So you’ve come to the decision that you want to buy a safe for your home, but exactly which home safe should you buy?
Like the old saying goes, you wouldn’t crack a nut with a sledgehammer. In the same way, you wouldn’t spend £1000 on a safe to hold some some passports and paperwork.
And in the same way, you wouldn’t buy a £50 safe to hold £50,000 in bank notes or jewelry, so it’s important to get the right safe that is up to the job.
To get started and get you on the correct path to which home safe you should buy, and which home safe is right for you, let’s look at some of the safes that are out there on the market, the different types, the different ratings, categorisations and costs involved, as well as looking at some of the benefits of owning a safe.
And then, once you understand a little more about safes and the type of safe you need, go across and have a look at my article on the best home safes to buy for UK Homes.
Below is a handy table of contents, and clicking on any of the subheadings will bring you to that section on this page. We are part of the Amazon Associate program, and we earn commissions from qualifying purchases.
Table of Contents
Benefits of Having A Home Safe
Let’s remember something very important here.
No matter what sort of safe you buy, whether you choose a £30 safe, a £300 safe or a £3000 safe, the contents of that safe are exponentially more secure than if you had no safe at all.
Having a home safe has some huge benefits.
Let’s put this into perspective a little.
When considering which home safe to buy, remember that the job of a safe is to reject unauthorised access to that safe when it is closed and locked.
So anybody without a key, the combination code, keypad code or even a matching fingerprint, cannot gain access legitimately without being in possession of, or knowledge of one of those access permissions.
However, you would be correct in saying that to break into a £3000 safe would be much harder than breaking into a £30 safe. That doesn’t mean to say that getting into that £30 safe is going to be easy, and whatever the safe you choose, it will take time and effort to break into the safe without the authorised methods of entry.
Now lets take into account the average amount of time that a burglary takes from start to finish.
It is estimated the average burglarly from offender entering the property to exiting the property is between 8-12 minutes.
And this is where the benefits of having a safe, no matter what its cost, really takes off.
Because a safe is going to act as a delay tactic.
It won’t be just a simple matter of someone rifling through a jewellery box or a set of drawers, and pocketing a £500 watch or £300 silver chain or a £800 DSLR camera.
They now have to break into a safe, which is exponentially more difficult than simply taking it from a drawer or wardrobe.
Now, lets assume they found the safe, why don’t they just take the safe with them? Well, they could try and take it with them, and then spend as much time as they wanted trying to break it open in a more convenient place later on – but the chances are they won’t.
And they won’t because it will be bolted down or affixed to something, and it will be heavy and bulky.
So you can see that there a some HUGE benefits of having a safe in your home, and it doesn’t matter what sort of safe you have or how much it costs. The cost of the safe is down to your own peace of mind and your own budget.
Safe Type: Wall, Floor or Under Floor?
The three main types of safes are wall and floor safes.
And they are quite simple to understand:
- A Wall Safe – fixes to a wall.
- A Floor Safe – fixes to the floor.
- An Under Floor Safe – Is hidden beneath flooring
The option of purchasing a wall safe or a floor safe is totally dependent on exactly where you are going to place your safe in your home.
And yes, you need to think about this before going ahead and buying a safe.
You need to choose not only a place that is out of the way and out of sight, but a place that is also relatively easy for you to access it.
The last thing you need is to locate your safe in a place that is awkward for you to access.
So before buying a safe, where are you going to locate it?
And that will tell you whether you are going to buy a wall safe or a floor safe. Also bear in mind that a lot of safes come with a flexible option of either mounting it to a wall, or bolting it to the floor – very handy indeed.
The third option is an underfloor safe.
This type of safe is the least common. These safes are stored under floorboards between joists in your house. These safes are only suitable if you want to store items and valuables for long periods of time, without the need to access them frequently.
Good job too, because you’ll need to pull back carpet or wooden flooring, any underlay, and then remove a floorboard to access it. Then to put it back, you’ll need to do all that in the opposite order. A huge pain and totally unsuitable for everyday access.
