In this guide, we’ll look into the gun safe dehumidifiers and how they work. We’ll cover topics like the dangers of different levels of humidity for guns and what you can do to protect your ammunition. We’ll cover things to look for when shopping and review the TOP 5 Best Gun Safe Dehumidifiers we’ve found online. This is a complete and ultimate review of the current market. Enjoy! And stick to your guns!

Responsible gun owners understand the importance of keeping their weapons and ammunition in a safe. Even if you don’t have children or other innocents in your charge, there are a whole host of reasons to keep dangerous weapons out of random, instant reach of people who aren’t yourself.

For example, should an intruder find their way into your house, your weapons being in easy reach of them is not going to go well. For another, anyone who enjoys the occasional drink knows that we’re not at our wisest and most responsible after a couple drinks. While most of us wouldn’t hurt someone even when intoxicated, having weapons lying around during these lapses of judgment, are asking for some kind of careless accident to happen.

Yeah, the reasons for having a gun safe are a multitude, and no responsible gun owner is going to argue against this. However, with these safes, another problem can arise, that of humidity.

Anyone who enjoys cigars or other luxury tobaccos knows the woes of inappropriate humidity levels in a closed environment, though in their case it’s more the absence than the presence of it that’s a real menace.

Unfortunately, most gun safes do not have humidity controls built in (though there are exceptions to this rule). This means that most people will need to find their own solution for eliminating humidity in their gun case.

But, before we look at what solutions there are, and what to look for, let’s talk about why humidity is a problem for this particular thing. After all, guns aren’t perishable like cigars, are they? Well …

Dangers of Humidity

Guns and ammunition are actually susceptible to damage from excess humidity, believe it or not. The biggest immediate problem will be to ammunition, due to the powder in bullets and shells. While these components are very tightly sealed, they’re not airtight/vacuum sealed, and simply wouldn’t work if they were.

If enough humidity gets into the powder, it can denature the oxidant or other catalytic components in the powder, making it ignite unevenly, not at all, or the most severe danger – in a delayed reaction.

Humidity can also wreak havoc on your guns. Regardless the type or form factor of your weapon, it has metal and moving parts. Humidity can cause some of these to swell up, lubricants to break down, rust and mold to form. Nobody wants this to happen, an ill-maintained gun is dangerous!

Dangers of Too Little Humidity

Conversely, though, you don’t want your safe to be as dry as a bone in some cases. Some lubricants like to break down in extremely dry climates. But the bigger danger is to guns with actual wooden components. Many rifles and some pistols, to this day, have quite beautiful, elegant woodwork in them, which can dry out and decay in extremely dry climates, just as easily as excess humidity can cause them ruination by mold, swelling or the like.

This is the real challenge you face – achieving a balance where you can keep the humidity under control, while not depriving the woodwork of some of your guns of much needed sustained moisture levels. It’s not easy, and there’s no exact science to this, at least not yet.

Gauging Humidity

Most dehumidifiers won’t come with a humidity gauge on them, and if you don’t already have one, you may be skeptical if you need a dehumidifier. In truth, there are some climates and environments where it’s less of an issue. If you live in a semi-arid climate like parts of the central US or pacific northwest, you may have just the right amount of natural humidity to be ideal.

But, if you want a good way to see just how humid it is, place an open little saucer of flour, baking soda or sugar in the intended enclosure. Leave it for a full 24 hours, and then take a look. If it lumps up or discolors, it’s too humid. If it breaks down even further (in the case of sugar), it’s a little too dry.

Of course, you can use a digital barometer or other measurement devices too, though since this isn’t as precise a science for your gun safe, these numbers may not give you that much useful information.

Fighting Humidity

While you probably need a dehumidifier, you can reduce the demands made on one by being wise about where you keep your gun safe. A place where there’s minimal moisture around (away from kitchens or bathrooms, not in a basement nor attic), and in a spot where it doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight or serious temperature variation are a big help.

Keeping things like mothballs and a little bit of baking soda inside the safe along with an industrial desiccant or power dehumidifier also goes a long way.

Types of Dehumidification Technologies

Ultimately, there are three types of dehumidification technology in general. There are the modern, electronic approaches, both corded or wireless (battery-powered), and there are chemical approaches commonly called desiccants.

