Online Safes Blog
Which home safe should I buy?
Welcome to one of the most commonly asked questions in the security space. If you have been struggling to get an answer to this, don't worry, you are definitely not alone. The reason this question is being asked more and more these days is that with the progress of technology in the security space, there are better and more effective safes being brought to market, which naturally creates more choice and the unfortunate by-product of that is confusion.
I am going to cover a few points in this article which I hope will shed some light on the best questions to ask when looking to purchase a home safe, as well as the best answers I have come up with.
Let's get stuck in!!
What size safe should I buy?
When looking at safe sizing, it is important to do some due diligence, as safes are not a cheap impulse buy, and will be something that should last you for years (unless you win the lottery and suddenly have 5 Rolex's, £1m in cash and a solid gold pony, in which case lets chat!!!).
Have a really good look around the house and figure out exactly where you would like the safe to be kept. When doing this consider which floor of the house works best and also which room. It will often be easier and cheaper to keep the safe downstairs however it's then far easier for thieves to access it and be out of the house pronto. The reason it will often be cheaper is that companies will charge extra to deliver the safe to an upstairs location, however it is sometimes possible to move the safe yourself once it has been delivered to your door, although this can be very difficult and in my opinion isn't advisable.
Once you have decided on a location, you need to consider what types of valuables you are planning on keeping in the safe. This is also likely to change over time, and you will likely need to upgrade to a bigger model, so I always recommend buying bigger than you need, as this then gives you breathing space. Remember also that the external size of the safe can be misleading, so ALWAYS look at the internal dimensions. This is normally due to the insulation for fire proofing etc.
Should my safe be bolted down?
In short yes!
This is a personal opinion of course, however here are my thoughts on the matter. Most safes are in the region of £150 to £600, depending on size, lock type and whether it offers any fire or water proofing. Products in this price range are generally not an impulse buy for most people, and thus some time has been spent either searching high and low for the right option, and/or putting some money aside for the purchase. It would be a mistake in my opinion to spend all this time and money to purchase a product of this importance, that is then not as secure as it could be. All for the sake of saving approximately £130.
The other very important point to keep in mind here, is that insurance companies will generally not insure a safes contents if it has not been bolted down to a concrete floor. I suppose the only time I may consider not bolting down a safe would be if I was in a short term rental property.
Should I buy a Key, Electronic or Fingerprint Locking safe?
This is another very popular question when searching for a safe to buy, especially when it may be the first time you are purchasing one as you won't yet have an idea of what it is like to use either option. I will outline a few positives and negatives below.
Key locking safes are a tried and tested option and are the most reliable option of the three for the simple reason that they don't contain any electronic components. The negative with a key safe however is that keys are notoriously easy to lose and this can be an issue for two reasons. One, its obviously a little difficult to get into your safe without a key, and two, anyone who finds the key has very easy access to your safe. Some manufacturers can provide a 'master key' however this is rare. The reason they often don't have this option, is that in doing so, your safe is again less secure. If you happen to lose your key, you will generally need to get an safe engineer or locksmith to break in.
Electronic locking safes are a great option if you don't want the hassle of having to hide keys in a secure place, or having the risk of losing them. The electronic lock has now been around for a number of years and they are very reliable. Batteries are easy to change, often by just unclipping the locking case on the door of the safe, and inserting the new standard batteries. Your code will also be kept when this is done. As with anything electronic however there is a bigger risk that the lock might fail, however the most common issue is owners forgetting their codes. As with the key locking safes, some manufacturers may be able to provide a master code, however many don't for the same reason, too much risk having master codes lying around. If you forget your code and a master code isn't available, you will again need to contact the manufacturer to see if an engineer can be sent out to break in, or call a locksmith.
Biometric fingerprint locking safes are definitely the newest kids on the block although again, they have been around a while now and are very reliable. These locks are ideal for those who don't want to remember a code, or where they have hidden the keys. These locks generally come with a keypad as well so there are two ways to access the safe. The negative with these locks however is that they are likely the most temperamental out of the three options, although I hardly hear a peep from customers who have bought them.
It really comes down to what you are most comfortable with and which option you feel will provide the best security while also being user friendly.
Should my safe be fire or water resistant?
My answer here is similar to the question of whether to have your safe bolted to the floor. If you are spending a decent chunk of cash on a safe, I would want that safe to sing dance and whistle! For an extra £100 or £200, the benefits of having a safe that will protect your valuables should there be a fire or a flood are huge.
There are a couple things to keep in mind however when choosing the right option. When it comes to water resistant safes, consider how likely it would be for your house to flood. There are certain parts of the country where there is flooding often due to rivers nearby that tend to burst their banks. In this instance I would firstly keep the safe upstairs, and would make sure it was highly water resistant to a reasonable depth.
Fire safes are a little more complicated, and I would say that the risk of fire is fairly equal for most households. We have all left the hob on at some stage or possibly burnt something with a hair straightener for example, so this is not an uncommon occurrence. What you need to consider when it comes to fire safes, is the type of valuables that need protecting. Safes provide fire protection for three main categories, paper, data and digital media. When shopping look at what contents the safe is designed to protected, and for how long. You will notice that data safes are generally more expensive due to the fact that they need to keep the internal temperature lower as data and digital media are damaged at lower temperatures than paper. In general, you will usually be presented with safes offering either, 30min, 60min, 90min, or 120min+ fire protection. It is up to you, but the longer the time, the more expensive the product.
In conclusion, there are several factors to consider when choosing a new home safe. It is important to do your due diligence before the purchase so the product does an effective job for you for a reasonable amount of time. If you are unsure at all, I would recommend contacting a safe company, who should be able to guide you to the correct purchase decision.
I would be more than happy to point you in the right direction should you need any help, so please feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call on 01184050158.
- Daniel Hulbert