Best Biometric Safes

Updated April 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

33 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
225 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best biometric safes

Last Updated April 2019

Whether you are looking to protect valuable personal items, important documents, or firearms, a biometric safe is a secure and simple way to prevent thieves or fires from getting to your belongings.

Biometric safes unlock by identifying your fingerprint. While some safes can only store a couple dozen fingerprints, many options can store far more, allowing you to choose exactly who has access to your belongings. Traditional safes use a key, dial, or keypad to unlock, all of which take time to unlock and require either a key or a memorized code. Not only does this mean you may lose access to your belongings if you misplace the key or forget the code, but it also means you will need more time to open your safe if you’re in a hurry. Some biometric safes are “smart” and include app integration so you can keep tabs on any activity no matter where you are.

Protecting your belongings is important, and selecting a biometric safe for your home gives you an easy and secure way to access items at any time. Continue reading to learn more about the varieties and features of biometric safes.

Biometric safes come in a range of styles and sizes for protecting anything from paperwork to firearms.

What makes a safe “biometric”?

A biometric safe uses a fingerprint scanner to unlock. A set number of fingerprints can be stored in the memory of a biometric safe, allowing you to either scan several of your fingerprints or the fingerprints of several people. This means there is no need to memorize codes or use keys to access the safe.

Like any personal safe, the size, weight, and construction determine which items can be stored and whether they will be protected from thieves, fires, or both.

Key considerations

Fingerprint storage and reader

How many people do you want to have access to your safe, and how many of each person’s fingerprints do you need? Biometric safes are designed to be easy to use in an emergency, but it can be difficult to remember which fingerprint is stored in the system when you are panicked. By entering two or more of your fingerprints into the memory of the safe, there is nothing to remember when you need to open it.

Biometric safes can store anywhere from 4 to 120 fingerprints. There’s no need for a memory that can store several dozen fingerprints if you only need to give access to a few people, but for some the extra storage is necessary.

The time a fingerprint scanner takes to open can vary from .5 to 3 seconds. While this is a small detail, it’s one that could help you escape your home faster in an emergency and should not be overlooked.

Smart functionality and security features

Many biometric safes are “smart,” meaning they can be used in conjunction with an app designed to give you control over the features and functionality of the safe.

A smart safe app can allow you to control things such as who has access to the safe, and can even be used to open the safe remotely. The app can also alert you of any activity, including access or disturbances. Some apps may include an access log, which may be useful if anything goes missing. This feature can be particularly helpful for businesses with a safe accessed by several employees.

The features of smart safes can vary greatly, so you should ensure the safe you select meets your needs.

Power source

Any biometric safe requires a power source for the fingerprint scanner to function. In most cases, biometric safes rely on battery power.

Safes powered by disposable batteries allow you to easily replace batteries and typically have a low battery indicator. Though this is a minor cost, it can add up and become tiresome.

Some safes have rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that charge via USB or an AC wall adapter. This means there is no need to purchase replacement batteries.

Construction and weight

Most biometric safes have steel construction and list a steel gauge, which refers to the thickness of the steel. A higher gauge is actually thinner. In most cases, the thinnest available gauge is around 18, with gun safes typically having a gauge of 10 or lower.

A lower gauge means thicker steel and therefore better burglary and fire protection. Gun safes typically have very low gauge steel.

Burglary protection is rated by several organizations, including Intertek and Underwriters Laboratories. You can read more about the ratings and their meanings in our guide on the Best Personal Safes.

The fire rating determines the amount of time a safe can withstand a fire before its contents become damaged. This generally ranges from 30 minutes to four hours. The longer a safe can withstand fire, the more likely it is that your belongings will survive until the fire is put out.

A heavier safe is more difficult to transport, but also more difficult to steal. If you do not plan on bolting your safe down, consider whether ease of transport or protection against theft is more important.

Storage size

Biometric safes come in a wide range of sizes and styles. Some are extremely compact for easy transportation, while others are large and designed to be wall mounted or bolted to the floor.

  • Gun safes can be slightly larger than a single handgun or large enough to hold several rifles.

