Choosing the correct residential safe for your needs can be quite a daunting task if you do not know what you are looking to protect your valuables from.
There are a large variety of safe manufacturers out there today and a larger amount of safe types to choose from. The choices are limitless but instead of making things easier this sometimes only serves to confuse the buyer. Before you start looking for your safe it is thus best that you know what type of valuables you are looking to protect as well as what you are looking to protect your valuables from.
Generally there are two types of safes you can buy. One is burglar resistant and the other is fire resistant. You can get a combination of the two but these are very costly. All the safes, whether burglar resistant or fire resistant, are tested and rated by Underwriter Laboratories (UL) and this will determine their functionality as well as their price.
Safes that are burglar resistant are rated for the different levels of protection they offer. The safes are put through a rigorous sequence of tests performed by professional safe crackers. The crackers use a variety of tools and methods to break into the safe, and the amount of time it takes to do so will determine the level of protection the safe offers. These safes all have heavy doors and are made of solid metal that can withstand drilling. The safes need to be resistant to tools that apply pressure, picking tools, drills and other mechanical instruments including torches.
Fire resistant safes are rated based on the length time it can keep its contents below 350 degrees Fahrenheit. These safes are constructed from two thin walls of metal that can resist heat for a certain amount of time. Insulating material is also placed in between the walls of metal and this releases a moisturizing substance that protects your documents as well as keeps the interior of the safe at a minimum temperature.
These safes are great at protecting against fire but do little to protect against burglars. In urban areas where most fires are put out within an hour means you can look at safes that protect against fire for the minimum time period. However, if you live in the country you may want to consider spending a little extra money on a safe that is rated to protect for a little longer.
You will also find a few types of safes that are labeled as “impact rated”. To rate these safes they are heated to 1550 degrees Fahrenheit in a furnace, dropped from three stories onto a pile of bricks and then taken back to the furnace and reheated. To earn this title, the temperature inside the safe should not have reached higher than 350 degrees Fahrenheit and the documents inside the safe still need to be readable.
These are the high priority features you need to take into consideration when buying a residential safe. If you follow these guidelines you are sure to find a safe that meets all of your requirements.