Sunday, November 24, 2013

Xikar PuroTemp Round Digital Hygrometer

Xikar Digital Hygrometer 832XI
Xikar PuroTemp Round Digital Hygrometer 832XI
  My ever growing frustration of using the cheap hygrometers that come standard with the vast majority of humidors finally put me over the edge. I picked up this little gem from Xikar. Xikar calls this the PuroTemp Round Digital Hygrometer. 
  One of the major things I do not like about traditional hygrometers is having to calibrate them prior to use. You know the whole salt, water, and zip lock bag deal. Only to find that it is off by a few percents. No big deal, there is an adjuster in the back, right? As soon as I engaged the adjuster the needle would bounce around all over the place, crazy sensitive. Then back in the bag and wait to see I had adjusted it properly. Ughhhhh! The only time it has not been a pain was when one happened to correct. Personally, I am 1 for 4 in correct out of the box scenario. I just do not trust them with my cigar investments.
  A few months back I decided to try out a digital hygrometer by Humi-Care as the price was right. Let's just leave it at, I was not impressed and it sleeps in my desk now...Since I do not use it at all, turns out the price was not right!
  Fast forward to a week back. I read on Xikar's website how easy their hygrometer was and even watched the video. Figuring what do I have to lose at this point. I only had a few simple requests. I wanted something that will work and not be a PITA to set up. Xikar updated their digital hygrometer with a new modern(ish) style. Now with a brushed steel finish I bit the bullet. Hands down biggest selling point to me was NO calibration required. That's right, no salt, no waiting 24 hours, etc. Xikar states the PuroTemp Digital Hygrometer is accurate to +/- 2% RH (relative humidity). Also, as a bonus it includes the temperature in celious or fahrenheit to +/-1 degrees.
  It arrives, I un-package, pull battery saver protector, insert in humidor, and my journey is over. Yep, that easy and works just as it should. Worth repeating, no calibration needed! That is worth the extra buck or two right there. I did test my unit any way using the standard salt set up. The Xikar hygrometer was spot on for me. Comes with a magnet that allows you stick it wherever you choose in the humidor. The only real downside is I still have to keep my old external cheapy as the Xikar is designed for inside the humidor only. Despite what some websites selling state, this is internal only. Trust me, I purchased and use this unit. When the battery is spent, it is replaceable, taking a G-13-A found for under a buck. 
  As you can see from the pic my humidor is is doing just fine. More importantly, I know my cigars are being well kept. Regardless of how much you spend on cigars a good hygrometer is always in order. If you are keeping bad humidity and temps, even inexpensive cigars become expensive when they are not smokable. The Xikar Digitial Round or Rectangle is definitely a solid choice. 

Best Price CLR found here: Xikar Digital Hygrometer

MSRP: $24.99 for the round
MSRP: $34.99 for the rectangle (tracks high and low history as well)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Vector KGM Elite Lighter Review

Vector KGM Elite Dual Flame Lighter
Vector KGM Elite Dual Flame Lighter
  Have a need for a torch and soft flame? Elite from Vector KGM is a dual flame solution offering both style flames. The Elite is a contemporary in design, with a splash of old school flair. The Elite used for this review is in the gunmetal two tone finish.
  Being a fan of contemporary styling in general the lighter aesthetically was immediately appealing. Though, CLR was a little disappointed on the initial un-boxing. The brushed finish is an applied "print" opposed to machined. CLR is always concerned with long term visual durability, not sure the Elite will continue to look great down the road. The backside of the lighter is in a solid applied brushed finish. The bland backside is made up for with the attractive designed front.  
  On to the positives and uniqueness of this dual lighter. Flipping up the lid is reminiscent of a Zippo. A quick spin of the flint wheel ignites the soft flame. Interestingly, once the lid is opened the fuel is automatically released. You can hear the butane "hissing" as soon as the lid is opened. Shocking at first, but not a flaw. A nice soft flame emerges when the flint is sparked as seen below. There is button (very noticeable in the last pic) on the front side of the lighter used to switch from the soft flame to the jet torch. In order: flip lid up, rotate flint wheel, soft flame lights, depress side button, soft flame goes out, and the single torch fires up.  
Vector KGM Elite Torch
Vector KGM Elite Soft Flame
  Below you can see the two different fuel nozzles. The soft flame comes out of the little nozzle located between the jet torch and the flint wheel. One thing CLR does not like about the lighter is the fuel adjustment. If you like your torch flame turned up near the higher settings this also increases the size of the soft flame. When turned up the soft flame is conservatively twice the height of the torch, seriously. The pics above are at the lowest setting.
Vector KGM Elite Open Lighter
  The underside of the lid has a mirror. This is actually a great feature that is highly under utilized by most. Using the mirror while toasting up your stogie you can see if it is fully lit or needs some touching up. Lastly, there is good sized round fuel window located on bottom front side of the Elite. Not too bad at a suggest $35 considering it a rather cool lighter. CLR definitely enjoyed toying with this lighter.

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
8.5 - Aesthetics
7 - Finish/Construction
9 - Flames
8 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
8.5 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 8.2

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - torch & soft flames, aesthetics, no proof lifetime warranty
Consideration - durability visually, soft flame height on high setting

Friday, November 1, 2013

Black Label El Presidente Review

Black Label El Presidente
Black Label El Presidente - Flat Flame Lighter
  Not often something truly different or innovative happens in "lighter" world. Black Label produced by Lotus has met the challenge with its flat flame. The El Presidente was the first lighter by Black Label to feature such a flame. 
  What is a flat flame? The best way to describe it is a cross between a soft and torch flame. Visually, the flame looks similar in shape to a paint brush. Totally different than any flame CLR has ever used or tested. The flame itself toast the foot, not like the roasting of torch lighter. Though, it takes a little getting used to CLR really enjoyed using this lighter. It toasted the cigars very evenly and was a pleasure to use the first time.
  The Black Label El Presidente used for this review is shown in the copper satin finish. With a flip of the thumb the lid slides back. Then simultaneously applying inward pressure and pressing down on pusher ignites the flat flame. The pusher is nicely integrated into the design, but at times CLR found the thumb slipping. El Presidente has a modern retro look, with its simple lines and crisp angles. It is not a bulky lighter, very comfortable in weight and feel. Different sites that have this lighter for sale report it having a fuel gauge window. CLR could not locate any window on the lighter. Nor does this Black Label have a cigar punch.
  On a positive note, El Presidente is shockingly fuel efficient. The lighter simply does not eat up fuel like a standard torch lighter. It does has the dreaded screwdriver fuel adjustment. Fortunately, it was easily adjusted with a fingernail. 
  The CLR Final Score below hurts a little to give. The lighter is great in many ways, with the flat flame being the "show stopper". Black Label has the lighter at a MSRP of $99.95. If you are looking for a unique and nice even toasting lighter El Presidente is worth considering.

Best Price CLR found here: El Presidente

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
8 - Aesthetics
8 - Finish/Construction
9 - Flame
7 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
6 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 7.6

Fire It Up Test Results:
20 attempts, 20 successful lights
Pros - unique flat flame, not bulky, fuel friendly
Consideration - uniqueness at at stiff price point with no frills