  • Lock boxes are small and easy to transport, allowing you to protect your belongings no matter where you go.

  • Freestanding safes range in size and can store a wide variety of items.

  • Wall safes are small to medium in size and can be mounted on a wall discreetly.

  • Document safes are designed specifically to protect important documents and usually offer water and fire protection.
DID YOU KNOW?

A biometric safe can be kept in your home, office, vehicle, or business. They can also be wall-mounted or bolted to a floor.

Features

Interior lights

Many biometric safes have interior lighting that allows you to see your belongings clearly. This is convenient and potentially life-saving if you’re quickly grabbing belongings in an emergency and have no power. Smart safes may allow you to change the brightness of the light.

Display and interface

Most biometric safes have a small LCD display for easy programming and information on things like battery life and access records. Consider the display size and ease of use, particularly if you struggle to read small screens.

Backup keys

Many biometric safes will come with one or two backup keys, which can be used if the battery dies. In addition, you can give the backup key to a person who needs temporary access. Many safes have a key access hidden behind the company logo. Bear in mind that while backup keys are convenient, they also must be kept hidden.

Biometric safe prices

For $100 to $175 are small gun safes and lock boxes with limited storage space. Few safes in this range are smart safes, and fireproofing is uncommon.

Biometric safes for $175 to $300 use lower gauge steel than most cheaper safes and are often fireproof. These safes range greatly in size and style and may include features like interior lights and large memories for fingerprint storage. Many mid-range biometric safes are smart safes.

High-end biometric safes for $300 to $600 use very low gauge steel and often have additional safety features that pair with an app to notify you of any accesses or disturbances. These safes typically have storage for hundreds of fingerprints and well-integrated apps.

EXPERT TIP

Since it takes seconds (or less) to open a biometric safe, they can buy you invaluable time when you need to get out of your home.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Fingerprint scanners are notoriously difficult for thieves to crack while being far easier for you to access than a PIN pad or dial.


Staff  | BestReviews

Items to keep in a biometric safe

  • Passports, birth certificates, and other important IDs: Fireproof safes are designed to prevent their interior from reaching temperatures that would ignite papers. By keeping your most important documents in your safe, you can quickly grab what you need in the case of a fire or other emergency.

  • Firearms: A biometric gun safe lets you securely control who has access to firearms and allows you to quickly access your firearms.

  • Property titles, insurance policies, and financial papers: These documents may be vital to quick recuperation after a disaster.

  • Hard drives and other electronic data: As with paper, hard drives and USB drives require sufficient protection from heat in the event of a fire.

  • Valuables: Valuables can include anything from cash to gold to jewelry.

Other products we considered

If you’re looking for a biometric gun safe, one customer favorite is the SentrySafe Gun Safe with Biometric Lock. With capacity for two small handguns and a convenient interior light, this is a straightforward safe that is easy to access. There are a few quality concerns, but most customers were satisfied with its functionality.

For a less expensive gun save, the YUEMA Biometric Gun Safe is well suited to home or vehicle use. This safe gives you the option of PIN or fingerprint access, with a 30-fingerprint memory. Customer service is difficult to contact, but this is an otherwise decent budget safe.

A biometric safe not only prevents thieves from stealing valuables — it can also protect your children from firearms.

FAQ

Q. Can a fingerprint reader work if your fingerprint is dirty, cut, or otherwise obscured?

A. Not always. A good fingerprint scanner is extremely accurate and measures several parts of your fingerprint before giving access. You should make sure your fingerprints are clean and unmarred — a safe that turns you away is just doing its job.

Q. What happens if a biometric safe runs out of power?

A. Most biometric safes will remain locked if the power source is depleted or disconnected. In this case, you will need to replace the battery or use a backup key to access your belongings. Most safes have an LED battery level indicator.

Q. Does changing the batteries of a safe delete its memory of fingerprints and access history?

A. No — the memory will be preserved and you can use your safe as you normally do as soon as you replace the batteries.

The team that worked on this review
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    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Jacob
    Jacob
    Editorial Manager
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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