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3 Best Gun Safe Dehumidifiers [Hands-On Tested]

We take a look at three dehumidifier options to see which is best to toss in your gun safe to protect your firearms.

You buy car insurance for your vehicles because you don’t want to risk losing your investment. So, why not do the same with your guns?

Probably want to protect these…

If you’ve got thousands of dollars in ammunition and firearms at your house, you want to do everything in your power to keep them from corroding into museum relics, right?

That’s why a quality dehumidifier should be inside every gun safe in America.

But how do you know which dehumidifiers are worth the money and which should be avoided?

Dehumidifiers

To help to cast some light on the question, we tested three gun safe dehumidifiers in a gun safe, measuring the humidity and temperature over the course of several days.

We’ll cover how these performed and ultimately help you decide which one to add to your safe. So keep reading!

And if you haven’t chosen a go-to gun safe yet…check out our Best Gun Safes article first.

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Non-Electronic Pick

    ZARPAX Rechargeable Desiccant Dehumidifier Bags

    Easy to use but might require frequent "recharging."

  2. Editor's Pick: Electronic

    LOCKDOWN GoldenRod Dehumidifier Rod

    Our go-to if you have access to an outlet inside your safe.

  3. More Affordable

    LOCKDOWN Dehumidifier Rod

    Cheaper than the Golden Rod but didn't yield great results.

Table of Contents

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Measuring Humidity & Temperature

Therm Pro hygrometer
ThermoPro Hygrometer used for testing humidity and temperature levels.

I picked up a $10 hygrometer from Amazon and stuck it in my gun safe.

The thing is smaller than a deck of cards and can tuck away virtually anywhere; it doesn’t take much space.

With my super scientific measuring system in place, I was ready to rock.

10
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Before testing, I got a baseline of how things normally are in my gun safe over the course of three days.

Testing every morning, I found that my gun safe averaged 48.3% humidity without any dehumidifier whatsoever.

I took track of the temperature as well and it averaged 17.6 degrees Celsius (that’s 63.7 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Best Dehumidifiers for Your Gun Safe

1. ZARPAX Reusable Dehumidifier Bags

The first dehumidifier I tested was a two-pack of desiccant-loaded bean bags from ZARPAX. These weigh less than a pound and will get you in the mood to play cornhole at a tailgate.

The cool thing about these is that they have a moisture indicator on the front of each bean bag.

ZAPRAX dehumidifier
The ZAPRAX dehumidifier bags came in a package of two.

When the indicator is blue, you’re good to go. When it turns pink, the bag has absorbed as much moisture as it can hold.

To get it ready again, the manufacturers state that all you have to do is toss it in the microwave for four minutes at 600 watts.

I threw both of these little beanbags in my gun safe, leaving them for three days and taking measurements each morning.

ZAPRAX dehumidifier 2
My attempt at dehumidifying the South.

The humidity was measured at 32% each morning, which was rather noticeable compared to the average no-dehumidifier measurement (a 16.3 percentage point difference).

I ended up with 61.9 degrees Fahrenheit every morning as well.

By the end of the three days, both bags indicated that they’d absorbed as much moisture as they could hold – something I found slightly annoying.

If you’re okay drying them out twice a week, it’s cool. If you’re looking for a one-and-done solution, these guys aren’t it.

Non-Electronic Pick
20
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Recharging these guys was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be. My microwave doesn’t tell me its wattage. It says it’s a 1000-watt output, which I assume is for the highest setting, so I cut the power from a ‘LEVEL 10’ to a ‘LEVEL 6 and stuck them in for four minutes.

They were both crazy hot to the touch at the end of the time, steaming profusely, and still indicated that they were wet.

(Nothing caught fire, though, so that was a plus.)

I personally don’t like the idea of having to microwave a dehumidifier bag. It’s just an extra thing to do – and an annoying thing at that.

If this doesn’t bother you and you like an “unplugged” version of gun safe dehumidifier, this may be an option to consider, however.

2. LOCKDOWN GoldenRod

Goldenrod Dehumidifier
The GoldenRod is a…golden rod, just as the name implies.

The next dehumidifier I tested was the LOCKDOWN GoldenRod. It comes in four different sizes (12-, 18-, 24-, and 36 inches) — I tried the 12-inch model.

The first thing I noticed about this one out of the box was that it had to be plugged in.

Thankfully, my safe had a little hole in the back that I could thread the cord through. If your safe doesn’t have a spot for a cord, you’re out of luck here.

GoldenRod Cable
A pre-attached plug may not fit through the hole in your safe, so you have to attach it yourself after routing the cord.

After you thread the cord through the GoldenRod, you have to attach the plug to the cord.

This isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. All you have to do is push the cord into the hole, lay the cord flat, and then slide this little plastic piece over everything.

GoldenRod Plastic Cover
You can see the hole at the bottom of the plug.

Those two little flaps of metal you see on the plug are metal spikes. Don’t try to push them down with your bare finger (lesson learned). They don’t move.

When you finally slide that little plastic rectangle over the plug, it forces the two metal spikes to pierce the sheathing of the wire, putting the metal in contact with the wire.

Plug Spikes
Yes, they are sharp.

