9 Best Fireproof Safes

best fireproof safesAbout 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.

what is the best fireproof safe for cash and documents?

SentrySafe SFW205GQC – Large Fireproof Security Safe



Of all the safes we looked at, this one consistently topped our list across fireproof, security and storage features. It’s also nice and large, has a sturdy feel, two shelves, and a high UL fireproof rating. Overall, we’re very impressed. 

Safes are no use in a fire if they’re not fireproof. And not all safes are fireproof safes. So we think it’s wise to look for a fireproof rating for any safe you buy for the home or office. In this review, we’re taking a hard look at 7 fireproof safes that are independently UL certified to be fire-resistant to protect your belongings from a fire. 

Best Fireproof Safes for Home Use

Our top picks for fireproof safes are:

Best Fireproof Safes – Comparison Chart

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

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

Best Fireproof Safe – Full Reviews

1. Best Overall: SentrySafe SFW205GQC Safe

Quick Review: We feel this is a decent sized and secure fireproof safe with great shelves.



Our Rating: 9.5/10
At a Glance:

  • Exterior Dimensions: 23.8″H x 18.6″W x 19.3″D
  • Interior Dimensions: 19.6″H x 14.8″W x 11.9″D
  • Weight: 125 lbs.
  • Capacity: 2.05 cubic feet
  • ETL Waterproof Rating: 24 hours
  • UL Fireproof Rating: 1 hour, 1700°F

If there’s one thing we hear more than anything from people who purchase the safe, it’s this: “I wish I bought a bigger one.”

We feel the SentrySafe SFW205GQC is the perfect size for a home or office safe. It’s a nice big safe for placing under an office desk or even embedding it in a wall. You can place your contents in the included drawers, or remove the drawers for fitting larger contents inside.

And it’s even got an internal light – how cool is that!

SentrySafe fireproof safeChris Says: “This safe is my personal favorite. It’s got the right mix of everything: it’s got plenty of room, strong deadbolts, and a high fireproof rating. There are also nice finishing touches such as an internal light and touch pad keyless entry.”

And of course, it has a great fireproof rating – independently verified by UL for 1 hour resistance to fires burning at 1700°F. That’s pretty solid. We also like that it’s waterproof. The waterproof rating is verified by ETL for 24 hours in 8 inches of water.

What’s more, it is impact resistant for 15 foot falls – not that you plan on dropping your safe from a 2-story building … we hope.

This also comes across as a very secure safe. It’s locked with 6 different 1-inch bolts and has a pry resistant hinge bar to prevent theft. You can also bolt it down, although bolting it down tampers with the waterproof rating. You can lock it with a digital keypad but you also get backup keys. What’s not to like!

Below is a great instructional video on what to expect. It’s not the exact safe featured above, but it’s a sister safe also created by SentrySafe and is very similar:

Why This Fireproof Safe

1. Excellent Fire Proof Rating: The 1-hour 1700 degree Fahrenheit fire proof rating is well above average and comparable to the Honeywells above. The fire proof rating has been independently verified by UL.

2. Very Secure: Pry resistant, electronic code, and even impact resistant!

3. Electronic Pin pad: Electronic pin pads are very popular for safes these days – but it also comes with backup keys in case the keypad fails. The electronic code will require 6 x AA Batteries to operate.

4. Removable Internal Drawers: There are two drawers that come with the safe, but you may want to take them out as they suck up a lot of space. If you want to fit legal size documents in, you will need to take the drawers out anyway.

Keep in Mind

1. Choose between Large or Medium: The medium will fit A4 documents, the large will fit legal size documents. Make sure you make the right choice!

2. Requires Battery: You’ll need 6 x AA Batteries to make the electronic code system work.

3. Not Portable: This isn’t one you’ll be carrying around. But it can be bolted down with the provided bolt kit.

2. Best Fireproof Safe for Documents: Honeywell 1104 Document Safe

Quick Review: We think this is a great safe for legal size documents. It’s compact and portable but fits legal size documents easily. It’s also got a great UL fireproof rating.

