Every conscientious gun owner should own a gun safe. Owning weapons is an important responsibility that has both safety and legal ramifications. Securing firearms in a gun safe is the most reliable way to keep your family safe from accidental discharge and weapon misuse, as well as keep your guns safe from potential theft. However, when guns are secured in a safe, they can be prone to damage from moisture. The answer to this problem is a specifically designed dehumidifier. We will go through everything you need to know to purchase the best dehumidifier for gun safe to keep your expensive firearms in top condition.
- Moisture in Gun Safes
- Benefits of Using a Gun Safe Dehumidifier
- Types of Gun Safe Dehumidifier
- How to Choose a Gun Safe Dehumidifier
- Product Comparison
- Product Reviews
- 1 Eva-Dry New and Improved E-333 Renewable Mini Dehumidifier
- 2 Goldenrod Original Dehumidifier
- 3 Dry-Packs 750 Gram Silica Gel Canister Dehumidifier - Moisture Indicating
- 4 PEET Dryer - SafeKeeping Dryer and Dehumidifier for Gun Safes and Cabinets
- 5 Pro Breeze Renewable Cordless Mini Dehumidifier - For small spaces - Gun Safe, Wardrobe, Cabinet
- Recharging a Desiccant Dehumidifier
- How to Thread Cord for an Electric Dehumidifier
- Special Considerations for Gun Safe Dehumidifiers
Moisture in Gun Safes
The last thing you want is for your guns to rust or your ammunition to become caked and unusable, and though gun safes are built to withstand force and high temperatures, they can’t keep out moisture. Often gun safes are located in damp or dank areas, such as the basement or storage shed. Gun safes near bathrooms are also highly susceptible to excess humidity. And if you live in a humid location, there is really no place to put your safe that will stay dry.
The problem with humidity and firearms is that guns can rust, corrode, or develop mold and mildew. While mold can be cleaned, it is unsanitary. Weapons that are rusted or corroded are unsafe to operate. Luckily, there are several different dehumidifiers designed especially for gun safes – they are affordable and can protect your investment in expensive firearms and the gun safe itself.
Benefits of Using a Gun Safe Dehumidifier
These dehumidifiers serve one purpose – to keep your gun safe free of excess moisture. But doing that offers several benefits beyond the main one, which is to preserve your firearms in top condition for as long as possible. Following are a few other reasons to get a gun safe dehumidifier as soon as possible.
Keep Ammunition Dry – Ammunition is expensive and already has a limited shelf life. Humidity reduces the useful lifespan of your ammunition even further. Bullets that have taken on moisture may not fire accurately, or at all. Reducing the moisture level around ammunition extends its shelf life significantly. This is true whether you make your own ammo with a reloading press or buy cases of it.
Prevent Mold Growth – Your safe’s walls can potentially collect condensation, but they won’t likely grow mold. However, many safes come with a shelf or two that are lined with foam coating. The foam helps to keep your guns from getting scratched, which is great, but can also be a breeding ground for mold and mildew. A dehumidifier will keep moisture from accumulating on the foam so that nothing yucky can grow there.
Protect Your Safe from Rust – It’s not just the guns that are negatively affected by rust. It can damage the safe itself, too. When moisture and condensation build up inside a safe and are allowed to remain for extended periods of time, the interior of the safe can become rusty. This is especially problematic around the hinges and door frame, as it can make your safe difficult to open or easier for a thief to break.
Types of Gun Safe Dehumidifier
There are two main types of gun safe dehumidifier on the market today: desiccant and electric. How do gun safe dehumidifiers work? We’ll break it down, including the pros and cons to each kind.
This type of dehumidifier uses absorbent beads to pull moisture from the air inside the safe. They are found in many different sizes and shapes, but all contain silica gel packets. The gel can only absorb a certain amount of moisture before you’ll need to remove them from the safe and recharge them. This is a simple matter of using heat to evaporate the water. Some desiccant humidifiers can be plugged in and make their own heat, while others need to be placed into a warm oven in order to recharge.
Silica-gel desiccant dehumidifiers are the easiest to install, as all you need to do is place them inside your safe. Electric dehumidifiers generally require that you drill a hole in the safe to run the power cord to an outlet. Desiccant models are durable and do not use electricity, so there is little additional cost to using them. Some models do use electricity to recharge. The beads can be recharged over and over for several years before needing replacement.
Desiccant dehumidifiers are more affordable than electric, but you will eventually need to replace them as the silica gel diminishes in absorbent capability.
