Best Home Safes of 2018

John Carlsen ·
Smart Home & HVAC Editor
Updated
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Since 2014, we've spent over 150 hours researching and evaluating home safes from the most popular brands on the market. Ultimately, selecting a home safe comes down to personal preference, needs and use. That said, we feel that the Barska AX11620 is a good place to start if you only need a small, easily concealable safe.
 

Best Small Mountable Safe
Barska AX11620
The Barska AX11620 Compact Biometric Safe has pre-drilled mounting holes and includes mounting hardware, making it ideal for concealing in a closet, wall or under the floorboards.
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Best Fire-Resistant Safe
First Alert 2087F-BD
The First Alert 2087F-BD is a fire-resistant safe that can last up to an hour in temperatures reaching 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit while keeping its internal temperature under 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Best For Handguns
Stealth Tactical Original Handgun Safe
The Stealth Tactical Original Handgun Safe has a simple, well-protected combination lock that can keep your handguns locked safely away while granting quick access.
View on Dean Safe
Best Small Mountable Safe
Barska's AX11620 Compact Biometric Safe is one of the smallest home safes we reviewed. In fact, it is compact enough that you could conceivably mount it inside a wall, though it would be considerably easier to install on a shelf in your closet. It comes with all the necessary mounting hardware.
We like its versatility and durability. Two strong steel bolts secure the door using a motorized locking mechanism, and the body is composed of high-integrity steel. To unlock the safe, you can use the built-in fingerprint scanner, which stores up to 30 fingerprints in case other trusted people ought to have access during an emergency. The scanner is a nice way to unlock the safe because you don't need to remember a combination code or use a key. However, the safe comes with backup keys in case the fingerprint scanner's battery dies or stops working. This safe is small, weighing only 12 pounds. The interior dimensions aren't very large but will suffice for small items such as handguns, passports and jewelry. Bear in mind that this safe is neither fire-resistant nor waterproof, so it won't protect valuables from flooding or fire.
Pros
  • Comes with mounting hardware
  • Fingerprint locking mechanism
  • Weighs only 12 pounds
Cons
  • Not fire-resistant
  • Not water-resistant
  • Too small for some uses
$141.01Amazon
Read the full review
Best Fire-Resistant Safe
If you have important documents and other items you want to protect from fire, the First Alert 2087F-BD is a great option. It's a fire-resistant safe that can withstand temperatures up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit for up to an hour. During this time, the interior stays under 350 degrees Fahrenheit so important papers don't burn. This home safe is also waterproof.
The safe is made of resin and uses four steel bolts to secure the door with hidden, pry-resistant hinges. You can unlock the door with a dial-type combination lock. The First Alert 2087F-BD weighs 82 pounds, making it difficult for one person to move. You have the option to bolt it down to further discourage burglary. The mounting bolts come with the safe and won't affect its waterproofing. The First Alert 2087F-BD is a medium-size safe that is nearly twice as large as the Barska. The inside has an adjustable shelf, a key rack and a door pocket. While the safe is large enough to accommodate many valuables, it's too small to host a hanging file rack to organize your documents. This safe has a five-year warranty.
Pros
  • Fire-resistant
  • Waterproof
  • Dial combination lock
Cons
  • Weighs 82 pounds
  • No hanging file rack
  • Too small for some uses
$132.51Amazon
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Best For Handguns
The Stealth Tactical Original Handgun Safe is made of heavy-duty 10-gauge black steel and weighs around 24 pounds, making it a heavy safe for its size, though you can carry it easily using the built-in handle. The door is secured with a Simplex Lock that's surrounded by a steel casing and does not use batteries.
Since there is no risk of dead batteries, you always have access to your weapon in an emergency. The pistons and hinges are hidden inside the safe, making it resistant to forced entry. You can bolt the safe to a shelf for extra security. At around $230 – almost $100 more than the Barska AX11620 Compact Biometric Safe – it offers 50 percent more space with an estimated capacity of 0.16 cubic feet. To prevent your handgun from shifting inside the safe, it comes with dense foam padding that conforms to the shape of your weapon and magazine. However, because the padding takes up the space around your gun, you can’t easily store other items in the safe. It doesn’t protect your weapon from fires or flooding and only has a one-year warranty.
Pros
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Foam padding keeps gun in one place
  • Push-button combination lock
Cons
  • Not designed to store items other than handguns
  • Not fire- or water-resistant
  • Expensive compared to safes of a similar size
$214.99Dean Safe
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SentrySafe is a great budget safe that features a carpeted interior and a digital keypad. It has an interior of 0.58-cubic-feet, perfect for storing jewelry, money and small collectibles.
The digital locking mechanism is controlled by a keypad, and two spare keys are included in case you forget your combination. Even though it’s a budget home safe, the SentrySafe is made of strong steel and can be bolted down with the included hardware. Because it is so small, it is not a good option for documents, hanging folders or hooks. While it is neither fire-resistant or waterproof, this safe is certified by the California DOJ for firearm storage.
Pros
  • It is affordable.
Cons
  • It is not fire-resistant or waterproof.
$52.78Amazon
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The Paragon 7775 is constructed of thick 11-gauge solid steel to resist hand and mechanical tool attacks. For extra safety, you can bolt it down with the included hardware to make it even more difficult for would-be burglars.
The hinges are tamper-proof and on the inside of the door. The interior floor has carpet padding to reduce the chance of scratching your jewelry or other valuables and a small shelf helps you make better use of the 1.8 cubic foots storage space. We are impressed with the 10-year warranty from Paragon, much longer than the average home safe warranty. The digital keypad is battery powered and you can change your password an infinite number of times. Fortunately, spare keys are included in case you forget your pass code.
Pros
  • It has a 10-year warranty.
Cons
  • The safe is not waterproof or fire-resistant.
$81.80Amazon
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Why Trust Us

