If you have important documents, jewelry, guns, a huge amount of cash, or other valuables in your possession, they should always be placed somewhere secure, like a safe. Whether it is for preparing for a disaster or for protection against thieves, having a safe in your home or office is definitely a wise investment.
Also known as a strongbox, a safe is basically made up of a durable metal body, a door, and a locking mechanism. These components provide the safe with security features that enable it to protect valuables against fire or burglars.
Knowing all of the types of safes and their features can help you make an informed decision about which safe to own. Every type of safe has a unique design that serves a particular purpose, such as gun storage and fire protection. In general, safes are categorized according to their UL Rating, their location, and their use.
- I. According to UL Certification
- II. According to Location
- III. According to Application
- 1. Home Safes
- 2. Gun Safes
- 3. Jewelry Safes
- 4. Commercial Safes
- 5. Depository Safes
- 6. Data Safes
- 7. Hotel Safes
- 8. Portable Safes
- 9. Diversion Safes
- IV. Choosing the Best Safe
According to UL Certification
Understanding a safe’s UL certification is the first step in selecting a high-quality safe. The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a global safety certification company and one of the nationally recognized testing laboratories. For 125 years, this organization has been performing standardized tests on various products to measure their safety and quality. Some of these products include electrical appliances, industrial equipment, wires and cables, and safes.
Safes with UL certification marks have met all the UL standards after they had undergone the rigorous testing conducted by the UL. Each UL-certified safe also has a certain rating, which indicates the level of safety that the safe offers.
1. Class B
One of the UL ratings that you may come across when selecting a safe is a Class B rating. Class B safes have walls that are less than 1/2-inch thick with doors that are about 1-inch thick. All B-rated safes have locking mechanisms and relocking devices that are sufficiently designed to withstand amateur burglary attempts. This kind of safe is ideal for storing small valuables, such as personal documents or a small amount of money in an office. Moreover, B-rated safes are some of the most economical options of safes out there.
2. Class C
Like Class B safes, safes with Class C ratings also feature locks and relockers. The difference between these two classifications is that Class C safes are heavier than Class B safes. This is mainly because of the C-rated safes’ thicker construction. Their walls have to be at least 1/2-inch thick, while their doors have to be 1-inch thick or more. They are also capable of storing small to large valuables.
3. Residential Security Container
More secure than Class B and Class C safes, residential security containers have passed a test conducted by a safe technician. For five minutes, the technician attacks all sides of a residential security container with the use of hand tools weighing less than 3 pounds, such as hammers, pry bars, and screwdrivers. Although it has survived rigorous attacks from hand tools, most burglars often make use of power tools, like drills, and they can open a residential security container with these tools in less than five minutes. Residential security containers thus offer a limited degree of protection to their contents. This type of safe is commonly used for storing guns as well as documents and jewelry.
4. Burglary Ratings
Similar to residential security containers, safes with TL ratings have withstood attacks by a technician, but this time, these attacks were made with power tools. TL safes are rated with the use of a measuring standard called net working time, which refers to the length of time a well-equipped burglar can open up the safe. Additionally, the “X6” at the end of TL ratings means that a safe has survived being attacked on all of its six sides.
A. Class TL
Class TL-15 safes can endure attacks for 15 minutes from hand tools and power tools, such as drills. On the other hand, safes with TL-30 ratings will remain closed for at least 30 minutes even when they’re attacked by more sophisticated hand tools and power tools, such as power saws and cutting discs. Like TL-30 safes, TL-40 safes can also resist attacks from sophisticated tools, but they can do so for 40 minutes.
B. Class TRTL and TXTL
Safes with TRTL ratings can withstand attacks from the same tools used on TL-rated safes as well as from torches. TXTL-rated safes, on the other hand, have endured attacks from the same tools used on TRTL-rated safes, but they have also survived getting blown up by high explosives.
Safes with TRTL and TXTL ratings are also measured with the use of net working time. For instance, Class TRTL-60 safes have sustained attacks from mechanical and electrical tools and torches for 60 minutes.
5. Fire Ratings
Fire incidents can happen to anyone, and it’s best to always be prepared for this kind of emergency. Fortunately, there are safes with fire ratings that can protect their contents in the midst of a raging fire. Fire-resistant safes are ideal for storing electronic data devices, documents, and other flammable materials.
Fire ratings are based on the internal temperature that a safe reaches after a certain length of time it has been exposed to fire. For instance, a Class 150 2-hour safe has withstood an external temperature of around 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit while maintaining an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours.
Fire ratings are usually classified into Class 125, Class 150, and Class 350, each of which indicates the internal temperature that the safe reached during the fire test. Moreover, fire-resistant safes can endure up to three hours of exposure to fire.
According to Location
Despite the fact that safes alone are sufficient for protecting valuables, it’s a whole lot better to hide them away from view. This way, thieves will have a difficult time looking for the things they’re planning to steal. Hiding the safe from view can also keep it away from prying eyes and curious individuals who may be inclined to steal at some point.
1. Wall Safes
Safes that are designed to be installed within the wall can conceal valuables from plain view. With the use of wall studs, they can be attached within a gaping recess made in the wall. These safes can be further concealed by hanging paintings or posters over them. Compared to floor safes, wall safes are more convenient to use since users won’t have to bend down to access their valuables.
2. Floor Safes
Floor safes are meant to be concreted into the floor, which makes them nearly impossible to pry loose. They can be hidden from view with the use of thick carpets or rugs so that burglars will have a hard time finding them. If a burglar does find a floor safe, it will take hours of forcibly removing it from the foundation with a demolition hammer.
