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Old 10-03-2005, 09:25 AM   #1
Krakatoa
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My Experience with a 'Made in China' Large Humidor Cabinet

I recently purchased this large cabinet humidor from an online retailer for about $650.00 plus shipping:

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y28...emansopen1.jpg

In retrospect, I made the huge mistake of purchasing this unit as opposed to an Aristocrat or Avallo unit, and I'll explain why.

As with most products, you get what you pay for, and quality never comes cheap IMO. This 'Made in China' unit I purchased looked like it was a grade school woodshop project and also made from the very cheapest materials possible.

For starters, this cabinet was advertised as being "completely lined with premium Spanish Cedar" ha! what a joke. In reality, the inside is lined with a paper thin Spanish cedar veneer that is so chincy you can nearly see through it in spots. In addition, all of the shelf supports and inner panels are made of unfinished cheap pine, and the shelves themselves are also made of some cheap wood and also lined with a paper thin veneer of cedar that looked as if it was already worn away in spots.

The rear of the cabinet is a very cheap thin particle board that actually flexs in and out and doesn't even sit flush against the rear inside. All of the hardware appeared to be the cheapest possible plated junk, and the door hinges were already slightly bent and stressed from the weight of the large door. The door itself lined up poorly and sagged, and the glass panels were loose in the frame. The foam seal for the door was a complete joke and didn't even come close to sealing the unit, you could see right inside, LOL. The magnets that are supposed to hold the door shut didn't line up, and all the inside panels didn't have a straight angle between them.

Without listing all the numerous shortcomings of this unit, I will just say it looked like a piece of $39.00 furniture you'd buy from Walmart and assemble at home. Out of weighing nearly 200 lbs. I'd say it contained less than 2-3 lbs. of real Spanish cedar at best, with the rest being just cheap junk. The dark red mohagany stain on the oustside of the unit would also come right off on my hand if I rubbed vigorously with my fingers.

I spent nearly $250.00 and the better part of 3 months replacing parts and upgrading this unit before I deemed it ready to actually be used as a functioning humidor, and that certainly wasn't my plan when buying it. I replaced all the shelves and supports with custom made solid Spanish cedar, had to replace every last piece of hardware with top quality solid brass parts, completely relined the unit with quality heavy Spanish cedar veneer, installed new magnets, sealed the loose glass panels, replaced the cheap hygrometer, completely resealed the door gasket, and much more. I almost felt as if I had to rebuild it from the ground up.

After seeing the Aristocrat unit of similar size that a friend purchased, it was a 100% night and day difference in quality to what I bought. The Aristocrat had top quality solid Spanish cedar and hardwood construction, excellent fit and finish, top quality hardware, and looked like it was actually made by a professional woodworker, not some 12 yr. old sweatshop workers. After all the money and work I put into mine including having to buy a humidification unit, I could've bought the Aristocrat for about the same price and saved myself 2-3 months of work And although mine now works good, it's still not in the league with an Aristocrat or Avallo unit IMO.

I am not trying to slight any of the vendors who sell this unit I bought, or any other sellers of other humidors made in Asia or elsewhere nor be a promotor for Aristocrat humidors, but just trying to relay my experience buying a 'Made in China' large cabinet and how sorry I was for doing so. Next time I know better to just spend a little more and get something good to begin with.
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Old 10-03-2005, 11:01 AM   #2
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I've spoken with one of the vendors that sells Asian made products. He avers that he has been to China several times to address quality control issues and is satisfied that his product is good value for your $$.

Of course China is a big place. And there are less reputable vendors. Not to mention alot of the stuff on ebay. Will most of it work? I guess. Will you be really happy with it?

Fact is, spending more $$ will in most cases (not all) get you a higher quality product that you can take pride in. It will last longer too!

The custom products are damn nice!

In short, I agree with your conclusion!
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Old 10-03-2005, 03:07 PM   #3
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I have a humidor comparison chart posted here:

http://morrisxp.cstcis.cti.depaul.edu/humidorguide.html

Some of the items on the chart are indeed Chinese, but the vendors are usually very good at ensuring your satisfaction with the unit.
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:08 PM   #4
Krakatoa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knife
I have a humidor comparison chart posted here:

http://morrisxp.cstcis.cti.depaul.edu/humidorguide.html

Some of the items on the chart are indeed Chinese, but the vendors are usually very good at ensuring your satisfaction with the unit.
That's most likely true with a smaller desktop unit, but what do you do when the vendor says "go ahead and send it back" and it costs $210.00 freight to send the damned 200 lb. cabinet back, and you've already discarded all the packing materials?? LOL
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:31 PM   #5
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Good review ...Glad I am getting an Avallo!
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:53 PM   #6
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I have a Tower Of Power that I paid about $650 for including shipping. To be honest, I wanted something nice and eye-catching. As a former amatuer woodworker I was hoping to acquire something from Arlin, but as a GI unable to save that much $, I elected for cheap and roomy.

No, it's not the best made. No, it's not perfect. However, it holds lots of cigars and with two Cigar Oasis Plus it holds humidity well. I am pleased with my purchase, but I did have to modofy my TOP a bit, adding door latches to seal the somewhat bowed door.
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Old 10-03-2005, 06:28 PM   #7
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As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. At the same time, there are many people who would rather spend more money on cigars and less on a cabinet. Personally, I would prefer to use a cooler(s), rather than buy something that is second rate. But not all agree. The cheaper cabinet humidors certainly have a place. But there's a reason why they cost less than others, such as those made by Bob Staebell.

I looked at cabinet humidors for a long time, well over a year. I had considered the cheaper cabinets, such as the Antienam. But then I decided to go with the Aristocrat Mini. For only a little more, I got the highest quality cabinet that I know will last a lifetime. I don't worry about warped doors or anything like that. My cabinet is gorgeous, in the front and back, with the highest quality metal parts. Simply put, it's awesome.

My recommendation is that if you can swing it, get an Aristocrat. If you don't want to spend that much, then I'd recommend using a cooler(s). But, each person has to make up his/her own mind. What's right for me may not be right for you.
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Old 11-10-2005, 08:14 PM   #8
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ttt
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:54 AM   #9
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But I think you can spend cheaply and get good quality.

My local store (UK) has some desktop humis for about 30 quid, that are really well lined with cedar, and very well put together.
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:15 AM   #10
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I bought a cabinet humidor last year that was made in China and although it is a decent humidor with a large storage capacity, I also regret not spending the extra money to have a quality humidor made in America (the Aristocrats I've seen are awesome). I plan to upgrade in a few years.
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