Desiccants are something you’ve undoubtedly seen in other places, especially the most common form; silica gel. Anyone who’s eaten a bag of beef jerky, or bought a sealed leather product, has found a little packet of what usually looks like salt or plastic crystals. The label very prominently says “do not eat” – and for good reason. While a mouthful of silica gel isn’t likely to kill an adult, let’s just say, you’d regret it all the same.

Desiccants work by being natural absorbers of moisture on a molecular level. Other examples are talcum powder, baking soda, and even wheat flour.

Pros and Cons of Technologies

So, each of these three approaches has its merits. But, at the same time, they have their weaknesses as well. Let’s take a quick moment just to look at these before proceeding.

Silica Gel/Desiccants

Pro: Desiccants are very portable, and while some require being warmed up initially to activate their chemical nature, they don’t require a steady power source. This makes them very safe and very easy to place pretty much anywhere. This also tends to make them cheaper.

Con: Ones that need heated, quickly stop working once this thermionic energy is depleted. They also eventually have to be replaced, as their absorbent nature breaks down eventually. Their inner workings spell their ultimate doom at some point.

Wireless

Pro: Wireless dehumidifiers are safer than socket-powered ones due to the reduced amount of power they’re using. A short near explosive ammunition is a scary thought, after all. They’re also very easy to place in sealed spaces, due to the lack of a cord.

Con: They’re less powerful than socket-powered solutions, due to the battery management and power supply issues. They also have to be frequently recharged, just like handheld electronics.

Corded

Pro: Corded dehumidifiers require no recharging, and are a lot more effective due to using more power. They need only the collected moisture to be emptied (it doesn’t vanish after all). It’s an older technology, which means it’s not guaranteed to be particularly expensive either.

Con: Corded dehumidifiers are more of a nuisance to install in things like safes and cabinets because the cord has to get in there somehow. In the case of cabinets/safes with wiring for lights or other electrical components already present, mild modifications are fairly easy to handle for this. Ones that’re completely and utterly sealed? That’s a job for someone with metalworking skills well above what average people, myself included, are likely to have.

Things to Look for When Shopping

So, let’s talk a moment about what to look for in dehumidification technology, specifically for enclosures like cabinets and safes (which, for guns, can actually be somewhat interchangeable terms). It’s not the same set of challenges faced by dehumidification of a room or building.

Depending on your climate, absorption capacity is going to be a big thing. If you live in a climate that’s naturally humid as all get out, as I do here in Florida, you’re going to be absorbing a lot of moisture for half the year. Capacity, in these cases, is important. But, it’s not just about volume, but how much it can handle before needing to be emptied or replaced (in the case of desiccants/silica gels).

Size and coverage are universal concerns when it comes to smaller enclosures. You want it to be compact enough to fit well into the safe, without occupying space you need for your guns, ammunition, and related tools.

Ease of installation is also a real sticking point, which we alluded to a moment ago. Ones using cords, which are the most powerful and efficient type of dehumidification technology, are a pain to install in some cases. If your safe doesn’t already have wiring run in for lighting or something else, you’ll have to do major, difficult modifications to get power inside where it can plug in. In this case, you probably just don’t want a corded device, opting for wireless or a desiccant instead.

Finally, it can depend on the types of guns you have. Guns with a lot of wood or heavy presence of persistent lubricants will need a more precise level of humidity control, due to a lack of any humidity being a problem just as much as excess can be. If all of your weapons are entirely metals, plastics, and composites, then you can get away with something that keeps it very dry, which means you need less precision.

Also examine your ammunition – metal casings are more resistant to an intrusion of moisture than plastic casings.

My Story: Types of Gun Safes I’ve Used Over the Years

Nowadays, I am happy to say that I live in a very safe and quiet area. It’s not exactly rural, but it’s the far reaches of suburbia, and the biggest danger I encounter from day to day is the terrible drivers that haunt the roads of my town, and the occasional wildlife. So, I only own a single gun, a .45 I keep in a locked drawer. It’s a modern design of this caliber of pistol, and as such, requires far less maintenance to abate humidity.