Electric dehumidifiers are gaining in popularity as a higher-end solution to gun safe moisture. They use heat as the method for evaporating moisture via an exposed heating element. This type of dehumidifier is ideal for people in especially humid climates where there is a lot of moisture to manage. They may be more powerful than desiccant models.
However, installation can be tricky as you’ll need a hole in the safe in order to connect power. Some electric dehumidifiers are battery-operated rechargeable units, but these require regular attention. They also tend to be smaller with less power, so aren’t the best choice if your gun safe is large. You will also need to carefully monitor the temperature inside your safe when using an electric dehumidifier. It can’t get hot enough for ammunition to be in danger of exploding, but it could make your firearms and bullets too hot to touch without gloves.
How to Choose a Gun Safe Dehumidifier
Both desiccant and electric dehumidifiers do a fine job, so either will improve the longevity of your gun safe and keep your weapons in good shape while stored. (Don’t neglect regular cleaning and maintenance, of course.) Electric dehumidifiers have a slight edge in the level of moisture they can handle, but are more expensive, more complicated to install, and operating them means ongoing electricity costs.
Following are features to consider before making a dehumidifier purchase.
1. Absorption Capacity – When it comes to desiccant models, the absorption capacity is determined by the quantity of silica gel beads. For bigger safes, get a larger desiccant humidifier. You will find that they come in many shapes and sizes. Electric dehumidifiers vary in their capacity based on the size and power of the heating element. Again, bigger is better if you have a large safe, but if you use a large dehumidifier in a small safe, it may make the interior too hot.
2.Size and Coverage – It is important to make sure that whichever model you choose, it will fit inside your safe along with the weapons. You also need to be certain that it will work effectively once installed. Therefore, be prepared with the interior dimensions of your safe while shopping, and pay attention to the specs for each dehumidifier you examine. Most product descriptions will list the cubic feet of coverage available. It can also be good to know the relative humidity in your area to determine how large and/or powerful your dehumidifier needs to be.
3. Ease of Installation – As we’ve mentioned, silica gel desiccant dehumidifiers don’t really need to be installed, just placed inside your safe. Electric dehumidifiers, on the other hand, need access to a power source. In many cases, this means drilling a hole in your gun safe. Be sure to review your safe’s manual for acceptable places to drill that won’t damage the safe or diminish its security. If your safe happens to come with pre-drilled holes for anchorage, you can use one of those to pass the cord through.
4. Ease of Use – In general, most gun safe dehumidifiers are easy to use. You may want a corded electric model if you want to be able to set it and forget it. Though it is more difficult to install, once working, there’s not much you need to do. With rechargeable electric models, you need to open up the safe, remove the dehumidifier or its battery, and recharge according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Desiccant dehumidifiers will need to have their beads recharged at regular intervals, which differ based on how much silica is in there, and the relative humidity of your environment.
5. Price – Most gun safe dehumidifiers are relatively inexpensive, but there are some higher end models out there with a matching price tag. Consider what you’ll be asking of yours before deciding whether or not to splurge. Antique guns may require lower moisture levels in order to remain functional. Huge safes with lots of weapons may also need something extra. Some models are more costly simply because they have very low maintenance needs, so if you don’t tend to open your safe very often, it might make sense to spend a little more. For most people, though, a standard and easily affordable dehumidifier will likely suffice.
|Dry-Packs 750 Gram Silica Gel Canister|
Let’s dig into the details with gun safe dehumidifier reviews for our top picks.
1 Eva-Dry New and Improved E-333 Renewable Mini Dehumidifier
This desiccant style dehumidifier can go up to a month before it needs to be renewed. It’s easy to see when it is time because the silica gel beads gradually turn from orange to green. This process is viewable through an indicator window on the body of the dehumidifier. It takes about 2-4 weeks, depending on the humidity level in your safe. The beads can be renewed as needed for up to ten years before you will need to replace them!
The E-333 works in spaces up to 333 cubic feet, hence the name. It is spill and mess free, non-toxic for homes with children and pets. Once moisture has been trapped inside the beads, it will never leak or drip. To renew the silica gel, simply plug your dehumidifier into an outlet for 8-10 hours. When the beads turn orange again, unplug and return the device to your gun safe.
Eva-dry employs the highest standards in materials and workmanship. They back all of their dehumidifiers with a 5 year warranty.
- 2.8 x 9 x 8.3 inches.
- 1.2 pounds.
- 5 year warranty.
- Easy view indictor window
- Long ten year life span
- Easy to install.
- Unit may get hot during renewal
- Takes some time upon first use to bring down humidity
- Warranty requires registration within 30 days.
