Cigars have been traditionally purchased in-store, where the consumer is able to examine them and test out their smell, their construction, and a number of other factors. With the advent of online cigar marketplaces, it’s harder to judge quality. However, there are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure you get the best quality cigars no matter what marketplace you use.


1. Check the freshness.


Most cigars need to be stored in a humidor at around 70% humidity and at 70 degrees F. If the website doesn’t list this information, call their customer service line and find out the storage conditions. If they aren’t to your satisfaction, then it’s a good idea to find another marketplace.


2. Shipping speeds.


An online cigar store should have fast shipping speeds to ensure the quality of the cigar once it’s outside of the humidor. Any market that takes longer than 4 days to deliver the cigar should reconsider its shipping methods.


3. Look for the proper encryption.


In the URL bar, the website should have “HTTPS” rather than just “HTTP.” This means the website uses SSL, which guarantees the consumer’s safety while shopping online. Any marketplace that doesn’t utilize this technology can be at risk of hacking and theft. Your credit card info may not be safe on websites like this; however, many security programs will notify you of this before you fill out any forms.


4. Single cigars.


The best cigar stores will allow you to purchase single cigars in order to try them out before you decide on an entire box. It’s a good idea to try at least two cigars of any given type before committing to the purchase of an entire box. You may find that it’s not to your liking.


5. Customer service.


The customer service of the company should be able to answer any questions you may have about cigars. If it’s difficult to reach customer service representatives, that can be indicative of a number of other problems you may not be aware of.


6. Legality.


Many online stores offer Cuban cigars. However, these are illegal to purchase in the United States. Make sure the store you’re using abides by the proper laws, or you put yourself at risk. If a company is willing to break one law, what other standard regulations might it overlook?


Before purchasing cigars online, do your due diligence and determine if the marketplace is reliable and if the quality is up the standards you expect.