I stumbled upon Boveda while roaming around at NAMM this year. The concept intrigued me - a humidity control system that works both ways for your guitar? A little packet that allows you to ‘set it and forget it’? It sounded too good to be true. I picked up a few and used them for 3 months and here’s what I found.
WIth Boveda, you get a small pack of liquid with a clear humidity level label. The packet itself is held in a sleeved pouch that allows for 2 way transfer of humidity. The label indicates the desired humidity level and as I said, the system is 2 way. If the humidity is below the indicated level, Boveda will allow the liquid to slowly and gradually disperse to bring the humidity up. If the humidity is above the indicated level, Boveda will absorb the excess humidity and bring the level down to the desired area.
There’s no moisturizing to be done by the user, and you don’t have to worry about ‘over soaking’ a sponge and damaging your instrument. You pop a Boveda into a sleeve, maybe 2 depending on your home, and insert it into your instrument case. When you use your instrument (or when you set a reminder to go off) you simply check Boveda to see if it has ‘hardened’ yet. When it’s completely solid, it’s time to replace the pack.
I live in New York, and during a NY winter it gets unreasonably dry in my home. The heat is working overtime, and it’s drying things out to the point where my hair starts to look like a wispy field of wheat. I put 2 Boveda packs into my Taylor acoustic guitar’s hard case immediately when I got home from NAMM. My in-case humidifier confirmed that things remained ‘in control’ throughout the winter whenever I used my guitar. The guitar itself felt wonderful, and the neck angle/string relief felt exactly as it should.
The 2 packs started to harden just this week as I’m writing this review. That means I got about 3 months out of Boveda with 2 packs. The Boveda rep at NAMM said they should last for about 4-6 months, but I think he underestimated how much I like my house warm and toasty, so I might be a bit of an anomaly. I have a home room humidifier for my studio which I left off for the last 3 months for this little test.
I’m happy to report Boveda worked exactly as advertised, albeit with a little shorter lifespan than I had hoped for. This may be a bit of an anomaly based on my lifestyle habits and where I live. To be honest, I don’t really care. The refill packs are quite reasonably priced, and the idea that I now can simply leave them in my guitar’s hard case without worrying about swapping out my humidifier for a dehumidifier in my studio every 6 months is a blessing. I feel very secure and confident that my instrument is not only safe with Boveda, but the humidity range seems much more stable than using and adjusting my room-sized humidifier. With so many different levels of size and humidity control, ordering the right one for your instrument can be a little daunting - but then again, on the flip side, there’s a Boveda for everyone!
Price: varies on size/desired humidity level, but mine cost about $4 per pack, and 2 packs lasted 3 months for my acoustic.
Pros: 2 way humidity control, no water touches your instrument, dead simple to use, ‘set it and forget it’ humidity control, don’t need to loosen any strings or place directly inside your instrument
Cons: There are a lot of choices. Not sure it’s a negative, but I definitely ordered the wrong sized refills by accident. On the positive side, guest bathroom is now a lot less humid than it was last month.