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Updated Sep 18, 2023 3:51 PM
If you have a gun safe and haven’t invested in a gun safe dehumidifier, it’s well past time to pull the trigger on one and save yourself from a sad story like this one. My grandfather, a gun collector, had five safes full of firearms he’d collected over the years. Other than the one that held his hunting rifles and shotguns, most of those safes never saw the light of day.
He planned to show me that collection, and when the door of the first safe creaked open, I could tell something wasn’t right. I could see rust on a couple of blued barrels, and the inside of the safe had some spotty rust marks. When grandpa grabbed one of his classics, a Winchester Model 1873, the stock looked swollen and unnatural.
What happened? Humidity. When safes aren’t in temperature-controlled environments but are in garages, sheds, or outbuildings, temperatures fluctuate between night and day and by season. Even if you keep your safe in your home, the humidity inside the safe still needs to be controlled.
Gun safe dehumidifiers might not be the coolest piece of equipment you buy this year, but if you consider the money it takes to buy a safe and try to cut costs by not buying a dehumidifier, you’ll quickly regret it when you open it to find your closet queens rusted beyond repair. Thankfully, the best gun safe dehumidifiers can save you that heartache and keep your cherished firearms looking new for years to come.
How to Choose the Best Gun Safe Dehumidifier
When it comes to gun-safe dehumidifiers, there is no one-size-fits-all option. The best gun safes come in different sizes, and gun safe owners have different needs. For this review, I wanted to provide enough dehumidifiers to cover a wide range of safe sizes/scenarios and offer a solid selection of plug-ins and rechargeable options that I’ve either used or interviewed other safe owners about.
Best Safe Dehumidifiers: Reviews and Recommendations
- Sizes: 12, 18, 24, and 36-inch
- Made in U.S.A.
- Lifetime warranty
- Mounting brackets for easy installation
- Low profile
- Must be plugged in
- Needs a protective cage/hot to the touch
The Golden Rod Dehumidifier is ideal for those looking to eliminate the chance of moisture causing damage to their gun safe’s inner contents. Offered in multiple length options, the Golden Rod offers excellent cubic feet protection based on your unit’s size. The low-profile design means the dehumidifier won’t take up much room, and mounting brackets make attaching it a breeze.
The Golden Rod eliminates moisture by continuously warming the air inside the safe to create a convection current within the gun safe to prevent rust build-up. The longer the rod, the more cubic inches of space it can handle. This rod does get hot to the touch and has to remain plugged in to work, so you’ll want to make sure you have an outlet for your safe.
- 333-cubic-feet humidity control
- Quick-connect brackets
- Color-shifting moisture control
- Easy installation
- Plug in and dry out crystals
- Subpar viewing window clarity
This compact unit eliminates moisture in enclosed spaces up to 333 cubic feet. The quick-connect brackets make the installation easy, and you can mount the dehumidifier on any vertical surface. Charging the unit is easy. Plug it into an outlet for about 8 hours, and when the desiccant crystals turn blue, they are dry. And the dehumidifier doesn’t need to be charged again until those crystals turn pink. Of course, recharging needs depend on your geographic location and the location of your gun safe.
Hornady’s Rechargeable Dehumidifier doesn’t use electricity or batteries, and it contains no harmful chemicals. There are no cords to fuss with, and this dehumidifier will charge on any standard 110-volt house outlet. Just be sure you don’t charge it for more than 24 hours.
- Included hanger
- 5-year warranty
- Continuous operation mode
- Put it anywhere
- Budget friendly
- Can be bought in multi-packs
- 333-cubic-inch space rating is generous
This unit has an absorbing capacity of 6 ounces, and the Wet/Dry indicators let you know when the dehumidifier needs recharging, which Eva-Dry claims only happens every 20-30 days. When a recharge is required, plug the cordless unit in until the silica gel beads dry again.
You can hang or set the E-333 anywhere, and though you may need a few of them to keep humidity under control in your safe, these dehumidifiers come with a five-year warranty, and you can use them in everything from your safe, to ammo cans, and even storage lockers.
