There are a number of factors you should consider when
choosing a safe
for your home or business. Safes come in a variety of different
designs, some with very specialized purposes. A chest safe
is a small, chest-shaped safe that opens from the top. These
are ideal for securing your valuable documents from fire,
but since they can be easily carried off, do not provide
much security from burglars. A cabinet-style safe provides
more security, as it is much heavier than a chest-safe.
Most cabinet-style safes have a freestanding, upright housing.
Some models are available that are designed to be mounted
in a wall for added security.
A depository safe is one that is designed to accept deposits
of small items without having to open the safe. Deposits
are usually made through a slot or hopper built into the
safe. Depository safes are ideal for businesses that handle
large amounts of cash, jewelry, or other small valuables.
If you need to secure fragile computer backup media, special
fireproof media safes are available. These special media
safes provide more fire protection than a document safe,
since computer backup media is more easily damaged. A floor
safe is one that is designed to be permanently mounted in
the concrete or wood floor of a building for added security.
It would be difficult for a burglar to remove a floor safe
to another location in order to gain access to it. Finally,
if you need to secure pistols, rifles or shotguns, there
are special gun safes designed for this purpose.
Another factor to consider when choosing a safe is the
type of locking mechanism used on the safe.
Models are available with mechanical key locks, combination
dials, electronic keypads, and biometric scanners. The mechanical
key lock type is the least expensive, but requires you to
keep track of a key. The mechanical combination dial is
more convenient. Look for a model with a 4-number combination
for added security. Even more convenient is the electronic
keypad locking mechanism. To open this type of safe, the
user simply enters the combination on a PIN pad similar
to the ones used on ATM machines. Multiple users with multiple
PIN numbers can be enrolled to use the safe. For the best
of both security and convenience, consider a biometric locking
mechanism. This type of safe uses a fingerprint scanner
to grant access. The user simply places their index finger
on the scanner for about a second, and the safe opens.
Burglary and fire ratings are two additional factors that
should be considered when choosing a safe.
The burglary rating gives an indication of how difficult
it would be to break into the safe. A typical burglary rating
is a TL-15 rating. This means that the safe has been tested
to resist break-ins by an experienced person (a professional
locksmith), using common power and hand locksmithing tools,
for a period of 15 minutes. Few burglars would risk being
caught by spending this amount of time on your premises.
The fire rating of a safe gives
an indication of how well the safe will protect the contents
from damage in the event of a home or business fire. An
example fire rating would be a 1 hour 350 degree F rating.
This rating means that the safe has been exposed to a 1700
degree F fire for a period of 1 hour, and that the temperature
inside the safe did not rise above 350 degrees F. This is
a low enough temperature to keep from damaging most documents,
jewelry or other valuables. Media safes, designed to protect
delicate computer backup media, use 125 degrees F as the
internal test temperature, as computer media can be damaged
at a much lower temperature than documents.
As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider
when choosing a safe. Be sure
to decide which factors are important to you, in order to
choose the safe that is right for your needs.