Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may arise during our tests and research.
Last updated: March 10, 2021
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Nobody enjoys excessive humidity. And while it’s easy enough to keep rooms aired out, or control the temperature in your home, what about small spaces? Compact, enclosed spaces need special devices to control their humidity, which is where desiccant dehumidifiers come in. The best desiccant dehumidifier can fit inside a small space, such as a closet or a gun safe. They are portable, easy to use, and allow great peace of mind that the valuables you are storing won’t be ruined by too much moisture in the air.
There is a lot to learn about desiccant dehumidifiers. While larger, home dehumidifiers are somewhat common, these smaller devices are for quite specific needs. Chances are, until you need to keep a small item at the right humidity level, you won’t have been aware of what a desiccant dehumidifier is. Don’t worry, as that’s where we can help. We will let you know about all the important features of these amazing products, including the coverage area, dimensions, and capacity.
In this article, we have reviewed six of the best desiccant dehumidifiers on the market. There is an overview table, followed by more in-depth product reviews. We have also included a buying guide that addresses all the information you need to know, as well as answers any questions you might have. Together we hope that you can find the perfect desiccant dehumidifier to keep your precious items stored perfectly.
The perfect combination of size, portability, and coverage area can all be found in the New and Improved Eva-dry E-333. Really, the name says it all. This product is new and improved and as a result is a can’t-miss for anyone needing to control the humidity in a small space.
No small space is a problem for the New and Improved Eva-dry E-333 as it has an impressive coverage area of 333 cubic feet. Whether it’s a small gun safe or an RV, you can trust this product to regulate the moisture in your air.
A really impressive feature of the New and Improved Eva-dry E-333 is the fact that it can last up to ten years. Not only is the purchase price affordable, but when averaged out over those ten years, it literally costs mere pennies per year.
To renew the silica crystals inside the New and Improved Eva-dry E-333, simply wait for the window to change from orange to green. This should happen about every 20 to 30 days. Then, plug the device in and wait for eight to ten hours. And voila! It can be placed safely back in the area you need it for. While some devices need to be placed in an oven to re-set the chemicals, having the ability to simply plug the New and Improved Eva-dry E-333 in to renew it is a much easier task.
The reviews for the New and Improved Eva-dry E-333 are all extremely positive, although you do want to be careful about the space you are using it in. You might need two devices to get the job done, but with the price of the New and Improved Eva-dry E-333 being so low, this is an affordable extra purchase.
What we liked:
Simply plug in to renew
Lasts an incredible ten years
What could be better:
May need two devices for larger or more humid areas
Even the smallest of spaces are not immune to humidity. If you need to tackle a moisture problem but are short on space, the Hydrosorbent Dehumidifiers Desiccant Drying Unit is the perfect option. This rectangular slab can fit just about anywhere. Whether it’s a gun safe, a closet, or even a storage room, you can place this product and know that it will do its job.
The coverage area is only three cubic feet, so the Hydrosorbent Dehumidifiers Desiccant Drying Unit is not meant for large spaces such as basements or even RVs. However, its size, including the fact its height is only ½ inch tall means it won’t take up any precious space in a small area.
The Hydrosorbent Dehumidifiers Desiccant Drying Unit can last a lifetime. Yes, you read that correctly: a lifetime. And with its affordable price, this might be one of the best investments you’ll ever make. Inside the unit is gel. Once the gel absorbs its max moisture content, the indicator will change color. Then simply follow the renewing instructions, which include warming the gel in the oven.
The renewal process will need to happen about once a month, depending on the amount of humidity in your location. For best results, schedule a reminder in your calendar so this process becomes routine.
One final feature that will surely impress is that you can have the option of purchasing one device or four, all at the same time. Yes, there is a four-pack option which is perfect if you have many small spaces to protect your belongings.
Most of the products on our list of desiccant dehumidifiers use chemicals in them, but we thought we’d add in the Ivation 13-Pint Small-Area Desiccant Dehumidifier as a slightly different alternative. This machine is the best desiccant dehumidifier for crawl spaces because it can remove moisture from the air in a slightly larger setting.
It also has the option for continuous draining. Crawlspaces are by design not very easy to get into. The more maintenance-free your dehumidifier is, the better for you. Having the ability to continually drain the excess water from the Ivation 13-Pint Small-Area Desiccant Dehumidifier means you don’t have to get dirty checking to see if the liquid holder is full. You also don’t need to worry about renewing any chemicals which can be a real hassle.
The Ivation 13-Pint Small-Area Desiccant Dehumidifier has an easy-to-read LCD display which has all your options ready to choose from. You can set the temperature or a timer and know that it will work.
While the Ivation 13-Pint Small-Area Desiccant Dehumidifier works well for crawl spaces and basements, it can also be used just about anywhere. And if you’re worried about noise, you can rest easy. Among the many options to choose from, there is a quiet mode and a fan on/off mode. You can be sure that your conversations or your TV aren’t disturbed by this dehumidifier.
All these features are amazing. Which is why it’s no surprise they come at a premium price. But for anyone struggling with humidity levels, it is a worthy investment.