This is how the juice gets to your GoldenRod inside your safe.

It took me a little bit to figure out how all this went together. I’d never seen anything like this before, plug-wise, but it was relatively simple in retrospect.

GoldenRod Plug
This is what the plug looks like once everything is assembled.

Once your GoldenRod is plugged in, it will start to heat up. You want to make absolutely sure nothing is touching this — no ammo boxes, desiccant packets, or powder, as this thing gets pretty hot.

We’re talking hot enough that you can’t safely touch it. (Yes, I tried).

The instructions say that the GoldenRod works by slightly increasing the temperature inside of the gun safe. This results in warm air circulating throughout the safe, keeping humidity, mold, and condensation at bay.

After three days of testing the GoldenRod, I found that the humidity was 40.3% on average, and the temperature inside the safe was 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Editor's Pick
41
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

So, there was a substantial decrease in the humidity compared to the baseline but a slight increase in the temperature within the safe as well.

I didn’t get anywhere near the low humidity levels that the ZARPAX bean bags gave me, but I did like not having to worry about “recharging” my dehumidifier twice a week.

I will confess that leaving something this hot in my gun safe initially left me a little uncomfortable — perhaps I have too vivid of an imagination.

However, everything worked just fine, and my fears were found to be unjustified.

What do you think of the Golden Rod? Give it a rating below!

Readers' Ratings

5.00/5 (138)

Your Rating?

3. LOCKDOWN Dehumidifier Bar

Lockdown dehumidifier

This is the baseline model available from LOCKDOWN. It’s substantially cheaper than the GoldenRod ($46 vs. $15) and functions exactly the same.

I threaded it through the hole in my safe, fiddled with the plug, and started collecting data over the next three days.

The average humidity was 43.7%, and the temperature in the safe hovered around 68.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Things were improved over the baseline conditions, but I wasn’t as impressed with this one.

Lockdown dehumidifier

True, it kept the temperature virtually the same as the GoldenRod, but the humidity only dropped 4.6 percentage points.

To me, that’s not worth the money. If I’m going to pay for a dehumidifier, I want to make sure that I’m seeing a significant drop in humidity.

You get what you pay for here, I suppose.

More Affordable
19
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Final Thoughts

I think that effort is the important part here. You have to take steps to protect your guns from moisture. Otherwise, you won’t have a gun for long — you’ll have a rusty, metal pole.

Vaultek RS500i, Open
Protect your investments, fam.

If you want a set-it-and-forget-it system to keep everything relatively dry, I would go ahead and purchase the GoldenRod.

It worked so much better than the LOCKDOWN dehumidifier rod that I think the extra $30 is well worth it.

Editor's Pick
41
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

If you don’t have a source of electricity nearby your gun safe, you have no option but to throw in some form of desiccant packet system, and the ZARPAX is a solid option.

It is noteworthy that the average humidity levels within my gun safe were at least 10 percentage points lower than with the other two options I tried.

20
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Provided you are doing something, you’re going to end up with much better cared-for guns compared to the person who leaves their guns to the mercy of the elements.

How do you fight moisture in your gun safe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t have a storage solution yet? Check out our review of the 16 Best Gun Safes.

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10 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    will brinson ferguson

    I use an IP65 rated RIDGID Cold Box [i.e. - sealed, water resistant, ice cooler] to store my ammo in to mitigate temperature fluctuation, and seal the ammo in from outer air moisture.

    I have been looking for some rechargeable desiccant bags to place in the cooler to capture the moisture inside so it won't get onto the ammo. After reading this article I ordered a 4 pack of the ZARPAX Rechargeable Desiccant Dehumidifier Bags.

    I also ordered a ThermoPro TP357 Digital Hygrometer/Thermometer with Bluetooth to place inside the cooler as well so I can use the Smart App on my phone to monitored the temp and humidity within, without having to open the lid and let air exchange bring more moisture into the box.

    This way I'll know if and when the humidity rises to above my preferred 33%, of which I'd recharge the desiccant bags and start again. Yet I figure being there couldn't be any air migration in and out of the IP65 rated RIDGID Cold Box it should not gain more moisture, other than when I open the lid. So basically as long as I put fresh recharged desiccant bags in and latch the lid down I'd be good to relax without worry. And I'll easily be able to check the conditions within the box at any time without having to open the lid and let air exchange take place, until the app says the batteries are getting low.

    Hopefully this is as good as, if not better, than the plug and play dehumidifiers, for long term storage. Once they are delivered I will run the "only time will tell" test and get back to y'all with my results. Stay tuned?

    December 21, 2022 4:52 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      will brinson ferguson

      The results are coming in.

      First, I placed a ThermoPro TP357 Digital Hygrometer/Thermometer with Bluetooth within the ammo storage box (i.e.- IP65 rated RIDGID Cold Box [sealed, water resistant, ice cooler]. Then I reduced the humidity from 52% within the ammo storage box, by heating it up inside with an electric heater blowing into it, until the ThermoPro TP357 Digital Hygrometer/Thermometer had a reading of 22% Humidity, and latched the lid down, whereby sealing it. Over the next 12 hours the humidity rose up to 34%, and continued to rise over the next 6 days to 42%.

