Having a personal safe at home is something people tend to associate with the very wealthy. We imagine stacks of cash and bank bonds being hidden away in case of a burglary.
The truth is, everybody should have a safe at home, no matter what their economic situation is. We all have items that are valuable to us, whether in terms of money or memories.
Personal safes are becoming more commonplace, with many people opting to have a home safe instead of locking everything up at the bank.
A personal safe can provide you with the peace of mind you need to enjoy your travels when you are away from home,while keeping your items safe from thieves.
Burglary isn’t the only reason to get a safe – in the event of a natural disaster such as a flood, tornado, or earthquake, or a fire in your home, the items that mean the most to you will be kept in one piece.
There is a lot of information to consider when purchasing a personal safe, especially for the first time. With the variety of sizes, models, prices, and materials it can be difficult to find the safe that meets your needs.
While no safe is completely impenetrable, finding the kind of safe you need is important. Here are a few tips to help you choose the perfect personal safe for your home.
1 – Know How Much Internal Room You Will Need!
Before you can purchase a safe, you need to know what you are intending to store in it. This will give you an idea of how large the safe should be. Internal safe measurements are listed in cubic feet, so you know exactly how big the inside of the safe is.
If you are planning to store important papers such as passports, birth certificates, or estate planning papers, you likely need a small safe. A small safe is usually about 0.5 to one cubic foot in size.
For larger items, such as memorabilia, personal items, or heirlooms, consider a medium size safe. This is usually in the range of 1.5 to two cubic feet.
If you have the space to accommodate an extra-large safe and want the spare room just in case, you are looking at approximately two to four cubic feet.
When looking at the size of a personal safe, remember that the measurement provided is only for the internal space. This means that it does not include the thickness of the material, which will add to the overall size of the safe.
The items you want to store will also affect what kind of safe you get in terms of protection. For documents, ensure you choose a safe that is both fire – and water-resistant, as documents can be destroyed by both of these elements.
As well, when there is a fire, water follows shortly after.
For items that cannot be damaged by water, such as heirloom jewelry or ceramic items, a fire-proof safe is likely sufficient.
Keep in mind that if you are intending to store weapons such as guns in your safe, it is best to purchase a gunsafe. These are specifically designed to hold guns and are a much safer option than a standard home safe.
2 – Have More Than One Way to Unlock Your Safe!
There are several locking mechanisms available for different products. Which one you choose will affect the price of the personal safe, as well as how secure it is. Many personal safes come with more than one type of lock.
When you are looking at the different kinds of locks, make sure you think about how that kind of lock would work for you. For example, if you are forgetful or tend to misplace things, a key or combination may not be the best option for you.
· Combination lock
These are the locks that we all used in high school. Most often they come with a pre-set combination. While this is good in the sense that you don’t need to think of a combination, these locks contain tumblers, which can be heard clicking into place. The corresponding number is the combination, which makes them easy to break into.
· Keypad lock
A keypad lock on a safe is similar to that of a combination lock, except instead of turning a dial you enter the code on the pad. Most often the purchaser of the safe is able to select which numeric code is used.
Anyone who has seen a spy movie has seen a keypad lock. While digital locks may be more advanced than non-digital, they also have their downfalls. Digital locks can be hacked the same way other electronics can.
With both keypads and combination locks, there is a chance that you will forget the code. Consider writing it down and storing it somewhere outside your home, such as at your office or in a safety deposit box, or at the home of a friend or relative.
· Lock and key
The standard lock and key system is the oldest method for securing anything. When a personal safe comes with a lock and key, it is important that you keep the key in a safe place, such a bank deposit box. Keeping it on your keyring is not a safe place, as it could easily be stolen or lost. It is crucial to keep the key separate from the safe.
As well, consider making a copy of the key and giving it to someone you trust. This way, one key to your safe is always available, either in a safety deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member.
A biometric lock is one of the most advanced options for locking a personal safe. These locks are set to respond to your individual fingerprints, voice, retina, or signature.
With a biometric lock, the safe will only unlock when activated by you. Any other person who tries to open your safe will be unsuccessful, or trigger an alarm, depending on the safe.
As with keypad locks, there are ways to hack into a biometric system, however, it is much more difficult than accessing a keypad.
It is best to select a personal safe that has at least two ways to unlock it, such as biometrics and a combination lock. By having multiple ways to open the safe, you know you will be able to unlock it if one method fails. Also, the pros of one will balance out the cons of another.