 

Our Rating: 9/10
At a Glance:

  • Exterior Dimensions: 7.34″H x 19.9″W x 17″D
  • Interior Dimensions: 3.8″H x 14.8″W x 12″D
  • Weight: 56 lbs
  • Capacity: 0.39 cubic feet
  • ETL Waterproof Rating: 100 hours
  • UL Fireproof Rating: 1 hour, 1700°F

We’re HUGE fans of this safe, too. (Don’t worry, we’re not going to say this about every safe we review).

We think this safe is a really great size. It’s shaped like a briefcase, it fits legal size documents (honestly, this is stupidly hard to find in mid-size safes), and can fit under the bed.

It’s also got a great handle for carrying it around.

Chris Says: “I like this one as an office safe that can hold important legal documents. You can carry it (keeping in mind it’s heavy) and store it discretely. It’s essentially a fireproof briefcase. Note that the security isn’t as good as deadbolt safes.”

And of course, it’s got decent fireproof and waterproof ratings. The waterproof seal is good for 100 hours of immersion.

But, there is one negative of this one.

We feel it’s not as secure as the SentrySafe SFW205GQC which we reviewed above. It doesn’t have the pry resistant hinge or 1-inch deadbolts. A thief could also easily pick it up and walk off with it. So it’s probably not the best safe for home security (we’d hide it well – under a bed perhaps!). It’s mostly for protecting goods from fires and keeping prying hands out, not for extreme security.

Watch the Honeywell 1104 survive an hour in a campfire:

Why This Fireproof Safe

1. Fits A4 and Legal Size Documents Flat: Comfortably fits A4 and legal documents. Beware – many safes say they fit legal size, but don’t. This one does.

2. Strong Fire Proof & Waterproof Ratings: The 1-hour fire proof rating is great. It also has a 100 hour waterproof seal! Protect your legal documents from both fires and flooding all in one.

3. Portable: Not many other fireproof document safes on this list are portable. We liked the handle and the fact it’s small enough to carry (although it’s of course a little heavy).

4. Fits Under a Bed: Most people could slip this one under a bed or discretely in the closet.

5. Doesn’t need Batteries: We prefer key locks like this one as you’re not relying on batteries or electronics to keep it working.

Keep in Mind

1. It’s not the Biggest: It’s smaller than others on this list (which we like) – if you need a large one, consider the Honeywell 1108 below.

2. Key Lock: It runs off a key lock, which we prefer over other lock types. But we’d want to get a strong copy of the keys cut as soon as it arrives in case any issues arise.

3. Best Small Fireproof Safe for Cash and Passports: SentrySafe CFW20201 Fireproof Box

Quick Review: This is one of the best fireproof safes for cash, passports, USB drives and other small belongings in our opinion. It’s a very popular option.


Our Rating: 8.5/10
At a Glance:

  • External Dimensions: 6.6″H x 15.4″W x 14.3″D inches
  • Internal Dimensions: 4.4″ H x 12.8″ W X 8.5″ D
  • Weight: 27.1 Lbs
  • Capacity: 0.28 cubic feet
  • ETL Waterproof Rating: 72 hours
  • UL Fireproof Rating: 1 hour, 1700°F

We chose this one as the best fireproof cash safe. It’s not big enough to hold legal size documents, but that’s not its purpose.

Instead, this one’s purpose is to hold cash, passports and USB drives. To give you an idea of the size inside, its internal surface area is just a tad smaller than an A4 piece of paper.

So it’d be a good one to look into for, say, a tour operator who needs to hold people’s passports, or a store owner needing to hold cash overnight.

Chris Says: “I think this one’s good for people who just want a small discrete safe. Keep in mind you won’t be able to fit documents in it, but passports, cash and keys will all fit comfortably.”

But we think most of our readers would be interested in this as a small personal safe to keep under the bed and hold a few of your most valuable items.

At just 27 pounds, this is also one of the lightest fireproof safes around.

A quick note: There’s a discrepancy on the product page on Amazon about some features. It’d be a good idea to check out the feature list on the SentrySafe website which we feel is more accurate.

Why This Fireproof Safe

1. Fire Proof & Waterproof: Has an independent UL classification of 1 hour at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also certified waterproof.

2. Portable with Carry Handle: We love that this comes with a carry handle and isn’t as heavy as most.

3. Small and Discrete: We like that this one is smaller and more discrete than most. We store ours on our bookshelf behind some books and no one notices!