      At this point, I opened the lid and reheated the inside of the box, whereby lowering the humidity level down to 19%, tossed one ZARPAX Rechargeable Desiccant Dehumidifier Bag inside, and lathed the lid shut again. Over the next 3 hours the humidity level rose to 25%, and over the next 32 hours the humidity lowered gradually to 21%, and has been holding steady there now for 3 days. The humidity outside has been fluctuating between 52-99%, and inside it has been between 39-57% during the testing period.

      I have also done the exact same thing with three "RIDGID 2.0 Pro Gear System Power Tool Cases", and they too are steadily maintaining low humidity levers as well. I use one to store my Chronograph, one to store my reloading tools, and one to store my reloading supplies*.

      So this definitely seems to be an excellent long term storage system. Of coarse if I open the lids on a day with high humidity I would have to re-lower the humidity within the boxes before latching them shut again, but I am thinking if I open the lids on a day that has less humidity, than what they retain now, then I could simply skip the heating process and just simply latch the lids down and be good to go again.

      The "ZARPAX Rechargeable Desiccant Dehumidifier Bags" have definitely made a difference so far, but perhaps over a longer period of time they may become saturated to the point that the humidity levers within the boxes will begin to rise, of which I would simply have to recharge them at such a point. One way or the other this seems to be an excellent way to stave off the effects of humidity (*other than the fact that the lids are latched and sealed with stuff that would explode in a fire, so I will be installing a "Pressure Relief System", such as a giant reed valve or two, to bypass this issue).

      Again, only the "test of time" will tell. So I will try and give periodic reports, as well as the years end statistics.

      January 2, 2023 7:28 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        will brinson ferguson

        As mentioned above, I had placed my ammo in an IP65 rated RIDGID Cold Box [i.e. - sealed, water resistant, ice cooler] to store my ammo in, to mitigate temperature fluctuation, and seal the ammo in from outer air moisture, and also lowered the humidity down to 20% with desiccant packs. Now after watching two videos on YouTube I did more research and came across an article that explains exactly what the videos attempted to address.

        After reading the article I IMMEDIATELY opened the cooler, took out the desiccant pack and will be getting a humidor that regulates to between 40-50% humidity, as well explained in the article in the link below (A MUST MUST READ on this subject).

        I'll not only will be storing my ammo at 40-50% humidity from this day forward, but my powders and primers to boot!

        The answer to the question is:
        "ALWAY STORE AMMO, POWDERS, AS WELL AS PRIMERS @ A CONSTANT 40-50% HUMITY as much as possible!"

        The information in the article can be found in the "Norma Reloading Manual - Pression Reloading Guide For The Professional Shooters".

        January 8, 2023 11:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Andrew F.

    This article prompted me to do a little research, because I always assumed dehumidifiers were only necessary if I kept my safe in an unconditioned space like a garage. Turns out the NRA recommends 30% - 50% relative humidity at room temperature for ideal firearms storage conditions. In a humid climate, home builders are happy if the indoor relative humidity levels stay below 60%, because that’s low enough to prevent mold growth. So in humid climates, dehumidifiers might be a good idea even if your safe is inside. But according to the internet, ammo should be ok up to 65% relative humidity, so standard air conditioning should be good enough for ammo storage (still locked up though).

    September 26, 2022 8:52 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Donnie

    How did you get the humidifiers that require electricity out of the Vaultek safe in the picture? I have a Vaultek safe and was wondering how I would make it work if I got one of them that requires electricity.

    September 25, 2022 8:17 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Aden Tate

      With those ones, you thread a wire through a hole in the safe and then assemble the plug once the wire is outside.

      September 28, 2022 3:48 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark

    Any more suggestions? This was a goods article but not really much options.

    September 25, 2022 3:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sua Sponte

    Great suggestions and good insight. I haven't taken the steps to anything electronic and have been using Damp-Rid for several years, which seems to have been working fairly well so far and is relatively inexpensive, especially if you buy the refill bags in bulk. I guess I'm a bit weary of the electronic side.

    September 24, 2022 5:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    mnsmorgans

    I use the dessicant and the heating stick. The dessicant actually adsorbs (that is not a mis-spelling) water from the air. The reason it saturates so quickly is- as you remove moisture, there is less vapor mass in the safe so the pressure decreases (ask Bernoulli about that) and more air, with moisture migrates in. And the cycle continues. I bought ones that you can plug into the wall to dry.
    The heating sticks warm the air, lowering the RELATIVE humidity. Same mass of moisture in the safe, less that which migrates out with air due to increased pressure from increased temperature (again - Bernoulli- he was pretty smart). The advantage to the stick is it steadies the temperature in the safe, lowering "breathing" and migration of moisture into the safe. Disadvantage is the same mass of water is in the air in the safe.
    And yes, I have to regenerate the dessicant every few days, it means it's doing it's job.

    I also keep a good coat of WD40 on all my guns in the safes.

    September 24, 2022 5:02 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Cal

    If you store at the conditions with no dehumidifier and steady conditions, will that cause rust and premature failure of ammo?

    September 23, 2022 3:18 pm
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