However, this arrangement wasn’t always the case. I did most of my growing up, and the first half of my adult life, in Los Angeles. While my area (Silver Lake) was not the most notorious region of that city, it was still L.A. And, at one point, I worked as a security guard as well, which meant I had two weapons that were part of my job (a rifle and a handgun) as well as three personal weapons, which meant I needed a proper storage solution for them.

I had two gun safes over the duration of that part of my life. The first one had a light that came on when you opened it, not unlike a refrigerator light, which meant it was possible to provide power to a dehumidifier. So, I had a small, portable corded dehumidifier in there – L.A. is a drier climate due to actually being desert, so it didn’t have to work that hard. Well, not usually, that is to say. When it was exceptionally hot outside, and my air conditioning kicked on full bore, the thermal difference created humidity that I had to combat.

Eventually, that safe’s hinges and lock degraded (through no fault of the dehumidifier – it was old when I bought it), and I had to replace it with a newer model. The new one, alas, lacked any kind of wiring, and I wasn’t about to try to modify it for such. That safe was designed to withstand a house fire!

At the time, wireless dehumidifiers may have existed, but heck if I ever saw such a thing. Industrial desiccants for this purpose also weren’t a thing, but the desiccant chemicals absolutely were.

So, with a little bit of chemical know-how, I created affordable dehumidifiers out of baking soda, some cornmeal, a little bit of rock salt, and talcum powder. I threw all of this, dry, into a blender, pulverized it to a coarse but even texture, and put it inside a very loose weave nylon pillowcase. I changed it every four days, which seemed to be just right.

Now, I’ve not experienced wireless dehumidifiers in gun safes, but I have used one for a pantry in my garage, to abate moisture in dry goods. And, my personal experience with them is, I wouldn’t use one if I had any better option. Their battery needs to be charged often, they’re far less efficient, and their retention reservoirs are questionable.

But, don’t judge specialized ones for gun safes by this – they’re sure to be more finetuned.

Top 5 Dehumidifier Technologies for Gun Safes

Goldenrod Original Dehumidifier – Most Compact Corded Dehumidifier

Goldenrod Original Dehumidifier: photo

This is a classic, quintessential corded dehumidifier with a simple technology in use. These are used in everything from food storage, electronics rooms to safes and sensitive shipping containers. They don’t have a reservoir to empty, unlike collection-based dehumidifiers, and they’re compact with no real assembly necessary.

Being a corded dehumidifier, these may be difficult to work with if your safe doesn’t have wiring already present to tap into. But if it does, this compact design might be a good space saver.

Features

  • Type: Corded Electric.
  • Coverage: 100 cu. Ft.
  • Requires Draining: No.
  • Requires Assembly: No, though the plug has to be put on.
  • Mountable: Yes.

Performance

This corded electric model is based on very old technology, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. All the possible kinks with this technological approach have long been ironed out, meaning that you know this one will work, and for a long time.

Being compact and thin, it’s easy to fit this in things like gun safes, cabinets, and lockets. The downside is, with corded models like this, you need an existing electrical connection to be present in the safe. While fancier safes have this, there are just as many models that do not, and we’ve touched on what a menace it would be to modify them.

If providing power to this isn’t an option, though, you’ll probably be pleased with this unit.

Pros Cons
  • Reliable and compact
  • Affordable
  • No assembly really needed
  • No reservoir/trap to drain
  • Safe
  • Requires a power supply
  • Somewhat fragile
  • Cord is short

Conclusion 

I’m comfortable recommending this one to people with a nicer gun safe than the last one I had. I’ve seen the newer models, with power supplies, carpet lining, and variable internal lighting. These seem to be growing in popularity and affordability, and this is a good dehumidifier for that kind of unit.

Goldenrod: Check the current price

PEET Dryer/Dehumidifier – Best for Rapid Dehumidification

PEET Dryer/Dehumidifier: photo

This isn’t a traditional dehumidifier, but rather a heat dryer which can also capture humidity as it cycles the air. This sort of design has its merits but also has some real risks we’ll talk about in a moment.

In the event that you had a small flood or leak, or a real wave of intense humidity, this sort of design is excellent for removing that humidity quickly, but as a regular regulatory device? That’s a bit subjective.

Features

  • Type: Corded Electric blow dryer/dehumidifier.
  • Coverage: 150 cu. Ft.
  • Requires Draining: Yes.
  • Requires Assembly: Basic snap-together assembly out of the box.
  • Mountable: No.