4. Key Lock: Comes with two keys. We like a key lock for a fireproof safe as we don’t want to rely on a failing electronic lock.

Keep in Mind

1. It’s Small: You will not be able to fit A4 legal documents into this safe. It will fit cash and passports without any trouble.

2. Not for Security: Designed for basic deterrence, but cannot withstand a tool attack.

3. Note Errors in Online Descriptions: Note that some online descriptions state that this safe has a fireproof rating of 30 minutes at 1550 degrees. However, the SentrySafe website says it’s 1 hour at 1700 degrees.

4. Heavier than you’d Expect: 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. It’s heavy, but not as heavy as others.

4. Best Budget Fireproof Safe: SentrySafe Fire Chest 1200

Quick Review: A small and lightweight option, but its security features and fireproof rating are not the best on the list.


Our Rating: 8/10
At a Glance:

  • Exterior Dimensions: 6.1″H x 14.3″W x 11.2″D
  • Interior Dimensions: 3.5″H x 12″W x 7.5″D
  • Weight: 13.3 lbs.
  • Capacity: 0.18 cubic feet
  • ETL Waterproof Rating: Not waterproof
  • UL Fireproof Rating: 30 mins, 1550°F

The Sentry Safe 1200 is a baby safe for the most valuable items like cash, passports and USB drives.

The thing we really like about this one is it’s so lightweight. It’s worth looking into for someone who needs to carry a safe around regularly – such as to and from work. The carry handle makes this an easy task.

But the trade-off for the light weight is the lower fireproof rating. Safes get heavy when you try to fireproof them. So it makes sense that this lightweight option also has a low UL certification of just 30 minutes at 1550°F.

Chris Says: “This safe is very affordable, but its UL certified fire-resistant rating is well below many others on this list.”

The other thing to keep in mind is that this safe is not deigned to prevent serious attacks – it’s for preventing prying hands and providing fireproofing only.

In fact, the product description on the SentrySafe website highlights this point:

“Privacy key lock deters unwanted viewers or children from accessing the contents of the safe. These safes provide basic protection and are not intended for tool attacks.”

So, keep in mind that it’s not going to perfectly protect your belongings from someone who is serious about getting in.

Why This Fireproof Safe

1. Great for Personal Valuables: It will hold small items like passports and cash, but not larger items.

2. Portable: It’s lightweight and comes with a carry handle for moving it around.

Keep in Mind

1. Security: Designed for basic deterrence, but cannot withstand a tool attack.

2. Not the Best Fireproof Rating: It’s one of the lower fireproof ratings on this list.

3. Not Waterproof: We wouldn’t get this one if we want a waterproof safe.

5. First Alert 2087F Fireproof Safe

Quick Review: It’s a decent safe from a decent brand, but didn’t quite outdo competitors on any key metrics in our opinion.

 

Our Rating: 8/10
At a Glance:

  • Exterior Dimensions: 19.8″H x 15″W” 17.8″D
  • Interior Dimensions: 12.88″H x 10.38″W x 12.25″D
  • Weight: 79.2 lbs.
  • Capacity: 0.94 cubic feet
  • ETL Waterproof Rating: It’s waterproof, but not ETL certified
  • UL Fireproof Rating: 1 hour, 1700°F

First Alert has come up with a nice medium sized combination safe that’s got a great combination of fireproof rating, waterproof rating, and some additional security features that sets it out against the competition.

The first thing we liked about this safe is that it’s got a combination code locking system. We think combination codes look really classy and, really, they’re hard to hack into. The other thing we like about combination locks is that they don’t rely on batteries.

Chris Says: “First Alert is a decent and well-known brand in the industry, and in terms of specs, this safe competes with the best of them. I’m just more inclined to lean towards the SentrySafe brand, which I personally trust more.”

Talking about security features – there are some pros and cons. The one main con is that it’s just got two deadbolts. But really, unless you’re locking away a million dollars, that’s probably not going to bother too many people. There’s one pro that far outweighs this: the pry resistant hinge means thieves trying to get in with a crowbar are going to come across some problems.

