One of the best questions you face when purchasing a fire safe is which one will work for your needs. There are many types of safes available on the consumer market. Some fireproof safes are low cost and offer little security or fire protection while others offer high security and 2-3 hours of fire resistance. Your budget and what you plan to store inside will be the primary determining factors when you choose safe to secure your valuables. Be sure to read through all the different types of safes below. Certain materials such as plastic may not be safe in a fire in all fire resistant safes. Most “better” fireproof safes have a UL fire rating, but a quality safe can be purchased without the UL fire rating. There are many independent labs that test fire safes, UL is just the best and located in the United States.
The table below illustrates some of the differences from safe to safe.
|Fire Box||$30 – $200||1||1||1||1|
|Home Safe||$200 – $400||2-3||2||1-3||2-3|
|Office Safe||$400 – $7000||3||3-5||2-5||3-5|
|Fire Burglar Safe||$600 – $3000||4||3-5||2-4||3-5|
|High Security Safe||$1500 – $10000||5||4-5||2-4||5|
|Data & Media Safe||$400 – $6000||1-4||5||1-4||1-5|
|Fireproof Gun Safe||$500 – $8000||2-5||1-5||4-5||4-5|
A fire box is basically any portable container that offers fire protection. Most of these sit on the ground or a table and have a locked hinged top. These range from about $30 up to $200.
Home “Microwave” Safes
These are sometimes called microwave safes because they are similar in size and shape to a microwave. Most of these safes are in the $200 – $400 price range.
These safes are the next step up from the home safes. Most of these run from $400 up to about $7000, depending on the brand and size.
Fire and Burglary Safes
These are great safes and are usually a great value. These can range from about $600 to the $3000 price range depending primarily on size and quality.
High Security Fire Safes
These are top of the line safes that are used in banks, jewelry stores and pawn shops. Most of these will have 2 hour fire ratings and they can carry one of several UL security ratings. These safe generally range from $1500 up to $10,000.
Media and Data Safes
Protects data and media such as DVDs, CDs, tapes and hard drives from melting in a fire. Other safes are not made to keep the interior temperature as low as this type of safe. Small safes can be found for as low as $400 while large ones can be very expensive.
Many gun safes offer fire protection. Some offer as little as 30 minutes while others have a full 2 or 3 hour UL fire label. These safe can be used to store guns and many times they are used to store other important items of value.