The Best Home Safes for Securing Valuables
Protect valuables from the threat of theft, fire, or water damage with the right home safe for your needs.
To store and protect modest sums of cash, important documents (including birth certificates, passports, marriage licenses, and deeds), jewelry and other valuables, consider a home safe. For info on the pros and cons of different types of safes suitable for home use—and for details on our top-favorite picks—read on!
- BEST OVERALL: SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof Safe and Waterproof Safe
- RUNNER-UP: Viking Security Safe VS-25BL Biometric Safe
- MOST PORTABLE: SentrySafe H0100 Fireproof Waterproof Box
Choosing a Theft-Proof Safe for Valuables
Home safes are often rated based on their construction and ability to thwart forced-entry attempts. Sometimes ratings are given by the global safety consulting and certification company Underwriters Laboratories (UL), but not all safes on the market are rated. Generally, the higher the rating, the heavier and thicker the safe’s walls and door—and the higher the rating, the higher the cost.
Ratings you are likely to see include:
- B-rated: Recommended for storing $5,000 or less in valuables.
- B/C-rated: For up to $10,000 in content value.
- RSC: For $15,000 in content value.
- C-rated: For up to $30,000 in content value.
- TL-15: The safe can withstand a 15-minute attack with common tools and devices. Recommended if you are storing up to $100,000 in valuables.
A large safe can deter burglars simply by being heavy and difficulty to move, but most safes also have bolt-down kits to secure them in place—especially important for a small safe. Your safe should be made of heavy steel, with a door at least ½-inch thick and ¼-inch-thick walls. Choose a safe a little larger than you think you need, and keep it in a location that is easy to access and has sufficient light for finding contents.
Many manufacturers offer two versions of the same safe: one with a keypad lock and one with a mechanical lock, so you can choose the option you prefer. An electronic lock or keypad is typically easier to use than a traditional mechanical lock—you can change its combination yourself, plus avoid the difficulties of rotating a mechanical lock or trying to see the numbers.
Choosing a Fire Safe for Important Papers
Fire safes are heavily insulated to protect contents from heat, smoke, and sometimes water (but they’re not designed to deter burglars). They are often small and portable, and many open with a simple key. Fire safes are rated by UL and other agencies based on the length of time the interior of the safe remains below a certain temperature. For best performance, place a fire safe on a concrete floor, such as in the garage or basement.A typical fire resistant safe will stay below 350 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes when exposed to a home fire.
Choosing Protection Against Both Theft and Fire
A composite safe constructed with very thick, insulated walls, heavy doors, and other safety features provides both burglary protection and fire resistance. These models are tough enough to keep thieves out while maintaining a sufficiently low interior temperature. Composite safes are a popular choice for home use, but they tend to be expensive and have less interior room for contents compared to safes designed solely for burglary or fire protection.
Our Top Picks
BEST OVERALL: SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof Safe and Waterproof Safe
Deter theft and enjoy protection from both fire and water with this highly rated, reasonably priced composite safe. The Sentry Fireproof and Waterproof Safe is made of sturdy steel and has four live-locking bolts, a pry-resistant hinge bar, and bolt-down hardware. Contents including USB drives, CDs, and DVDs remain safe from fire, heat, and smoke damage for up to one hour, and dry and protected for up to 24 hours in eight inches of water. The digital keypad has a backup key for extra security, and other worthwhile features include an interior light and a locking drawer.
RUNNER-UP: Viking Security Safe VS-25BL Biometric Safe
Secure money, jewelry, and other small valuables in the compact Viking Security Biometric Safe. Along with a 20 mm deadbolt locking system with two pry-resistant steel locking bars, the safe also uses biometrics to “read” your unique fingerprint to unlock the door. You can program up to 32 fingerprints or use the backup PIN code. Inside, the safe has an adjustable shelf, an interior LED light, and carpet to protect contents from scratches or damage. There’s even a warning beep should you forget to lock the door. Keep in mind, however, this safe is not fire- or water-resistant.
MOST PORTABLE: SentrySafe H0100 Fireproof Waterproof Box
Keep important papers and digital media safe from fire in the budget-friendly SentrySafe Fireproof Waterproof Box. This small safe is rated for fire endurance up to half an hour. It locks with a key and has a handle for a quick grab in case you need to vacate the premises in a hurry. It’s an excellent choice for fire safety, but it’s not burglarproof, so it’s not the best spot to stash cash or valuables.