The other great security feature is that it bolts to ground and still maintains its fireproof and waterproof ratings. This puts it leaps and bounds above the Amazon Basics safe (reviewed below) in terms of fireproofing, waterproofing and safety in our opinion.

When you look inside you’ll see it’s not large, but not tiny either. We don’t think you’d be able to fit legal size documents in there – especially because it has a middle shelf that is great for stacking smaller items, but prevents you from putting large items in the safe.

So overall, it’s a nice safe and we love its security features – but it’s an awkward size that’s both too big to be a ‘small safe’ but too large to be a ‘big safe’.

Why This Fireproof Safe

1. Secure: With the pry resistant hinge and the option to bolt it to the ground, this one’s security features are well above average in this category.

2. Shelving: It’s nice that this one has a shelf to allow you to store more in the safe.

3. Doesn’t Require Batteries: We prefer combination locks over electronic keypads because they don’t require batteries to operate.

Keep in Mind

1. Strange Size: It’s not small, not large, so we’re not quite sure what to make of it!

2. Not the Most Visually Attractive Safe: Is it just us, or are there better looking safes out there? Not that it matters.

6. Good for Legal Documents: SureSeal by FireKing SS104-A

Quick Review: The SureSeal by FireKing SS105-A is FireKing’s response to the Honeywell 1104. It’s a similar sized briefcase with very similar specifications. Check the prices to see which is more affordable.


Our Rating: 8/10
At a Glance:

  • Exterior Dimensions: 7.312″H x 19.875″W x 17″D
  • Interior Dimensions: 3.8125″H x 14.8125″W x 12.0″D
  • Weight: 56.0 lbs
  • Capacity: 0.38 cubic feet
  • Waterproof Rating: Unclear.
  • UL Fireproof Rating: 1 hour, 1700°F

The SureSeal by FireKing and Honeywell 1104 are remarkably similar safes. They’re both designed to be ‘fireproof briefcases’ as much as anything else – so portability is certainly a selling point here. With a handle conveniently placed the same location as a briefcase, you can carry it from place to place – but be warned, with a 56 lbs weight before putting anything in the safe, your arm might get a serious workout.

More practically, we like the size of this briefcase because it can be slipped discretely under the bed or under a desk. Small fireproof safes are rarely very secure from serious theft attacks, so having them a small size for hiding around the home or office is really helpful in our opinion.

But, like the Honeywell 1104, this FireKing safe is also capable of holding legal size documents, enabling you to store legal agreements, wills, marriage certificates etc.

Chris Says: “Personally I love the size and dimensions of this safe. It’s a fireproof briefcase! When researching this product, we came across a really interesting video about FireKing safes surviving the 2017 California wildfires that I’ll embed below – it’s worth the watch!”

The waterproof rating is a little confusing for this model, and we do wish they were clearer about this. FireKing’s product description on their website states it’s “water resistant”, while the Amazon product page promotes it as 2 hour waterproof. Some reviews have highlighted it’s got a 48 hour waterproof seal, but we can’t find evidence for that. So overall, we’re going with “water resistant … for a little while”.

Why This Fireproof Safe

1. Great Size: We’re a big fan of the briefcase style fireproof safe. It’s a good size for fitting legal documents as well as passports, cash and other items, and you can still fit it under your bed! 

2. High Fireproof Rating: The UL 350 rating means this is certified for 1 hour at 1700 degrees, while keeping everything inside under 350 degrees the whole time.

3. Holds Legal Documents: This is an important consideration for many people – and there are few compact fireproof safes that are wide enough to hold legal sized documents. This is one of them.

Keep in Mind

1. Waterproof Rating Unclear: Different sources give different (and vague) waterproof ratings, so we’re not sure what its rating really is! We’re not game to test it out.

2. Security: Like other small portable fireproof safes, they’re great for fire resistance, but not great for security, so store them discretely.

7. Honeywell 1108 Extra Large Fire Resistant Document Safe

Quick Review: This might be a good one for people who have a lot of documents to store. It can hold legal size documents. You can also opt to get it on wheels.

