A Safe Buyers Guide


It is 3am, you are standing outside with your family, safe and sound but shivering in shock as you watch your home and possessions engulfed in smoke and flames. Perhaps, you are out of town for the weekend and get a call while tanning on the beach that your home was broken into.

Are you confident that your most valuable possessions are going to be available when you are able to get to them? Will your mother’s diamond engagement ring make it through or your family documents such as birth certificates and legal papers be intact? Gun owners, whether collectibles, work weapons or just for hunting use, want to know that these are also secure in a home breach or emergency.

The solution is to be secure in the knowledge that you have a safe for your home. Which safe is the best one for your needs? What are some of the features that make one safe better than another? Will you get better value by spending more money?

It is worth your time to investigate what is going to work best for you. Taking a quick lesson in learning what parts make up the safe, and the methods that most pry attackers will use to quickly break into the valuables you treasure, is going to benefit you. Knowing the fire rating on a safe and how long it will be guaranteed to secure your items is also a consideration.

Once you understand more, you will reach a more educated decision for your protection of your family.


How Thieves Break into Safes

Home invaders have perfected the method to breaking into safes in order to take your possessions with the most value and to be able to get out of the home as quickly as possible before detection and security alerts police.

One common method used and well practiced when breaking into a safe is to take it and knock it over so the door is facing up and the safe is laying on its back. This gains them a better standpoint to obtain better leverage with a pry bar to get into the safe and break through the steel and bolts.

Another method that thieves prefer is if the safe is not bolted down and they simply are able to remove it from you home altogether and break into it on their own leisure time. Location of the safe in the home would also be a deterrent. A basement is a good location for thieves that want to remove a safe as it’s harder to get one up the stairs then one higher in the home.

A large misconception is the way in which safe breaking is portrayed in the movies or television . When a home burglary takes place in these mediums, it is often depicted as a very quick process of listening for clicks on the combination.

For those who hold out on purchase for this reason need to know that modern safes are built to not be able to be to be opened that way. Another consideration is that, oftentimes, a burglar knows a little about your home before the heist and may know birthdays or anniversary dates.

If you are one of those people who uses these kind of combinations, it would be wise to stop. It is also not advisable to have written combinations anywhere around your home. Keep it in a lock box at the bank or with a trusted friend or family member.


What to Look for in Quality Safes

When looking to purchase a safe, you have a few considerations to take into mind to suit the needs of what you will contain inside. Knowing what you have a need to store will determine the size that will best work for you. Size aside, you want to know that the safe has a good UL rating, fire rating and also if you live in a potential flood area, the water resistant rating. The elements you also want to look for are the ones mentioned above to help prevent your safe being broken into easily. Door gap is one element to watch for. Door gap is the space between the door and the metal frame on the front of the safe. A standard pry bar would find a door gap that has about 1/4 inch of space all around very accessible. Bolts held in place inside the safe should be with a wider gauge of metal as should the frame inside to make it more pry resistant. The construction of the door is another element to look at:

• Composite Doors – This is made up of a fairly thin sheet of metal that is just bent over the door that can look thick but it very easily broken when pressure is applied.

• Plate Steel Doors – These are constructed using a thicker sheet of metal on the front resulting in a more rigid door that is not as resistant to pressure. Avoid ones that are just laminated steel doors because those are not thick metal but are made with the illusion of thickness.

A good safe will also have the ability to bolt the unit down to deter thieves. Knowledge is the key to knowing what to look for and what to ask when purchasing a safe.


Price Ranges of Safes

With size determined, the next consideration is price ranges. You can get small safes that hold a few pieces of jewelry and family memories all the way up to large heavy gauge ones that can hold stacks of documents, guns and other items of value. You could spend as little as $20 dollars on a small personal family one all the way up to $2,000 – $4,000 dollars.


Where to Buy Safes

A lot of the big name box stores sell some type of safe and home improvement locations such as Home Depot and Lowes. WalMart and Target are good for smaller ones whereas bigger ones can be found at stores that sell guns. However, if you are looking for the more heavy duty ones with the higher price tags your best bet would be online at http://www.amazon.com or specific home security websites such as ADT.


Special Considerations for Gun Safes

Gun storage in homes can be daunting. Not only is the value of the guns high and street value to a thief would be high but you also want to take children into consideration to make the home safer from accidents. There are many options of the same ilk as a regular safe as mentioned above. One thought would be whether you are storing guns that you do not use often. This can be in one of the heavy bolted down kinds. A small handgun for protection and easier access however is probably better in a small bedside safe with an electronic lock. These are good but must have the battery changed when needed. A good fire rating with higher temperatures is important with guns and the danger of home fires.