Common Places For Home Safes
If we think about it logically, and think of an average 3 bed semi detached home in the UK, there’s only going to be a few places that a home safe can be housed. Usually, safes are placed within wardrobes (either built in or free standing wardrobes), or in cupboards such as kitchen cupboards.
Other locations can include under the stairs and even within boiler enclosures.
Of course, different people in different homes will have all manner of different locations in their homes where they could potentially house their safe, but these are the main ones.
In bigger, older properties, that have thicker walls, you might even find a safe hiding behind a picture of some dogs playing cards.
But it will be a rarity.
So it really does depend on you, and where you have room to place a safe in your home.
Waterproof and Fireproof Safes
In addition to the main three types of safe, there are also some more considerations when trying to determine which home safe you should buy for your home.
Waterproof safes will keep valuable safe if your home is flooded. A waterproof safe is absolutely vital for homes that suffer with historic flooding, and homes based near rivers and valleys that are susceptible to bursting their banks.
But bear in mind a burst pipe could flood your home – although it is extremely unlikely that it would flood more than an inch or two.
If you live in an area prone to flooding then, it is recommended to only buy a safe that has a waterproof rating. If the safe you want just happens to be waterproof, then it’s an added bonus.
Fireproof safes have ratings similar to fire doors that you will commonly see in offices and larger building. These ratings are timed ratings, so they have been tested to withstand the rigours of a fire up to 60 minutes for example.
If you are not going to go with a waterproof safe, then I highly recommend you choose a safe with a decent fireproof rating (Check out safe number 3 in our list of the 5 best home safes UK).. Whilst flooding can be predicted to some extent, a fire cannot be predicted – unfortunately no property in the world can say for 100% certainty that it won’t have a fire.
If you don’t want to spend the extra on this type of safe, at the very minimum make sure your smoke detectors are in working order (now is a great time to check them – consider this as an official reminder).
And if you haven’t got smoke detectors, or you don’t have enough of them, buy some, and get them installed.
Non Waterproof & Non Fireproof Safes
It goes without question that a waterproof or a fireproof home safe is going to cost you more money. It costs more to develop and manufacturer these safes, so naturally your purchase cost is going to be more, so your budget is going to affect which home safe you will end up buying.
A cheaper alternative is a basic safe, that maybe has a lock and key or digital passcode. This will do the job of delaying an intruder accessing and stealing your valuables, but it won’t protect those valuables from fire or water damage.
If you are not worried about this, or the valuables you want in the safe doesn’t warrant that level of protection, then it is recommended that you go with a basic, no thrills safe that won’t cost an arm or a leg, but still gives protection and peace of mind that your valuables are locked up in a safe rather than simply out in the open within your home.
EN1143/EN14450 Graded Safes
An E-N what I hear you say?
EN1143 and EN14450 safes are basically safes that have been tested under extreme circumstances by an impartial body (e.g a testing house). These tests include subjecting safes to heat, water and various implements and tools to see how robust a safe actually is.
Buying an EN1143 graded safe for your home is overkill for 99% of people looking to purchase a safe for their home. Not to mention the costs – EN1143 safes are expensive. But they are robustly made, they are heavy and they are high quality.
It’s fair to say that such safes reside in business premises more than residential properties, due to certain implications with money on premises, valuables on premises and insurance cover.
We have a seperate article about grades and graded safes here.
If you have a substantial amount in valuables or cash, then buying a graded safe is hugely recommended – in fact, I would go as far as saying this is mandatory especially if you need the contents of the safe insured (most insurers won’t accept anything other than an EN1143 graded safe for valuable over a certain amount).
What Type Of Lock?
There are many types of locking systems on the market. These systems are:
- Traditional key.
- Combination lock.
- Keycode/keypad lock.
- Fingerprint lock.
- Sometimes, there will be a combination of these used.
Each of these locking systems have their own pros and cons. For example, lose the key to the safe, and you are going to need either a locksmith, or a big sledgehammer and a lot of time to get back into it.