2 Goldenrod Original Dehumidifier
The Goldenrod dehumidifier is made in the United States especially for gun safes. It comes in four sizes to fit almost any gun safe: 36”, 24”, 18”, and 12”. Their coverage areas are as follows: 12 inch rod covers 100 cubic feet; 18 inch rod covers 200 cubic feet; 24 inch rod covers 300 cubic feet; 36 inch rod covers 500 cubic feet.
Each Goldenrod works via a heating element that warms up the air inside your safe enough to cause moisture to evaporate. It requires a 110/120V AC outlet and comes with the required mounting hardware. The most common mounting location is on the bottom of the safe, but it can also go on the walls or ceiling if necessary.
The Goldenrod dehumidifier warranty is industry-leading. The company uses the highest quality materials and production standards, and offers a hassle free lifetime warranty on all of its products.
- 12-36 inches long
- Lifetime warranty.
- Four convenient sizes
- Mounting brackets included
- Lifetime warranty.
- Unit is hot to the touch while plugged in
- May work better in conjunction with a small fan
- Depending on safe shape, the size that fits may not cover enough space.
3 Dry-Packs 750 Gram Silica Gel Canister Dehumidifier - Moisture Indicating
Like the Eva-dry, this is desiccant model rechargeable dehumidifier with silica gel. The beads, which are cobalt chloride free, change color from orange to green when they get spent and need recharging. The device has a spoonful of orange beads under a cap that are visible on the top, serving as a viewing window. The remaining 750 grams of silica gel can be found in the cylinder under it.
The overall styling of this humidifier looks something like a car’s oil filter, a nice industrial look if you’re in to that kind of thing. Due to the high volume of beads, this device lasts longer than other desiccant dehumidifiers before it’s full, about 3-6 months. To recharge, you’re going to have to pop it in the oven, but instructions for this come with the product.
The company advertises that its silica gel desiccant canisters do not contain cobalt chloride II, an ingredient described as possibly carcinogenic – enough to be labeled as hazardous in some countries. Though more research is needed on the safety of orange-to-green silica coloring, you may want to choose these silica products instead of the blue-to-pink ones for this reason.
- 4.5 x 4.5 x 6.5 inches
- 1.65 pounds.
- No warranty.
- Long lasting beads
- No installation required
- Convenient viewing cup.
- Needs to recharge in the oven
- Metal may dent easily
- Container itself will rust if it gets wet.
4 PEET Dryer - SafeKeeping Dryer and Dehumidifier for Gun Safes and Cabinets
Like other electric models, this PEET Safekeeping Dryer heats up the environment in your safe. What is unusual is the shape, which directs warm air for the best circulation. The installation is relatively easy if you know what you’re doing; obviously you will need to thread that cord through a hole in the safe.
Once up and running, this energy efficient product quietly removes humidity in spaces up to 80 cubic feet. Its design relies on a base and a tower, a patented design that uses effective air circulation to its benefit. You won’t have to worry about rust or mildew for many years to come – 5 years at least, according to the warranty. (Note that you will have to register your product within 10 days of purchase to take advantage of this.
- 14.4 ounces
- 9 x 7 x 4 inches
- 5 year warranty.
- Patented design for air circulation
- Energy efficient operation
- No need to recharge.
- Uses valuable floor space
- No “on” light; takes a bit of time to ensure that it’s working.
- Must register product quickly to receive warranty protection.
5 Pro Breeze Renewable Cordless Mini Dehumidifier - For small spaces - Gun Safe, Wardrobe, Cabinet
The Pro Breeze desiccant dehumidifier is a compact little device that covers a large area. It is an orange-to-green model with a viewing window that lets you know when it is time to recharge by plugging it in to an outlet. The manufacturer advertises that recharging takes 8-10 hours, but some users have said it takes closer to two days to full dry the beads. The unit may also be hot to the touch while plugged in.
On average, the dehumidifier works for 20-30 days before it gets full, depending on the humidity in the room. Total moisture capacity of the internal silica gel beads is 5 ounces. Running a larger dehumidifier in the same room as your gun safe can extend the time period between recharging sessions.
- 7.3 x 6 x 2 inches
- 15.2 ounces
- No warranty.
- Compact design; requires no power cord to operate
- Covers a large area
- Easy viewing window.
- Beads may leak when moved
- Takes a long time to recharge
- No warranty.
Recharging a Desiccant Dehumidifier
There are two main ways to recharge a desiccant dehumidifier. One is simpler, but the other tends to take less time. Gun safe dehumidifier rechargeable desiccant is made of silica gel that can be recharged over and over again indefinitely, but it does lose its absorption capacity the more times it has been filled to capacity and dried again.
