Compact size, can be bolted to floor, wall, or closet. Will hold several guns and ammo, plus documents. Easy to program.
Some users claim locking mechanism easily defeated. Many plastic elements. Not ideal for extremely valuable items, such as jewelry and cash.
Very roomy, holds hanging files and other documents. Both water and fire resistant. Heavy duty construction, not easily removed by criminals.
Original keys are not durable, so duplicates recommended. Plastic elements not as fireproof as promoted. Better for document storage than valuable possessions.
Resists outdoor elements such as sun, sand and salt water. Allows users to store wallets, cash, phones and other valuables on site. Available in a variety of colors.
Interior dimensions smaller than expected, so there's limited storage space. Both key and combination locks can be faulty. On the heavy side for traveling.
Keyless entry system with 4-8 digit combinations. Holds important documents, guns or medications securely. Easily mounted on drywall studs. Child-proof.
May arrive with missing or broken pieces. Locking mechanism not strong against brute force. Batteries can fall out of plastic casing. No fire protection.
Fits well in desk drawers and nightstands, but still holds several firearms or medication bottles. Better for hidden locations with easy access. Padded interior.
Unmodified versions can be opened with a paper clip. Some rust and corrosion reported. Opening process described as complicated; not good for guns.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Whether you have items you need to lock away for safety reasons, important valuables, or sentimental items you want to protect from fire or flood, a personal safe can help you secure your belongings.
If this is your first time buying a safe, the whole process can seem overwhelming. With so many types to choose from, not to mention factors such as fire ratings and burglary protection, trying to select the best personal safe can leave you scratching your head.
That's why we at BestReviews are here to cut through the jargon and help you find what you're looking for. You'll find our full shopping guide to personal safes below. When you're ready to buy, you can read about our favorites.
People buy personal safes for a variety of reasons. If you're still wondering whether you need a personal safe, here are some of the main reasons why you might want one.
Secure cash and valuables to prevent theft
Keep valuable and/or sentimental items safe in case of fire or flood
Secure firearms when not in use
Lock away dangerous medications or other potentially harmful substances
Personal safes with automatic door openers spring open once you've put in the correct code, which is useful if your hands are full.
Freestanding safes are not fastened to the floor or wall, although many models can be. They're versatile safes that can be used to store all kinds of items.
You may find a gun cabinet to be more practical than a safe if you want a place to store firearms.
Data and document safes are designed to protect important data (such as on disks, tapes, or flash drives) and paper documents, both from intruders and from fire and floods. Some of the best data safes offer protection from electrostatic interference and magnetic fields, too.
Basic document and data safes start at around $40 to $80.
High-end models can cost more than $3,000.
Drawer safes are compact personal safes that are small enough to sit inside an average desk drawer. While they aren’t alway extremely heavy-duty (because they can't weigh so much that they'd damage your drawer), they're ideal for storing important documents, medication bottles, and other things that are best secured but not exceptionally valuable.
Simple drawer safes cost as little as $30 to $50.
High-end models cost $150 to $200.
Some personal safes have a door pocket for easy access to small documents, such as passports and birth certificates.
Wall safes are designed to be installed in a wall – often inside a closet or other closed space for increased security. They tend to be smaller than freestanding safes and are generally less conspicuous.
You can find compact wall safes for less than $50, but they're unlikely to be very secure.
The most expensive models can cost up to $1,000.
Lock boxes are like portable personal safes. They can be used to secure valuables while camping, at the beach, in an unlocked house, and so on. While they're not highly secure, they're perfect for use on the go.
An average lock box costs between $15 and $50.
Some personal safes have keys for backup in case you forget your security code or combination.
A number of organizations, including Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Intertek, independently test safes for their level of protection against burglary. Using these tests, they've come up with various ratings. Based on these ratings, insurers determine the value of contents they'll cover if your safe is broken into.
RSC-rated safes can withstand a five-minute attack test. They are generally approved by insurers to hold up to $5,000 worth of content.
