7 Best Fireproof Safes (2020) – For Cash & Legal Documents

About the Authors: Hi, we’re Rosie & Chris and we run things around here. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Best Quality

Best Value for Money

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. 

  • Fireproof rating: High
  • Size: Large
  • Security: Excellent

SentrySafe CHW20221 – Small Fireproof Cash Safe


If you’re on a budget, this might be the one for you. It’s affordable and fireproof – so it’s one of the most popular safes for our audience. It’s too small for legal size documents but great if you want a portable cash & passport safe.

  • Fireproof rating: High
  • Size: Small
  • Security: Low

This is our big daddy of fireproof safe product reviews.

We used to have 5 different review articles of different types of fireproof safe.

Not anymore.

We’ve brought all the best information together in one place. We summed it all up in one great product review. We hope you enjoy!

We have a buyers guide outlining our selection criteria at the end of this review. But we know you just want our top recommendations. So here they are.

The best fireproof safes are:

  • SentrySafe SFW205GQC Fire Safe – Best Large Fireproof Safe
  • Honeywell 1104 fireproof document safe – Best for Legal Documents
  • Honeywell 1108 Extra Large Document Safe
  • Sentry Safe CFW20201 – Best for Cash and Passports
  • First Alert 2087F Fireproof Safe
  • Sentry Safe 1200 – Best Portable Safe
  • AmazonBasics Fire Resistant Box Safe

Best Fireproof Safes for Documents and Cash

Top Fireproof Safes

UL Fireproof Rating

Size

Security

Quick Review

Our Rating

1. SentrySafe SFW205GQC Fire Safe1 hour, 1700°FLargeHighGet this one if you want a decent sized and secure safe with shelves, that also has a top fireproof rating. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

10/10

2. Honeywell 1104 Fireproof Document Safe1 hour, 1700°FMediumLowThis is one of the few safes that holds legal size documents. Looks like a briefcase and fits under the bed! (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

9.5/10

3. Honeywell 1108 Large Document Safe1 hour, 1700°FLargeLowThis is essentially a ‘fireproof file cabinet’. Good if you need to store a whole lot of documents – both A4 and legal size. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

9/10

4. Sentry Safe CFW202011 hour, 1700°FSmallLowThis is great fire resistant safe for holding smaller items like passports and cash, but too small for much else. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

8.5/10

5. First Alert 2087F Fireproof Safe1 hour, 1700°FMediumHighGreat security features and fireproof rating, but it’s an awkward size (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

8.5/10

6. Sentry Safe Fire Chest 120030 mins, 1550°FSmallLowA nice small and comparatively lightweight safe but it might be a bit too small for your liking. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

7/10

7. AmazonBasics Fire Resistant Box Safe20 mins, 1200°FLargeLowWhile it’s nice and big, it didn’t hold up to UL’s independent fire resistance tests nearly as well as competitors. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

7/10

1. SentrySafe SFW205GQC Safe – Best Overall

Quick Review: Get this one if you want a decent sized and secure fireproof safe with shelves.



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

We love this safe! The thing we love most is that we feel it’s the perfect size for a home safe. It’s a nice big safe for placing under an office desk or even embedding it in your 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!

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 also 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 is also 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!

Why This Fireproof Safe

Keep in Mind

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.

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

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.

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.

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!

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

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

2. Honeywell 1104 document safe – Best for Legal Documents

Quick Review: 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.



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.

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

But, there is one negative of this one.

For one thing, 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 (hide it well – under your bed!). It’s mostly for protecting your good from fires and keeping prying hands out.

Why This Fireproof Safe

Keep in Mind

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.

Excellent 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.

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).

Fits Under a Bed: You could slip this one under your bed or discretely in your closet. I like this option.

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

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.

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

3. Honeywell 1108 Extra Large Fire Resistant Document Safe

Quick Review: Get this one if you have a lot of documents to store. It can hold legal size documents. You can also opt to get it on wheels.



