SentrySafe is one of the top brands in the safe industry and are widely respected for their quality and security features. They rank among the top tier brands in the safes niche, alongside Honeywell, Rhino Safes and Barska (among a few others). But their safes are some of the most ubiquitous in the market, and are present in many residential homes across the country.
Are SentrySafe Safes Fireproof?
Sentry Safe offers a range of fireproof and non-fireproof safes at various different price points. The fireproof safes that they offer come with independent underwriters laboratory (UL) certifications to indicate their fireproof (or rather fire resistant) rating.
Underwriters Laboratory provides several certifications based upon their independent tests. Common ratings include:
- 1 hour at 1700F
- 1 hour at 1550F
- 30 minutes at 1200F
There have been mixed reviews on how well fireproof safes certified by UL stand up against fires. On YouTube, for example, there are many compelling examples of UL certified fireproof safes surviving fires. However, some claim that there is no such thing as a truly fireproof safe.
Here’s one video demonstrating a SentrySafe (we think it’s this one on Amazon) being put to the test in a controlled fire test conducted by a fire department:
Are SentrySafe Safes Secure?
Security for home residential safes is never going to be perfect. A skilled thief with the right tools and enough time would be able to break into most safes on the market today. But there are some features to look out for in a good safe to help delay, prevent and deter potential thieves.
Anti-Pry Hinge Bars can be placed behind the edges around the door to deter crowbar and pry bar attacks. They make it hard for a crowbar to wedge into the gap between the safe and the door. (Unfortunately this makes it harder to break open a safe after a fire, too!). Another anti-pry feature you can look out for is a safe where the gaps between the door and safe are minimal.
Mounting hardware should come with most medium and large safes. We prefer to mount our safes to the ground rather than the wall, but both work. The reason we like to mount to the floor is it’s generally more secure and ensures the safe’s center of balance remains natural. When looking for a large safe, we make sure there are pre-drilled holes for mounting or dedicated mounting hardware included in the purchase. When drilling your own holes, you often compromise the integrity and fireproof / waterproof ratings of the safe.
Locking mechanisms have a range of different levels of safety. Tubular key locks are very easy to break into, while we feel manual combination locks and Simplex mechanical locks tend to be more secure.
You can also get tech connected safes that send warnings to an app when people try to enter them, set off alarms upon vibration, and trip alarms after too many failed attempts. One major downside of tech connected safes (as well a digital keypads) is they require batteries, which could always fail at inopportune moments.
Best Fireproof SentrySafe Safes
Best Large – SentrySafe SFW205GQC
Our favorite Sentry Safe is the SentrySafe SFW205GQC. This safe has an excellent fireproof rating of 1 hour at 1700°F. Inside, it’s a decent size for storing several documents and small belongings (2.05 cubic feet).
There are two internal drawers that could be removed or rearranged as needed. However, it’s not upholstered with carpet like some competitors. While upholstery is nice, it’s sometimes impractical, especially when you want to clean out your safe with a hose! (They can start to smell at times). There’s also an interior light which is great.
The security on this safe is also quite impressive. It features six live-locking bolts and a pry-resistant hinge. The six bolts are significantly above average for safes of this size. All the required bolt down hardware comes with the safe making securing the safe to the floor easy.
A comparable alternative from another brand would be the Steelwater AMSWS-610EL which has an excellent fireproof rating of 2 hours at 1850°F. While Steelwater is primarily known as a gun safes brand, this 1.5 Cubic Foot safe is a very solid all-purpose option.
Best Small – SentrySafe CFW20201
SentrySafe offers some very affordable small fireproof safes that are good for keeping under the bed or in a cupboard. These can be used as jewelry safes or to store small personals. They don’t come with mounting hardware because they’re designed to be portable, but could feasibly be tied to a bed frame or anchor point using a cable.
The two main small SentrySafe offerings are the CFW20201 and CHW30220. Of the two, we prefer the CFW20201 (pictured above), but it is slightly more costly.
Our favorite – the CFW20201 – has a better fireproof rating of 1 hour at 1700°F, as well as a 72 hour waterpoof rating. It is a 0.28 cubic foot safe, so it’s small! To give you an idea of the size, it could just squeeze an A4 piece of paper flat inside (the edges curl up a little).
The safe weighs 27 pounds, which sounds heavy – and it is! Note that some sales pages say it weighs 10 pounds – which is incorrect. The official SentrySafe website highlights the correct weight of 27 pounds.
The CHW30220, by contrast, is a little bigger (0.36 cubic feet) and a little lighter (24 pounds), but it achieves that lighter weight by sacrificing the fireproof rating. It only has a fireproof rating of 30 minutes at 1550°F.
We feel a downside of both these fireproof safes is they are locked using tubular key locks, which are quite easy to pick. So, we feel they’re better as thief deterrents (and child deterrents!) rather than serious security safes.
SentrySafe CFW20201 vs SentrySafe CHW30220
|Fireproof Rating||1 hour at 1700°F||30 minutes at 1550°F|
|Waterproof Rating||72 hrs||72 hrs|
|Weight||27 Lbs||24 Lbs|
|Volume (Size)||0.28 Cubic Feet||0.36 Cubic Feet|
|Security||Basic Tubular Key Entry||Basic Tubular Key Entry|
|Price||Check Today’s Price on Amazon||Check Today’s Price on Amazon|
Best for Guns
Unfortunately SentrySafe doesn’t appear to have a dedicated fireproof handgun safe. In our review of the best bedside gun safes, we found a few good gun safes that could fit on a nightstand, but there weren’t any that were fireproof. The best we found were a few under bed gun safes which were fireproof (but not made by SentrySafe).
For stepping up to rifles, again SentrySafe doesn’t have an excellent offering of long gun safes. Our review of the best fireproof gun safes has a good range of fireproof options from alternative brands that are more focused on the long guns market. Steelwater appears to be a popular brand in that market, alongside the premium Rhino Safes branded safes.
How to Keep out Moisture
Fireproof safes are terrible for moisture build-up. It’s not just Sentry Safe. Any safe that’s fireproof or waterproof will have moisture build-up issues. This is because they’re essentially sealed boxes. Any moisture inside the safe gets stuck in there without a way to escape. Over time, moisture from all the valuables inside the safe, as well as the air within the safe, condenses on the safe walls. This can cause damage to the safe’s contents.
The best way to keep moisture out of a safe is to get a safe dehumidifier. You can either get a battery operated dehumidifier or a silica gel dehumidifer, which needs to be ‘recharged’ by being placed in an oven or microwave (check the product description).
SentrySafe is a respected brand of residential safes, and they provide several fireproof safes within their range. While not all Sentry Safe products are fireproof, those that they do offer have independent UL certifications which can help provide some credibility to their claims that their safes are fireproof.