Top In Wall Safes For Hidden Valuables & Guns: 5 Reviews
Fireproof, Biometric or Digital: What are the Best Secret Wall Safes for Home?
Of all the options available for secure, at home storage, wall safes stand apart because they offer some distinct advantages: not only are they a strong barrier against physical theft, but because they are designed to be hidden between the studs, they offer the added security of concealment. A unique combination of burglary resistant construction and smart, versatile concealment, they offer security that just can’t be found in other home style safes.
If you require regular access, good wall safes can be hidden behind easily movable objects such as curtains, paintings, and pictures, or in the closet behind clothing or storage boxes. For extra concealment, you can install one behind any piece of furniture such as a hutch, cabinet or bookcase.
For additional security, they can be placed behind a bookcase whose books can be removed to gain access without having to move the bookcase itself. Another idea is to hide it behind a false electrical panel door - the potential hiding places are endless.
And that’s the real advantage of in-wall home safes, they are secure storage vaults that have numerous concealment advantages while still providing ease of access.
A Word Of Warning - Not All Wall Safes Are Created Equal
One of the drawbacks of common wall safes is that in no way are they created equal. Quite the opposite, unfortunately.
For some reason, just about every manufacturer of household gadgets feels the need to ‘get onboard’ and market one of these. Problem is, what they produce is usually nothing more than a tin lunch box with a lock. Even some of the most widely recognized names in heavy duty, serious, commercial vaults and rifle lockers such as Mesa, Sentry, and Cannon - whom I have reviewed and recommended for their gun vaults - drop any commitment to quality and craftsmanship when it comes to their wall safes.
Fortunately, there are a few manufactures who do produce with the same integrity and quality as their other safes and those are the ones you’ll find reviewed here.
Be wary of anything that doesn’t have a 4 star customer review rating or better: when you are clicking around on some of these products I recommend - and especially the ones I don’t - BE SURE TO READ THE REVIEWS!
Due to common variability in home construction in general and wall stud spacing in particular, most in-wall safes are designed slightly more narrow than typical 14½" stud spacing should be. Be prepared with some type of wooden or plastic shim about ¼” thick to soak up some of the space that might be there if your studs are slightly curved or were installed wider than 16” centers.
Do yourself a huge favour and skip over the 4 and 5 star reviews, because we pretty much know what they’re going to say, but read the 1 and 2 star reviews. If you find more than few reviewers making the same complaints about poor craftsmanship, installation headaches, and lack of quality control, take heed or you too will be disappointed.
QUALITY & VALUE:
There are numerous manual and electronic wall safes in the $50 - $100 range that seem to offer a good combination of quality and value but will likely lead to frustration and disappointment. Like I said, for some reason, when it comes to these types of safes, even some of the best home gun safe manufactures seem to forget what quality and functionality is all about and any safe in this price range isn’t even worth you time.
Fortunately, I’ve already done the researching and testing for you and the hidden wall safes I’ll review and recommend here are the best of the best and will provide you with quality and security that will last a lifetime.
Let’s take a look!
Stack-On Electronic Secret Wall Safe Review: Good Quality & Value, Easy Installation
Stack-On is one those manufacturers of a whole line of high quality home, bank, and gun vaults that doesn't compromise their quality when it comes to their between the stud safes.
Stack-On PWS-1522 Electronic
The PWS-1522 is the first of two in-wall safes I’ll review that are engineered to meet the specifications of the California DoJ firearms regulation section 12088.2.
It is constructed entirely of heavy gauge solid steel, features a serious pry resistant door with smart designed concealed hinges, and is secured by two ¾” live action locking bolts.
This safe offers an electronic lock operated by a digital keypad that has the added security of a time out period if three wrong combination attempts are made. The lock has a low battery warning light, and should the battery fail, backup override keys are included.
Inside, this safe offers impressive versatility with two removable shelves so you can configure the safe to your needs, a smart key rack and tags for important keys, and a document folder to help keep valuable papers from folding. If you will be using this for firearms storage, Stack-on has considered that too with the installation of strapping so you can secure your pistols against the back.
When it comes to installation, this one of the areas that this safe really stands out. As the reviews attest to, installations is a snap with pre-drilled mounting holes designed for placement in between studs on 16” centers and the necessary mounting hardware is included.
