An Expert Locksmith Guide To Buying A Safe

by Daniel on

The security experts at Locksmith Pros would like to offer our readers greater insight into what they should look for when buying a safe. Besides the best safe brands, there are things you have to know about the metal, locks, welding, and other important aspects of your safe. You need to know it all so that you can choose the right safe for you.

Best Safe Brands

The best safe brands offer lifetime warranties, sturdy construction, and are rigorously tested so that the designs are guaranteed to provide a high level of quality. If you are looking to purchase a safe, the following safe brands make some of the best products on the market.

  • Superior
  • Sturdy
  • Fort Knox
  • Vault Pro
  • Homeland

Even with these quality safe manufactures, you can still end up choosing the wrong safe for your needs. Continue reading so that you can assess your options more thoroughly.

What is the best metal for a safe?

Most safes you find will be steel. This is a fine metal for making safes, as long as the steel content is adequate. In the market for gun safes, the storage container cannot be considered a safe unless it has at least 12 gauge steel. 

12 gauge steel will be punctured with a fire ax, so even this does not offer much security. You want something with a lower number than 12, as the lower the gauge number, the thicker the metal.

For the thickest metal, you will start counting in inches rather than using gauge numbers. But besides the thickness of the steel, you can also look into safes that use steel alloys. Alloys are blended metals that are stronger together than they are apart.

Which is better, a manual dial or electronic lock on a safe?

Both locks have trade-offs that make them ideal for some users and the wrong choice altogether for others. An electronic lock, also referred to as a digital lock, can be opened faster than a manual dial. On the other hand, a manual dial is less likely to break down and cause a lockout.

In terms of the convenience of getting the safe open, an electronic lock is a good way to go. This is perfect when you have to open your safe regularly. A manual dial lock on a safe offers the convenience of not having to worry about batteries dying, wires fraying, the lock becoming disconnected, etc. Think of a manual lock offering peace of mind because it is going to open if you have the combination.

In terms of security, both are extremely secure. But it is important to know that a manual lock can be manipulated open by a trained safecracker and that many electronic locks have ways criminals can reset codes and open the safe. This is not usually something that you have to be concerned about, as criminals are unlikely to target the exterior lock on a safe. 

Continuous Welding vs. Spot Welding

A continuous weld travels around the entire length of two connected pieces of metal and melts these two pieces together. A spot weld is a single point that binds two pieces of metal, but not through melting the metal together. From that description, it is not difficult to tell which type of weld is preferable.

If your safe does not use a continuous weld, it is not secure. There are methods that criminals use to undo spot welds in a matter of minutes. That means your safe can be deconstructed entirely or simply one of the walls on the safe body can be taken off. Look for a safe with a continuous weld, which is made obvious by the melted appearance of the metal at all corners of the safe body.

Understanding Safe Testing & Resistance Standards

There is a very simple thing to look for when trying to understand how a safe was tested. Look for the information of how the test was conducted. If the test was for a burglary rating, how was the test conducted, and what burglary methods were used during the test. 

You need to look at the measurement of the stress (temperature for fire testing, the pressure exerted for burglary tests) and compare that to how long the test was conducted.

Two tricky things are likely to happen. You are going to see that the safes that can withstand a higher level of stress, do so for less time. And safes that stand up to a lower expressed level of stress do so for more time.

The measurements are not the same, or sometimes they are, though they are presented differently as a sales tool.

What makes a safe secure?

Lock Assembly – The lock assembly determines drill points, and may even use glass relockers to prevent someone from attempting to covertly open the safe. You need to take a look at the mechanisms that work inside your door and understand their level of complexity. The more complex, better protected, etc., the higher chance that the assembly is providing adequate security to your safe. 

Bolts – There are few things that matter more about the bolts of your safe door than the number of bolts, the diameter of the bolt, and the steel content. For the best security, you want the most bolts possible, with the largest diameter, and the highest steel content. The steel and the diameter are likely the most important, because thin and weak bolts do little to protect your safe, even if there are a good number of them.

Safe Body – We have talked a bit already about how to sort through the information about the metal used to make your safe, but it is important to remember that your entire safe should use the same level of security throughout. On most safes, the safe body is going to have thinner steel than the safe door. If that is true, then the body will be targeted instead of the door. 

Heat Resistant Layers & Inserts – In order to hold up against extreme heat and fire, there must be layers within your safe that mix ceramic inserts with fire retardant materials. Stainless steel is also great for distributing heat away from a centralized location. These will not only keep your safe secure during a fire, they will also better protect the contents from heat damage. Heat attacks, using blow torches, are also better prevented through these means.

How To Determine What Safe You Need

Safes come in a wide assortment of styles that are designed to provide all manner of protection. But depending on what you are storing inside the safe, where the safe itself is stored, the specific risks you are facing, etc., you may need a safe with a certain type of design.

It is a good idea to consult an expert if you are trying to determine which safe is right for you. Locksmith Pros USA has tons of experience pairing Los Angeles business owners and residents to buy the right safe. A locksmith can also help with installing safes and can service the safes if anything goes wrong.

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