Equally though, what if you forget the combination or code?
These are questions you need to ask yourself before you commit to buying a home safe and will depend mostly on what you are most comfortable with – as well as your budget. Bear in mind, if you are thinking of purchasing a fingerprint entry safe for example, then its going to cost a lot more than a safe with key entry, for example.
What Size Safe Should I Buy?
A tape measure is now required before you move forward and purchase a safe.
First, ensure you measure the location where you wish to install your safe, taking into account the height, width and depth you have available.
Next, measure the biggest item you wish to store in your safe. Many people, for instance, will buy a safe and then find their laptop won’t fit inside. So make sure you measure these things before going ahead and purchasing your safe.
There’s also another consideration here. It’s common sense but not always something that people think about – the bigger the safe, the heavier it will be therefore the harder it is to steal.
Sounds ridiculous right? But let’s think about this logically.
If an intruder does find the location of a safe and decides instead of trying to gain access to it there and then, they will try and remove it from its fixings and take it with them, then that decision is going to be based on size and weight.
The smaller the safe, the more likely they will try and remove it and take it with them.
The bigger the safe, the likelihood of them taking the safe reduces.
Think about it this way – a mobile phone or tablet is more likely to be stolen than a 55 inch TV – simply because of the effort it would take versus the risk of being caught.
All being said though, a safe that is fixed and bolted to either a wall or floor space in the correct manner is going to be extremely hard to remove – it is going to take some brute force and the necessary tools to do so.
Alternatives To A Safe
We’ve already said in this article here, that before you buy a home safe, you must ensure the rest of your security arrangements are in order and up to scratch.
But what if you don’t want a home safe, and you would rather put someone else in charge of holding and storing your valuables securely?
Well, the simple solution is a bank safe deposit box or a specialist company that offer similar services and facilities.
For instance, Halifax bank offer a safe deposit box for just £200 a year here. Check with your bank or building society to see what services they offer.
Of course the biggest upside of using these services are the fact that your items are ultra secure, and insured.
The downsides though are clear to see – a yearly cost, the inconvenience of travelling somewhere to access your possessions, the size of safety deposit boxes, and the real possibility of branch closures that will mean you may have to travel even further to access your valuables.
These services are only recommended if you have certain small form valuables of high value that you dont need to access regularly – for instance, a large amount of gold.
Which Home Safe – The Costs
Which home safe you end up choosing will ultimately be dictated by your budget for your safe.
The good news is, when buying a safe, it’s going to be a one time cost. Usually, there are no further costs, and a safe will last for many, many years.
Here’s a quick look at the costs involved when deciding on which home safe to buy, and a good selection of safes to get you started.
Low Cost Safe (Under £100)
LOW COST SAFE RECOMMENDATIONS
Medium Cost Safe (£100-300)
MEDIUM COST SAFE RECOMMENDATIONS
High Cost Safe (£300-£1000)
HIGH COST SAFE RECOMMENDATIONS
Premium Safe (£1000+)
And then there’s these types of specialist safes (only super rich need apply!)
Overview: Which Home Safe Should I Buy?
So in closing, the type of home safe you should buy comes down to the following factors:
- The location of you want to install your safe.
- The type of items you want to store in your safe.
- The value of items you want to store in your safe.
- Your comfort level with the type of entry system (key, combination etc.)
- If your house is susceptible to flooding.
Do also ensure you do the following before buying a safe:
- Measure the location you wish to install a safe.
- Measure any possessions to make sure they fit.
Give enough thought and consideration to these points, and you will buy the right safe for you, the first time of asking.
Remember, this is not about money and cost – it’s down to the simple fact that having a safe of some type is better than having no safe at all.
And don’t forget to check out our other article here – the best home safes in the UK
Questions & Comments
As always, questions and comments are welcomesd and encouraged – you can leave your questions and comments in the section below.
Which home safe did you choose? Or which home safe are you considering for your home?
Let me know in the comments section below – I try and reply to all your comments.
Stay Safe. Stay Secure.