What Makes a Good Home Safe



If you have valuables in your house, you should consider getting a home safe. There are many options to choose from. But which one is right for you? Do you want a small briefcase-style safe that you can carry around or a great big safe like you might see in the movies where a safe-cracker tries to break in to steal some government secret or a some other fabulous  treasure. Much of this depends on what you need to secure. Another thing to consider is where you want to locate the safe. A wall safe hidden behind a large painting on the wall, will almost certainly have different specifications than a great big Bank safe that sits on the floor out in the open. Space is an important consideration, too. Most homes don’t have a lot of space in the wall for a concealed wall safe, but there may be plenty of room for a larger safe in the basement if you have one.

home safe


The size of the objects you are locking up is an important consideration. You can’t squeeze a rifle into a safe designed for holding jewelry and paperwork. Additionally, you must consider how much space you have for the safe itself. If you’re tight on space don’t expect to lock up anything bigger than jewelry, documents, and some cash. Another thing to consider is that all safes have very thick walls in order to protect the contents from fires and floods, so make sure you understand the inside size as well as the outside before you make any buying decisions. You don’t want to plunk down a lot of money for a safe and then find out it’s not quite big enough to hold your valuable items.

Many smaller briefcase-style home safes are easily picked up and carried away. If a thief steals it, he can take it home (or to his evil lair) and take his own sweet time breaking into it. So make sure that if you use this kind of safe, you hide it well. A large freestanding safe or one built into a wall or floor will never be susceptible to this kind of loss. Even one that can be bolted to the wall inside a closet will, for example, is resistant to being picked up and carried away.


Lock Type

There are as many kinds of locks as there are companies that make safes. Obviously, some kinds of locks may be easier to pick or break open than others. You may have different needs than other people with respect to how many people need to access the safe and how easy it might be to add or remove users. Here is a rundown of the various general types of locks that are available. Each may have a wide variety of different looks and other details which may also be important to you.

Traditional Key Lock

The standard key lock is the most common and probably the cheapest way to go. If there’s only one or a small number of users, then this might be a good option for you. Key locks also offer the least security as they can often be picked or broken without too much effort.

Some of those mass-produced small home safes may use only so many key cuts, so someone else out there will probably get the same key. Try to find this out before you buy any key lock safe.

Combination Lock

The good old fashioned combination lock has appeared in hundreds of movies and TV shows, sometimes with a safecracker putting his ear up to the door so he can hear when the tumblers fall into place. Advantages to the combo lock include not having to worry about who has the key(s) and who might be able to break it open (almost nobody can). The main disadvantage is that it can require an expert to change the combo if that’s ever needed. Sometimes an older combo lock can be finicky with respect to unlocking. That can cause frustration, but probably won’t be an issue with a nice new lock.

Newer combo locks might include a keypad instead of the traditional round tumbler. These are usually easier to deal with all the way around, but cost more in many cases.

home safe opened

Biometric lock

Biometrics can unlock based on a fingerprint, retina scan, facial recognition, or any other unique trait on the human body. Fingerprints are by far the most common. Biometric locks usually are quite a bit more expensive than traditional key or combination locks. For this reason, most homeowners skip it and go with a cheaper alternative. One thing is certain. Nobody’s going to pick a biometric lock easily.

Dual lock

Sometimes it’s a good idea to have multiple ways to open your safe. There could be a key lock that works as an emergency backup for your touchpad combination lock, in case the power goes out. That might be handy, but any safe is really only as secure as the weakest lock. For this reason, it might be best to avoid the dual lock. Dual locks are always more expensive than single locks.

stand alone safeMaterials

What is the safe made of? How thick is it? Always ask thee questions when considering buying a safe. Many cheap home safes are made of plastic. Better ones are made of thick steel. Even if it’s thick sturdy plastic, it can still be broken or melted. A small metal lockbox might be quickly broken open with a hammer. All of those approaches will fail on a large stand-alone safe. Also, consider the weight of the materials compared to the materials around them. In other words, don’t park a huge stand-alone safe on a flimsy wooden floor unless you want it to suddenly become a basement safe. Sturdy safes can weigh hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds. Make sure your floor can handle it.

Likewise, if you mount a safe in a wall, make sure that it isn’t so easy to break open the wall and simply carry the safe away to a discreet location (evil lair) where it can be broken open with leisure.

Is It Fireproof?

Many safes have a fireproof rating, which is intend3ed to protect your valuables in the event of a fire. A small plastic briefcase safe may have a fireproof rating, but the general house fire doesn’t burn as hot as a blowtorch, which might be employed to open one. Check those ratings carefully. Just because it says fireproof, doesn’t mean it’s really going to hold up when your hosue burns down.


This is the main advantage of the smaller briefcase-style safe. It can be carried around, handed off, or moved about as desired. That can come in handy in the event of a natural disaster when you need to grab your valuables and run. This is also the main disadvantage. Easily portable safes scream “Steal me!” So think twice before buying them. Make sure you can hide or otherwise secure them before you lock up anything of exceptional value in them. Portable gun safes are great for law enforcement professionals. The weapon can remain securely locked up until needed.


In general the price increases with the security of the safe. The bigger it is, the more you’re likely to pay. Plastic safes will always be cheaper than metal safes. The bottom end will be the $25 plastic portable personal safe with a key lock. And the top end could be in the thousands, but most decent quality home safes are available for $250-$750 online.

Use Affordable Home Security

Another option would be to secure your whole home with a home security system. With alarms and security cameras you can make sure nobody is breaking into your house in the first place. If they can’t get in, then they can’t steal the valuables in your safe, no matter how good it is. If you have very valuable items kept in your safe, you will want a home security system as well. We recommend Affordable Home Security in Denver, Colorado, or anywhere in the country. We are certain you will be pleased with the system you acquire through them.



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