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What is the Best Size Home Safe?

Updated on January 31, 2012
A typical looking safe
A typical looking safe

Home safes are a secure and convenient way of storing your valuables. As concerns over identity theft increase, and the trust in financial institution decreases, more and more people are choosing to purchase a quality home safe.

Demand for home safes increasing

Since the start of the latest global recession in 2008, the demand for home safes has increased due to a lack of faith in financial institutions. Additionally, nervous investors have chosen to liquidate their investments, and are often choosing to hold onto their hard earned cash at home rather than trusting the banks. Due to this trend, many are literally choosing to store their money under the mattress so to speak, and are investing in a home safe.

Why not store in a safety deposit box in a bank?

It used to be very common to store your valuables with a bank or building society. Fewer companies now offer this service, and less people are choosing to use it because of inconvenience factors such as:

  • Fees - there is a monthly or annual charge for the rental of the box.
  • Availability - you can only access your box in opening hours and will have to make a special trip to do so.
  • Security - your bank is likely to be in the same geographical location as your house, so in the event of a major natural disaster it will offer no more security than a home safe would.
  • Banks have been known to 'lose' safety deposit boxes, and have given authority to the police by order of the UK government in order to raid boxes of suspected criminals.

There are many considerations to take into account when choosing a home safe:

What will be stored in it?

The first thing to ask yourself, is what do you need to store in your safe? This will make the answer to a lot of these other questions a lot easier.

Here is a list of common things that are stored in a home safe:

  • Cash,
  • Jewellery
  • Passports,
  • Laptops
  • Hard drives and data sticks/memory cards
  • House Deeds
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Insurance policies and contact information,
  • Financial records – for banks, investments.
  • Legal documents – Powers of Attorney, Living wills
  • Copy of wills
  • Credit cards,
  • Tax information,
  • Business documents,
  • Family heirlooms,
  • Collectibles and memorabilia

These can broadly be categorised into two types: data and document safes.

You may decide that you only want your safe to be used for paperwork, or you may wish to store your laptop, camera or other media in it. Your choice here will determine other factors such as the level of fire resistant required.

  • What type of safe do you need?
  • Does it need to be Fire proof and/or Waterproof?

A good home safe needs to be all of the above, but your choice and priority will vary depending on your requirements.

Fire proof/resistant Safes

Fire resistant safes are designed to protect your documents and valuables from high temperatures and fire.

Safes are rated by the amount of time they can withstand extreme temperatures while not exceeding a set internal temperature. The usual durations available are between 15 minutes and 4 hours.

In the UK there is a set standard for safes to determine their ability to withstand prolonged intense heat and the resulting damage. This varies for safes that are specifically for documents, and safes that are designed for data.

Document Safes

Document safes for important papers are designed to maintain an internal temperature of no more than 177 °C (351 °F) while in a constantly heated environment exceeding 1,000 °C (1,830 °F).

Data Safes

Data safes for media are designed to maintain an internal temperature no more than 55 °C (131 °F) while in a constantly heated environment exceeding 1,000 °C (1,830 °F).

The decision as to whether to choose a fire proof safe depends on what you wish to store in it and what level of protection you need.

Waterproof/resistant Safes

There are different types of safes which can protect your belongings against water damage. These vary from safes that can be completely submerged underwater in the case of floods to safes that can stand in water for up to a certain period of time.

What size safe do you need?

The size of home safe you require will depend on what you wish to store in it. You should take into consideration your future needs for space. Safes vary in size from small safe boxes up to fireproof cabinets or cupboards.

What type of safe lock should you choose?

There are many options of locks available such as:

  • key
  • dial combination
  • digital electronic
  • biometric fingerprint
  • dual key/combination
  • dual key/digital

Key safes are generally cheaper, but you have the obvious risk as to where to store the key and the inconvenience if it is lost or stolen.

If you choose a combination or electronic safe, you will have to choose a code. It goes without saying that this should never be written down.

Biometric fingerprint safes offer a high level of security, as they can only be opened using your fingerprints.

Where will it be stored?

Choosing where your safe will be stored is an important consideration for the type of safe you can have.

Common options are:

  • Wall
  • Under floor
  • Free standing

If you decide to choose a wall or under floor safe, ensure that it is installed by a professional.

Some safes have to concreted in and have iron bars protruding from the sides which make it virtually impossible for a thief to remove.

Freestanding safes are a better idea if you’re not planning on staying in your home for the foreseeable future.

What is the insurance cash rating?

Safes have a cash rating to indicate how secure they are against theft. The higher the Cash Rating is, the better the protection will be. You can store ten times the insurance cash rating for valuables like jewellery, so if your cash rating is £5,000 your insurance company will provide cover for loss of cash up to £5,000 and valuables up to £50,000.

You can also choose a Eurograde rated safe which is tested to the European wide security standard EN-1143-1. These safes are recommended by all leading insurers for the highest security.

How much does it weigh?

The weight of your safe will determine where it is stored. For example, a heavy safe could not be stored in an attic.

The heavier the safe is, the more it will be a deterrent to a thief.

How much will it cost?

The cost of your home safe will be determined by your needs but can vary from less than £30 for a compact safe to be kept in your home or car, right up to thousands of pounds for the largest, most secure cupboards and cabinets.


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    • GlstngRosePetals profile image

      GlstngRosePetals 5 years ago from Wouldn't You Like To Know

      Very informative thank you ...