Home safe

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by c073186, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. c073186 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2007
    Does anyone own a home safe? I'm looking to get one to put documents and things like computer backups (external hard drive) to protect against theft and/or fire. Just wondering if anyone uses one and has a recommendation.
  2. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020


    Jan 31, 2015
    I have a safe in my apartment and one back in my parents house. I also have a safe deposit box. As someone who has been the victim of an *attempted* burglary ("home invasion") and has seen plenty of people's apartment robbed, I think owning one is definitely worth it.

    My apartment safe I holds my jewelry, computer backups, safe deposit box key, passport, emergency cash, and any important documents I either readily need or don't have time to put back in the safety deposit box. If I'm out of town for a while, I might put some other valuables in there too. At my parent's home, I have a small gun safe. For very important items and valuables (stock & bond certificates, legal documents, insurance policies, social security card, birth certificate, etc), I have a safe deposit box which costs ~$20/month.

    Considering your needs include fire and theft protection for temperature sensitive items (hard drives). Generally, the fire resistance time isn't a huge concern as fires spread/move. You might also want to ensure that your safe is adequately waterproof (in case of floods or extinguishing fires).

    I'm not a fan of the digital keypad locks many consumer safes feature. I've worked in places that bought these for additional storage and often the electronic function broke pretty quickly for whatever reason (Sentry and First Alert, in my experience). I'm a pharmacist and having worked in pharmacies in the past, a quality safe is nice to have when you're in and out of the thing 20x+ a day. In the case of getting in and out constantly, electronic is far more convenient, but these are very expensive safes (thousands of dollars). I wouldn't pay extra money for the keypad. Avoid First Alert, their quality overall seems pretty bad in my experience.

    I use something much like this. It's nothing too special, but enough to keep things relatively safe in the event of theft or fire: http://www.amazon.com/SentrySafe-SF...sbs_200_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1AP65A1BKG3Q4Z4QTR4P
  3. FX120 macrumors 65816


    May 18, 2007
    Look for something with a real UL TL rating, anything less can be opened pretty easily by modern thief attempting a burglary. Any safe is just a delay as even the best safe can be opened given enough time, so you'll want to make sure you have some sort of monitored alarm system and it's either really heavy or bolted to the structure.
  4. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    I have two small safes for passports, social security cards, and the like. I also keep my primary computer backup drive in one. I encourage the OP to take a look at Amazon.com to get an idea of the range of options and to read this article. Even with a good home safe, it's a good idea to duplicate some items offsite if you can. For example, I keep a backup of my personal computer at my office and rotate it periodically.
  5. Huntn, Jul 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015

    Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    I have a similiar safe by Sentry, I like it. The only issue is that if I was serious about theft, I do not have it secured to the floor, but as is, this safe is so heavy, it's unlikely anyone would try to walk off with it in a hit and run, but... My recommendation is to search around online and remember Amazon does not always have the best price. :) http://www.walmart.com/ip/17290103?...40866712&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=78877966232&veh=sem
  6. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    There is some pretty good information in here. I have a small safe, think portable that I keep up in my closet buried behind some clothes.

    I have always wanted to get one that is a little bigger and one that can be bolted to the floor. Thanks for the info and opinions! Greatly appreciated.
  7. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I've considered getting a small safe for protection against fire, but after watching a handful of episodes of Storage Wars, I've noticed that the majority of "home" safes don't provide any real protection from someone who wants to get inside them.
  8. ejb190, Jul 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015

    ejb190 macrumors 65816


    When it comes to security, you need to ask, "secure from what?" Fire and theft are the two main concerns. Combine those with what the item is and you might have to settle for a range of solutions depending on the item.
    When it comes to security, safes are themselves a target of theft! And it's hard to enjoy something if it is locked away somewhere. So you might have to come up with some middle ground and accept some degree of risk.

