Your Guide to Buying a Home Safe
Although there is a general decline in the number of burglaries, it’s estimated that one burglary occurs every 26 seconds somewhere in the United States! Besides the monetary loss, a burglary can mean the loss of all sorts of objects of sentimental value. You can also lose your valuables as a result of natural disasters, such as fire or flooding. All told, it’s worthwhile investing in a home safe that’s impervious to burglary, as well as fire and water damage.
You’ll see home safes differ greatly in their dimensions. There are some that are can be bolted to the wall or floor. Yet others are pretty much just a sophisticated attache case, protected either with a key or combination. And many have waterproof, fireproof, and shockproof features, to make sure that nothing happens to your valuable jewelry, documents, and other items.
We’ll discuss some of the offerings in the Best Reviews Guide list of the 10 best home safes. We’ll study the ways they secure your valuables, and how you can derive the most benefit from their security features.
Types of Home Safes
We can distinguish between home safes by their locking mechanism:
Keypad lock: These typically will have a factory-set digit combination that cannot be deleted or changed. You can also two add additional programmable 5-digit codes. The SentrySafe Fireproof/Waterproof Safe with Digital Keypad uses such protection. It also includes a key lock, which is an additional level of security. That is, if you activate the key lock, you can only open the safe if you have the 5-digit code and the key.
SentrySafe Fireproof Waterproof Safe (Model No. SFW123GDC)
Fingerprint lock: These safes use a biometric fingerprint sensor to open the safe, as well as a digit code. An example is the Viking Security Large Biometric Safe (Model No. VS-50BLX). This particular lock can be set for up to 50 different fingerprints.
Viking Security Large Biometric Safe, with a closeup of the number pad and fingerprint reader
Dial combination: You can also find combination safes, such as the First Alert Waterproof and Fire-Resistant Bolt-Down Combination Safe. It uses a four-digit combination, as well as an entry key for another level of security. It also has an override key, in the event that you forget your combination.
First Alert Bolt-Down Combination Safe
Portable safes: There are also portable safes that usually open with a key. Instead of bolting such a safe to the wall or floor, you can carry it with you in case of an emergency. That way, you can keep all of your important documents in a single place. If a fire breaks out in your home, you can take the safe with you. An example is the SentrySafe Fireproof Box with a Key Lock.
SentrySafe Fireproof Box
SentrySafe also makes a key lock safe that’s primarily for important documents, with individual folders for compartmentalizing the documents. The Sentry Safe Document Box is fireproof for 30 minutes and waterproof for 72 hours.
SentrySafe Document Box
What reviewers say
Here are a few impressions of people who purchased a home safe:
Bolting the safe: There are safes that come with lag bolts, to either bolt the unit to the floor or to a wall. Customers warn that this may void the safe’s warranty against water penetration. But, you should be able to seal where the safe is attached with silicone to form a waterproof seal.
What if the batteries die out?: The SentrySafe Fireproof Waterproof Safe requires 4 batteries to operate the electric keypad. The batteries are inserted behind the keypad, on the outside of the safe, with the door closed. You require the keypad to open the safe the first time. The safe’s manual will have your safe’s 5-digit code, which cannot be deleted. . That code cannot be deleted.
There are also safes where you must open the safe to insert batteries. An example is the Amazon Basics Steel Security Safe and Lock Box. The batteries are inserted in a compartment in the safe’s door. You’ll need the safe’s key to open the safe. You can then insert the batteries and program the security code.
Amazon Basics Steel Security Safe and Lock Box
Here are some tips from the manufacturers, regarding the use of their product:
Care with fingerprint safe: The makers of the Viking Fingerprint Safe warn that the efficacy of the fingerprint reader will depend greatly on the condition of your hands. Water, lotion, and oils on your hands can affect readability. You can also choose to open the safe only using the keypad combination.
Fire, water, impact resistance: We’ve seen that portable safes are light enough to pick up and go in the event that you suffer a fire in your home. But, if you install a safe that weighs over 100 pounds, you’ll want to make sure that its contents can survive a fire. The Sentry Safe Fireproof and Waterproof Safe can withstand temperatures as high as 1700℉ for up to one hour. There is fire insulation in the safe’s walls to ensure that the valuables in the safe are protected. It can be submerged for 24 hours in 8” of water without the water seeping through. And, if it should suffer a fall, it can still remain closed, even if it falls 15 feet.
Safe with an override key: You’ll notice that there are home safes that use a key as well. In some instances, this can be an override key, which helps you open the safe in the event that you have forgotten the passcode, or if the safe’s batteries have died. That’s the case with the Stalwart Electronic Digital Steel Safe Box. It comes with two copies of a manual override key.
Stalwart Electronic Digital Steel Safe Box
But, in some home safes, the key lock adds an additional level of protection. That is, you can lock the safe using your keypad combination, as well as the physical key. You can use this extra level of protection when you’re away for an extended period of time, for example. When you come back, you can rely on only the keypad combination for securing your valuables. The SentrySafe Model No. SFW205GQC uses a key lock as a secondary level of protection. But be careful that you don’t lose the key!
SentrySafe Model No. SFW205GQC
A home safe is a convenient way to secure important documents and irreplaceable photographs, cash, heirlooms, jewelry, and more. There are options for securing your safe to a wall or floor of your house or office. And there are options for portable safes, that you can grab quickly in the event of an emergency. It’s a worthwhile investment, considering that a safe will protect valuables worth many times more than the cost of the safe!