Top Home Safe’s On The Market
It’s been said that an Englishman’s home is his castle, but it seems nowadays that that is not quite true. The number of domestic burglaries seems to increase every year, and many householders are now quite concerned over the safety of themselves and their valuables.
How should they protect those treasured possessions or important papers that they don’t need every day.
Most of us will have seen them in hotels, small but seemingly effective safes. Can they, or something similar be used at home?
What to look for in a household safe.
Where will you keep it. Does it need to be fixed to the wall. How big does it need to be.
Does it need to provide protection against fire and flood. If so, what is the rating required.
Are you happy with key access. Keys can be lost and copied. Locks can be picked. Will a single keycode tapped in on a keypad be enough, or do you need biometric security
If you have a keycode or biometric lock, you will need to provide power to the safe. Some safes have interior lights. Can power be provided without compromising security. Batteries willrun out. How long will the batteries in an unattended safe last.
- Certification and warranties
To be accepted by insurance companies, the safe must be certified. There are separate certifications for fire, water and theft. Be aware that if you use holes in the safe to attach it to a wall or floor, the certifications can be affected if you drill the holes yourself, and don’t use holes supplied by the manufacturer.
Similar constraints may apply to warranties.
Other Considerations include;
Will keeping your treasures in a secure safe reduce your household insurance premium.
- How is it built.
If the material is too thin, it can be easily breached with an angle grinder. Are the door hinges good enough. Is the opening mechanism secure and effective against attack.
- Key Safes
If it uses a key, how easy is it to pick or slam the lock. Check the Internet (dark and light) to see if there is any help as to how to break into it.
- Electronic Locks
Can you change the factory default settings, and if you do, will the safe still open if you use them.
Is there a Master Code or 2nd user function so you can still get into the safe if you forget the code.
Does the Internet (light or dark) have guidance on how to break into the safe by jimmying the keypad. It does happen and these entries exist, believe us.
On the Internet point, it is worth noting that there are many instructions, video and written on how to break into common types of safe keypads. Most concentrate on hotel safes which tend to be less secure because of the need for a master code to help benighted tourists who have forgotten the code they used when putting their travel documents into the safe at the start of their stay. The techniques can be used on household safes as well.
Key-based systems are slightly more secure, but there are, again instructional videos on how to pick them or force them to open by hitting the key when in the lock. Besides, keys can be lost, stolen or copied.
Will it be delivered or supplied in anonymous packaging. Not too much of a problem with a shopkeeper, he won’t know where you live, but the delivery company will. Do you want them to know you have a safe.
Here are three household safes for you to consider.
The Yale name needs no introduction. They have been around in the general security world for many, many years and are considered one of the market leaders.
The YSM/250/EG1 is insurance approved and operates using a keypad. It has an 18Litre capacity.
Other features include
- It holds an insurance approved rating for up to £2,000 in Cash and £20,000 in valuables
- It operates via a LCD Screen using a user specified 3 – 8 Digit Pin Code. Remember to change the factory supplied code.
- It has a 22mm electronic locking bolt mechanism with reinforced hinges and is constructed from armoured steel anti drill plates
- It can be fixed to the wall or floor. A fixing pack and instructions are included. We recommend that you attach using concrete anchor bolts to protect against the unit being pulled from the wall or floor and carried away.
Users seem generally happy with the unit, though not impressed by Amazon delivering it in a bright yellow box loudly proclaiming “SAFE INSIDE”.
If you need to store A4 folders, it is reported to be not quite big enough though one user reports it will take his 13.5” AirMac laptop. This confuses us a little because an A4 page is 8.3”x 11.7”. Perhaps it is a big folder or because of the internal organization of the safe. The door might be a problem, because the door aperture is smaller than the inside of the safe. Best check it out if storing A4 documents is important. An optional purchase is a fireproof document bag.
Master Lock LFW082FTC
The Master Lock unit is slightly larger and has a greater capacity at 22.8Litres. It also has a longer warranty at 2 years.
The Master Lock unit is designed to offer protection from fire, water, and theft. It provides 60 minutes’ fire resistance at 923°C and water resistance in the event of flooding. Entry is protected by a programmable electronic combination lock with a light-up keypad that requires 4 x AAA batteries. The safe also includes an interior light, an adjustable shelf and the door holds a storage compartment and some key hooks.
Purchase includes a kit for bolting the safe to the floor. Please note that:
- Using the bolt-down kit invalidates the water-resistance warranty; and
- Bolting the unit to a wall will compromise the fire rating and possibly invalidate the warranty.
It holds an insurance approved rating for up to £1,000 in Cash and £10,000 in valuables.
Users seem in the main happy with the unit, although once again not impressed with the Amazon delivery service. There are some gripes around the reliability of the keypad.
Rottner 3139 Saturn LE25
It has an internal capacity of 19litres, a 12 month warranty.
The supplier didn’t specify the insurance rating, but the product title seems to imply a £1000 cash rating. No valuables rating is given, so enquire.
In regard to fire safety, no rating is given but is quoted as “offers protection against small fires thanks to its fire creases and robust hinges”. No flood rating. Make of these what you will.
The unit comes with a double-bit safety lock and two strong locking bolts. You will get two keys. Don’t keep the spare in the safe.
Finally, there are predrilled holes in the back and side for fitting to a wall or floor.
Once again you get what you pay for, and can you put a price on security and peace of mind. If all you want is somewhere to keep your stuff that offers some security, but doesn’t need to be highly secure, then the budget Rottner unit will suffice as a solution.
However, if what you want is a secure solution that will deter thieves and go a long way to keeping your treasures safe, then we recommend that you must buy the Yale unit.