Since 2014, we've spent over 100 hours researching and evaluating home safes made by the most popular brands in the industry. For a variety of reasons, we couldn’t do in-house testing. Instead, we considered the main reasons people buy home safes, such as for fire protection or storing jewelry and guns. Based on our research, we’ve listed our suggestions for each use case here in our guide. Ultimately, selecting a home safe comes down to your personal preference, your needs and how you plan to use it.
Best Small Mountable Safe
Best Small Mountable Safe: Barska
Barska’s AX11620 Compact Biometric Safe weighs only 12 pounds and takes up less than a cubic foot of space. This safe has pre-drilled mounting holes and comes with mounting hardware, so it’s easy to conceal in a wall or under the floorboards. In addition, it uses two locking bolts and a fingerprint scanner to keep your belongings secure, though you can still access the safe’s contents quickly. Because of its size, the Barska AX11620 is ideal for storing papers, jewelry, cash and other small items.
Best Fire-Resistance: First Alert
If your main concern is protecting your valuables from fire damage, the First Alert 2087F-BD home safe is a good option. This fire-resistant safe can last for up to an hour in temperatures reaching 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping a relatively cool internal temperature under 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It's about three times larger than the Barska AX11620, though it weighs 82 pounds. This home safe is also waterproof.
Best for Jewelry
Best for Jewelry: SentrySafe
The SentrySafe Security Safe X055 is a small, 19-pound home safe that's slightly larger than the Barska AX11620. Its carpeted interior keeps valuables from rubbing against the steel casing, which makes it an excellent choice for protecting your jewelry, watches, freshwater pearls or other delicate items. In addition, the keypad lock makes it easy to open when you want to find the right accessory for your outfit.
Best for Handguns
Best for Handguns: Stealth Tactical
The Stealth Tactical Heavy Duty Handgun Safe is a simple, durable safe that can't be forced open. It's easy to unlock in an emergency using the intuitive five-button combination lock, and it also comes with thick foam padding that can keep your gun from moving around during transport.
Best for Long Guns: Steelwater Standard Duty
The Steelwater Heavy Duty SW592818 Safe can hold as many as 20 long guns, and if you place fewer inside, you can store ammunition and other items on the included adjustable shelving. The door uses a digital keypad lock and 10 locking bolts, and its thick walls make it near impossible to force the door open. This large safe weighs 425 pounds and offers excellent fire protection.
What to Look For
The best size, design and locking mechanism for your safe, depends on the items you plan to store in it, so it’s important to make a list before you start looking. For example, protecting a few important documents is a job best suited for a small fire safe than a massive gun safe.
Generally, the more money you spend, the better the safe’s quality and workmanship, though other factors can contribute to its price tag. For example, safes with digital locking features, such as digital combination pads and fingerprint recognition locking devices, cost more. Also, remember that while home safes can be found at every budget level, smaller models usually cost less than large ones.
Size & Weight
An ultra-thick, steel safe might be impenetrable, but it also may be too bulky and heavy for what you need. A large safe isn’t a good fit for a second-story room (imagine carrying a 700-pound safe up the stairs!) or if you relocate often and want to take it with you. Smaller safes are usually portable, while larger and heavier safes are best suited to locations where they can be bolted down.
Home safes come in a variety of configurations and are often specifically designed for jewelry, firearms and documents. Depending on what you plan to store, you might want one with hooks, upholstery, shelving and storage compartments to organize your belongings.
Some safes have one basic moving locking device, but you can buy others that have as many as four locking devices for items, such as guns, that need to be kept extra secure. Available locking mechanisms include basic key entry, combination dial entry, digital combination pad entry and fingerprint recognition entry.
Fire-resistant safes can protect important documents and precious items that could easily be destroyed in a fire. If you need a fire safe, choose one with the hottest and longest fire-resistance rating that’s in your budget.
Moisture can sometimes build up and harm papers, guns, jewelry and other things you hold dear. As such, it might be a good idea to put desiccant inside the safe. You can buy small packets of moisture-absorbing desiccant materials online.
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.
Contributing Reviewer: Linda Thomson