Shipping Container Dehumidifiers – How to Prevent Condensation in Your Container

Mold, mildew, and item deterioration are all consequences of condensation in shipping containers. And we all remember Monica’s hair in Friends and how it reacted to humidity but imagining the same affecting your valuable equipment, tools, and pieces of furniture can turn into a nightmare. 

But the humidity and condensation damage isn’t inevitable in shipping containers. All you have to do is invest in a trustworthy container dehumidifier to keep the interior dry and safe. 

So, if you’re using a shipping container for business purposes or storing your tools or furniture at home, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll talk about the best humidifiers to absorb the excess moisture from the shipping container and how to pick the right one. So, keep on reading. 

How to Use Shipping Container Dehumidifiers to Prevent Condensation

shipping container dehumidifier for extra moisture control
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Shipping container condensation happens when the temperature of the container walls becomes lower than the dew point temperature of the air inside.

As a result, the water vapor condenses, damaging whatever is inside the shipping container. The humidifier will absorb this extra water vapor and keep the container dry, making it a much needed accessory for most converted containers. 

As of 2017, 1.83 billion metric tons of goods are shipped in containers across oceans, and more of these storage units are used as on-site storage for commercial and residential purposes.

And without coming up with a potent solution to keep the shipping container dry, even the most durable items can get permanently damaged unless you find a solution to control condensation and prevent it from accumulating.

The amount of water accumulating on the container walls differs according to several factors. These include frequency of ventilation, air temperature, moisture content of the items you’re storing, how you’re storing items, container insulation, and the status of the container’s interior itself. 

For example, if you’re using your shipping container for storing your gardening mulch, potting mix, wooden containers, or other organic materials, you can expect to deal with a high level of moisture which eventually condenses on the container walls and rains on top of anything you’re storing. 

Similarly, if you open and shut the shipping container’s door frequently and there’s a big difference in the internal and external temperature, condensation is more likely to happen. Poor ventilation can also allow vapor to accumulate and condensation rain to occur. 

The dehumidifier extracts the water vapor from the air and collects it in a storage unit, preventing the growth of mold and mildew. Without this device, the items you’re storing inside shipping containers will be subject to the following. 

  • Damage because of the growth of mold and mildew. 
  • Damage to cardboard and paper packages. 
  • Corrosion and rust of metal items.
  • Warping and change in the shape of wrapping materials like wood, plastic, and metal. 
  • Packaging powder can turn into a solid. 

Best Moisture Absorbers for Shipping Containers

remove moisture when condensation occurs
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You can improve the ventilation by digging proper ventilation holes in storage containers to improve airflow and regulate moisture levels. However, if you really care about the status of the items in your shipping container, then you need to invest in a dehumidifier.

Here are some of the best devices to keep the air dry in your shipping container and maintain the condition of whatever you’re storing or transferring. 

  1. hOmeLabs 4,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier – Best Overall

This is an easy-to-use dehumidifier that removes up to 50 pints of water from the air, and its capacity makes it suitable for spaces up to 4500 square feet. It’s also an excellent choice if you live in extra humid weather. 

It’s a good choice if you don’t want to worry about emptying the container, as it accommodates 1.6 gallons of water.

As a result, it’s capable of guaranteeing the safety of whatever you’re storing and protecting your valuables from shipping container condensation. 

With a clean, elegant look and convenient built-in wheels, you can move this device around the storage shipping container and even use it in the house. The modern and sleek look won’t ruin your décor. 

prevent moisture buildup in humid climates
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You can either use the normal mode, or you can activate the turbo mode when the levels of moisture are incredibly high to remove container rain. Nevertheless, cleaning the filter every month is essential to guarantee adequate performance. 

This dehumidifier is suitable for those who don’t want to check on their storage container regularly because it automatically shuts off once the tank is full.  You can also connect it to a 5/8-inch garden hose for continuous draining. 

Choosing this dehumidifier will work for you if you store your items in hot weather. It even comes with a defrost function for more control over the ambient temperature. 

