5 Best Fireproof Safes for Cash & Passports (2020)

About this Article: Hi, I’m Chris I run this website! This information is shared as examples only and stated as personal opinion for our circumstances. It does not constitute advice, professional or otherwise, to you and your circumstances, or guarantee quality or fit for purpose of the following products. By visiting and using this website, you accept and agree to be bound by our Disclaimer along with our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy posted on the website. As an Amazon associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Quick Answer: Value for Money
We chose the Sentry Safe CFW20201 for storing our own cash and passports. It’s much more affordable than many competitors and independently verified as being able to withstand a 1700 degree Fahrenheit fire for 1 hour.

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In our opinion, the best fireproof safes for cash and passports are:

  • Honeywell Safes 1104 – best quality
  • Sentry Safe CFW20201 – best value for money
  • Sentry Safe 1200
  • First Alert 2037F File Chest
  • Sentry Safe CHW30220

Note that these are examples selected for our circumstances, and do not represent safety advice to you, professional or otherwise. 

Best Fireproof Safes for Cash and Passports

1. Honeywell Safes 1104 Cash Box (1 Hour Fire Proof) – Best Quality

Quick Review: We feel this is a very high quality fireproof cash safe that you can carry and fit under your bed. Best for quality.


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Benefits:

  • 1-Hour UL Fire Proof Rating: The 1-hour fire proof rating is well above average for a fireproof cash box. This sits the Honeywell 1104 Cash Box well above many competitors. The fire proof rating has been independently verified by UL.
  • Key Lock: Key lock is good because you don’t have to have to rely on electronics to access cash, but safe keys can also break easily.
  • Portable: Comes with a carry handle for easy transportation.
  • Fits Under a Bed: It’s small enough to hide under most beds or in a closet.
  • High Heat Resistance: Resists fires up to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit according to the UL rating. That’s HOT! 
  • Fits A4 Files: Comfortably fits A4 documents.
  • Also Waterproof: It has a 100 hour independently rated waterproof seal.

Keep in Mind:

  • Weight: At 54 pounds, it’s heavier than competitors … but this is necessary to achieve the 1-hour fire proof rating.
  • The Cost: Honeywell has a cheaper and lighter option that is a 30-minute fireproof version of this safe. You can also check out the cheaper 30-minute option on Amazon.

2. Sentry Safe CFW20201 (1 Hour Fire Proof) – Best Value for Money

Quick Review: This is our pick for value for money. It’s surprisingly affordable and still has a high independent UL fireproof rating. However, it is smaller than the Honeywell 1104 above.


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on Amazon.

Benefits:

  • High Fire Proof Rating: Has an independent UL fireproof rating of 1 hour at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Affordable: A surprisingly good price point for a fireproof cash box that does not compromise in fireproof rating.
  • Portable with Carry Handle: We love that this comes with a carry handle.
  • Small and Discrete: We like that this one is smaller and more discrete than the Honeywell 1104.
  • Waterproof: ETL verified for water submersion.
  • Key Lock: Comes with two keys. We like the idea of a key lock for a fireproof safe as it means you don’t have to rely on failing electronics.

Keep in Mind:

  • Smaller than the Honeywell 1104: You will not be able to fit A4 legal documents into this safe. It will fit cash and passports without any trouble.
  • Note Errors in Online Descriptions vs. The Box: Note that some online descriptions on Sentry Safe and Amazon state that this safe has a fireproof rating of 30 minutes at 1550 degrees. This is incorrect. When the product arrives, you will see the correct rating on the box: 1 hour at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Heavier than the Description Says: Some online descriptions have this clocking in at 10 pounds. When it arrives, you’ll find that it’s much more than 10 pounds in weight.

3. Sentry Safe 1200

Quick Review: The Sentry Safe 1200 is slightly smaller than the CFW20201 above. It also has a lower fireproof rating. However, it is also more affordable.


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Benefits:

  • Affordable: The Sentry Safe 1200 is more affordable than the above Sentry Safe CFW20201. However, note that it’s a little smaller and has a lower fireproof rating.
  • Independent Fireproof rating: The independent certifier (UL) has certified this safe as having a 30 minute, 1550 degree Fahrenheit fireproof rating. This is a lower rating than #1 and #2 on this list, but may still be acceptable to many people.
  • Key Lock: Comes with two keys. We like a key lock for a fireproof safe as we don’t want to rely on failing electronics.
  • Smaller than the CFW20201: It’s smaller than the CFW20201 (above), but still fits cash, passports and USB drives.

Keep in Mind:

  • Not Waterproof: Unlike the CFW20201, it’s not waterproof. Because of this, we would store it high up, such as on a shelf.
  • Lower Fireproof Rating than the CFW20201: This product is cheaper than the CFW20201 (#2 on this list), but it also has a lower fireproof rating – 30 minutes at 1550 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. First Alert 2037F File Chest

Quick Review: We feel his is a good large fireproof safe for storing cash, passports, USB drives and even documents. However, it is heavy and not easily portable.


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on Amazon.

Benefits:

  • Large: It’s very spacious and will fit your money and passports with ease. You could also fit A4 documents, but very tightly (see comments below).
  • Independent Fireproof Rating: The UL fireproof rating is 30 minutes at 1550 degrees Fahrenheit. This isn’t as good as many others, but still decent.
  • Waterproof: It is a waterproof safe, but beware that moisture can still build up within a safe due to internal air condensation. The instructions read that you need to air it out once every 2 weeks to prevent moisture build-up. This is really a rule of thumb for all waterproof safes, so this isn’t a ‘con’ of this one alone. Our personal solution is to use silica gel dehumidifiers.
  • Really Nice Latch: The clamp-style latch feels really sturdy.
  • Could fit A4 Documents – but only just: It fits A4 documents, but only just.
  • Key Lock: It comes with two keys. We like a key lock for a fireproof safe as we don’t want to rely on failing electronics.

