Everybody loves a bargain buy. But with the vast selection of cigars available on the market, finding a cheap cigar that cuts the mustard can be daunting. Historically, cigars were only affordable for the wealthy, but this smoking symbol of success and luxury is now something all budget levels can access.
While many cigars come with a premium price tag, some smokes offer value for money if you’re on a tight budget. The world of cigars can be overwhelming, particularly if it’s a new endeavor.
Not only have you got to think about choosing the right stogie in terms of its shape, strength, and flavor profile, but you’ve also got to factor in elements such as where to cut it, how to light the cigar, and of course, how to smoke it properly.
We’ve prepared this cheap cigar-buying guide, so you will know how to pick a good cigar that doesn’t cost the earth.
How to choose a cigar on a budget
What we define as a “cheap cigar” is open to interpretation. Cheap normally reflects the low price of something, but it can also be construed to assume something is bad or poor in quality. Likewise, a high price tag doesn’t always equal premium puffing.
Quality budget cigars will deliver the ultimate combination of value and excellence. You first need to consider your smoking experience expertise, the occasion, and how much money you have to play with. Do you need an inexpensive box for poker night to share with your mates? Or are you after a reliable everyday smoke that doesn’t break the bank? Check out our top tips below to experience the most burn for your buck.
Strength of the cigar
A cigar’s strength is classified as either mild, medium, or bold, so you must pick an appropriate strength that complements your palate. While stocking up your humidor with low-priced cigars might seem satisfying, they are only a steal if you like how they taste.
This is why newcomers to cigars should err on the side of lighter cigars and develop their palate over time, as full-strength smokes can make them feel nauseous or palpitate. Nuttiness is a common flavor component in lighter cigars, as are herbal and vegetal notes like mint and tea that add a freshness and lightness to the smoke.
Seasoned smokers will likely be more comfortable with medium or full-bodied strength stogies. The latter tend to deliver full-bodied flavors such as coffee and spicy notes, leaving a strong aftertaste. Even medium-strength smokes ideally require some prior experience of smoking.
Take note of the different strength levels of a cigar and the flavors you like most. That way, you can pick out a cigar at a low price point that meets your taste criteria.
If you’re unwilling to go through the strength gears, you could seek out three budget-friendly cigars representing each strength level. Give each one a toast and see what flavor strength you prefer.
The size of the cigar will impact the smoking time. If you are a fan of slow-burning sticks you can savor for a long time, picking up cheap short smokes might not be right for you. Again, you’ve got to consider the occasion and how much time you’ve put aside for a smoke or two.
There’s no harm in amassing a selection of cut-price cigars that cover different smoking times. That way, you can match your cheap cigar to the situation. For example, you won’t reach for a Gran Corona (90+ minute smoke) if time is of the essence.
Find a brand you love
Cigar connoisseurs inevitably have their favorite brands because of their specific qualities. This could be their strength or distinctive aroma, flavor profile, and finish, so fish out different cigar brands and their cheapest smokes to discover which ones you warm to.
Shop any clearances
Keep an eye out for any cigar deals or events to get your hands on a quality cheap cigar — Black Friday, end-of-line clearances, etc. This is where many of the biggest discounts exist, so don’t hesitate, or someone else will grab them before you do.
Alternatives to expensive brands
Many premium cigar makers have looked into ways to create a more affordable cigar that still carries a memorable smoking experience. Pay attention to the factories where your favorite cigars are made. You will be amazed at how many lesser-known blends they have available for those on a tighter budget.
There are also many ‘alternatives’ to real-deal premium brands. They pay tribute to the original by staying true to its characteristics but use bulk manufacturing and cost-effective bundle packaging to keep the price down. Before you know it, you’re toasting a cigar with similar hallmarks for quality, taste, and complexity to the stick that’s out of your affordability league.
Buy in bulk
Some cigar retailers offer memberships that include free shipping all year round. This can be an attractive option if you’re a regular smoker and constantly need to restock your humidor. If you only shop sporadically, buying in bulk can also net you free shipping if your order exceeds a certain dollar threshold.
If you find a brand or specific cigar that lights your soul, buying multiple boxes is often cost-effective, as many stores offer discounts. You can then age the cigars in your humidor to keep them fresh, but if patience isn’t in your makeup, a freshly rolled cigar can be smoked immediately.
Sign up for deals
Let the deals come to you by subscribing to a cigar retailer’s email list, opening the door to promo codes and daily or weekly cigar deals. This means the best discounts and cigar offers will be sent directly to your inbox, making it impossible to miss out on those irresistible cheap cigar deals.
Invest in an affordable humidor
If you’re on the hunt for cheap cigars, the likelihood is you won’t be able to splash out on a state-of-the-art walk-in humidor. If you’re buying several cigars or cigars in large quantities, you’ll need storage for your collection to make this centuries-old hobby worthwhile. Your storage investment should be proportional to the value of your cigar collection.
Every cigar (no matter how cheap) comes at a cost, meaning it’s wise to protect your investment by storing them in a humidity-controlled environment. Storing cigars without a humidor will render your bargain smokes useless, as the cigars will dry out and become unsmokable in a matter of days. A cheap cigar that can’t be enjoyed because of improper storage quickly becomes expensive.
Final thoughts on budget cigars
If you look hard enough and keep an eye out for cigar deals and discounts, you can enjoy a cheap and cheerful smoking experience. Not every cheap cigar will be your preference, but once you find those that are, it’s well worth keeping them in stock.