Easy installation using basic pre-drilled holes. Slot is large for bigger items. Comes with a basic locking mechanism for easy access to the interior compartment.
Requires permanent installation to be used correctly.
Thick metal siding keeps contents safe from most common forms of tampering. Locking mechanism is extremely durable and simple to use. Features lockout mode.
Limited to holding narrow objects that fit through the slot.
Multiple access lock features a keypad and individual keys. Keypad is easy to set up and use. Slot design is small enough for money and letters.
Does not have as much space as other, more expensive safe options.
Digital keypad display makes it easy to access the contents of the safe whenever necessary. Metal construction is heat resistant in case of fire. Includes mounting bolts and AA batteries.
Fingerprint scanner is not as reliable as the key pad.
A large access slot makes it easy to store items in the safe that are bigger than just money and letters. Full-size keypad includes large buttons. Uses 3 locking bolts for extra security.
More difficult to install given the larger size and weight.
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Drop slot safes offer a secure solution when valuable items can’t be handed over in person. Those items could be anything, such as a set of keys, letter, small parcel, or bundle of cash. The drop slot safe keeps the items secure until they can be collected or sorted later by someone with authorized access to the safe.
There are a multitude of different options with regard to size, structure, insertion, and locking method when it comes to drop slot safes, and you want to find the one that best fits your situation.
We’ve been investigating the strengths and weaknesses of these safes for you. Our recommendations cover a wide range of alternatives, and we’ve also compiled the following buying guide to describe your options in more detail.
Although there’s a huge variety of drop slot safes available, the differences boil down to four areas: size, design, construction, and locking method.
Drop slot safes range from compact (such as 14 x 10 x 10 inches) to quite large (such as 50 x 20 x 20 inches).
Compartments: Many drop slot safes are just a simple secure box, but others incorporate shelves. More complex models may have a second or even third secure area, each with a separate lock, in addition to the drop safe section. This gives you the option of allowing others to access some areas of the safe but not others. These sections might be stacked vertically, like a file cabinet, or side by side, giving you increased versatility when to comes to where you can fit them.
Although they aren’t common, there are also a few drum safes in which you place the item into a top drum, wind a handle, and the item drops into the bottom of the safe.
Slot: The opening can be a simple slot, with some not much wider than an envelope, or it can be a door you pull open for larger objects or small parcels, like the door for larger envelopes at the post office. It’s vital to think about what kind of items will be dropped off before you decide on the right safe. You don’t want to be feeding in a stack of hundred dollar bills one at a time!
The position of the slot varies from front to top to back. An interesting variation is the through-the-door or through-the-wall model. Like a night deposit box at a bank, there’s just a slot outside, with the main part of the safe inside the building. A burglar would have to break into the building first before attempting to crack the safe itself. There are also specialized point-of-sale drop slot safes designed to be installed under a counter in a store or other retail environment.
Slot security is maintained by extending the slot or by including “anti-fishing” baffles that prevent a hand from reaching in. Some slots have jagged teeth along the edge, which would definitely put off a would-be thief!
The lightest drop slot safes, also called drop-off boxes, are made from relatively thin galvanized steel sheet. These are the kind in which you leave your rental car keys and paperwork. They wouldn’t survive long against a determined attack, but they’re usually in public areas where that kind of theft is less likely, and the contents are seldom left overnight. One of these is certainly enough to deter an opportunist thief.
Better quality usually means thicker steel, hidden hinges, very tight gaps that prevent someone from prying it open, and multiple locking bolts from the door into the body of the safe. Bolts that also lock on the hinge side make for a very secure closure. If you’re looking for maximum security, it’s important to check the thickness of the steel. Many drop slot safes look very robust but are made of pressed steel, not solid. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — they can still be plenty strong — but thicker material is always better. A few safes use cast iron or hardened steel plate for the door, which is very difficult to drill through.
Installation: Most small and medium drop slot safes offer the option of bolting them to the floor. That’s important because many are light enough that a thief could simply walk off with one! Installing the safe in a wall is another option. Though it isn’t difficult to do, it’s a good idea to check with your insurer if professional installation is necessary.
In addition to the following locking/unlocking systems, several drop slot safes offer automatic locking as soon as the door is closed.
Key: The simplest drop slot safes open with a key. It’s particularly common on through-the-wall safes, because there’s little chance of anyone but authorized personnel having access to it. Some models have twin keys — both have to be present to unlock the safe, as with a safety deposit box. The drawbacks with keys are their tendency to get lost and they limit the number of people who can be granted access unless you have more keys cut.
Keypad: A keypad in which you punch in a code is a popular alternative. There are two potential problems with keypads. First, it’s easy to forget a code. This isn’t a big deal if someone else has the number, but it could prove awkward if access is needed at a time when the other person isn’t available. Second, in situations where multiple people have access and one leaves the company, the code needs to be changed and everyone needs to learn a new one. Not terrible, but it can be frustrating.
Biometric: The answer to the above problems is a biometric lock, in this case a fingerprint scanner. As many individuals as necessary can be scanned and granted access. Among the safes we checked, up to 30 people can be included. If anyone should leave the company, only that one fingerprint needs to be deleted from the memory while the remainder stay active. A pin code means only an authorized person can make changes.
A biometric lock is also the most secure locking system. It’s possible that a key or keypad code might be found or stolen by a criminal, but fingerprints are unique. In the case of keypad or biometric safes, a key is provided as a backup/override in the event of a problem or if the battery for the keypad or biometric system dies.
Inexpensive: The cheapest drop slot safes we found cost around $75 to $100. There is plenty of variety in terms of type, including drop-off boxes, through-the-wall or through-the-door models, and small cash/letter safes. Many use keys, but several have numeric keypads. Though some look very robust, they’re generally made of pressed steel of modest thickness.
Mid-range: If you spend $100 to $400, you can find larger, more solidly constructed models, frequently called depository safes. Almost all are operated by keypad. The few biometric models we found are at the upper end of this price range.
Expensive: A higher price essentially gets you a larger version of the above, made with thicker steel. You can pay $1,000 or more, depending on the specifications.
Q. How secure are drop slot safes?
A. It depends on the locking mechanism and the thickness of the steel. While any safe can be defeated eventually, a sturdy cabinet with tight closures can resist a brute force attack (with a crowbar, for example), and key codes or biometrics will put off the opportunist thief.
Q. What’s the difference between a depository safe and a drop slot safe?A. They are really just different names for very similar things, though with a depository safe the opening is often on the same side as the access door and quite large. They can’t be used as a through-the-door or wall installation.
Q. Are drop slot safes fireproof?
A. We were unable to find any that comply with US/UL standards, which requires them to withstand 1,700°F for an hour. Even if the slot closes, there’s no practical way to seal it tight enough — it would be impossible to push items through! Depending on the thickness of the steel, a wall- or door-mounted version with an outside slot will provide some protection if there’s a fire inside the building, but there’s no way of telling for how long.