Don’t Judge a Safe by the Fire Rating


Fire ratings on safes are often misnomers and red herrings.  Unless assigned by Underwriter Laboratories (UL), fire ratings are assigned from the manufacturers.  Fire ratings are important only if you are worried about your safe’s contents being destroyed in a FIRE. That’s it though.   Just fire.

What about if you are concerned about a burglary or armed robbery?  The fire rating has NOTHING to do with a safe’s ability to defend against a criminal.  There are two main third parties that are experts in rating safes against the threat of a criminal –  Underwriter Laboratories (UL) or VdS.   UL ratings are measured in minute increments (15, 30, 60) and classified by what type of attack it can resist: TL – Tool; TRTL – Torch and Tool and TRTLX – Torch, Tool and Explosives.  They also indicate whether the door is rated or the whole entire safe (indicated by an x6).

To give you an idea of what safes are appropriate here are some examples.   A retail store with some overnight cash will use a TL-15.  A place storing high-value materials or cash – like a pawnshop, jeweler, bank or cannabis retailer – will use anywhere from a TL30 to a TRTL -30×6.  These safes have historically resisted against sophisticated criminal attacks.

UL tests costs around 50,000 dollars, take weeks of preparations of planning and expire after 7 years. The UL test sophistication intent make it the accurate measure for effectiveness of a safe against criminal intent.  So please do not count on a fire rating to give you the best reading for the protection of your safe – unless you are worried about a fire.

For more information on what safe is right for you, please call David Randall at 214.845.6805 or contact us at


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