Overall, the Stack-on is a great basic, easy to install option that doesn’t compromise on quality or security.
- Exterior: 20 ⅝ “h x 13 13/16”w x 3 ¾”d
- Weight: 31 Lbs
Protex Digital Between The Stud Safe: Smart Design Equals Plenty Of Concealed Storage
What I really like best about the Protex PWS-1814E hidden wall safe is its smart engineering and design.
Protex Digital PWS1814E
This is highlighted first in the setting of the locking keypad on the door - it is mounted completely flush. Having the locking mechanism flush with the door, so it doesn’t protrude and interfere with any concealment covering, might seem like a no-brainer, but this is not the case with the majority of in wall gun safes.
Secondly, when the locking mechanism is flush mounted, it is usually at the expense of interior storage capacity. Purchasers who don’t do their homework are often disappointed to find that their new prized possession doesn’t have nearly the interior storage space they expected. Sadly, it is quite common for the lock housing to occupy almost the entire middle ⅓ of the interior, rendering the space behind the lock useless for storage of anything other than just documents. It is rare and valuable to find in an electronic wall safe like this one that offers the perfect combination of a flush mounted keypad plus a small interior lock housing.
The construction of the Protex is very similar to the Stack-on, featuring all heavy gauge steel construction body, but with an extra thick ⅝” formed steel door secured by two ¾” live action chromed steel bolts.
The lock is an electronic, digital keypad type that has a low battery warning and a unique set of two override systems. First, should be battery die, entry codes will be retained for an additional 6 months. If that isn’t enough, this safe comes with a power override jack that can be plugged into the lock to open. Further, if all else fails, there is a manual override key lock system operated by two included keys.
On the inside, the Protex excels again with back, sides and shelves that are lined with soft grey velvet. For versatility, both shelves are removable and the door is lightly spring loaded so that it automatically opens upon correct code entry.
The Protex is easy to install and leads again with six mounting holes, three on each side and of course the mounting hardware is included.
Overall, the Protex provides similar construction security to the Stack-on, but does so in a tighter package with flush mounted operation and more storage room that is beautifully upholstered to protect your valuables.
- Exterior: 18 ¼”h x 14 ⅛”w x 3 ⅞”d
- Interior: 18 ⅛”h x 14”w x 3”d
- Weight 28Lbs.
Barska Biometric In Wall Safe: Quick, Electronic Access To Hidden Gun Security
If your intention with a wall safe is for the secure storage of your guns, the Braska is probably your best bet.
Like the Stack-On, it is California DoJ 12088.2 compliant for the safe storage of handguns. Plus, it is one of only a very few high quality wall safes I found to review offering the quick access of fingerprint control.
Barska is also one of only a few widely recognized commercial safe and gun vault manufacturers that does not compromise quality and craftsmanship when it comes to their personal versions. Barska has an entire line of fingerprint operated safes, ranging from the smallest desk-drawer pistol safes to the very largest water and fireproof gun vaults, and is known for quick access biometrics; and their wall safe is no exception.
Constructed entirely of heavy gauge steel, secured by two live action ¾” chromed steel bolts, and interior concealed hinges, the barska offers the same high quality protection as the Stack-on and the Protex.
But what really set this unit apart is the quick access biometric lock. The fingerprint reader has the capacity to store 120 individual fingerprints. That might not seem necessary to you now, but when you’re faced with a situation where its down to you and your weapon to protect your family and property and you need instant, middle-of-the-night access, having numerous stored prints of different angles of ALL of your fingers is going to ensure you get to the protection you need when you need it.
The only drawback to the biometric operation of this wall safe is that the fingerprint reader is not flush with the door but extends out about ⅓”, so either the safe needs to be recessed into the wall with the flange right up against the studs or your choice of cover up has to be something like a painting or a bookcase that might not naturally sit flush against the wall.
The safe also includes two manual override keys for back up and the interior of the Barska has two removable shelves and has floor matting to protect your firearms and valuables. Plus, Barska has done a nice job of keeping the lock housing small to maximize the internal storage capacity.
If quick access and the highest security for firearms and other valuables is your top priority in a in-wall gun safe, the Barska biometric is the one for you.
- Exterior width: 15½”
- Interior width: 13¾”
- Weight: 28.8 Lbs.