We've tested a variety of products in-house at Top Ten Reviews, such as smartphones, DIY home security systems and other equipment. However, practicality prevents us from testing some products, such as home safes, firsthand. As such, we rely on our experience, research and interviews with industry experts to advise you in choosing the home safe that fits your needs while highlighting notable products from popular brands.

We studied information about burglary and fire-resistance classifications for safes as defined by Underwriters Laboratories. Additionally, we found extremely helpful guides from American Security Products on both burglary and fire ratings that are worth checking out. We also contacted Tarsila Wey, the director of marketing at First Alert, and asked about homeowners’ reasons to buy safes and some tips for choosing a good safe.

How We Tested

We aren't able to conduct home safe testing in our lab because we lack the facilities to adequately and safely assess each product's resistance to physical attacks, fire and water damage. While these destructive testing methods may be useful in gauging each product's effectiveness, we don't think it would reveal much more than UL classifications and manufacturer specifications.

While we consider UL-listed safes to be superior to unlisted models, we also recognize that most of the popular models you can buy online fall into the latter group as they are more affordable. As such, the safes we chose to evaluate only have the most basic level of security, which is better than none at all.

Because of this, we don't score the safes in our review, though we still conduct thorough research to help you decide which brand or type of safe is best for your needs. Our recommendations stick to affordable models that work for most homeowners but may not be large enough or offer the best features of an all-in-one safe. For more secure, full-featured models, we suggest speaking with a seller in your area specializing in safes.

How Much Do Home Safes Cost?

Generally, the more money you spend, the better the quality and workmanship you can expect from a safe, particularly if it is burglar- or fire-resistant. A small budget safe can be had for around $50 to $70, while a large gun safe can cost over $1,000. Other factors can contribute to the high price tag, such as advanced digital locking features like keypads and fingerprint-recognition locking devices. Home safes can be found at every budget level, and small safes usually cost less than large ones. We recommend deciding on a home safe based on what you want to store. Storing valuables, firearms, currency, important documents and photos each have different internal space requirements.