One of the most versatile products on our list is the LOCKDOWN Silica Gel Can. It can be classified as one of the best portable desiccant dehumidifiers for your gun safe or van. Basically, if there is moisture in a small space, this product will work wonders.
Its small canister shape means it is portable and small enough to fit in a tight space. At just over five inches tall, it won’t take up much room, which is especially important in a gun safe or security box. As well, its silver style makes it look nicer than some of the similar models on the market.
The LOCKDOWN Silica Gel Can uses silica gel beads to absorb the moisture around it. Once they have reached their capacity, the beads will change color. They will start out yellow, but once they turn dark green, they will need to be renewed. The renewal process is easy. Follow the instructions, but basically you just need to place the device in the oven. Then, you can put the LOCKDOWN Silica Gel Can back where you need it to work.
For easy, convenient use, the LOCKDOWN Silica Gel Can is your best bet. It doesn’t have any fancy bells or whistles, but it removes humidity from the air, which is exactly what it’s supposed to do. You can expect the gel to last between one month to six months between renewing. This will all depend on the space you put the LOCKDOWN Silica Gel Can in and how moist the air is.
What we liked:
Compact and fits in most small spaces
Easy to operate
Easy to renew the silica beads
What could be better:
Might need to be renewed more often than advertised, based on humidity levels
Some products look fancy, but don’t really get the job done. Others look a bit silly, but work really well. The DampRid FG50T HI-Capacity Moisture Absorber is definitely in the second camp and we highly recommend it. With bright blue packaging, you might be put off a bit, but as long as this desiccant dehumidifier isn’t front and center in your living room, it’s a great product.
The DampRid FG50T HI-Capacity Moisture Absorber is one of the best portable desiccant dehumidifiers for your van, boat, or even RV. It has an impressive coverage area of up to 1000 square feet, so even if you have a garage or basement with high humidity, you could still use this product.
The DampRid FG50T HI-Capacity Moisture Absorber lasts for about six months, and each purchase comes with two containers. Together, this is a one year’s supply. It isn’t an expensive product, but it isn’t as cheap as others on our list. However, the large coverage area means it is still a really good bargain for your money.
While this product is pretty much just a bucket, the lid does have a spill resistant safety cover. You can place it on the floor anywhere and know that it won’t tip over and spill its contents.
If are looking for a desiccant dehumidifier that works in large spaces and doesn’t require any tedious maintenance, then the DampRid FG50T HI-Capacity Moisture Absorber is for you.
Those new to the world of desiccant dehumidifiers might want to start at the less expensive range, just to try the product out. The Dry-Packs 300gm Silica Gel Canister is the cheapest product on our list and is a great starter idea.
There aren’t any fancy indicators, so you will have to watch the silica crystals inside the device to see if it needs to be renewed. There is, however, a simple indicator that starts out as orange and will change to dark green to indicate a reactivation is needed.
To renew the silica crystals, follow the instructions which includes placing the crystals in the oven. You will want to renew the crystals about once per month, but they should last for many years, giving you amazing bang for your buck.
While the Dry-Packs 300gm Silica Gel Canister does come at a very low price, there are a few drawbacks to it. The biggest complaint from previous users is that while the product definitely works, it needs to be renewed at very high intervals. If you need the occasional humidity control, or are not too concerned, then this product will still work for you.
If, however, you plan on placing the gel canister in a gun safe or other area you don’t normally access, it can be a bit more problematic. You don’t want to make it a weekly habit of renewing your desiccant dehumidifier; it will simply become too bothersome.
What we liked:
Compact and perfect for small spaces
What could be better:
May need to be renewed too frequently
Things to Consider
A desiccant dehumidifier is usually a product of necessity, so you might not have much knowledge about them before you actually need one. This Buying Guide will cover all the features of desiccant dehumidifiers as well as answer any questions you might still have.
Where a desiccant dehumidifier can be of use
A desiccant dehumidifier is a small, portable device. While you might be familiar with a large dehumidifier that works in a room or even a whole house, this version is quite different. Regular dehumidifiers work to separate the water molecules from the air so that moisture is taken out of your room. You will need to regularly empty the drip tray or attach a hose to a drain. Desiccant dehumidifiers, on the other hand, use a drying agent to remove moisture from the room. Think of those tiny gel packets that you sometimes get with shoes. Desiccant dehumidifiers work the same, only on a larger scale.
When you have a small item that can remove moisture from the air, the possibilities are endless. Small closets that store expensive clothes, such as silks or furs, will greatly benefit from desiccant dehumidifiers. Gun safes need to have the right humidity levels for optimum performance of both the gun and the ammunition.
One further benefit of a desiccant dehumidifier is that most of them are portable. You can use them as needed, and if you are travelling, they can easily be packed into a suitcase.
Features to consider while choosing a desiccant dehumidifier
There are many important features to consider in your next purchase of a desiccant dehumidifier. We have put together what you should know in order to find a product that works best for your needs. Remember that some work better for gun safes and some are better for RVs. Find the product that meets your needs and you will be satisfied.