1. Plug it in
If your dehumidifier came with the ability to plug it in, that’s all you have to do to start recharging. The power it pulls from the outlet warms up the device, which allows the moisture trapped inside the silica gel beads to evaporate. Desiccant models don’t use power to dehumidify, but they do to release that moisture back into the air. The benefit of this method is simplicity, but the cons are that it can take a long time during which the device can be hot to the touch, and the electricity cost associated with that.
2. Bake it
Other desiccant dehumidifiers don’t come with a plug and need to be recharged in the oven. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions as recommended temperatures will vary. However, in general, all you need to do is pre-heat the oven to 250-300 degrees F. Remove the lid of the dehumidifier and place the canister into the oven for two to three hours. Be sure to use an oven mitt to remove it and let it cool fully before replacing it in your safe. The benefit of this method is that it works quite a bit faster than the plug-in models. The downside is that it is a more labor intensive process.
How to Thread Cord for an Electric Dehumidifier
While every model will be slightly different, the general technique is the same for threading a power cord through a hole in your gun safe, then attaching the plug component and getting your dehumidifier running. Make sure your hands are clean and dry before beginning installation.
The electrical cord, attached to the device
The plastic plug housing
The plug prongs
1. Use your thumb and first finger to grab the prongs. Squeeze them tightly together and get a hold on the plug housing with your other hand. Slide the housing away from the prongs with a firm, even motion.
2. Fold both prongs down and away from the holder until you feel resistance, then remove the electrical cord and slide the plug housing off of the cord.
3. Thread the cord through the pre-drilled hole in your gun safe.
4. With prongs still in their spread position, replace the plug housing onto the cord, and push the cord into the prong holder until it bottoms out.
5. Squeeze the prongs back together as you slide the plug housing back over the prong holder. Keep pushing until the holder is situated flush with the base of the housing.
6. Straighten prongs as needed to their plug-in position.
7. Plug in your dehumidifier, making sure the extended cord is not a tripping hazard.
Special Considerations for Gun Safe Dehumidifiers
If you care about the effectiveness and longevity of your firearms, you really should use a dehumidifier in your gun safe. Moisture can get trapped inside even in relatively dry climates, and this wreaks havoc on metal tools. There are a few things to consider before making your purchase, but in our opinion, the cons associated with gun safe dehumidifiers are far outweighed by the pros. Here’s what you need to prepare for.
Higher Power Bill – Electric dehumidifiers are the gold standard in dehumidifying technology for gun safes, but they do use electricity to keep the moisture levels in check. Think of it like a light bulb you never turn off to get a sense of how much it might increase your energy costs. Desiccant models that plug in to recharge also pull energy, but less overall than an electric model. Desiccant dehumidifiers that recharge in the oven may take the least power overall – the oven will use some, but it works faster than a plug-in version.
Difficult Installation for Electric Models – Electric dehumidifiers can be tricky to install, if your safe does not have pre-drilled holes. You’ll need a strong drill to make the hole yourself, or else hire a contractor to come over and do the work. It’s important to verify that the location you choose for the hole will not affect the structural integrity of the safe. You will also need to connect the electric plug after the cord has threaded through the hole, since any hole that would allow the plug to pass through is way too big to put in your safe.
High Maintenance – Though they take less power, silica gel dehumidifiers are higher maintenance, especially if you live in a humid area. Depending on humidity levels, you may have to recharge your dehumidifier weekly (though many models can go up to a month). That means checking your safe frequently for the color of the beads, and then either plugging in the dehumidifier overnight or placing it in a 250-300 degree oven for a couple of hours, then letting it cool on the stovetop for at least as long. For this reason, we suggest having two desiccant dehumidifiers available, so that you can swap them out and not let moisture levels climb in your gun safe while you work on recharging.
Replacement Needs – Most dehumidifiers will work for several years before needing to be replaced. The electric versions have very few moving parts, so there is nothing really to wear down and break. Desiccant versions are even lower tech, but you will notice that the beads have a gradually decreasing capacity for humidity the more they are recharged. You may want to replace a unit that is still working, but not as well as you need it to. It can be helpful to have a humidity meter in your safe as well, to notice when your dehumidifier is no longer up to the task.
Unless you have a gun safe with built in dehumidifier, it’s important to get a separate unit to control the moisture level around your weapons. Choose any of the models on our list for reliable dehumidifying that will extend the life of your firearms and ammunition. The best dehumidifier for gun safe will vary depending on the size and shape of your safe, including how many weapons you have in there. We hope this article has given you everything you need to know to choose your ideal one.