Keep in Mind:

  • Not Portable: At a very heavy weight and without a carry handle, this one’s not great for carrying around in our opinion. This is the sort of safe you place somewhere and leave!
  • Doesn’t Come with Document Separators: While the Amazon images from the seller have document separators inside the sample safe, note that these document separators are not included in the purchase.

5. Sentry Safe CHW30220

Quick Review: The Sentry Safe CHW30220 has a decent fireproof rating but does not have a handle.


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on Amazon.

Benefits:

  • Independent Fireproof Rating: The UL fireproof rating is 30 minutes at 1550 degrees Fahrenheit. We consider this to be a ‘medium’ rating.
  • Fits A4 Files: Fits A4 documents, but snugly.
  • Document Holder: We really like that it has a document holder to secure down documents, passports, social security cards, etc.
  • Key Lock: It comes with two keys. We like a key lock for a fireproof safe as we don’t want to rely on failing electronics.
  • Waterproof: ETL certified for 72 hours of submersion.

Keep in Mind:

  • No Handle: We wish this one came with a handle given it’s small enough to carry around if a handle were included.

What we Look for in a Fireproof Cash Box Safe

Independent Fireproof Rating

We feel that the most important consideration for a fireproof safe is that it has been independently verified to be fireproof.

The independent company UL (see: UL.com) verifies how fireproof a safe truly is. They provide two main levels of fireproof verification:

  • 1 hour 1700 degree Fahrenheit Rating: #1 and #2 on this list have this higher certification.
  • 30 minute 1550 degree Fahrenheit Rating: #3, #4, and #5 have this lower certification.

Some people like the higher rating for serious fireproofing. However, others feel they only need the lower certification, which means they can get away with lighter and more affordable models.

One thing to keep in mind is that “fireproof bags” are often flame resistant more than fireproof. They are governed by a smaller and much less rigorous UL fire certification.

Waterproof Rating

Most fireproof safes also have a waterproof rating. It makes sense to ensure a safe is also waterproof. If there’s a fire, there is a good chance the safe will get wet when the fire is being put out by firefighters. It can also help to protect belongings from flooding that may occur in the home.

Some insurers may also require that a passport and cash be kept in a fireproof + waterproof safe, so getting this dual functionality is a smart move in our opinion.

Note: All waterproof and fireproof safes have a common flaw: moisture. While they can keep out external moisture out, they cannot control the moisture in the air that is already in the safe. Fireproof safes are notorious for their build-up of condensation. Our solution is to buy a safe dehumidifier

Portability

Some people would like the opportunity to pick up their safe and run out the door with it (if they have time) during a fire. Others want a sturdy safe bolted to the floor. The beneifts of portable safes are:

  • Lighter weight: All fireproof safes are heavy, but smaller safes will be lighter (see #2, #3 and #5 on this list).
  • Carry Handle: A safe with a handle will be much easier to carry out the door.

Locking Mechanism

We prefer a key lock mechanism over an electronic code. If electronics fail, we want to be able to access our belongings. (To that end, you may notice most electric safe locks also have a back-up key mechanism).

Most fireproof safes, including all five on this list of the best fireproof cash safes, use a key lock mechanism. We feel these may withstand fire and water damage more effectively than an electronic keypad which might malfunction in extreme heat.

Additional Considerations

Size

Portable safes can be great, but they’re also quite small. People need larger safes for storing guns and larger valuables. We think the biggest regret of most people is that their safe ends up being too small, so we think it’s worthwhile getting a larger safe in the home.

Moisture!

Unfortunately all fireproof and waterproof safes struggle with internal moisture issues. Air contains moisture. The air in your safe may cause condensation and mold to build up inside the safe.

To address this problem, we like to get safe dehumidifiers to protect cash, passport and other belongings from water damage that occurs inside the safe. For larger safes, there are dedicated electronic dehumidifiers, while for smaller safes many people choose to get silica gel dehumidifier packs. These packs do have a lifespan, so they need to be checked every few months – but are much better than nothing in our opinion.

We Store the Spare Key Off Site

Safes usually come with two keys. We like the idea of keeping one key should on your own key ring, and keeping the spare one offsite. Thieves will search for the spare key!

We Keep the Safe Somewhere Discrete

Fireproof safes are great for protecting your belongings from fires. However, a determined thief will still be able to hack his way into your safe. If they know how to pick a lock or are determined enough to pry the safe open, they’ll get in eventually.

So, we ensure we hide the safe well and avoid obvious locations to help ensure our belongings are well protected.

Final Thoughts

A fireproof safe is a necessary item for protecting belongings from the impact of fires. People may also be required by their insurance plan to have a fireproof and waterproof safe for cash, passports and other valuable belongings.

We hope this review of the best fireproof safes for cash and passports has been useful.

But remember, this article has shared our opinions and a range of examples for our circumstances only, and is based on our online research. It does not constitute advice, professional or otherwise. Your circumstances or experiences will differ from ours. Make sure you do your own research and due diligence and adhere to the rules laid out in our terms and conditions and disclaimer.

Good luck on your search for a safe!

– Chris.