Despite the fact that safety deposit boxes have been around for ages, most people still consider their residential safe to be far safer, cheaper, and convenient to store irreplaceable treasures in their lives.
Because there are many types and safe manufacturers to choose from, it is quite understandable that an ordinary consumer will be confused about which one to buy. However, most reputable locksmith companies can help you sort the bad manufacturers from the good ones, and determine the exact safe model you need to install to protect your stuff effectively. As they will tell you, not all safes are created equal. Just the same, no single safe can protect everything.
Before making a final purchase, you should be able to answer all these questions to assist you in making this difficult choice.
What you will put in the safe?
At times, people tend to forget to ask this most important and most basic question: what are you planning to put inside your safe? Typically, home safes are used to stash important documents such as birth certificates, insurance policies, savings bonds, tax returns, and stock certificates among others.
Some might store sensitive media or magnetic files while the rest use it to hide cash. Some even need safes to keep their guns. Either way, the answer to this question is important because it also answers several equally vital questions such as the correct fire-safety and water-resistance ratings of the safe, or how thick and big should it be.
What kind of protection do you need?
There are no established standards for fire and water resistance ratings of safes, but it’ll help to know if the safes were certified either by UL or ETL for fire protection ratings. The standard protections every Charlotte, NC homeowner looks for in safes are usually against fire, floods, and burglary. Again, as mentioned, it all depends on the elements in which you need to protect your stuff from. It helps if the safe can at least withstand 30 minutes of flame and 15 minutes of physical attack with tools and weapons without cracking.
Some home safes have insurance ratings which limit the amount of valuables in the safe the insurance will cover. The general rule is the higher the insurance rating, the stronger, more expensive, and burglar-proof the safe is.
What type of safe do you need?
No one safe can be universally used to store every valuable possession in an office or home. For the most part, simple home and office safes are basically floor and walls safes that can be hidden or covered with a rug or a framed painting, though specialized safes such as gun, record, and laptop safes are also available on the market.
For safes that need to protect records, it is important to know what the inside temperature will be in case of fire as most records will be damaged when they reach a certain temperature. Paper documents are still safe at 350ºF, but digital media will already be toast if the temperature gets higher than 250ºF. The temperature requirement is even lower for antique film and other magnetic media which can burn when the internal temperature reaches 125 ºF.
Most fireproof safes are also water-resistant (particularly against hoses and sprinklers) but will probably be useless in defending your valuables against floods. The best thing to do is read the owner’s manual to know the limitations of your newly purchased safe.
New Safe vs. Used safe
There is always some debate on whether to purchase a second-hand safe or go for a new safe for personal use. While it may seem practical to buy a safe that is slightly used, locksmiths agree that it may be more trouble than actually buying new ones. For example, the lock mechanism of the old safe might be faulty (which may be the reason it’s being sold). Furthermore, the old safe may be dirty so you’ll have to clean it thoroughly first before using. (Note, if buying a used safe from Eastway Lock & Key, we clean them up and restore any parts that need to be replaced before selling them, so rest assured, your investment in a safe from us is insured either way.)
A new safe may cost more at first but it will require less attention and maintenance, plus it will have a full warranty so you can always take it back if it’s defective.
If you need a professional to help with any safe, new or used, contact our team at Eastway Lock & Key in Charlotte NC. We will be happy to assist. Give us a call at 704-347-1088, or complete our Contact Form and we’ll get back to you right away. Don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter!