When it comes to safeguarding your most valuable possessions, nothing beats a safe-deposit box. But not everyone has the time to stop by the bank each time you require access to something. Which is where home safes come in. While they won’t offer better protection than a bank, you’ll definitely pat yourself in the back should some unfortunate event happen and all your valuables are safe from harm in your, er, safe. However, there are a lot of safes to choose from and not all of them have the same features – different types and levels of protection, size, lock, and price. If you’re not sure on how or where to start looking, we’ve got just the list for you. Below are the best home safes available that can meet a variety of needs. All you need to do is to choose the one that meets your needs perfectly.
Top 10 Home Safes Of 2020 Reviewed
1. SentrySafe XX-Large Water/Fire-Resistant SafeBest Home Safes For Documents
SentrySafe is one of the most reputable brands in the home safe industry. So, it’s really not surprising to see several of their products on our list. The XX-Large Water/Fire-Resistant Safe is certified by both Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Intertek (ETL mark), independent organizations who test the capabilities and performance of the products.
This safe has a UL classification of fire endurance at 1700ºF for 1 hour which means that it will keep your documents and records safe from getting burned. ETL has verified that CDs, memory sticks, and other digital media remain safe as well. ETL has also verified that this safe is impact-resistant (15-foot drop) and water-resistant (up to 8 inches of water for up to 24 hours).
Not only that, this safe is also equipped with six live-locking bolts, a pry-resistant hinge bar, and large 1-inch bolts to help secure your valuables from burglars. Plus, SentrySafe also provides an after fire replacement guarantee – if your safe goes through a fire, they’ll send a new safe free of charge and you even get a $50k fire protection guarantee. Obviously, this is a very large safe with 2.05 cubic feet of space including a deep multi-position tray and drawer as well as a door pocket.
However, it is really large which might limit the places you can install it inside the home. And while it does have some good security, including a combination lock, it hasn’t been tested by Underwriters Laboratories as a burglary safe. Fire Protection Only.
- UL Classified Fire Protection 1 hr/ 1700º F (927ºC)
- ETL Verified water resistance 8 in/ 24 Hr
- After fire replacement guarantee
- Maybe too big for some
- Not UL tested as a burglary safe
- Slightly expensive
2. First Alert 2017F
Not everyone needs a big safe. For some of us, a small one that can fit our most important papers like our passports, birth certificates, etc. will do. The First Alert 2017F is UL classified as fire resistant up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 30 minutes. What that means is that you can safely store your documents and electronic media (CDs, DVDs, thumb drives, etc.) inside it without worrying about anything getting destroyed by the fire. The chest features a waterproof seal to keep moisture out and enables it to float during a flood.
The space inside of the chest is just enough to lay an 8.5-inch x 11-inch paper flat which means you don’t have to fold them. The locking mechanism is a clamp style latch and key. And the chest comes with a handle. So don’t expect this to be burglar-proof. It may be easy to move the safe around but it also means it’s easy for the burglar to do the same. Also, take note that this will not be able to protect tapes, films, and floppy disks from melting in a fire. If you have large documents that you don’t want to fold, then you’ll need to buy a larger safe.
- UL Classified fire-resistant up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 30 minutes
- Not burglar-proof
- Not for large documents or tapes, films, and floppy disks
3. First Alert Waterproof Fire SafeBest Home Safe For The Money
The First Alert Waterproof Fire Safe is a great option for those who want something more than just a fire resistant chest. The Waterproof Fire Safe series offered by First Alert is one of the best in the market because it comes in several sizes and different locking mechanisms so you can choose which suits your needs best. The safe is UL classified as fire resistant at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit up to 1 hour and maintaining an interior temperature of fewer than 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
It also features a waterproof seal. For burglar protection, the safe can be bolted down to the ground. It features pry-resistant, concealed hinges, and 4 locking bolts. As for space, you do get a lot. For example, the safe comes with an adjustable shelf, a key rack, and a door pocket. More importantly, you’re able to place a binder inside the safe in an upright position should you want to. However, it is important to note the safe has not been verified by ETL as water resistant. It is also not verified by UL as a burglary safe. Plus, it is not classified by UL as capable of providing fire protection to electronic media.
- Lots of space
- UL classified “Class 350 – 1 Hour”
- Comes in different sizes and locking mechanisms
- Not ETL verified as water resistant
- Not UL classified as a burglary safe
- Not confirmed as capable of protecting electronic media in a fire
4. Mesa Safe MBF1512C
Mesa Safe’s MBF series is comprised of safes that offer burglary and fire protection. You can safeguard your documents, valuables, and even weapons in this unit that comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The safe has an all steel construction with an overall thickness of 4 1/2-inches which is lined with fire-resistant material. 3 1-inch diameter solid steel locking bolts and deadbolts along with heavy-duty solid steel hinges and a U.L. Listed Group 2 Combination Lock will all help deter burglars from getting inside and stealing the family jewels. The 4 pre-drilled anchor holes plus the anchor kit (included) will also ensure that enterprising thieves aren’t able to wheel the safe out.
Plus, the lock is protected by a drill resistant hard plate and a punch-activated relocking system. The safe has been tested in temperatures up to 1830 degrees Fahrenheit up to 2 hours and was able to maintain no more than 350 degrees inside. And it even has a heat activated seal. However, the testing was all done in-house. While there is a lot to approve of in terms of features, the safe lacks UL verification. Also, it is very expensive. But the company’s reputation does speak for itself and it has 30 years to back it all up. Provides burglar protection only.
- U.L. Listed Group 2 Combination Lock
- Solid steel construction
- Drill and punch resistant
- Not independently tested
- Hard to anchor
- Very expensive
5. AmazonBasics Security SafeBest Wall Safes For Home
If fire protection does not factor in your decision, then you might be interested in a budget-friendly burglary safe from AmazonBasics. This security safe comes in a variety of sizes and features 2 live-door bolts, pry-resistant concealed hinges, and an electronic lock. The lock comes with 2 emergency override keys just in case you forgot your code. Inside the safe is an adjustable/removable shelf. The entire safe is constructed out of steel with a carpeted floor inside.
It also comes with four bolts that will allow you to mount the safe to a wall, floor, or shelf for added theft protection. The safe is quite easy to access and provides a lot of room for documents, valuables, and even guns. However, it does not have certification/accreditation from UL or ETL so you should take it’s theft protection capabilities with a grain of salt. Also, this is not fire resistant or water resistant. For the price, though, it really can’t be beaten.
- The electronic lock is very convenient
- Very affordable
- Can be anchored down
- Not independently tested as burglar-resistant
- Not fire or water resistant
6. BARSKA Compact Biometric SafeBest Home Safe For Guns
If you want the convenience offered by the AmazonBasics Security Safe but with more advanced technology, you might be interested in the BARSKA Compact Biometric Safe. Instead of a code, you can use your fingerprint to unlock the safe. Within 2.5 seconds, the biometric scanner will enable you to access the contents of your safe and keep everyone else out. Its solid steel construction ensures that it will serve you for a good long while. The dual deadbolt locking system not only deters children but also visitors and thieves as well. The safe has undergone several tests such as the drop test, pry test, and saw test. It is even certified by the Department of Justice for firearm storage!
Another highlight of this safe is the fact that it has backup manual access just in case your battery runs out without you noticing. You can insert the keys into the hidden keyhole or just plug in a backup battery pack (not included) to power up the safe when you need it. However, this has not been independently tested for burglar protection. It is also not fire resistant and water resistant. And some owners wish that the safe came with a shelf to allow them to make the most out of the space inside the safe.
- Biometric lock
- Department of Justice approved for firearm storage
- Backup manual access
- Not fire resistant and water resistant
- No independent testing
- No shelf included
7. American Security BF1512Best Home Safe For Storing Cash
The American Security BF1512 is a UL-Listed RSC safe that features a U.L. listed Group II lock with spring-loaded auxiliary relock device, three 1-inch diameter solid steel chrome-plated locking bolts, a full-length dead bar, and a 3 1/2″ thick door with a 1/2″ thick steel plate. The body has a 1/8-inch steel shell with a thickness of more than 2.5 inches. Aside from its burglar rating, this safe has a U.L. listed Class 350°F, One Hour Fire Label which ensures your documents remain protected during a fire.
Even better, the manufacturer provides a lifetime fire replacement warranty to go with this safe. And if looks were part of your decision, the attractive granite finish should seal the deal. However, this is very expensive and will not protect more sensitive material such as electronic media, tapes, films, and the like in the event of a fire. It is also not verified as water resistant by ETL.
- U.L. listed Class 350°F, One Hour Fire Label
- UL-Listed RSC safe
- Attractive finish
- Very expensive
- Not for sensitive materials such as electronic media
- Not verified as water resistant
8. Liberty Premium Home LX seriesBest Home Safe For Coins
The Liberty Premium Home LX series is another series of UL-Listed RSC safes. This one features a UL Listed SecuRam Electronic Lock, triple case hardened steel plates, an 11-gauge steel body, fail-safe lockers, and 1.25″ diameter locking bolts. The safe also has a 1200º 90-Minute Fire Rating which can be attributed to the amount of fire insulation built into the safe – 4 layers in the ceiling and 3 layers in the walls, door, and door jambs. Plus, the Palusol 7X Heat Activated door seal ensures that smoke and heat don’t get inside the safe in the event of a fire.
The LX series offers different sizes and bolt count. Some of the models, particularly the LX08 and LX12, come with a hidden space under the floor as well as a door panel. What we love about this particular safe is the fact that it provides true burglar protection at an affordable price. However, its fire rating is not UL-classified. And the safe is not considered water resistant.
- UL-Listed RSC safe
- Affordable option
- Lots of fire insulation
- Not UL-Classified fire resistance
- Not water resistant
9. Hollon Safe PM-1014Best Home Safes For Jewelry
If you want something that has been certified as a burglary safe, one of the best in the market today is the Hollon Safe TL-15 PM Series. This is a UL-Listed safe that features Group 2M UL listed S&G dial or EMP Resistant Type 1 S&G Spartan D-Drive Electronic Lock, a bolt-down hole, a specially designed burglary resistant handle, a hard plate, a glass relocker, and a highly compressed proprietary concrete material.
All of that just to keep sticky fingers out where they don’t belong. The safe comes with a lifetime fire warranty and has been factory tested to withstand up to 1750° F for 2 hours, maintaining an internal temperature of 350° F. However, it was not independently tested by UL for fire resistance. The unit is also incredibly expensive. But it’s the perfect choice if you have valuables that you’d rather keep in the house such as jewelry and rare coins.
- UL-Listed TL-15 safe
- Lifetime fire warranty
- Made in the USA
- Very expensive
- Not tested by UL for fire resistance
10. American Security AMVAULT TL-30 CF2518Best Home Safe For Bullion
If you’re interested in superior burglar protection, then there’s only one choice for you – American Security’s AMVAULT composite safes. This series of safes were able to withstand attacks by UL testers using carbide disc cutters, drills, power saws, and even sledgehammers which is what earned them a TL-30 label. This is due to its numerous security features such as the U.L. listed Group 2M key changeable combination lock which is protected by a drill shattering hard plate and two additional spring-loaded devices and 6-10 massive 1½” diameter chrome plated solid steel locking bolts.
A spring operated boltwork detent system automatically engages the bolts when you close the door so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to set the safe’s lock. You can even add more security features such as the three-way boltwork option, an auxiliary key lock, and a glass relocking mechanism. Aside from burglar protection, this safe has a Two hour, 350°F factory fire rating and was tested up to 1850°F.
All of the safes in this series are massive, the smallest one has 1.8 cubic feet of space. Naturally, all that security comes with a very, very hefty price tag. There are only two things we’re concerned about – the lack of an ETL verification for water resistance and the fact that its fire resistance was not tested by UL.
- TL-30 label
- Can be customized to include even more security features
- Two hours, 350°F factory fire rating
- Very, very expensive
- No ETL verification for water resistance
- Fire resistance is not tested by UL
How to Choose the Best Home Safe: The Ultimate Buying Guide
The last line of defense inside your home against fire, flood, and/or theft is a home safe. So, it’s not such a big leap for anyone to consider storing their most prized possessions in one. Of course, like most things in life, not all home safes are made equal. Some will work better for documents while others are built specifically for storing jewelry and weapons. Due to the variety available in the market, finding out which home safe will best protect your valuables can get overwhelming. To help you navigate these unfamiliar waters, we’ve constructed a guide with a few helpful questions so you can find the right safe for you.
What do You Want to Protect?
You’re going to need to figure out what you want to protect before you consider the type of protection you’ll need. Are you planning on putting just documents inside? Then you might like to check out the First Alert 2017F. Or will there also be jewelry and other possessions with a high monetary value (i.e. rare coins)? If so, you’re going to need something burglar-proof. Are you going to store external hard drives?
Figuring out what you want to store will also help you figure out how big your safe must be. Stack all the stuff you plan to put inside the safe and measure how much space they occupy. This will give you a better idea of the minimum size you’ll need. We say minimum because you’re probably going to add stuff inside over time.
What Kind of Protection are You Looking for?
Obviously, you want to protect your most prized possessions and that’s why you’re buying a home safe. But what kind of protection are you looking for? There are three kinds of protection available – water, fire, and theft. Some home safes will have all three while others will feature only theft protection or fire protection. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, you’re going to want a safe that’s water resistant.
If you’re worried about a break-in, then you’ll want a home safe that has theft protection. Make sure you choose a safe that features the types of protection you need. Below we give a short overview of the different protections according to the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Intertek (ETL mark), independent organizations who run tests on the safes against a variety of conditions and rate them based on how well they performed.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the chances of a person experiencing a household fire that will require calling the fire department in an average lifetime is 1 in 4. What that means is the risk is real.
Of course, the type of items you’ll be storing in your safe will also affect the type of fire resistance offered by your home safe. For example, according to UL and Intertek, safes that store paper documents should be rated not to exceed 350 degrees. Old tape recordings require safes that do not exceed 150 degrees while DVDs and external hard drives are going to need a safe that won’t exceed 125 degrees inside.
To check the rating of a safe, you’re going to look for “Class 350 – 4 Hr” or something similar. This numerical rating indicates two things – the maximum temperature and the length of exposure the safe can take in terms of hours. The First Alert Waterproof Fire Safe, for example, is rated “Class 350 – 1 Hr.”
Burglary safes have different levels of protection that you can choose from. The United Laboratories provide a rating or classification that will indicate how much protection a safe will give should a burglar attempt to open it. Construction ratings (as these are called) are determined by the material specifications of the safe and how well they performed when tested.
B Class: Good Protection; steel doors are less than 1-inch thick and steel body is less than 1/2-inch thick.
C Class: Better Protection. steel doors are at least 1-inch thick and steel body is at least 1/2-inch thick.
UL RSC: Residential security container that is a combination-locked safe that will provide a limited degree of protection against attack by common mechanical and electrical hand tools. Tested by UL to resist entry for a net working time of 5 minutes. The American Security BF1512 is a UL-Listed RSC safe.
UL TL-15: Best Protection; provides maximum door protection against common tools. Tested by UL to resist entry for a net working time of 15 minutes. The Hollon Safe PM-1014 is a UL-Listed TL-15 safe.
UL TL-30: Superior protection; a combination-locked safe designed to provide a maximum door protection against common tools. Tested by UL to resist entry for a net working time of 30 minutes. The American Security AMVAULT TL-30 CF2518 is a UL-Listed TL-30 safe.
UL TL-30×6: Extreme protection; provides a maximum six-sided body and door protection against common tools. Tested by UL and shown to successfully resist entry through the door and body for a networking time of 30 minutes.
Aside from the ratings provided by UL, you need to make sure that your safe isn’t portable. Look for a safe that ways at least 100 pounds empty which makes them less attractive to burglars than other portable items around the house. For example, the smallest size safe in the Liberty Premium Home LX series weighs a good 265 lbs. You also might want to find one that has a bolt-down kit or one that can be anchored to a concrete floor which is another deterrent to burglars who are in a hurry.
Safes can have the added feature of being water resistant. If you want to have this feature, look for a “verified” mark to ensure that the safe has been tested by Intertek’s and have met the criteria for water resistance. The SentrySafe XX-Large Water/Fire-Resistant Safe, for example, is ETL verified as water resistant in up to 8 inches of water for up to 24 hours.
What Kind of Style of Lock do You Want?
Mechanical locks are the dial locks that you used in school when you were young. The advantage of a mechanical lock is that it isn’t going to be vulnerable to electronic failure or power outages. Though, this type of lock will need to be periodically maintained while electric locks do not typically require any type of maintenance. Also, mechanical locks will require professional assistance should you want to change your combination.
Electric locks, on the other hand, are incredibly convenient because they’re so easy to access. Some electronic locks run on batteries such as the ones you see in your hotel safe. The AmazonBasics Security Safe is a good example. However, you will need to replace the battery regularly if you want the lock to stay effective. If you want the highest level of protection, choose a safe with two different kinds of locks.
What Type of Safe do You Want?
Aside from different types of protection, walls come in different shapes and sizes. There are wall safes that you’ve probably seen in the movies. These are not able to support much weight so you’ll be limited to what you can store inside; it’s best used for storing documents, photographs, and the like. Floor safes, on the other hand, are bulky but can accommodate most types of valuables. Weapons safes are also available. Unlike the previous two we mentioned, this type will feature extra locks and pry-proof metal as well as locking bolt technology to reduce the possibility of being broken into.
Where Will You Place Your Safe?
The first thought that often comes to mind is to keep your safe in the master bedroom. However, that’s actually one of the very first places that a thief will check. Another place is your home office/study/library. If you’re going to get a home safe, it’s better to choose a location that would be an unlikely place for a thief to go looking such as your basement, spare bedroom, or a hall closet. Just keep in mind, if you’re going to store it in the basement, your house should not be in a flood-prone area.
How Much are You Willing to Spend?
Since you’re going to be storing your most prized possessions in your safe, you’re going to want the most protection that your money can buy (as much as you can afford, of course). Think of it as an investment instead of an expense. Also, when you choose a top quality safe, you can be sure that it’ll still be of good use to you for a good long while.
Before You Fork Over the Cash
While a safe might check all the boxes on your must-have list, there’s still one thing left to consider. Are you and your family going to be using it on a regular basis? A safe, no matter how high end its security features are, is no good to you if you still keep your valuables outside of it. Make sure that whichever home safe you end up choosing, it’ll be something that all of your family members will be comfortable using. Even if that means going for a more basic model. Then, once installed, make sure that all of you form the habit of using it. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The right safe will not only protect your possessions and keep them out of the wrong hands. It will also provide you with peace of mind. The key to finding the right safe is to do your research. Find out what you need, how much you can afford, and what safe best suits your lifestyle. Once you do that, you’re home safe (yes, pun very much intended).
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