Capacity/water tank capacity (for electric models)
While most desiccant dehumidifiers use special gels or powders to absorb the moisture from the air, some products do have a water tank. In this case, you will want to pay close attention to the water tank capacity, as you will have to remember to drain the water routinely in order for the machine to continue to work.
The Ivation 13-Pint Small-Area Desiccant Dehumidifier is the only electric model on our list and it has a water tank capacity of 0.5 gallons. As expected from the overall size, this is not very large. Depending on the humidity of your climate, you may need to empty the water tank weekly or even daily. If this is the case, be sure to make it a part of your routine. Additionally, you may connect a draining hose to the unit, and the need to empty its water tank will be eliminated.
When it comes to runtime, the longer the better. It’s really nice to be able to set something up and not have to worry about it for a long time. With desiccant dehumidifiers, most have a runtime of one month. After this, the absorbing agents in the desiccant dehumidifier won’t be able to absorb any more moisture and will stop being effective.
It’s important to put a reminder into your calendar to change the dehumidifier or recharge it if that’s the case. Remember: if you’ve decided to invest in a desiccant dehumidifier, then you will want to continue protecting your belongings.
The runtime will absolutely depend on your climate’s humidity. If you live in a high humidity level, but don’t want the hassle of renewing your product every two weeks, then it might be a good idea to purchase a desiccant dehumidifier with a large coverage area. This way you can stretch the time between renewals which will create much less hassle.
When looking at coverage area, be sure to think about where you need the desiccant dehumidifier. There’s no sense paying extra for a large coverage area when you just have a small space.
If it’s rechargeable
You’ve invested in a desiccant dehumidifier to protect your belongings. Great! Then, after one month, you realize that your purchase isn’t working anymore. Do you really have to buy a whole new product? If you buy a certain type of desiccant dehumidifier, then no you don’t.
The DampRid FG50T HI-Capacity Moisture Absorber is the only product on our list that isn’t rechargeable, although it does have a decent shelf life of six months. Other products can be recharged or their water tanks can be emptied. This process might require a bit of effort on your part, so again, make sure the maintenance of your desiccant dehumidifier is scheduled into your calendar.
You will be using a desiccant dehumidifier in a small space, so make sure there’s room for the device itself! Most products on our list are smaller than five inches squared; however, the Ivation 13-Pint Small-Area Desiccant Dehumidifier is quite a bit larger. It measures 10.6 x 6.85 x 17.35 inches.
It’s recommended that you fashion a prototype of the desiccant dehumidifier you are looking at, from a small box, and try it in the space before you purchase it. Remember: measure twice and purchase once.
Beside these basic features of desiccant dehumidifiers, you might encounter some extra, bonus ones. Some products will include two items in a purchase. If you have multiple small spaces, this is a nice feature to look out for. Other features could include a display panel for ease of use, or even an indicator light. While extra features can be a real bonus, they might include a larger price tag, so be sure they are needed before paying more.
How to reactivate a desiccant dehumidifier
Desiccant dehumidifiers use a special gel to absorb the moisture in the air. But they can only hold so much before they stop working. Thankfully, you don’t have to throw your unit out and purchase a whole new one again. Instead, you can reactivate it.
When you first get your new unit, be sure to read its instructions as the reactivation process will vary slightly for each product. However, you basically need to heat the unit in order to remove the moisture. You will want to heat the unit or part of the unit in the oven at a high temperature. This could take anywhere from three to six hours.
Some desiccant dehumidifiers need to be heated in the oven. Others will have a plug-in system that heats the machine on its own. When heating anything in the oven, remove any flammable pieces, such as plastic lids or cases.
Standard gun safes are not very large, so all you need is one desiccant dehumidifier. In fact, this is why the items are so appealing. They can fit in small spaces and still work well. If you have a larger gun safe or are worried about the size of function, be sure to pay attention to this feature. When in doubt, opt for a product that has a coverage size slightly larger than what you need.
Occasionally, you might notice a smell from your desiccant dehumidifier. The gel used in these devices absorbs both moisture and odors, and those odors can’t be stored eternally. As the gel cycles through and becomes heated, the odors trapped in the gel might escape.
Some desiccant dehumidifiers might have a laundry mode. You can run this periodically in an open-air room to release any trapped, unpleasant odors.
Even the smallest spaces can attract excess moisture, which why a desiccant dehumidifier can really help you out.
Our Editor’s Choice for best desiccant dehumidifier is the New and Improved Eva-dry E-333. It works well, lasts for ten years, and is easy to renew the silica beads. It’s also very affordable. If you are short on space, then check out the Hydrosorbent Dehumidifiers Desiccant Drying Unit. This best desiccant dehumidifier slab is a nice rectangular shape and is only ½ inch high. It can be placed in small gun safes or safety deposit boxes. Its small size means it won’t take up precious room, but it will still get the job done.
Finally, if you have a larger space, such as a basement, crawl space or RV that needs the best desiccant dehumidifier, try the Ivation 13-Pint Small-Area Desiccant Dehumidifier. It has the option of a continuous drainage and a large range of features so that you can protect all your valuables.