- Weight: 2.09 pounds
- Electric and battery free
- XL Canister dehumidifier available
- Humidity indicator
- Set it and forget it
- Crystals change color
- Unlimited recharges
- The standard unit only has 750g desiccant
It’s hard to beat a desiccant dehumidifier that promises unlimited recharges and doesn’t require any electrical charging or batteries. When the crystals turn from blue to pink, it’s time to dry them out. Just place the canister in an oven at 300 degrees for a few hours, and when the crystals turn blue, the unit is ready to roll again.
This compact yet broad unit means you can set it almost anywhere you’d like in your gun safe. However, it doesn’t save space like other streamlined or mountable options, and if you like to pack your safes strategically, this one might take up more than you prefer.
I like that Hornady gives you the options of a Standard (750g desiccant) and XL (1,500 desiccant) Canister Dehumidifier. Though the Standard unit only covers 50-square feet, you can purchase several of them if you have a larger safe, or go with the XL unit.
- LED operating light
- Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Electric power
- Great for small spaces
- Removable plug for install
While it might not look like your typical gun safe dehumidifier, Browning’s Flexible EverDry bends easily and conforms to small spaces. This is an excellent choice for small-safe owners or those with safes with limited capacity to store a canister-type dehumidifier. You can remove the plug for installation without the electrical outlet, and the LED operating light indicates that the unit is working. It does run a bit higher than other options on this list, especially for a small safe option, but if space is at a premium, this one merits serious consideration.
- Automatic humidity control
- Digital Panel
- 1.5-liter tank
- AC power with US and CE plugs
- Ideal for large safes
- Large drain tank
Using a precise thermo-electric process, the Lockdown Automatic Dehumidifier removes moisture directly out of the air. It drains that moisture into a 1.5-liter holding tank via a built-in hose connection. While this system is extremely efficient, all the moving pieces add up to a large footprint that might not work best for you, especially if your safe is full or runs small. The simple electronic display and controls placed on top of the unit allow you to set and easily monitor humidity control. And the 1.5-liter tank is sizable and takes some time to fill, but I recommend putting a reminder on your smartphone’s calendar, so you don’t forget to empty it when it’s time. Still, if you want precise humidity control, this is one of the best gun safe dehumidifiers for that option.
- Weight: 0.4 pounds
- Color-changing humidity indicator
- Reusable design
- Moisture indicator
- Pricier than similar options in this category
The Barska Safe Moisture Absorber Dehumidifier may seem like the bottom of the barrel when it comes to gun-safe dehumidifiers, but it serves its purpose well. While it’s a tad inconsistent at times, this desiccant dehumidifier contains a color-changing indicator that turns from blue to pink once the bag has too much moisture and needs to be dried.
Each pack is filled with Silicone Dioxide, which enables it to efficiently absorb moisture. Though you can’t regulate them as well as other options, I know several gun-safe owners that swear by these packs. One of my hunting buddies has a massive Browning gun safe, and he uses five of these Barska bags in it. And while the cost of five of these approaches that of a high-end dehumidifier, their low profile allows you to tuck them in places you wouldn’t otherwise be able to fit a much larger unit.
- Plug-in style
- 5-year warranty
- Triangular base
- Simple operation
- Energy efficient
- Budget friendly
- Electrical outlet need limits portability
PEET has been a trusted name in the boot and gear drying arena for years, and this quiet, plug-and-go unit is simple to use and features a triangular base that allows it to fit in tight spaces or corners. If you’re familiar with their boot dryers, you can expect the same reliability with the Safekeeping Dryer.