B-rated safes have a minimum one-half-inch plate door and one-quarter-inch body. They are approved for up to $10,000 of content value.
C-rated safes must have a minimum one-inch plate door and one-half-inch body. They're approved for up to $30,000 of content value.
TL-15 rated safes are able to resist entry for a minimum of 15 minutes with common hand tools, electric tools, pressure devices, grinders, and more. They can be insured for up to $200,000 of content value.
TL-30 rated safes are able to resist entry for a minimum of 30 minutes with common hand tools, electric tools, pressure devices, grinders, and more. They can be insured for up to $375,000 of content value.
TL-30X6 rated safes are able to resist entry for a minimum of 30 minutes with common hand tools, electric tools, pressure devices, grinders, and more, on all six sides of the safe. They can be insured for up to $500,000 to $1,000,000 of content value.
TRTL-30X6 rated safes are able to resist entry via a torch attack on all six sides for a minimum of 30 minutes. They can be insured for over $1,000,000 of content value.
Consider the value of whatever you'll be keeping in your safe, and choose a model with an appropriate burglary-protection rating.
Not all safes are fireproof, but those that are should have a fire rating. This tells you not only how long your chosen safe can resist fire but also the maximum temperature of the inside of the safe when exposed to fire.
Most home safes are fire-rated for a maximum of 30 minutes. It doesn't sound like a long time, but it tends to be sufficient in the event of a fire in the home. Fire moves quickly and usually lingers in one room for no more than 20 minutes.
Some home safes can withstand fire for up to an hour. If you want to be on the safe side, you can choose one of these, but expect to pay significantly more.
To protect paper documents, make sure that the inside of your chosen personal safe doesn't get any hotter than 350°F.
Data on media is even more sensitive. If you're storing tapes, DVDs, and other media, be sure you select a safe that's rated to not exceed 125°F inside when exposed to flames.
You can find personal safes with shelves inside, making it easier to neatly store a range of items.
Another consideration when buying a personal safe is the lock. These are the most common choices.
This is an excellent, secure choice and one of the most popular. The main drawbacks are that the keypad can run out of battery and there's a chance that someone could guess your code.
This is simple and generally secure, but anyone who has your key has free access to your safe.
Dial locks are popular in movies, but they've been all but replaced by keypad locks in real life. Dials are secure but more awkward to operate.
Locks with fingerprint scanners are the gold standard. They are extremely secure because the human fingerprint is unique. Personal safes with biometric locks are expensive.
If you opt for a personal safe with a keypad lock, make sure it gives you a low-battery warning so you can replace the battery before it runs down completely.
Make sure your chosen safe is large enough. Think about what you want to put inside, and remember that internal dimensions are sometimes significantly smaller than external dimensions, especially with fireproof safes.
Find out the weight of the safe you're considering. Some large, high-end personal safes are so heavy that they can't be kept on an upper floor without affecting the structural integrity of the building.
Think about the construction quality of the safe. One with a heavy-duty build will keep your belongings more secure if someone should try to break in.
Consider the code you select for your safe. Around 15% of people choose one of the following ten codes (and therefore you should avoid using them): 0000, 0852, 1111, 1212, 1234, 1998, 2222, 2580, 5555, and 5683.
Check what kind of insurance policy you are getting. Some insurance policies only cover items stored in safes that are securely installed or bolted down.
Q. Do I need a professional to install my personal safe?
A. Most personal safes don't require any kind of installation. However, if you choose a wall safe, you may need to find a professional to put it in for you. Some freestanding safes can be bolted to the wall or floor, which you may or may not be able to do yourself, depending on how handy you are.
Q. Should I choose a water-resistant safe?
A. Water-resistant or completely waterproof safes keep your items protected in case of flooding. This is extremely beneficial if you live in an area prone to flooding, but otherwise, it might be overkill.
Q. What happens if someone tries to tamper with my safe?
A. You can find a personal safe with an alarm that sounds if anyone tries to tamper with it. Some models with keypads will automatically lock out anyone who fails to input the right code after three tries.
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