As well, if you need to have someone else open your safe for you, having only one method is not practical. Fo rexample, if you have a safe that has a biometric lock, it will not open for anybody else. In the case of an emergency, a backup method will be necessary.
Electronic locks also have additional features that aren’t possible with more traditional locks. These features caninclude:
– Time delay opening
This operates as a deterrent for thieves, who usually want to get in and out as quickly as possible. With a time delay, the safe does not open after the code has been entered for a pre-set amount of time. The owner of the safe is able to select how long the time delay is, which can be anywhere between one and ninety-nine minutes.
– Opening windows
An opening window a time frame set by the owner during which the safe can be opened. Any attempt made to open the safe during any other time will be unsuccessful.
– Penalty for incorrect entry
After a set number of incorrect attempts at entering the code, the lock will time out and refuse any additional attempts. It can be set to accept a certain number of attempts, or require the correct code to be the next entry in order to open.
– Dual entry
This type of lock requires two codes to be entered together in order for the safe to open, such as a husband and wife who purchase the safe together. Each person can select their own code.
– Duress setting
When a code or predetermined series of numbers is entered into the pad, a local law enforcement agency is notified. This is primarily used when the owner of the safe is entering the code under duress, such as during a robbery.
3 – Make Sure You Choose a Personal Safe That is Sturdy!
Having a sturdy safe is necessary in order to prevent break-ins. A safe made of flimsy material will provide little resistance to a thief whereas a sturdy safe will be much more difficult to open.
Sturdy safes also present a challenge for anyone trying to remove the entire safe, as they are extremely heavy.
Most personal safes are composed of three metal layers, usually steel. The inner layer is a thin layer of steel, to which the manufacturer attaches the lock. On top of this layer, there is a much thicker, hard layer of steel. This layer protects the lock from damage and helps prevent burglary by making it incredibly difficult to cut the safe.
Another thin steel layer is attached on top of the thick layer. The thin outer layer is what protects the safe if it is struck with force. While the soft, thin layer may bend or dent, it will not crack and break the way a hard layer would.
When looking for a sturdy safe, find one made primarily of steel or a similar metal. Features that prevent against fire and water will have additional materials, which vary by brand. Many brands offer personal home safes that are made of hard plastic. These safes are lighter, less durable, and not as reliable as a steel safe.
4 – Select a Personal Safe That Can Be Bolted in Place
One of the key features to look for in a personal safe is bolts. It is important that your safe can be bolted to the floor or wall in order to prevent the safe itself from being stolen.
Safes that bolt into the floor or wall are usually placed inside the structure of your home, meaning you will probably need to complete some minor renovations in order to accommodate the safe.
As you search for a safe, you’ll likely notice that there are several items at hardware stores that are labeled “safe chests”. These are essentially metal boxes with a lock, some of which are fire-proof or water-proof.
Items such as these are significantly less expensive than a safe (many are less than $40), as they are much smaller and lighter than a safe. However, since they are compact and lightweight, they can easily be stolen.
By choosing a safe that is bolted into place, you are ensuring that your safe will not be stolen along with the items inside it.
5 – Know That You Get What You Pay For!
If you find a personal safe in a price range that seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. When it comes to a safe, you don’t want to scrimp on the price. Personal safes that are made from cheap materials are easier to break into.
A general rule of thumb is that the bigger the safe, the more it costs. Additional features such fire-proof and water-proofing will also make the safe more expensive.
Quite often, additions such as shelving and drawers come with extra fees, as do lining and exterior designs.
Even without supplementary features, be prepared to spend a bit of money on your safe. Consider it an investment for the items that matter the most to you. The prices for a good safe range from $150 to $300 for a small safe, and increase from there. Many large safes can start at approximately $400.00
While you might be able to find a sale, remember that the original retail price is an excellent indication of the quality of the safe. The price of the safe is based primarily on the cost of the materials and manufacturing. Of course, retail stores always increase the price to make a profit, but an item well below the normal range is probably made of cheap materials and poor workmanship.
No matter what type of safe you choose, by adding a personal safe to your home you are taking the next step in protecting your important documents and valuables. There are some things that irreplaceable, and a home safe is an easy way to keep them secure.
With these tips in mind, you will be an informed consumer and your search for the right personal safe for your home will be easy.