PEET claims that this unit requires less energy than a standard lightbulb, and though it’s a plug-in unit, it’s dead quiet. You’ll want to make sure your safe has a place for a power outlet, since it does require electricity. So, if you have a smaller safe that doesn’t have an outlet or the room, you might be better off with something like the Barska bags. But if you’ve got the room, the PEET Dryer is a great option. And as long as you register the dryer within 10 days, it comes with a five-year warranty.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Gun Safe Dehumidifier
Electric or Desiccant
There are two types of gun safe dehumidifiers—electric and desiccant. Some electric dehumidifiers use desiccant materials but are still branded as electric because they are plugged into an outlet or are rechargeable. Electric dehumidifiers use a heating element to eliminate moisture and are simple to use and set up. Standard desiccant dehumidifiers are bags that contain materials that absorb moisture in your safe.
As flashless as gun-safe dehumidifiers are, your safe full of guns needs one, but consider what type/style is best for your safe before purchasing one. Like most products in the outdoor industry, there are gobs of options, and certain dehumidifiers will work better in some safes than in others.
This is the most crucial factor to consider when choosing your dehumidifier. I took a deep dive into numerous models over the last month, and those worth their salt provided an effective volume rating. Match the volume of your safe to your dehumidifier, and you’ll be good to go.
The more cubic inches the dehumidifier is rated, the more expensive it will be. However, adding multiple bags to a giant safe is possible to boost protection, especially if you use desiccant bags.
The gun owner in the east or deep south will need a different dehumidifier than the one in the western U.S. Know your climate. If you live in a high humidity area, you’ll need a dehumidifier with extra moisture-robbing features. High humidity locales will require you to charge or drain your dehumidifier on a more regular basis.
You’ll also need to consider where your gun safe is or will be located on your property. For instance, a gun safe that sits on the main floor of a home with an average temperature of 70 degrees still needs a dehumidifier. It just won’t need it as much as a safe stored in a non-climate controlled environment where temperature swings are more prominent.
Do Your Part
A gun-safe dehumidifier won’t do all the work for you. If you hit the river for a snow-day duck shoot and bring your best duck hunting shotgun home and toss it in the safe, you’ll likely find rust spots on it next time you open the safe door. Whatever dehumidifier you choose, clean your guns properly before storage.
Q: Do dehumidifiers work in gun safes?
Absolutely. Dehumidifiers make sure your guns or other valuables don’t collect moisture inside your safe. The key to safe and firearm protection is finding the right dehumidifier for your safe. Set a dehumidifier that’s rated for 75-cubic-inches in a 500-cubic-inch gun safe, and you will have problems. Be sure to find one that’s appropriately rated for your safe. It helps if you also consider how the dehumidifier operates. If you’re in and out of your gun safe often, you can check on rechargeable units, but if you only check in on your firearms once in a while, you will want to go with an electrical plug-in-style dehumidifier that doesn’t require drain tanks.
Q: What should the humidity in a gun safe be?
This question has been argued, but most gun-safe gurus note that safe humidity should be kept between 30 and 50 percent at 70 degrees room temperature. When the air inside your gun safe becomes dryer than 20 percent, you might experience gunstock drying and shrinking. When humidity percentages become greater than 50 percent, the more likely your safe contents are being exposed to moisture.
Q: What size dehumidifier rod do I need?
The size of the rod depends on the size of the gun safe. Rods heat the air at the bottom of your gun safe and create a convection current. How much air is at the bottom of your gun safe depends on the size of that safe. A larger safe will have more space at the bottom and require a larger rod to warm and circulate that air. Make sure to purchase a rod that is rated for the space inside your safe.
Q: How much do gun-safe dehumidifiers cost?
Gun safe dehumidifiers are straightforward and usually run anywhere from $10-$100. If you want, and you’re not concerned with knowing the exact humidity inside your safe, you can have great gun and safe protection for under $35, which I included in this article. If you want to set your dehumidifier to an accurate humidity rating, plan on spending a smooth $100 on something like Lockdown’s Automatic Dehumidifier.
I remember my grandfather’s face when he opened that safe. He had no words (well, maybe a few that I can’t say). Several of the guns inside, safe included, were damaged. When you consider the cost of a safe, not to mention its contents, it seems absurd not to invest in one of the best gun safe dehumidifiers. You can protect those wood-stocked hunting rifles, family heirlooms, your best handguns, and other safe keepings, for a reasonable price.