Blog Posts

  • Items to Keep in a Safe

    Many people think that keeping their valuable items in a safe deposit box in a bank is the safest and most convenient option. However, keeping them in a fire-proof safe at home can be a very good alternative. You will be able to access your valuables whenever you need them. This is not possible with a box kept at a bank as you will only be able to access it during bank opening hours. Items kept in a safe deposit box are not insured in the same way any money held in a bank account is, but items kept in a box at home will be covered by home insurance. There are certain items which should always be kept in a safe at home: 1. Financial Paperwork. Any paperwork relating to your bank accounts and investments should be kept in your safe so you can still gain access to your money in the event of an emergency. When we had a house fire, we lost both our vehicles and it would have been impossible to get to the bank. Fortunately, we had spare checks and could pay for a rental car. 2. Copies Of Wills. Your own will and any wills that you are executor for need to be kept securely and your safe is the best location for this. 3. Titles To Vehicles. The titles to any vehicles that you own and any spare keys should be kept in your safe. 4. Valuable Items. If your house is burgled then the intruder is unlikely to try and gain access to your safe as this would be very time consuming. Therefore cash and jewelry is best kept in the safe. 5. Information Regarding Debts. Details about any money that you owe, the amount that needs to be payed and the installment amount should be kept secure in order to enable you to maintain payments. 6. External Hard Drive Of Photographs. Family photographs are irreplaceable but keeping them on a hard drive which can be kept in your safe means your memories are protected. 7. Social Security Cards. These can be very hard to get replaced if they are lost or damaged and so keeping them in a safe will help keep them protected. 8. Information About Doctors. Information about your doctor and any prescription medication that you are currently taking should be kept in your safe. 9. Passports And Birth Certificates. These documents are important to be able to prove your identity and so should be kept as secure as possible. 10. Property Insurance Details. If any damage occurs to your property then your insurance details will be ready to hand if they are kept in the safe. 11. Safe Deposit Box Keys. If you have got any valuables that you keep in a safe deposit box then the keys can be kept secure in your safe at home. 12. Important Legal Documents. Any legal documents that you need to keep securely should be kept in your safe. 13. Firearms. It is important to keep firearms safely away from any children that may be in the home and locking them away in a safe will keep them secure. 14. Educational Documents. There are occasions when you may need to prove your educational achievements, such as when starting a new job and by keeping them in your safe you will always know where they are. In our house fire, knowing that my ultrasound technician certification was safe was invaluable, as I was in between jobs. Ironically enough, my wife was in the exact same position, and having her registered nurse certification documents on hand was great too. 15. Marriage Certificates. If you are required to prove that you are married at any point then your marriage certificate will have been kept secure in your safe.
  • Keeping Gas Appliances Safe – The Time I Had to Lock up a Tankless Water Heater

    [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="350"] She would not have been happy leaving her heater "exposed" like this one![/caption] I've seen a lot of things in my years working as a security specialist, but the strangest client I ever has was the one that made me lock up her water heater in a safe. She had spent a bunch of time researching tankless water heaters (on this website that she recommended - and I found helpful too!), but despite all that she ended up accidentally buying an outdoor-only unit. She didn't feel safe just leaving a tankless heater strapped to the side of her house, so she also literally bought an entire gun safe to put it in! I am not lying to you - this was definitely a custom job! I made her hire a plumber to consult with me about venting the thing properly. This heater was definitely secure by the time we got done! I ended up using that plumber through the years quite a bit because of how professional he was, and I asked him to share tips on keeping safe with gas appliances. He passed along the following to share with my readers. Gas appliances are a great way to efficiently heat your home, cook your food, make your showers hot, and even clean and dry your clothes. But there's an element of safety you need to think about. Gas is a safe home utility, but it needs to treated differently than water or even electricity. Breaking a water pipe means you have to shut your water off; breaking a wire means you might pull out a plug or maybe shutting off the electricity in the house. But a broken gas pipe can be an immediate threat to your family. Follow these steps to be safe with your gas appliances. 1. Gas appliances are not toys. Do not let children play on them, around them, or hang onto the pipes that lead to them. Proper respect for appliances needs to be taught to children at all times. 2. Use appliances for their intended purposes. "Do it yourself" activities can be fan and rewarding, but gas appliances should not be abused. Cutting the wrong pipe or wire improperly could be a costly mistake. 3. Installation should be handled by a proper professional. Installing gas appliances means not only attaching the proper wires, but also requires proper fitting to pipes, and that's something a professional can do best. 4. Keep gas appliances clean. Don't let over burners stay dirty. Don't let an pilot light be near filth or a gas light near any build-up or grease. Maintain your appliances so their flame won't spread. 5. Check the flame occasionally. If you see a yellow or orange flame, get your family out of the house, and call a professional to test for carbon monoxide, a poison that kills silently. 6. Make sure appliances are well ventilated. Gas appliances need fresh air to work properly, and to let burnt gas to be be ventilated. Don't put any gas appliances in an enclosed area. 7. Keep the area around gas appliances open, clear, and free of debris. Don't store items in front of, or around, gas appliances, and don't allow debris or trash to build up. Don't store inflammable items or liquids near your gas appliances. 8. Have a service professional check your appliances annually. They may look to be in good working order, but only a professional can find small problems early, before they become dangerous. 9. If you want to insulate your space heater or furnace, use only blankets manufactured for that purpose. 10. Warmer may seem better, but setting a furnace too high may cause burns. Never set your furnace above 120° F. To finish my story - the lady was so happy with our work that she hired me to put her water softener (an entire unit like these) in a whole different safe. I tried explaining to her that the safe cost more than installing a new water softener, but she wasn't having any of it! So, I did the work and took the paycheck!
  • About