 

Our Rating: 8/10
At a Glance:

  • Exterior Dimensions: 13.6″H x 20.0″W x 17.2″D
  • Interior Dimensions: 10.2″H x 15.0″W x 12.0″D
  • Weight: 80.5 lbs
  • Capacity: 1.06 cubic feet
  • ETL Waterproof Rating: 24 hours
  • UL Fireproof Rating: 1 hour, 1700°F

This safe is a step up from the Honeywell 1104 and built for people wanting to store a lot of important documents. We feel it’d be perfect for a small businessperson who needs to store their invoices safely, or just someone at home storing their certificates, taxes, etc.

Chris Says: “This safe is more or less a larger version of the Honeywell 1104 fireproof briefcase we reviewed at the top of this article. Personally if I were to get this ‘fireproof file cabinet’, I’d make sure I get the optional dolly so I could wheel it around.”

This one also fits legal size documents (which are longer than A4 documents), and we think this is great.

The fireproof and waterproof ratings are strong and as good as any other safe on this list in our opinion.

Coming in at 80 lbs, it’s not the lightest safe in the world. Fortunately you can buy it with a dolly (it’ll cost extra for the dolly) so you can wheel it around. We’d find that super useful in an office environment.

In terms of safety, again we’d think it’s a step down from the SentrySafe SFW205GQC, but it’s still likely to keep prying hands out of your belongings and be a good theft deterrent for peace of mind.

Why This Fireproof Safe

1. Great for Document Storage: Comfortably fits A4 and legal documents. Beware – many safes say they fit legal size, but don’t. This one does.

2. Wheel it on a Dolly: You can buy it with or without wheels to make it a little more portable.

3. Waterproof: 24 hour waterproof rating to withstand flooding.

Keep in Mind

1. Not very Portable: It’s larger, heavier and less portable than the 1104 above.

2. Key Lock Only: It runs off a key lock, which we prefer over other lock types. But we’d get a strong copy of the keys cut as soon as it arrives in case any issues arise.

8. Best Large Safe: SentrySafe EF4738E

Quick Review: The deadbolts, three shelves, and combination lock are all appealing features. It’s a nice large fireproof safe. The one downside is it’s only 30 minutes fireproof rated.


Our Rating: 8/10
At a Glance:

  • Exterior Dimensions: 37.7″H x 21.7″W x 19″D
  • Interior Dimensions: 35.7″H x 19.4″W x 11.7″D
  • Weight: 186.3 lbs
  • Capacity: 4.71 cubic feet
  • ETL Waterproof Rating: 72 hours
  • UL Fireproof Rating: 30 minutes, 1400°F

There’s lots to like about this safe. Its size and security features make this safe a standout as one of the best home safes overall, regardless of the fireproof rating.

The five live lock and four dead lock bolts give enhanced security above and beyond that which is offered in most fireproof safes. With a thick door and hardy steel construction, we rate this safe highly for security. This isn’t to say it can’t be broken into – thieves with magnets can work their magic on safes like this, so it’s an added precaution but not 100% foolproof.

Chris Says: “The one thing I hear all the time is that people regret buying a safe that’s too small. This safe’s size makes it a standout among the pack – to be fireproof, large, and secure hits the trifecta I’m looking for. My one hesitation is the fireproof rating is a little lower than most.”

The interior of the safe features three spacious shelves and very nice upholstery. While we personally like the shelves for storing belongings, you can also remove the shelves to store things vertically. With that in mind, it’s not going to be able to act as a rifle safe because it’s too short overall for guns.

The big downside of this safe which pulls down our overall rating a little is the fireproof rating – it is UL certified for up to 1/2 hour at 1400˚F. That’s on the lower side for a fireproof safe on this list, but may be good enough for some people. 

Why This Fireproof Safe

1. Great Size: It’s a large safe to act as your main safe at home.

2. Upholstery: We like the nice interior carpet, which gives this model some added class.

3. Key + Combination Lock: You can unlock it with keys or an electronic code. We think the lock is the main weak point for this safe’s security.

4. Locks: The combination of deadbolts and live locking bolts helps increase security.

Keep in Mind

1. Fireproof Rating: The fireproof rating is for up to 1/2 hour at 1400˚F, which is significantly lower than some competitors on this list.

2. Requires Batteries: Batteries are needed to operate the combination lock. We find safe batteries fail on us in important moments.