The only downside of owning a floor safe is that it is susceptible to rust and its contents may get damaged by moisture. This is why floor safes must be constructed with durable materials and protective coatings. Valuables, especially documents, should also be tightly sealed in zipper bags or other airtight containers.
According to Application
Each safe is constructed differently based on its unique purpose. Since safes are used to store different items, there are also various kinds of safes designed for specific applications.
1. Home Safes
Homes offer safety and comfort like no other place. However, when they get engulfed in fire, safety, comfort, and fun-filled memories, along with valuables, will disappear. This is why every precious possession, whether it is of monetary or sentimental value, must be stored inside a home safe.
Safes designed for residential use typically have thick walls and doors for fire protection. Some home safes have also been put through an impact test in which they were dropped from a certain height. Impact-resistant safes can survive a fall from a two-story house in case of a fire emergency. There are also home safes with sealed doors to protect their interiors from water blasted from a firefighter’s hose.
2. Gun Safes
Gun safes come in various sizes to accommodate certain kinds of firearms. There are pistol safes designed to fit in drawers, in narrow closets, or under the bed for quick access during break-ins. There are also gun vaults that are as huge as cabinets to store a collection of hunting weapons. Regardless of their different designs, all gun safes are made for a specific purpose: to prevent accidental firing. One of the primary responsibilities of gun owners is to keep their firearms away from unauthorized access, particularly by children. Storing firearms in gun safes can make the area safe for everyone despite the presence of dangerous weapons.
3. Jewelry Safes
Oftentimes, jewelry presents both monetary and emotional value to its owners. Be it a gift from a loved one, an heirloom, or a small token from a special occasion, a piece of jewelry is priceless. For this reason, jewelry safes are as painstakingly crafted as the items they’re designed to store. These safes’ interiors are lined with velvet or other smooth fabrics to protect the safes’ contents from scratches. Jewelry safes also come with drawers or shelves to organize collections of watches, bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, and other personal ornaments.
4. Commercial Safes
When it comes to owning a business, it isn’t always about earning money. Supplies, employees’ wages, and bills, among others, have to be deducted from profits. Apart from these, there are also factors contributing to inventory shrinkage, one of which is theft.
More often than not, thefts are perpetrated by the employees working for the company. To prevent employee thefts from happening, offices, retail stores, restaurants, and other establishments should invest in commercial safes. These safes are designed to store cash temporarily before it is deposited in banks. They can also keep important documents, such as account statements, legal documents, and contracts.
5. Depository Safes
Depository safes are constructed with heavy-duty materials, so they’re ideal for armored car services, post offices, government offices, and banks. Their main function is to protect money from getting stolen. Like other types of safes, depository safes come with locking doors that can only be opened by authorized people. Some depository safes feature convenient drop slots or chutes in addition to locking doors. These slots or chutes allow employees to simply drop envelopes or stacks of cash into the safe.
Drop slots are wide enough to accommodate envelopes and, at the same time, are too narrow for hands to fit. Some drop slots also come with anti-fish baffles to prevent thieves from reaching in and stealing money.
Also known as through-the-wall safes, depository safes with chutes are designed to be placed in a separate room. Their chutes are installed through the room’s wall with the chutes’ openings facing another room at the opposite side of the wall.
This chute design offers a high level of security. It allows employees to deposit the day’s profits in the safe placed in a different room. Depository safes with chutes are also ideal for car rentals since customers can simply drop off the keys of their rented cars.
6. Data Safes
In the modern digital age, companies slowly gear toward being totally paperless. Instead of printing important information on flimsy sheets of paper, most companies store data in devices, such as flash drives, external hard drives, and CDs. Although these media devices can better secure information than paper, they aren’t immune to damage and theft. Furthermore, losing sensitive information can be a huge blow to any business. This is why data safes are essential containers to place in offices. Data safes can protect media devices from humidity caused by high external temperatures, especially during fire emergencies. They can also prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.
7. Hotel Safes
Whenever hotel guests have to leave their belongings in their rooms, they can store their laptops, cash, and other valuables in hotel safes. These safes are designed for use in establishments offering lodgings, such as hotels, motels, inns, or even hospitals. With their compact size, hotel safes are usually placed in closets, in drawers, or on tabletops.
8. Portable Safes
Portable safes are made to be lightweight so that users can bring their valuables while they’re traveling. Despite the fact that these safes are smaller than regular ones, they are every bit as secure and durable. Portable safes are perfect for people on the go, and they can store keys, mobile devices, wallets, and other valuables. They can also perfectly fit in cars, hotel room closets, and boats, among others.
9. Diversion Safes
Compared to all other types of safes, a diversion safe is by far the most interesting and most unique type of safe out there. Most diversion safes don’t have locking mechanisms like other safes, but what makes them secure is that they can hide valuables in plain sight. Since thieves are inclined to look through drawers for valuables or around the house to find the safe, they won’t spend time looking for items stored inside a diversion safe. Diversion safes are designed to appear like normal household items, such as books, cans of soda, and cups. However, this type of safe only offers limited storage space for keys, folded money, thumb drives, and other small items.
Choosing the Best Safe
Among all these types of safes, there must be at least one that stands out. However, it’s hard to single out the best safe. Choosing the best safe boils down to the kinds of valuables and priorities of users. Each type of safe offers unique features to suit the different needs and preferences of owners, but one thing’s for sure: all safes can provide valuables with protection like no other container. As long as you choose a safe with a certain UL or TL rating, it can offer fire resistance, burglary resistance, or both.
Engineer Warehouse has carefully selected every safe of the best quality, and it is guaranteed to protect any item from theft or fire. Keep your prized possessions in one of the safes that we offer for greater and everlasting peace of mind.