Can be mounted quickly for security, but also fits in a drawer. Large enough to hold a couple pistols, spare ammo, and spare magazines.
Fingerprint sensor used to have issues but this seems to have been resolved by the manufacturer.
Easy to mount and conceal anywhere you need quick access to your pistol. Large enough to hold most handguns and stores 120 fingerprints.
Runs batteries out of power quickly, so must be tested often.
Sturdy, if not foolproof, locking mechanism with backup keys. Adjustable shelves allow for several configuration options. Bolts securely to the floor, and inset hinges further deter thieves.
Not fire-resistant. Electronic lock has a few foibles, fails frequently and sometimes arrives disconnected. Paint is vulnerable to chips and scratches. Locking mechanism is loud.
Compact and easy to program. Opens quickly and in dead silence, unlike some of other safes on our shortlist.
Small size will not allow you to store more than one gun.
Secure because it's easy to bolt down and hard to open without combination. Totally mechanical, so no need to worry about batteries.
Mechanical lock works quickly, but a biometric one works considerably faster. Enough room for a full size pistol, some ammo and a spare magazine, but that's about it.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
A gun safe is a must-have purchase for anyone who owns handguns or other firearms. Being a responsible gun owner means ensuring that your firearms are securely stowed away so accidents don’t occur. But with the wide array of gun safes on today’s market, choosing one that will work best for your needs can be tricky.
At BestReviews, our goal is to simplify the shopping process. We always buy our own products, which allows us to provide completely unbiased reviews. When possible, we consult with experts to gain deeper insight into the top products on the market, and we conduct our own field research so we know exactly how well the items perform. That means we can confidently pass along all the information you need to make the most educated purchase for your home.
Are you looking to buy a gun safe? Check out the matrix above to find our top recommendations. For general tips on shopping for a gun safe, keep reading.
A gun safe is a protective storage container for firearms that can be locked so unauthorized or untrained people can’t gain access to the contents. Depending on the model you choose, a gun safe may also be able to protect your gun from damage due to floods, fires, and other natural disasters.
Safety is the main reason to purchase a gun safe. Many states actually have laws on the books that require guns to be locked up, even if there aren’t any children in the home. Additionally, some home insurance policies require you to have a gun safe if you own firearms. Even if your insurance company doesn’t require you to use a safe, it may offer a discount if you keep your firearms in one.
Most gun safes can accommodate other valuables as well, so you don’t need to purchase a separate safe to secure your most prized possessions. There’s typically room for jewelry, important documents, and anything else that needs to be both protected and easily located.
In addition to firearms themselves, you can also store gun accessories – scopes, sights, grips, holsters, belts, and ammunition – in a gun safe.
Size: Some gun safes are simply small, lockable boxes that can be easily placed almost anywhere in your home. Others are incredibly large, so it’s trickier to find a spot for them. Measure the area where you plan to place the safe. That way, you’ll know exactly how large a model your space can accommodate.
Most manufacturers specify the external dimensions of a gun safe, but the internal dimensions are more important because they affect how many guns and other items you can store inside.
Thickness: A key feature to ensure that a gun safe is as secure as possible is the thickness of the steel used in its construction. For a quick measure of steel thickness, check out its gauge. Remember, the higher the gauge number, the thinner the steel actually is. For example, 10-gauge steel is actually thinner than eight-gauge steel. Choose a gun safe with steel that’s at least 10-gauge in thickness so common hand tools can’t be used to cut through it.
Locking Mechanism: Gun safes have a variety of locking mechanisms to secure the items inside. Some have traditional mechanical locks that require spinning a dial with the correct combination to open the safe. These safes are extremely reliable and are usually less expensive than those with other types of mechanisms. However, it can take some time to open them.
Electronic locks have a keypad instead of a dial, so you punch in the proper combination or code. These offer a wider option of possible combinations, and they open much more quickly and easily than mechanical locks. Some gun safes with electronic locks are also equipped with thumbprint recognition or voice activation to ensure that the safe can’t be opened by anyone but you. These locks tend to be more expensive, however.
If a fire occurs, the highest section of a gun safe is the most vulnerable. Store particularly valuable firearms and belongings in the middle section for extra security.
Fire Protection: In addition to protecting your firearms and other items from unauthorized access, a gun safe can protect them in the event of a fire. Not all gun safes offer the same fire protection, so it’s important to pay attention to fire rating. Safes are typically rated by how hot the interior can get when subjected to high temperatures over a certain period of time. For most homes, a gun safe that can survive for at least an hour at 1,200°F should be sufficient.
It’s best to place a gun safe in a climate-controlled location to protect the firearms from humidity. Therefore, your garage and basement are not necessarily the best options.
Gun safes vary in price based on size, capacity, gauge, and security features.
For a small gun safe that holds only one or two guns, you’ll usually pay between $75 and $200.
For a mid-sized gun safe that holds three to 10 guns, expect to pay between $200 and $600.
For a large gun safe that holds more than 10 guns, you’ll usually pay between $600 and $1,200.
An extra-large gun safe that can hold up to 40 guns can cost as much as $3,000.
Write down the combination to your gun safe. Keep it somewhere secure but easily accessible. That way, if you ever forget it or someone else needs the combination when you’re not available, it’s still possible to access the safe.
Consider the humidity of your gun safe’s location. If you plan to store your gun safe in a potentially moist environment like a basement or garage, you should add some type of moisture-controlling tool – such as a dehumidifier or silica gel cans – to the space for rust prevention.
Large safes can sometimes tip over. Anchor an oversized model to the floor to ensure that it’s secure.
Clean your gun safe approximately once a month. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the exterior edges, handles, and locks to remove dirt and dust. Also, oil the lock bolts on your gun safe yearly to keep them from getting jammed or stuck.
Q. What’s the most important feature to consider when purchasing a gun safe?
A. For most people, the capacity of the gun safe is the most important feature to consider. If you don’t have enough room for all of your firearms, you may need to buy another safe to accommodate your entire collection. It’s also a good idea to buy a safe that’s larger than you need at the moment if you anticipate your collection growing.
Q. How much fireproofing should a gun safe have?
A. To ensure that your firearms are protected, make sure that any gun safe you choose is fireproof up to at least 1,200°F. However, for added peace of mind, it’s a good idea to choose a safe that’s fireproof up to 2,300°F. Look for a model with ceramic or cement insulation for even more protection.
Q. What does “bolt coverage” mean when it comes to gun safes?
A. “Bolt coverage” describes how many sides of the safe door have locking bolts. Some less-costly safes only have locking bolts on one side of the door, while others have bolts on all sides. A safe with better bolt coverage is harder to break into and provides a tighter seal in the event of a fire.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.