAR’s Humidity Clock, a receiver unit that it has given to some retailers and plans to sell later this year. It features a typical analog clock with small digital readouts for humidity and temperature, which transmit via a remote sensor.
There are two large downfalls to the PuroTemp Wireless. The price is a bit much. Three remote sensors and the base unit will set cost $160 (and a few dollars extra for working batteries), comparatively three of XIKAR’s Round Digital Hygrometers would set you back $90, and hygrometers from other companies would be much less expensive. A quick search on Amazon shows wireless hygrometer systems with similar capabilities starting at $40 and with some devices allowing up to eight different remote units. Whether or not they are as precise as the XIKAR unit is a different story, but the PuroTemp Wireless is no doubt an expensive option.
Similarly, there’s no wi-fi feature, which is something that a lot of people seem to be expecting in the latest round of humidification technology. Cigar Oasis announced this capability last year, but it has not yet shipped. Adding this feature would undoubtedly increase the XIKAR unit’s price and for functionality I’m not sure many would honestly use. For me, simply adding humidification capabilities to the base unit would have been a huge improvement and probably with little cost.
If you can find a use for the PuroTemp Wireless Hygrometer, it works, and that’s largely what matters. You will be paying nearly double for the convenience factor, but you are backed by XIKAR’s wonderful lifetime warranty and perhaps more importantly, improper humidor maintenance will likely costs just about everyone more than $70. Perhaps that’s XIKAR’s selling point (it’s mine), or perhaps that it’s just the latest and greatest with a cool new feature. Whatever the case, these are selling well. Just replace the batteries and you are good to go.
The unit for this review was sent to halfwheel by XIKAR.