3. Not Portable: This is a heavy model designed to be placed somewhere in the home and – left there!

9. AmazonBasics Fire Resistant Box Safe (Large Version)

Quick Review: The large size will fit legal documents, but the independent fireproof rating is not the best.

 

Our Rating: 7.5/10
At a Glance:

  • Exterior Dimensions: 26.0″H x 16.9″W x 13.8″D
  • Interior Dimensions: 24.4″H x 15.2″W x 9.6″D
  • Weight: 90-100 lbs.
  • Capacity: 0.18 cubic feet
  • ETL Waterproof Rating: Not waterproof
  • UL Fireproof Rating: 20 mins, 1200°F

This safe is nice and large – and that’s a key reason to get this one. It’s bigger than most safes on this list and has a lot of room inside. It has two shelves and a really nice upholstered interior giving it a classy feel. The shelves are also adjustable which is really nice.

Chris Says: “Amazon Basics has entered the market with a very affordable, large safe. The fireproof rating leaves a bit to be desired, though. Compared to other similar sized safes, I’d lean toward those brands that are more established in the safety niche.”

People who like digital locks might also be attracted to this one. Key in your code on the keypad to gain electronic entry.

But.

And you knew there would be some buts!

Its safety and fireproof ratings are well and truly lower than many competitors.

It has only been UL certified at 20 minutes in 1200°F fires. That’s the lowest fireproof rating of all safes on this list.

And compare the security on the SentrySafe SFW205GQC to the Amazon Basics safe. The SentrySafe has 6 deadlock bolts and a pry-resistant hinge. The Amazon Basics has just 3 deadlock bolts and no pry resistant hinge.

Why This Fireproof Safe

1. Large Version Can Fit A4 or Legal Size: The dimensions listed above are for the Large sized version. The medium version comfortably fits A4 documents, but not larger documents legal size. The large version will fit both A4 and legal size documents.

2. Electronic Code entry: You can get in via an electronic code or two backup keys.

3. Bolts to Ground: Comes with a bolt system if you want to lock it down. This might be a good option seeing as it isn’t very portable, anyway.

Keep in Mind

1. Below Average Fireproof Rating: Its UL standard fireproof rating is 20 minutes at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s lower than many other safes. It’s also not waterproof.

2. Requires Batteries: The electronic code will require 1 x 9V battery.

3. Not Portable: This isn’t one you’ll be carrying around. But it can be bolted down with the provided bolt kit.

4. Not the Safest: A petty thief – or even a curious teenager – wouldn’t have too much trouble breaking in.

What we Look for in a Fireproof Safe

Here are the most important things we would consider looking out for when buying a fireproof safe for documents.

a) Independent Fire Proof Rating

Many safes claim to be ‘fire resistant’ but do not have an independently certified fireproof rating.

What we look out for is the UL fireproof rating. UL.com is an independent certifier which usually gives out one of the following fireproof ratings:

  • High: 1 hour at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Medium: 30 minutes at 1550 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Low: 20 minutes at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit

We place a high premium on the ‘high’ fireproof rating. Four of the safes on this list have the highest rating, while the AmazonBasics fire safe has a low fireproof rating from UL.

So, while we didn’t throw any safes in a firey inferno to test them out, an independent company has!

b) Portability (or Bolts to Ground)

For people who want a safe that you can grab and go when danger comes, they may want to choose one that’s portable. They will of course still be heavy, but some come with handles and are designed to be carried.

An alternative option is to get a safe that you can actually bolt to the ground. #3 and #4 on this list both come with bolt kits.

c) Fits Legal Size Documents Flat

Beware that A4 and Legal Size are not the same. Legal size is larger.

Here are the dimensions of A4, letter size and Legal size:

  • A4: 8.27″ × 11.69″
  • Letter Size: 8.5″ x 11″
  • Legal Size: 8.5″ x 14″

Many formal documents like degree certificates and birth certificates are legal size rather than A4 size – but of course you’d need to check your own documents by measuring them.

d) Locking Mechanism

Safes generally come with two locking mechanisms: key lock or electronic code. An electronic code locking safe will usually come with a key option as well (as a backup). So, all safes regardless of locking mechanism will come with two keys out of the box.