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. 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.

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

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

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’d still keep prying hands out of your belongings and be a good theft deterrent for peace of mind.

Why This Fireproof Safe

Keep in Mind

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

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

Waterproof: 24 hour waterproof rating to withstand flooding.

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

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

4. SentrySafe CFW20201 Fireproof Box – Best for Cash and Passports

Quick Review: If you just want a fireproof safe for cash, passports, USB drives and other small belongings, this is your go-to option.


At a Glance:

  • 6.6″H x 15.4″W x 14.3″D inches
  • 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 perfect if you’re a tour operator who needs to hold people’s passports, or a store owner needing to hold cash overnight.

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: We contacted SentrySafe about the discrepancy on the product page on Amazon. They have confirmed that the fireproof rating on this safe is 1 hour, 1700°F and not 30 minutes at 1550°F

Why This Fireproof Safe

Keep in Mind

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

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

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!

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.

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.

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

Note Errors in Online Descriptions vs. The Box: Note that some online descriptions 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 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.

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.



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.

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.

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

Keep in Mind

Very 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.

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

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

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

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

6. SentrySafe Fire Chest 1200 – Best Portable Safe

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



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 your most valuable items like cash, passports and USB drives.

The thing we really like about this one is it’s so lightweight. It’s perfect if you need 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.

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

Keep in Mind

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

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

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

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

Not Waterproof: Don’t get this one if you want a waterproof safe.

7. AmazonBasics Fire Resistant Box Safe (Large Version)

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



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 the reason you’d 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.

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 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. We don’t recommend this one if security is your main concern.

Why This Fireproof Safe

Keep in Mind

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

What to Look for in a Fireproof Safe

Here are the most important things we think you should look out for when buying a fireproof safe for your documents.

a) Independent Fire Proof Rating

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

What you need to 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 (#4 on this list) has a low fireproof rating from UL.

So, while we didn’t throw our safes in a firey inferno to test them out for you, you can rest assured that an independent companies has!

b) Portability (or Bolts to Ground)

If you want a safe that you can grab and go when danger comes, make sure you choose one that’s portable. They will of course still be heavy, but #1 and #5 on this list 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″

You will probably find formal documents like degree certificates and birth certificates are legal size rather than A4 size – but check your own documents by measuring them.

In this review, we have been careful to check whether a safe will fit A4 vs legal sized documents.

Note that:

  • The two Honeywell safes (#1 and #2 on the list) will fit both A4 and legal size documents.
  • The SentrySafe SFW205GQC and AmazonBasics safes (#3 and #4) will fit A4 documents in ‘medium’ size and legal documents in ‘large’ size versions. Even with the larger versions, it’s a tight squeeze and you need to remove internal shelving.
  • The SentrySafe CHW20221 will only fit A4 documents at a pinch (or, if you’re okay with folding documents, that would work, too).

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 you won’t be regularly opening your safe, you’ll find one day you come to open the safe and the battery has passed its lifespan … and you end up using the key anyway.

I like to cut the keys (if possible) as soon as I get them. This is because I 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. If you want a fireproof safe that’s also highly secure, make sure you get one with dead bolts and a pry-resistant hinge 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: We buy silica gel moisture absorbers and place them in our safe. We also keep all our documents inside freezer grade zip lock backs before putting them inside the safe. If you can laminate them, 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 I get them and ensure they’re cut using a quality locksmith who will provide quality keys. Don’t cheap out here – you will want a durable key that is a step up from what the companies provide. And if you choose not to get the key cut and then it breaks … just remember: you were warned.

c) It’s So Easy to Break In To!

Once again: true. Your 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 your safe.

Your safe should provide you some sense of security (it will deter most thieves and keep your kids out of your stuff). But don’t think it means your 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.

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. For us and our situation, we felt the Honeywell 1104 was by far the best option and we have been happy with our purchase.

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

Cheers,
Chris & Rosie