More and more homeowners and small businesses are adopting the idea of investing in home safes to secure their valuables. Some of these items are worth a lot of cash while some are top secrets or highly treasured memorabilia. Whatever it is, home safes are there to provide for each security demand. However, it is a common misconception that safes can protect their contents from anything. Before buying a home safe, read this guide to have essential knowledge about safes.
1. It is a myth that safes provide equal security.
Safes are classified into different kinds. Generally, home safes can be fire resistant, theft resistant or a combination of both. Fire resistant safes prevent the contents from being exposed to high heat and incineration. However, most fire resistant safes have a weakness; they are not theft resistant. Thousands of people lose their valuables because they thought fire resistant safes are also burglar resistant. Burglar resistant safes have thick walls, usually 7 to 12 gauge. Safes with higher gauges have thinner walls. There are also fire and burglar resistant safes which are equipped with thick walls and a composite panel sandwiched between the thick steel walls. Burglar resistant and fire resistant safes are hard and practically impossible to puncture. The walls can withstand high pressure of impact that even dropping the safe from a high place won’t break it.
2. Each home safe has a rating.
Safes deal with protecting valuables. Manufacturers are required to have them tested and rated. Safes are rated by the Underwriter Laboratories (UL). The rating will depend on several factors. Home safes are tested for tool resistance and torch resistance. These tests will last from 15 to 60 minutes. Rectangular safes have 6 areas (5 walls, 1 door) and not all these areas will be tested. Usually, they will either test the door or all sides. Torch resistance tested for 60 minutes means that it takes 60 minutes before the interior of the safe started to heat up. The rating will be issued under a code. “TL” means tool resistance and “TR” means torch resistance. A rating of UL TL30 means that the safe can withstand heat for up to 30 minutes. A rating of UL TRTL60X6 means that a safe can withstand heat and pressure for 60 minutes on all sides, thus “6”. When it’s not indicated how many sides were tested, it is immediately understood that only the door was tested. This is perfectly fine if you plan to install the safe on the floor (floor safe) or on the wall (wall safe).
3. The rating corresponds to the value it can protect.
The better the rating, the higher the value it can protect. UL TRTL60X6 can protect valuables costing $1,000,000 and above. Before buying safes, estimate the cost of the valuables you intend to keep then buy a safe that is meant to protect valuables 1 notch more expensive than yours. If you don’t have the budget for it, then simply buy a tool and torch resistant safe that is tested for at least 60 minutes.
4. Home safes are not cheap.
Probably you have seen cheap safes on Ebay, Amazon and your local bookstore. These safes are most likely not durable. As mentioned before, the Underwriter Laboratories tests each home safe and issues the corresponding rating. Safes with high ratings provide a better security by using more durable materials and providing additional features such as double locks and waterproof capabilities. With that said, good quality safes fetch a hefty price tag. However, considering the protection it will provide you, your family and your business, it’s a wise move to invest a bit more in exchange for security.