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Analog vs. digital hygrometers – Which one’s better?

Last Updated: 27.09.23


There is an ongoing debate about analog vs. digital in all aspects of life, from thermometers (check these helpful hints), to analog body weight scales vs. digital body weight scales. In this article, we will focus on analog vs. digital hygrometers and their pros and cons.

What is a hygrometer?

A hygrometer is an instrument we use to measure the amount of water vapor (or humidity) in a given space. When the humidity is higher, it feels warmer and wetter, and when the humidity is lower, it feels colder and drier.

This instrument takes into account both the temperature and the amount of moisture to calculate relative humidity, which appears as a percentage. If the temperature is higher, the maximum relative humidity can increase as well. A lower percentage means lower relative humidity and a higher percentage means a higher relative humidity.

Deciding which type of hygrometer to purchase can be a time-consuming task. There are both digital and analog versions of these instruments, and both come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. The best way to decide between a digital and an analog hygrometer is by researching both types before choosing one over the other.

You will have to determine which type of hygrometer is suitable for your specific needs depending on how much you want to spend, if you care or not about having your device calibrated and the look (classic or modern) that you are trying to achieve.


Digital hygrometers

Obviously, digital hygrometers use modern technology. Digital instruments allow for easier readability and they do not require calibration. They might, however, need some time to adapt to sudden changes in humidity and will not show these changes instantaneously.

These devices come equipped with sensors which measure the humidity in the air and then this is read out on a digital gauge. This makes digital hygrometers very easy to use and read, as well as being very accurate, although there have been reports that they could lose some of their accuracy at low humidity levels (less than 55%).

There are some other positive aspects of opting for a digital instrument, as well. To begin with, most digital hygrometers do more than one job: they often come with built-in thermometers, as well as other features. Some even have a memory mode which allows them to keep track and store fluctuations of moisture levels and temperatures over a certain period of time. This can be very helpful if your aim is to also track the conditions over a time period.  

In terms of affordability, digital hygrometers can be quite affordable. However, just like any other gadget, high-end models can be somewhat expensive.

Analog hygrometers

Analog hygrometers, unlike their digital counterparts, don’t use sensors to register moisture levels.

Some of these devices use a metal spring which tightens or loosens depending on the humidity levels. For cigar smokers this is important, as this type of hygrometer is used in the majority of humidors.

Another kind of analog hygrometer is the natural hair hygrometer. Hygrometers with natural hair are very accurate. There is, however, some maintenance work required to maintain the accuracy of these instruments.

Some hygrometers use synthetic hair instead of natural hair and these devices are approximately as accurate as natural hair hygrometers. They require little or no maintenance from the user which makes them a good choice, as well.

These classic instruments have the appeal of style and elegance and an antique look. In fact, there are some truly beautiful antiques in this category, which is a big plus if you are a collector.

Although there are hardcore fans of analog hygrometers who argue that premium analog devices have a higher precision level than digital ones, sometimes analog hygrometers need a tune-up. These are delicate instruments that can occasionally be easily thrown off in terms of accuracy. They could also lose part of their accuracy over time. When your hygrometer needs a tune-up, you can choose to do the work yourself or ask a specialist to do it for you for a fee.



Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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