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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
18 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Buying guide for best fireproof document bags

Think of your most valuable belongings: birth certificates, wills, jewelry, electronics. Now think of where they are in your home. If they’re in more than one place, it will be difficult and probably unsafe to grab them if you must evacuate your home in an emergency. That’s why you need one or more fireproof document bags. They protect important papers and valuables in the event of a fire, with some capable of shielding items from nearly 2,000°F of heat.

Fireproof document bags are engineered with fireproof materials, typically multiple layers of fiberglass. Available in different sizes to suit your needs, there are envelope-size styles that hold select items or, for more comprehensive protection, there are expandable folder organizers. While most fireproof document bags are designed to be like portfolios, certain styles have enough space and expandability to accommodate jewelry, money, or electronics.

Protecting your documents is of the utmost importance, so we assembled this buying guide to help you choose the best fireproof document bag to suit your needs.

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Fireproof document bags are good for storing external hard drives and USB drives. Even if you can’t print all the files on your computer, storing backup drives in a bag could save you from losing thousands of files, years of work, and countless memories.

Key considerations

How do fireproof document bags work?

Fireproof document bags are made of a unique combination of materials that can protect contents against 1,800°F to 2,000°F of heat, including fire. The temperate on the inside of the bag stays between 125°F and 350°F, which keeps items intact.

With that said, the variance between inside temperatures will affect your choice. Bags with an interior temperature that stays below 350°F are effective for papers. If you want to protect electronics or other sensitive items, however, aim for a bag that keeps the temperature closer to 125°F.

What to keep inside a fireproof document bag

Items kept in fireproof document bags are ones that either can’t be replaced or require an overwhelming amount of effort to replace. In fact, to secure replacement or submit an insurance claim, you’re often required to produce documentation. In the event of a fire or other emergency, it can become a bit of a catch-22 situation.

That’s why fireproof document bags are an invaluable resource. They are designed to protect paper items such as birth certificates, passports, deeds, titles, insurance policies, wills, currency, and legal documents. Fireproof document bags can also protect media and electronics such as tablets, laptops, cell phones, discs, and USB drives.

Size

Envelope style: These are a little larger than a standard envelope and resemble a bank deposit bag. They’re usually used to protect small valuables like money and jewelry. If you’re keeping documents in these, you’ll need to fold them. You won’t be able to keep too many documents inside these. Folded documents take up a surprising amount of space.

Folder style: This type of fireproof document bag holds 8 1/2 by 11-inch papers; the dimensions are generally larger so you can keep folders inside as well. Depending on expandability, these bags tend to hold between 100 and 500 sheets of paper. Some people use them as a regular portfolio for work or school; others use them at home to centralize important documentation.

Expandable organizers: These are the largest fireproof document bags available. They look like traditional expandable file organizers, and they usually have multiple slots to sort documents. They can hold between 300 and 500 sheets of paper. They often have straps or handles to make carrying easier, especially at full capacity.

Closure

Fireproof document bags are completely sealed off, most commonly with fireproof zippers. Certain bags forgo the zipper and have an industrial-strength Velcro closure instead, which is much wider than the Velcro closures used on clothing. Some bags have redundant closures with zippers and Velcro for maximum protection.

Features

Materials and construction

Fireproof document bags are made of at least two to three layers of fire retardant silicone-coated fiberglass. While each manufacturer will designate the exact heat resistance for their bags, expect to see between 1,800°F and 2,000°F of protection in quality styles.

Colors

Fireproof bags are usually black or white, since they’re more functional than fashionable for obvious reasons. With that said, some people prefer to use black bags that are more discreet and can be tucked inside a drawer or cabinet. Others opt for white, as the brightness makes it easier to find and identify.

Dedicated compartments

Some styles feature dedicated compartments to offer a higher level of organization. Credit card slots are common, and some fireproof document bags have a series of slots for money, passports, and birth certificates. In some expandable organizer styles, there are also compartments for tablets and laptops.

Waterproof

Fireproof document bags are often waterproof. The thought behind this design is that fires have to be extinguished, which means there’s a decent amount of water pumped into a home to control the fire. Some bags are designated as water-resistant instead of waterproof, so check the details to assess the level of water protection a bag offers.

Warranties

Fireproof document bags often have warranties and guarantees. It’s great when a manufacturer stands behind its product, but think of a situation where you have to get a replacement. If your bag and the contents were damaged in a fire, then replacing a $30 fireproof document bag is the least of your worries, especially considering it didn’t work effectively. While it comes across as a decent selling point, it’s not the most practical or useful feature to consider since it either works or it doesn’t. After all, if it doesn’t protect your valuables, chances are you wouldn’t want another bag from the same company.

Fireproof document bag prices

Inexpensive: Low-end fireproof document bags will cost $10 to $20. These are usually small envelope-style bags or folder-style bags with modest capacities.

Mid-range: Expect to pay $20 to $40 for mid-range fireproof document bags. At this price point, you will find more large-capacity styles, including expandable organizers.

Expensive: If you’re interested in making a bigger investment in protection, spending between $40 and $60 will get you fireproof document bags that come in sets of different sizes. In this price range, expect to find the largest capacity organizers that hold several hundred pages of 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper.

Tips

  • Store foreign currency. If you travel often and have more than one type of currency, keep it in your fireproof document bag. Since you probably keep your passport inside it as well, it’s a convenient spot for both.
  • Store college diplomas. If your diploma isn’t displayed, keep it inside a fireproof document bag just in case.
  • Keep a master copy of wedding footage. Put a digital copy of your wedding photos and videos, as well as footage of other important life events, inside your fireproof document bag.
  • Use for vehicle and property titles. If you own a business with a fleet of vehicles or properties, keep the titles in a fireproof document bag to minimize headaches when putting through insurance claims in the event of a fire or other disaster.
Keep your fireproof document bag in a spot where it’s safe yet easy to grab in the event of an emergency.

FAQ

Q. Will my fireproof document bag hold legal documents?
A.
Not every fireproof bag fits legal documents, which are typically 8 /12 x 14 inches. Make sure to choose a proper size bag if you need to protect legal-size documents. Some consumers also opt for legal-size fireproof document bags simply because they’re roomier.

Q. Will a fireproof document bag protect receipts printed on thermal paper?
A.
Probably not. If you need to preserve vital receipt information, make a photocopy and keep it inside the bag instead.

Q. Should I keep jewelry in a fireproof bag or a safe deposit box?
A.
It depends on what type of protection — and convenience — you need. If you want to protect jewelry from theft, a safe deposit box is a secure option. The downside is that you have to head to the bank every time you want to remove or return it. A fireproof bag is an ideal option if you want to protect your jewelry from fire, though it’s easy for a thief to grab and go if they break into your home. Some people keep jewelry in a fireproof bag and hide it in their home if they plan to be away for an extended period.

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