5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Safe


What size safe should you look for?

Often times, buyers report that they wish they would have purchased a bigger safe than they thought they needed. It is important to keep in mind that over time more valuables may be added to your safe. It is better to purchase a safe that is a little bigger than you think you need on the first try, rather that needing to purchase another safe in the future.

Where will you put your safe?

Knowing where you plan to put your safe before you buy it will help you determine the maximum size safe you can purchase. Here are a few suggestions for determining where to put your safe:

It is best to keep your safe out of sight. Especially if you do not have an alarm system in your home or business, keeping your safe out of sight will keep criminals from being tempted to attack your safe.

This being said, don’t store your safe too far away. If you put your safe somewhere that is too inconvenient to access, you risk not always securing your assets inside of your safe. It is generally a good idea to keep your safe close enough that you will actually use it.

Keep in mind that dial combinations can be difficult to operate in low-light. If you must put your safe in a dimly-lit location, you may want to look for lights that can be installed on your safe to illuminate the dial and make it easier to operate.

Lastly, try to put your safe somewhere where it can be anchored down. In many burglaries, if a burglar does not have the time to break in your safe, they will just pick it up and take it with them. Anchoring your safe eliminated this risk.

What burglary rating should you look for?

Depending on what you plan to store in your safe, you should be looking for the right burglary rating to properly secure your valuables.

Use a B-rated safe for up to a $10,000 value stored. These safes have a ½ inch plate steel door, with a ¼ inch body.

Use a UL Rated TL-15 for up to a $200,000 storage value. This UL Rating means that the safe door can resist an attack with common tools for 15 minutes.

Use a UL Rated TL-30 for up to $375,000 in valuables. This UL rating means that with common tools used for an attack, the safe door can resist opening for 30 minutes.

Use a UL Rated TL-30×6 for up to $500,000 in valuables. This means that not only the door, but all six sides of the safe can resist attack by common tools for 30 minutes.

For maximum protection of $1,000,000 and up, use a UL Rated TRTL-30×6. This safe rating offers 30 minutes of resistance against torches and tools, on all 6 sides, making it ultra-secure for extremely high-value protection.

How strong of a fire rating do you need?

Determining the fire rating you need can be tricky. As a general rule, look for a minimum of a 1 hour fire rating for your safe. Typically, if a safe does not offer at least an hour fire rating, it will not provide sufficient protection during a typical home or business fire.

In addition to this general rule, be sure to identify what you will be storing inside your safe. Data, media, and family photos need more protection than a regular fire safe will offer. Standard fire resistant safes generally keep the safe internal temperature below 350 degrees, the temperature where paper begins to burn. This temperature control also creates steam inside of the safe, which means that sensitive media or data will be damaged by the excess moisture between 120 – 180 degrees, when humidity reaches 85%.

Because of this, if you are looking to store hard drives, thumb drives, micro SD cards, cassette tapes, CDs or DVDs, or old negatives and photographs, be sure to look for a safe that keeps internal safe temperatures below 135 degrees, and internal humidity below 85%. Usually safes that offer this much fire rating do not offer a burglary rating. You may consider purchasing an appropriately rated fire safe and installing it inside of a burglary rated safe. This is especially needed when storing large amounts of cash.

Lastly, be sure to ask about the fire seal on the door. This will keep moisture from entering the safe on a regular basis, which will prevent rust and corrosion of your valuables. During a fire, the seal will expand to keep out fire and smoke, as well as water that is sprayed when putting out the fire. Many cheap fire safes do not offer fire seals, but this is an important thing to look for to properly protect your valuables from fire.

What type of lock should I choose for my safe?

Maintenance for both electronic locks and mechanical locks average out to about the same amount of time and money. While you will need to be sure to change the battery of an electronic lock, mechanical lock manufacturers recommend that you have a dial lock serviced at least every 5 years.

One of the main differences between a mechanical and electronic lock is that an electronic lock will allow your safe to automatically lock as soon as it is closed, whereas a mechanical lock requires that you turn the dial for your safe to lock. If you forget to turn the dial, the contents of your safe are left vulnerable.

Either way, be sure to look for UL rated mechanical or electronic locks for top-notch protection.

Still need help finding the right safe for you? Already have these questions answered? Whether you’re just getting started or you’re ready to buy, Rolland is here to assist you in the next steps. Visit our educational showroom, fill out a quick contact form, or call or email us directly at sales@rslc.net or 214.845.6800


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