Getting the Best Safe For Your Home


Price
Generally, the more money you spend, the better the quality and workmanship you can expect from a safe, particularly if it is burglar- or fire-resistant. Other factors can contribute to the high price tag, such as advanced digital locking features like keypads and fingerprint-recognition locking devices. Home safes can be found at every budget level, and small safes usually cost less than large ones.

Burglary Resistance
If you are serious about protecting your valuables against burglary, you should consider a safe that is UL-listed for that purpose. Underwriters Laboratories ratings reflect the construction quality of a safe and are based on how long it would take a burglar to force it open. The minimum level of protection and lowest rating, Residential Security Container, is not really considered a safe as it means the container only resists weak attacks for five minutes and is relatively easy to break into. However, UL's other ratings, UL TL-15 and UL TL-30, mean the safe can withstand strong attacks, including power tools, for 15 and 30 minutes respectively.

Most safes you can buy online or in retail stores don't provide much resistance against burglars, though Tarsila Wey from First Alert suggests safes with programmable digital locks and concealed pry-resistant hinges offer more security than those that don’t. Storing your valuables in a home safe does at least discourage impulse and opportunity thefts. For the security of major assets, however, we recommend visiting a locksmith or a store that specializes in safes, or getting a lockbox at your bank.

Fire Resistance
If protecting key documents from fire is your main concern, get a model that has been UL classified for fire resistance. In order to earn a UL classification, a safe must keep an internal temperature below 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour, even if the outside temperature reaches 1,700 degrees. Safes that last two hours at 1,850 degrees earn a higher rating. Many cheap fire chests are UL classified for 30 minutes at 1,550 degrees. Of the safes we evaluated, only the Steelwater AMEGS592216 and First Alert 2087F-BD are UL listed for fire resistance.

"Many of today’s safes are capable of providing both fire resistance and effective burglary protection," Tarsila Wey told us in our interview. Of course, if you want a safe that is both fire- and burglar-resistant, you should expect to spend more.

Locking Mechanism
Some safes have one basic locking device, while others are equipped with as many as four, such as basic key entry, combination dial entry, digital combination pad entry and fingerprint recognition entry. While it's important to choose a lock style that best fits your needs and preferences, each lock type has weaknesses. For example, digital locks have trouble if the batteries die, and burglars can force the lock using the slot for the backup key. Likewise, manual locks can be susceptible to lock picking and forgotten combinations. Remember, if a safe has a UL listing for burglary resistance, its lock will reflect that.

Size & Weight
A UL-listed steel safe might be impenetrable, but it could be too bulky and heavy for what you need. It also might not be a good fit in second-story rooms (imagine carrying a 700-pound safe upstairs) or if you relocate often and want to take the safe to your new home.

Ultimately, the size you choose comes down to what you want to put inside. Small safes, such as the Barska AX11620, SentrySafe X055 and Stack-On PDS-500, are ideal for securing documents and small jewelry. Likewise, medium-size safes such as the Paragon 7775 and First Alert 2087F-BD are better if you need more room. However, if you need to store rifles and other large firearms, safes like those from Steelwater and similar manufacturers are good options.

Regardless of the size, it's a good idea to get a safe that bolts to your floor or a shelf in order to prevent thieves from taking it elsewhere to open.

Moisture Buildup
Moisture can sometimes build up and harm papers, guns, some jewelry and other items. It might be a good idea to put some small packets of moisture-absorbing desiccant materials in your safe. You can buy these online.

Alternatives
If you don't have room in your home or want to keep your valuables in a more secure location, you can rent a safe deposit box at a local bank for a small monthly fee. However, not all banks offer this service, and you can only access the box during business hours.

If mail theft and identity theft are concerns in your neighborhood, a product such as the Mail Boss 7506 Mail Manager Locking Security Mailbox could help. It's approved by the U.S. Postal Service and lets your mail carrier deposit letters and small parcels into a secure safe

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