    I have a pair of Sentry fire boxes. Sorry - can't call either of them a "safe" by any stretch of the imagination. I have them for fire protection more so than theft protection. I have another location in the house that is not locked, not fireproof, but probably far more secure as far as theft is concerned - you would have to tear the house apart to find it. Not real easy to get to though.
  9. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2014
    Whatever you get, make sure it's bolted to the walls and floor and if you can hide it, always do so.
  10. macosxuser01 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 10, 2006
    Sacramento, CA
    As owner of Alarm.com system I really recommend if looking to have a safe monitored home security/automation alarm system.

  11. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020


    Jan 31, 2015
    Yeah, these guys really are not substantially theft proof. Compare that to a nice 500lb+ pharmacy safe (fire protection usually isn't the primary concern), with beautiful ball bearing drawers and enough space to fit all your drugs in an organized manner :)

    My grandparents owned a Jewelry store at one time and we have this beautiful old and giant cast iron safe in our basement. That thing isn't going anywhere!

    Bolting it down helps if you can manage that. I imagine if someone threw my safe out my 4th floor apartment there would be a decent chance of it cracking open. Robbers typically feel rushed for time (especially in the city) and might look suspicious carrying a safe down the street. That's why for all my really important stuff, I opt for the safety deposit box. The chances of those items getting destroyed or stolen is pretty slim.
  12. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    Not that bolting a safe is a bad idea if you can do it, but in most cases, home burglars are looking for stuff that they can grab quickly - cash, jewelry, electronics - so they're unlikely to fool with a heavy safe or go poking around to find one that's hidden.
  13. ardent73 macrumors regular


    Jan 14, 2010
    What's your budget? And not just for money but size and weight, too?
  14. bunnspecial, Jul 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015

    bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    Honestly, for the stuff you mentioned-assuming you don't need immediate access-a safe deposit box is probably going to be your best bet.

    My bank has about 5 different sizes. They're in "units of size" but mine is one step up from the smallest one. It's about 3" tall, 12" wide, and about 2 1/2 ft deep. I pay $35/year for it(IMO, a pittance). The access procedure at my bank-which I think is pretty similar to every other bank around-is that I walk in and tell the front receptionist that I want to visit my box. Actually, I go often enough that the receptionist knows me that I just walk, greet them, smile, nod or point in that general direction of the boxes, and they know what I'm there for.

    Assuming no one else is back there, they walk me back to the vault, check my ID(even though I know all the people at the bank well, they still check every single time), have me sign the card for my box, check my signature against the one on file, and then take me back there. Opening the box requires both my key and the bank's master key. The receptionist then leaves me in peace, where I'm free to add and remove items at will. I primarily store my more valuable watches in mine, but also have some of my more valuable guns in it.

    Safe deposit boxes aren't completely immune to fire and water damage, but the vaults tend to be fairly well protected. I'm also at an advantage in that my box is very high. I've never measured it, but I'm 6' 2" tall and it's very nearly out of my reach. The usual receptionist can reach it, but most of the others usually end up just handing me the master key to unlock it. I can't load it too heavy, as when I pull the box out(most boxes are a thin, sheet metal box inside the vault box) I'm actually holding it over my head. My bank has a couple of hydrometers in the box, and control the temperature and humidity pretty closely at 72ºF/50% RH. This is great for paper, and decent for storage of most other things.

    I have a Liberty gun safe at my parent's house. Gun safes are great for guns, but aren't arranged that well for other stuff. In fact, they're pretty heavily biased toward long guns, and it took a lot of hunting for me to find one that(I thought) had enough space for my handguns. Along those same lines, basically they tend to be open in the center with gun "racks" to stand long guns upright, and minimal shelf space. I do have it bolted down, but also went out of my way to buy a 1000lb+ safe to deter theft. Nothing will stop a determined thief(Liberty safes are actually pretty easy to pry into) but I count on the fact that most burglars don't want to spend too much time getting into one for unknown returns. That's also why I store my good watches and other valuables(coins, gold and silver bullion, etc) offsite at the bank.

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