  1. HOGARLABS 3500 Sq Ft 50 Pint Dehumidifier – Best Budget Choice

This dehumidifier removes up to 50 pints of condensation in a shipping container that measures up to 3500 square feet. It can efficiently adjust the level of humidity in moist air if it measures between 30% and 80%, guaranteeing the best storage conditions for your valuables. 

Thanks to the three-mode operation with a powerful compressor and two fan speeds, you can easily adjust its performance to suit your needs.

The DEHU is the best mode for shipping container storage, while the DRY mode can be used to quickly dry wet items after accidental flooding.

You can also activate the CONT mode when there’s a continuous need for dehumidification with a high possibility of container rain. 

preventing condensation in a shipping container with wooden pallets
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It features a clean and elegant design with movable wheels and handrails for easy transport and handling. Moreover, it comes with a digital display that shows the actual level of humidity in your storage space. 

The only drawback with this dehumidifier is that the 0.6-gallon tank is too small, but it comes with an indicator that lights up to remind you that you should empty it.

But if you don’t want to do that, you can connect the 6.6-feet drain hose to continuously drain the tank. The reusable filter needs to be cleaned every month to stay in perfect condition. 

  1. 50 Pint Small Portable Desiccant Dehumidifier – Best for Long-Term Storage

This dehumidifier is one of the most versatile ones on our list. You can use it free-standing, on its side, or upside down, and it can be mounted to the wall or roof interior, so it will work for you if store sensitive cargo in small storage space. 

It doesn’t feature a pump, compressor, or drain hose, so there will be no water leaks, and you won’t have to worry about emptying water containers as you get rid of container rain.

The pump can absorb up to 50 pints of condensation in shipping containers per day, and it works at 52 dB, so it’s not noisy even if you have to spend some time working inside the storage container. 

polystyrene insulation for side walls
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This dehumidifier operates best in temperatures from -4 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and is suitable for spaces that measure up to 1000 square feet. It can be left unattended, and it will still perform its job efficiently and keep the container wall’s temperature below the dew point of the air.

It’s a good choice if you want to remove moisture from a storage container after an accidental flooding, thanks to its powerful performance. 

Using this dehumidifier is recommended if your storage unit is located near water or in a harsh environment where corrosion might occur and ruin your stored items because of shipping container condensation. However, it’s not the right choice if you have a large shipping container. 

What to Look For When Buying the Best Dehumidifier For Shipping Containers

Dehumidifiers efficiently reduce indoor humidity and keep your shipping container safe and dry. But to choose the right unit, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration. 

Container’s Capacity

Before picking a model, make sure that its pump is strong enough to remove water from your indoor space by keeping the container wall’s temperature below the dew point of the air. Some dehumidifiers are suitable for the rooms in the house but won’t be powerful enough to keep your shipping container dry. 

You need to make sure that the container’s capacity is equal to or more than the overall area of the shipping container. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy more than one device to keep your storage area dry. 

Adjustability

Having an adjustable and versatile device is a big plus. You can easily increase the power of the pump, depending on the weather conditions, and you might be able to use it in various shipping containers. This way, you won’t be using the dehumidifier’s full capacity unless needed. 

Drainage

Dehumidifiers absorb moisture from the room and store the condensed water in a water tank. A larger tank means that you’ll have to worry less about emptying it. 

However,  most devices allow you to connect a hose for continuous drainage.  This way, your dehumidifier will keep on working with no supervision. 

Conclusion

To effectively keep your shipping container dry and safe, we recommend that you check out the hOmeLabs 4,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier. It’s a powerful device that works for big spaces up to 4500 square feet, so it’s an excellent choice for most shipping storage containers.

You can also activate the turbo mode when needed for maximum efficiency in high-humidity situations and moist climates. 

But if this doesn’t meet your buying criteria, we recommend that you take a look at the other options on our list. Let us know what you think in the comments! 

Ryan Stetson

Ryan Stetson

Currently own two 20' and 40' containers converted into an office/workshop. Having worked in the shipping industry for 6 years, my goal is to share my personal experiences as well as connect potential container buyers with suppliers around the US.

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