October 22, 2019

What You Need to Know About Home Safes

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOME SAFES

Any individual or family with valuables in the home could benefit from secure storage. With the proper security in place, customers significantly reduce the risk of damage, destruction, loss, or theft of household valuables. While Hollywood movies tend to portray international super spies using safes for exotic storage needs, the reality for most customers tends to be much more mundane. In fact, the list of the most commonly stored items includes forms of identification, financial and legal documents, and digital media backups. Anyone currently storing these types of items under a mattress, in a drawer, or on the kitchen counter might consider a safer option.

WHAT IS A HOME SAFE?

A safe is a locking container used to securely store items. A home safe is simply a safe designed and marketed for retail customers. Often, customers seek home safes to store household valuables, like: jewelry, family heirlooms, and financial and legal documents. Manufacturers produce home safes of various sizes and with a wide range of security features. Prices range from under a hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars based on the combination of size, security, and other features selected. Customers can find home safes for sale in person and online at hardware stores, homeware retailers, or specialty shops.

WHERE SHOULD I PUT A HOME SAFE?

Home safes should be hidden. They can be kept anywhere in a home, but individuals and families often choose to keep safes in a basement, closet, or home office. Owners can try to hide safes by placing them in closets or by installing them into floors or walls. Home safes usually occupy less space than a commercial safe or professional vault.

To truly secure a home safe, an owner should anchor it to a fixed point in the home. Many home safes weigh little. Bad actors would not struggle to physically remove the safe from a house or apartment, even if latched to a wall or floorboard. True anchoring ought to attach the safe around a fixture that cannot be moved, like a wall stud, metal pipe, or bolts poured into concrete.

ARE HOME SAFES REALLY THAT SECURE?

A home safe is a good first step toward better security, but might not offer the level of protection most individuals or families actually need. Most home safes offer better protection than a kitchen drawer or folder under a mattress. Nevertheless, customers need to carefully consider their needs. The number of security features, location, installation method, size, and maintenance details all impact whether a home safe is actually safe enough.

Customers do not buy home safes for every day storage. Home safes offer secure storage for protection when it matters: in fires, flooding, home invasions, unauthorized access, etc. When considering a home safe, be sure to keep in mind the following:

• Size... will my items fit inside of a home safe?

• Shape... will the shape create a smaller space than the advertised dimensions?

• Locking mechanism... are the locks digital or mechanical? Will the batteries die? Could the keypad be hacked? Will I need to remember a padlock combination or do I need to keep copies of a physical key?

• Material... is the safe made of a strong metal or is it plastic or synthetic?

• Reinforcement... will the safe material resist attempts to pierce, tear, or cut into it?

• Fire resistance... what is the fire rating claimed by the manufacturer?

• Water resistance... is the enclosure water-tight?

• Insulation... is the enclosure protected from indirect heat, smoke, humidity, or other potential harm?

• Warranty... does the manufacturer guarantee the security features against defects?

Unfortunately, most home safe manufacturers do not offer a compelling combination of security features at an accessible price point. The most popular selling models tend to have low fire ratings and offer no protection against water, humidity, smoke, or skilled burglars. For a comprehensive solution, most consumers would need to spend several thousand dollars including a purchase, delivery, installation, and regular maintenance.

HOME SAFE ALTERNATIVES

Consumers have options when choosing a secure storage solution. Individuals or families can choose from locking filing cabinets, digital storage, closet space, or professional secure storage. As with home safes, these options offer a variety of combinations of security features. Based on the features available, each options might provide more or less protection. For example, filing cabinets do lock but bad actors can easily acquire spare keys by submitting customer service requests to the manufacturer or retailer. Closet space offers convenience - your items never leave your home and it requires no additional equipment - but falls short on any sort of protection against damage or theft. Professional secure storage offers all of the security features that can be found with home safes and often presents commercial grade security features that would be too costly or too difficult for a regular customer to have at home.

WHY WE PREFER SAFE DEPOSIT BOXES

We prefer safe deposit boxes because they are outside of the home, undergo regular inspection and maintenance, and have commercial grade security systems. In a home, items remain at risk whenever an unexpected disaster strikes. Millions of Americans live in flood zones, high-risk fire zones, or will experience home emergencies, like broken pipes, electrical fires, or burglaries. At a bank, items are protected by professional security guards, commercial alarm systems, closed circuit video surveillance, regularly employee inspections, and more.

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