Performance

When used for its intended purpose, to rapidly dry things that suddenly became wet, damp or swampy, this works fantastically. One of the pictures even shows this being used to dry boots or shoes, and it works well for this.

If your gun safe suffered a rapid, immediate case of dampness or humidity, this is a good tool to get that out of there quickly. However, using this to dehumidify a gun safe on a regular basis is a bad idea. Not only is it bulky, but it produces heat. While the BTUs it puts out are normally well within tolerance ranges, sources of generated heat being present around guns with wooden parts, or heaven forbid, ammunition is just asking for problems.

Pros Cons
  • Very fast
  • Energy efficient
  • Good for removing initial wet/damp
  • Durable
  • Requires a power supply
  • Produces heat
  • Bulky
  • Unideal for sustained dehumidification

Conclusion

This is a good device to have around, especially if your gun safe has a felt or carpet lining. If it does get wet, this will dry it out in short order. But= I am not okay with recommending this as a way to achieve sustained, regular dehumidification due to a number of variables..

PEET Dryer: Check the current price

Eva-dry E-333 Renewable Mini Dehumidifier – Reusable Desiccant Technology!

Eva-dry E-333 Renewable Mini Dehumidifier: photo

We’d pointed out that desiccant technologies’ main shortcoming is the fact that over time, they stop working once the saturation of their molecular structure reaches a level of criticality. This means that most dehumidification technologies using silica gel or other desiccants tend to be designed in a disposable way. The problem there is, disposability means to cut corners in build quality.

This seems to be a good compromise, with a sturdy housing, a passive display, and renewable silica gel units. It’s small, unobtrusive, and can achieve the silica gel renewability through electrolytic processes. Simply plug it into an outlet when it’s “full”.

Features

  • Type: Silica gel/desiccant unit.
  • Coverage: 333 cu. Ft.
  • Requires Draining: No, but silica gel must be renewed electrically.
  • Requires Assembly: No.
  • Mountable: Yes.

Performance

This affordable solution for making silica gel/desiccant dehumidification sustainable does indeed work quite well, though conversely to the previous entry, this doesn’t work well when placed in environments where humidity has run rampant.

Once an area is initially gotten under control, though, this unit does well, requiring no power, and thus no danger is present. Unlike other silica gel solutions, it’s got a solid quality through and through.

Pros Cons
  • Good build quality
  • No power needed
  • Safe for children and pets
  • Affordable solution.
  • Compact
  • Works at a slow chemical speed
  • Display can be a bit odd

Conclusion 

I don’t dislike the use of desiccants for humidity control. As I said, when I had my second safe, which had no power supply, I used a little kitchen alchemy to make a desiccant similar to this. However, silica gel is a far better compound for this, and I like this compromise to provide good build quality. I’m happy recommending this, and would probably use this myself if I had a gun safe now.

Eva-dry: Check the current price

Dry-Packs 750g Silica Gel Canister – Durable Gel Dehumidifier

Dry-Packs 750g Silica Gel Canister: photo

There’s less to say about this implementation, as it’s one of the oldest ways to use silica gel without throwing the whole unit out. It’s a canister which has a small unit of orange silica gel beads at the top. It pulls air in naturally, and the gel absorbs the humidity.

Features

  • Type: Silica gel/desiccant unit. Huge canister.
  • Coverage: 400 cu. Ft.
  • Requires Draining: No, but silica gel must be renewed.
  • Requires Assembly: Only for silica gel replacement.
  • Mountable: No.

Performance

I like this kind of design for larger pantries and safes, but this sort of design takes up a lot of room in something like a cabinet or gun safe, honestly. It’s durable, it’s affordable, but it’s not very space-saving.

This is a very old approach to safe housing and use of desiccants, so old in fact that I can’t track down the first use of this sort of design.

It’s worth noting that this claims that the beads are renewable by heat, but this doesn’t work most of the time – expect to replace them wholesale more often than not.

Pros Cons
  • Renewable
  • No power supply needed
  • Very durable
  • Bulky

Conclusion 

This isn’t a bad design, but I’m not that comfortable recommending it for gun safes, because it’s not very space-conserving. If your gun safe is big, it’ll serve you well, but honestly, something like the previous product is much better for compact spaces.

