Tips for Buying a Personal Home Safe
Protect your important documents and valuable belongings.
Chances are, you’ve accumulated a hefty stack of personal documents. And you’ve most likely gathered a few valuables too. A personal home safe can help protect paperwork and other items from fire, water damage, and burglary, and comes in a variety of options. Keep the following in mind if you’re considering investing in a safe.
Check labels to make sure the safe has been tested by Underwriters Laboratory (UL), Intertek, or another independent testing facility.
- Fire resistance. Safes are tested for fire protection based on the materials to be safeguarded, and for how long. For instance, if you store paper documents, which burn at 451°F, look for a UL rating of 350. That means the safe’s internal temperature doesn’t rise above 350°F. If you store sensitive computer media, look for a UL 125 rating.
- Water resistance. Labels indicate whether safes can withstand being submerged or sprayed by water, and for how long.
- Burglary resistance. Safes are rated by how they’re constructed and by how long they can withstand attack from standard mechanical and electrical burglar’s tools.
How you access your safe depends on personal preference. Lock types range from simple privacy key locks and three-number combination locks to more advanced mechanical-dial locks, electronic locks, and dual-lock methods.
Bells and Whistles
Make sure your safe accommodates keys, money, CDs, DVDs, and unusual-size documents, if you plan to store those items. For better organization, some safes offer interior accessories such as key racks, bill clips, trays, and shelves.
Location, Location, Location
Once your safe is home, position it strategically. Basements—unless they’re water-prone—are often recommended. More elaborate hiding spots are under floors or in walls. If you invest in a hefty safe, make sure your floor can support it. Regardless of where you put your safe, bolting it to the floor can add another layer of protection against theft.