How to Buy a Safe

What kind of Safe do You need?

A short introduction to safes and what will you be looking for to protect your valuables.

If you have just decided to buy a safe and looking at wide selection of safes on our website, you will want to familiarize yourself with all the options. Whether you’re shopping for a small personal safe or a 6 feet tall burglary and fire rated safe for your business, chances are you will have a lot of questions. There’re hundreds of different kinds of safes on the Internet today, many sizes, features, options and you need to make a very serious decision, ’cause the safety of your valuables depends of it. We will try to make your choice easier and explain all the options in details.

Fire Protection Safes:

Do you need a safe to protect your valuables from fire damage? If you do, then you need to decide of the fire rating. Regular fire safe is usually built with 2 sheets of metal boxes, one inside of the other and some sort of insulation in between. It can also have a metal structure and a Type X fire board attached to it. Fire safes do only what they are designed for – protect your valuables from heat and fire, you wouldn’t want to use a fire safe for burglary protection or unauthorized access.

Fire is the number one concern of most customers, how real is the risk of fire damage? According to The National Fire Protection Association there is a 1 in 4 chance of experiencing a house fire large enough to call the fire department.

UL and Intertek rate fire-resistant safes in terms of what type of material they’ll protect and how long they’ll protect it. For example, safes rated to protect paper documents shouldn’t get any hotter than 350 degrees on the inside during a fire, If you plan to store old tape recordings or 35mm slides, however, you’ll want a safe that’s rated not to exceed 150 degrees inside. Computer disks and DVDs are even more sensitive, so if that’s what you’ll be storing look for a safe whose interior won’t exceed 125 degrees. This information should be on the safe itself, and you might see it on the packaging as well.

Thirty minutes of protection is most common for home safes, you can also find safes that offer one, two or more hours protection, the longer the protection the higher the price of the safe. Thirty minutes should be enough, fire moves through a house rather quickly, so 20 minutes is the average in a room or an area.

Burglary Protection Safes:

Burglary ratings for house safes are not as common as ratings for commercial burglary safes, like large safes used by pawn shops or jewelry stores. Professional independent companies and UL testers use tools, blow torches and explosives to break open a safe and figure out its resistance to burglary. An average TL-15 burglary rated safe can withstand at least 15 minutes of using common household tools.

Small and inexpensive house safes don’t usually offer any real burglary protection, however, they’re still capable of some protection. Burglars usually go for easily accessible valuables that they can just grab real quickly and get out of the house. They would be less inclined to waste time trying to open a safe, even if the safe is not designed to resist burglary.

A one or two cubic-foot safe usually weighs about 100-150 pounds empty, thus making it a very difficult target. Try to store items like jewelry, cameras, small electronics, and other portable items in your safe, it would only take a minute for a burglar to grab them and go if they’re laying around in your house. Some safes come with bolt-down kits, so the safe becomes even harder to lift or carry out of the house. If you’re not sure of the level of burglary protection you require, you can at least make sure to secure the safe with nuts and bolts for a peace of mind. You can also buy a safe that can be concealed in a wall or in a floor, not only these kind of safes are very difficult to move, they can also be hidden out of plain sight.

Water Resistant Safes:

Water protection usually comes as an extra feature to otherwise Fire or Theft resistant safe. Test engineers at Intertek submerge safes to simulate flood or broken water line and figure out how long does a safe stay dry on the inside. Even though water protection is not the biggest concern of a regular customer, it does make you feel better about the safety of your items that may be damaged by water. If it comes to a choice of Fire and Burglary Safe vs. Fire, Burglary and Water protection, you might want to consider all three options, after all your safe will serve you for years and we never know what might happen tomorrow.

What they cost

$30 will buy you a small fire resistant box, it is only good for important documents like passports, birth certificates, insurance policies etc. Something that does not hold any value for a burglar, but could be hard to replace in case of fire. Safes larger than one cubic foot are usually fire rated and offer substantial burglary protection, the prices can range from $100 to $400, depending on the actual size and rating. You can use these safes for all of your valuables, like cash and jewelry, stock and bond certificates, handguns and ammo. Some parts of large safes can also be upgraded, for example from a key to dial or digital lock, add extra drawers and shelves to organize the space inside the safe, LED lighting etc.