Dry-Packs: Check the current price

BARSKA 150g Dehumidifier – Truly Reusable Gel

BARSKA 150g Dehumidifier: photo

This is an interesting idea. While other silica gel dehumidifiers do claim it’s possible to reactivate the gel, this usually doesn’t work, resulting in a need to replace the gel. The only other example that’s proven to be renewable in this manner is the Eva-Dry we looked at a moment ago, which sheds the humidity through electrolytic processes when plugged into an outlet.

This BARSKA model is a simpler design. It’s a bit pillow-like which isn’t great for space saving, but it’s a lot easier on space than the canister we looked at a moment ago.

Features

  • Type: Silica gel/desiccant unit.
  • Coverage: 400 cu. Ft.
  • Requires Draining: No. 
  • Requires Assembly: None.
  • Mountable: No.

Performance

This one works remarkably well, though it’s a bit fragile for being basically an industrial, silica-powered take on my pillowcase full of desiccant. Unlike my improvised solution, this is actually reusable. Simply microwaving it briefly actually restores its absorbent power.

It’s a bit space consumptive, but its malleability means it can be crammed into spaced well enough.

Pros Cons
  • Directly renewable
  • No power supply needed
  • Very durable
  • Kind of bulky and tacky

Conclusion 

This is a nice compromise, and a truly renewable silica gel is a nice idea. I like the electrolytic approach better, as sticking gel in a microwave makes me nervous, but it’s a sound concept.

BARSKA: Check the current price

Comparative Chart of Gun Safe Dehumidifiers

Product Features

Goldenrod

Type: Corded Electric.
Coverage: 100 cu. Ft.
Requires Draining: No.
Requires Assembly: No, though the plug has to be put on.
Mountable: Yes.

PEET Dryer

Type: Corded Electric blow dryer/dehumidifier.
Coverage: 150 cu. Ft.
Requires Draining: Yes.
Requires Assembly: Basic snap-together assembly out of the box.
Mountable: No.

Eva-dry

Type: Silica gel/desiccant unit.
Coverage: 333 cu. Ft.
Requires Draining: No, but silica gel must be renewed electrically.
Requires Assembly: No.
Mountable: Yes.

Dry-Packs

Type: Silica gel/desiccant unit. Huge canister.
Coverage: 400 cu. Ft.
Requires Draining: No, but silica gel must be renewed.
Requires Assembly: Only for silica gel replacement.
Mountable: No.

BARSKA

Type: Silica gel/desiccant unit.
Coverage: 400 cu. Ft.
Requires Draining: No.
Requires Assembly: None.
Mountable: No

FAQ

Is a gun safe dehumidifier necessary?
Not always, but it’s usually a good idea.

Can I stop moisture from getting in in the first place?
Thin seal strips along the doors and around anywhere things like wires go in can help, but there’s no airtight solution.

Can low humidity levels in a gun safe be dangerous?
If it’s literally less than 3% humidity, yes, you run the risk of sparks which could ignite something, or the dry air damaging lubricants in guns, or the woodwork on various guns.

What levels of humidity are acceptable for a gun safe?
There’s no academic answer to this, but a good ballpark figure is between 3-20% according to most.

How to use an extension cord for an electric dehumidifier? The safe is tightly closed, how do I use an extension cord then?
The short answer is, if there’s no power supply inside, you don’t. You need a wireless model or a silica gel solution. There’s no easy way to fix this problem.

Does a dehumidifier have any cons?
They can add to your power bill, though not significantly. Corded ones, as we’ve pointed out three times now, can be a pain if the safe isn’t set up for that. Maintenance can be a nuisance with silica gel as it denatures at times.

How often should I use a dehumidifier?
If it’s a sustained dehumidification, just leave it be. If you only have periodical humidity, 24 hours per week.

Conclusion

Any gun owner responsible enough to keep their weapons in a safe place, of course, appreciates the importance of proper care as well. Depending on your climate and your conditions, the severity of humidity will vary. No matter what, I would at least recommend a silica gel unit like one of the ones above, they cost little, don’t use power, and won’t overly dehumidify if you’re in a dry climate.

I like the EvaDry model myself, as powered dehumidifiers have too many issues, but in Florida or other humid places, they may be a necessary evil.