Ruggard 235L Electronic Dry Cabinet Review

I recently had some severe water damage to my house that has taken almost 8 months to repair since it led to me remodeling my house. During this time I became concerned about protecting my rather large camera equipment collection from construction dust/debris/mold and more with the rising humidity levels in my house which could be in the 80% range since contractors tend to leave the doors open all day.

Living in Florida by the beach humidity is a constant issue and actually, lead to the destruction of my Leica M3 and three lenses I inherited from my uncle as a kid. This was a year one production Leica M3 that survived decades up north in New Jersey winters without issue and traveling around the world, but Florida was not kind to it at all.  Humitidy and camera equipment do not go well together for extended periods of time and can easily lead to mold damage and other issues. So I started looking into dry cabinets large enough to protect all of my equipment.

My plan was to build a dry cabinet into my closet so that it would be out of the way and protected. I decided to go with the Ruggard 235L Electronic Dry Cabinet because it was large enough to fit all of my equipment, but I could have used the 600L unit since I plan to buy a lot more glass for my GFX and Sony a7RIII. The 235L unit is also ideal for installation in a shelving system due to its form factor. The 600L and 180L would fit awkwardly and smaller units simply were not an option since they wouldn’t fit all of my equipment.

The Ruggard 235L has four very sturdy steel shelves, three of which can be adjusted, that have removable foam padding on them. I think Ruggard should have used a rubber-based pad instead of foam since foam can break down and make a mess. It would also be nice if this size unit had an option for rolling wheels instead of just rubber feet along with some fitted shelving options. It’s not easy to move this unit once you load it with equipment and it can be even more difficult to slide into a nook similar to my install due to the rubber feet.

The unit requires some assembly when you receive it and the manual doesn’t fully explain the process, but it’s pretty intuitive. There is a dongle inside the cabinet that needs to be plugged into the back of the controls that is not easy to access or see, but once you plug it in you can forget about it. Also, the front handles ship turned inwards, which gives the cabinet a very nice look, but you can turn them around by unscrewing the 4 screws holding them in place.

In use, the dry cabinet operates completely silently and brought the humidity inside the cabinet down to 40% in about two hours with a household humidity level of 66% on a rainy day. The humidity inside doesn’t rise much if you take equipment in and out deliberately, but it can take an hour or so to lower the humidity again if you keep the door open for an extended period of time. The doors also close nicely and feel like they have a good seal, but it would be nice if they had a spring hinge to close the unit so you don’t leave it open by accident.

Overall I am very happy with the Ruggard 235L after setting it up, but it is very much a set it and forget it dry box. The buttons on the front are a little flimsy so I wouldn’t want to use them too much and the LED light inside is practically useless since it only illuminates the top three shelves on the right side of the box poorly. Ruggard could easily fix this issue by encircling the front and back of the box with LED lights. Ruggard has a variety of dry cabinets available at B&H Photo if you are interested.

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