The main problem with electronic code locks is that they rely on batteries. As most people won’t be regularly opening their safe, they may find one day you come to open the safe and the battery has passed its lifespan … and they end up using the key anyway.

We would cut the keys (if possible) as soon as we get them. This is because we’d want a set of keys that is cut on a very high quality, sturdy metal so it’s less likely to break than the standard key you receive with the safe.

e) Security Features

Many safes are not designed for serious theft. They’re often just designed as a deterrent to prevent children and colleagues from getting access to them. To get a fireproof safe that’s also highly secure, it’s worth looking into security features like dead bolts and a pry-resistant hinges to prevent crowbar attacks.

Why all the Negative Reviews on Amazon?

You may have notices that there are many, many negative reviews of safes on Amazon. Here is our take on those negative reviews.

Just about any safe you look at is crowded with negative reviews and they’re all about three issues:

  • Moisture
  • Breaking Keys
  • Easy to Break Into.

Here is our analysis of the negative reviews, how to protect your documents, and what many people are missing.

The simple fact is that you need to know how to care for your safe and the documents within it.

a) Moisture Everywhere – My Documents are Ruined!

All fireproof and waterproof safes will have moisture issues. You can’t avoid it.

Safes are designed to keep water out … but they also keep water in! When you lock the safe, there will be moisture in the air within the safe. This moisture will (over time) cause condensation.

No brand is immune from this problem – it’s just a fact of life.

Safe manufacturers recommend airing out a safe once every two weeks to reduce water damage.

The Solution: You can buy silica gel moisture absorbers and place them in your safe. If you can laminate your documents, this is even better. This will protect your documents from the moisture and condensation that will inevitably build up within the safe.

b) The Keys Keep Breaking!

Yes. Breaking keys is an endless issue with personal safes. It doesn’t matter the brand: you’ll have the same issue. The locks are often plastic and the keys are often sub-par.

The problem is simply that all safes have the same problem.

The Solution: Our solution has been to get the keys cut as soon as we get them and ensure they’re cut using a quality locksmith who will provide quality keys.

c) It’s So Easy to Break In To!

Once again: true. A safe can deter petty thieves. But if someone is determined enough, they will still be able to break into a safe. If you want a high grade impenetrable safe, you’ll be looking at paying out thousands of dollars for the safe.

For us, a fireproof safe should provide you some sense of security (it will deter most thieves and keep the kids out of the stuff). But we don’t think it means the documents are 100% thief-proof, especially at affordable price points like those reviewed here.

The solution: Hide it! Hide your safe! Place is somewhere discrete and inconspicuous.

What is the Best Fire Rating for a Safe?

Safes are given fireproof ratings by the independent ratings agency Underwriters Laboratory. In this category, there are generally three fireproof ratings you can come across. These are:

  • High: 1 hour at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Medium: 30 minutes at 1550 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Low: 20 minutes at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit

Note that there are many other fire ratings for other classes and categories, some of which are more strict than those listed here. However, the above ratings appear to be universal for domestic safes.

Do Fireproof Safes Really Work?

Yes, and no. There are many reports (including in the Amazon reviews of some of the above products) that these safes have worked in wildfires and other extreme settings. But at the same time, we’ve heard reports that some have failed in extreme infernos. Furthermore, the exterior of any safe will not outlast a fire, so even if it protects the documents inside, the safe will need to be replaced after its exterior has been fire damaged.

Watch these guys test our a fire box in a bonfire:

What are Fireproof Safes Made of?

Generally, a fireproof safe will have a metal outer layer which is fire resistant, but not fireproof. The middle layer will be the central fireproofing agent, and is often made of trade protected composite materials which are effective at resisting extreme temperatures. Common materials for the inner fireproofing layer include: composite cement, vermiculite, mica and gypsum. The inner layer is often a plastic or fabric material designed to provide a visually appealing finish.

Final Thoughts – Check for Security & Fire Resistant Ratings!

Choosing the best fireproof safe is a matter of preference. Consider the independent fireproof rating, portability (or ability to bolt it to the floor), whether it fits A4 or legal size documents, and the locking mechanism.

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

We hope this review has been helpful to you, and all the best with your purchase!

Cheers,
Chris