Heartfelt Beads work well if you maintain them correctly. The key is to just spray them with a spray bottle when you need to re-hydrate and get the beads semi-opaque. I've had success with using beads and Boveda packs of the equivalent humidity in the same cooler. Just make sure not to over hydrate the beads.
A few years ago I switched over to these (http://www.cigarbeads.com/) for my cooler and have been very happy with them. The guy that runs this lives in the Portland area and is a very nice BOTL. I think the Heartfelt beads and these are both good options but work differently so it's really personal preference. I like not having to spray these down and they really absorb excess moisture very quickly. They also work well with a few boveda packs calibrated to the same RH. If you go with these just make sure to follow the instructions.
I currently use Boveda, but my quantity of cigars is getting to the point that the price is not worth the convenience. I'll check that site out also.
Except you have to replace them every 2-3 months, and depending on how many you need can be more expensive in the long run. That's why I switched to the beads. They generally work the same way I found. I haven't had to touch mine yet since I've put them in there, but it doesn't mean that I won't have to in the future depending on the amount of cigars I add or give out. But other than the replacing them every couple months, you're right they are extremely easy and there is absolutely zero maintenance to them.
If you know a cheap place to get Boveda, let me know. Call me a cheapy but I don't like having to drop 30 bucks every month or so if I can help it.
Im personally a big fan of kitty litter. Super cheap, easy to maintain. Just seems like a super flexible option to me. Then again, I've never purchased the beads, so I can't speak on them. I love the bovedas I have, but can't imagine using the full time for everything.....at least not at MSRP. Then again, Im a cheap bastard.
I use them, they work great! I use more than necessary, but I like to think that makes them more reliable. But, with a good cooler seal, they are pretty damn rock solid, fluxing no more than 65-67% for 65% beads, and I hardly ever mess with them. I bought a full pound of 65% beads, and they've been perfect for almost 2 years now.
Biggest suggestion, follow the instructions that come with them, don't listen to anyone's "I use them like this and it works just fine" talk.
Hey Doug. I just went through this myself. I'll tell you what I'm using and maybe it will help you. I have a 48qt cooler and with what I am using 1 pound of 65% Heartfelt Industry Humidifying beads for mine. On their website it will tell you the amount you need for the cubic inches/feet you need to cover. I would recommend buying/using a little more than it calls for to make up for opening and closing and any possible non-sealed areas in the cooler. I also have one of their 65% tubes in my desktop humidor that I am using. I think they work great. Be sure though, if you buy the beads, buy the white pouch with it. You will see what I'm talking about when you go to their website. Also the syringe they have there works the best if you have to lightly add distilled water to the beads. So far I haven't had to add water to mine and mine is holding pretty steady around 63-65%. Hope this helps.
I also use a cooler (70 qt). I've been using the Heartfelt beads for over a year now. I personally think they're very reliable. I don't do all the misting and all that however. I just put a little water on them and drain them and good to go. Bovedas are awesome in their own right. Def my go to for my travel humidors, but as much as I open the cooler, there's now way they would keep up. Cooler with a good tight seal is definitely a plus.