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?
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?
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!
Table of Contents
Measuring Humidity & Temperature
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
3. LOCKDOWN Dehumidifier Bar
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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