Safe Buyers' Guide

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A comprehensive guide

Here you will find a simple guide to help you select the right safe for you.
We provide information on many important factors such as security, purpose, the safes’ fireproof rating and the size & volume.


Value – Which level of Cash rating is right for me?

Insurance companies issue a cash rating for each safe as a guide based on a number of determining factors related to the security of the safe. We provide cash ratings as a general guide, based upon each safes security and quality of build. Higher quality built safes, as well as safes with thicker walls, more complex security mechanisms will naturally provide a higher cash rating and the higher the cash rating – the better.

Please note that the cash rating we provide is still just a guide, factors such as where you install the safe, your own building security and your location will determine the actual cash rating of the safe. Cash rating can also vary depending on individual insurers.

Fireproof Safes – Fireproof rating explained & which rating is right for me?

The fireproof rating of a safe is determined by the quality of the build of the safe - for example plate/single walled safes offer little protection. The contents of the safe can also play a part, as hard-copy documents will be naturally more resistant to fire and heat than digital data such as hard-drives, optical media, USB flash drives and other media such as film, cassettes, photos & photo negatives. This is because paper has a much higher resistant temperature to heat (around 230 degrees) than their digital counterparts and other media (around 50-80 degrees).

Our fireproof ratings are given as a time rating based on how long the safes are resistant to heat and smoke – usually 30 – 60 minutes plus. Others will provide more information based on further external testing. Most fireproof safes will keep the internal temperature of the safe to around 177 degrees max when there is an external fire – so it is important to check this when you are considering what you wish to be storing in your safe.

Purpose

Safes are designed and built for various different purposes and it is a good idea to consider what purpose you intend to use your safe for before making a choice. The main purpose for safes are below:

  • Cash and Valuables
  • Drugs and Medicine
  • Keys
  • Archive/Storage
  • Filing Cabinet Safe

Volume – how should I use Volume to assist selecting the right safe for me?

Volume should play a large part in determining which safe you wish to purchase – higher volume not only means you can store more items securely, but can also translate to more varied and practical internal storage options, such as more accommodating shelving and internal layouts design for objects of different sizes.

Another benefit of increased volume is that if you have a large enough space to store in, you have the option of installing additional accessories such as dehumidifiers, which can help improve the life of documents by keeping them dryer for longer.

As a guide, it is always recommended to select a safe which has a bigger volume than what you originally intend.

Lock Types – which locking system is right for me?

The type of lock a safe has should always be a factor in your safe selection process. The main types of locks available are:

  • Electronic/Digital locks
  • Mechanical locks
  • Hybrid locks

All of the above 3 types of locks have their positives and negatives. One thing to consider about locks is variable time it takes to crack them. The more complex your lock the longer it will be to break through.

Electronic/Digital locks are becoming much more popular.
They are fast and easy to use and often offer self-locking capabilities.
The higher end digital safes allow multiple combinations and even monitoring system to log when the safe has been opened and by whom.

Mechanical locks are the traditional dial and handle locks. Some of the most basic mechanical lock safes are made from materials that can be easy for burglars to x-ray.
Whereas some of the higher security safes are equipped with materials that attackers will find much harder to scan.
Mechanical locks also have the benefit of longevity: some locks will keep working with minimal maintenance for generations of use.

Hybrid lock safes are a combination of the two: there is the potential for the locking system to have further security measures than just having one or the other (electronic/digital or mechanical).
Selecting a locking system should also take into account the type of items you will be storing.

Other Features

You should not select your safe on just the above features alone – size plays an important factor, as generally the bigger the safe, the more secure it is. A bigger size not only allows for increased volume and more storage, but allows for thicker, more secure walls and more complex security measures.

What you plan to do with your safe in terms of installation and the location of your safe is also something worth considering. The bigger the better here, as the bigger the safe, the less likely it is for the safe to be moved to a more accessible location – you should also consider anchoring your safe for even more security.

Consider your safe as a part of a security & protection system rather than an individual component – a high quality security system and solid fire protection for your home or office can go a long way in providing a higher quality system for protection your valuables and belongings.