    Having spent over 20 years in the field of security (and specifically residential safe sales), I wanted to start this site to share my accumulated knowledge with the general public. Too often thieves and disasters rob people of not just their belongings, but their very senses of well-being. I'm hoping that by informing people of the right ways to protect themselves and their families I can make a small difference in the world.


    Following are some resources and recommended reading from across the web: My largest knowledgebase is in safes. For those looking to store valuables at home, this website's gun safe reviews are good for evaluating quality and finding the best bargain. One of the great things they report over there is on the failure of some common brands to stay locked when it's attacked. Especially disturbing are the ones that can be opened by a three year old!! For natural disasters, the information and tips provided on the disastersafety.org website can't be beat. There's not one place in the world unaffected by natural disasters, so being prepared is really the only option. For all around safety tips, see the National Safety Council website. It covers everything from home safety to staying safe in motor vehicles to tips for employers to keep employees safe. Check back often as I add more excellent resources to this list!
  • Benefits of Owning a Safe

    Our homes and businesses contain treasured valuables such as documents, jewelry, bonds, guns, money and family memorabilia. Losing these valuables will be a great loss to the family and replacing them will be too expensive. Companies have been developing safes to help home owners and business owners protect their valuables. Below are benefits of safes that home owners and business owners need to know about.  

    Protection from fire

    Fire is a useful tool that enables people to cook their food. As a useful tool it is beneficial but if handled badly it can result in property destruction. Safes with analog dials and digital keypads are made with fire proof material to help protect contents placed in it. Many business and home owners place their safes in different location such as on walls, in the floor or in concealed cabinets. To ensure safes are fire resistant they are made with three layers of material. The outer layer is made with mild steel therefore can withstand high temperatures in case a fire breaks out. To prevent destruction by fire, it is appropriate to have the safe installed in a concrete wall or concrete floor.  

    Protection from burglars

    Burglars have been a nuisance for a long time. Their main aim is to gain unauthorized access into your home or your business and steal any valuables they may find. Although many home and business owners invest in security systems, burglars have become more cunning and have devised new ways of by passing the systems. By purchasing a safe, a home and business owner can store valuables in them and prevent burglars from stealing them. Safes are designed with either an analog dial or a digital keypad. For those with an analog dial, you can set a code which can be used to open the safe by rotating the dial for the correct combination. With a digital keypad safe, all that is needed to open is to punch in a series of numbers. To prevent burglars from stealing, it is important to memorize the combination rather than writing it down.  

    Storage of guns and other valuables

    Guns are used for hunting as a sport or protection against burglars or used for practicing at the shooting range. While they are beneficial, they need to be handled with care so as to prevent any accidents from happening. In a home, a gun safe will keep all guns and ammunition away from the children who may use it as a toy leading to an accident. By storing a gun in a safe, you help to keep it away from a burglar in case they gain unauthorized entry into your home. Before storing the gun in a safe, you need to unload all the ammunition even those remaining in the chamber.  

     Easy access to documents

    A safe provides easy access to sensitive documents for home and business owners. Birth certificates, social security cards and other sensitive documents need to be stored in a safe so as to prevent them from falling in the wrong hands. This helps prevent identity theft which could lead to one losing a lot. In conclusion, a safe is a must have if you want to keep your valuables protected. A safe helps protect documents, money, family memorabilia and jewelry from fire, burglars and other elements.