Amsec West2114 In Wall Gun Safe Review: Superior Protection With A Touch Screen
When it comes to the best wall safes, as with most things in life, you only get what you pay for.
While the Stack-on, Protex, and Barska offer good value and solid protection against burglary, if you are searching for high end, gun vault security, it has to be Amsec.
American Security is really the only manufacturer that offers the same burglary and fireproof protection in their home wall safes that they offer in their larger gun vaults.
The body of the West2114 has similar heavy gauge, all steel construction to the previous three I’ve reviewed but goes further, with a 3/16” solid plate, 11 gauge steel door and flange.
The door is secured on the hinge side by two ½” chromed steel dead bolts and on the locking side by two of the same but live action locking bolts operated by a state-of-the-art DL5000 electronic lock, all controlled by a large 3¾” LCD touch screen.
Additional features of the impressive touch screen include a low battery indicator, date and time function, two unique entry codes, plus the ability to record and display data on the previous 14 entries - so you have a record of when the safe was opened and by whom.
Further, this safe has a has an integral motion detector alert and a proprietary, built-in “spy-proof” function making it almost impossible for anyone to acquire your access code by observing your input.
For back up, this hidden in wall gun safe provides a key-lock override system with two extra keys and a power override battery box similar to that found on the Protex.
A smart engineering feature of the WEST is its recessed door. While the LCD screen and manual door latch protrude from the door slightly, the door itself is mounted slightly recessed inside the flange for a flush result.
Inside, it has two removable shelves with upholstered floor, back and shelving. The only drawback to this safe is found here. With all the features of the electronic lock and LCD display, the interior lock housing occupies most of the middle ⅓ of the interior.
Beyond this minor, but necessary occupier, the Amsec WEST2114 is built like a fire hydrant and provides superior burglary protection plus the most advanced electronic lock and data features available in any wall style safe. If you’re in the search for top notch secret security, this is it.
- Exterior: 22 ¼”h x 15”w x 4”d
- Interior: 20 ½”h x 13 ¾”w x 3”d
- Weight: 31 Lbs.
Amsec WFS149E5: The Best Fireproof In-Wall Safe Around
As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to the most secure protection available in the wall safe industry, its American Security.
Amsec WFS149E5 Fireproof
Amsec is the only manufacturer I’m aware of that offers top fireproof protection in a wall safe - and the WFS149E5 is it.
This unit has an Underwriter Laboratories Listed one hour fire rating guaranteeing the inside temperature never exceeds 350 degrees: serious fire protection for all your valuables including precious metals, family heirlooms, jewelry, firearms, and important documents. Keep in mind, paper begins to char at about 450 degrees, so even treasured historical documents will be protected from fire long enough for local fire services to respond.
Beyond industry leading fireproof protection, this Amsec is constructed of a heavy gauge steel body coupled with a massive ½” thick, 11 gauge solid steel plate door secured by two live action ½” chromed steel locking bolts on the locking side and two more dead bots on the hinge side.
Amswec WFS149E5 Interior
A couple of things to note with this in-wall, fireproof safe.
First, its overall size. The exterior depth is 13½” meaning it cannot be installed in a regular interior home wall but must be secured into a thick commercial depth wall or installed in a concrete slab floor.
Secondly, its interior capacity. As this safe is surrounded by more than 1½” of heat reducing insulation, the interior capacity is substantially less than the outside dimension suggest, take note of the dimensions listed below.
Overall, if fireproof protection is your top priority, this is the one for you, no other wall safe even comes close.
- Exterior: 19 ¼”h x 15 ¾”w x 13 ½” d
- Interior: 14”h x 10 ½”w x 8 ½” d
- Weight: 106 Lbs
Make The Right Choice For Your Valuables & Your Family
Which ever one you choose, just keep in mind that unfortunately when it comes to this style of safe, there is a lot of low quality, imported junk masquerading as good security.
What are you looking to secure in a wall safe?
Paying a little extra now will pay dividends in the future should your safe ever be called upon to protect your most precious valuables. Take my advice and stick with one of these five I have reviewed here and you’ll be more than satisfied for along time to come.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have any experience with this type of security? Was the information I compiled for you helpful? Please share your thoughts in comments section below.
Thanks for reading.