The Top 6 Best Fireproof Safes For the Home

woman opening safeThere were 365,000 home fires in 2015. That’s nearly 1,000 fires per day. Take a moment and think about all of the important documents in your home—what would happen to them if your home caught fire? Investing in a fireproof safe won’t eliminate the pain of a house fire, but protecting all of your important documents will make it easier to rebuild. We’ll examine six of the best safes on the market and help you decide which choice is right for you.

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Understanding fireproofing ratings

When examining safes, you’ll see a UL rating. There are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure the safe is UL-listed, not UL-tested; if it is listed, that means the safe has passed the tests it was put through and is certified fire-proof or fire-resistant. Sometimes UL-listed will appear as UL-rated.

Ideally, the safe you purchase will be Class 350. This means that the safe will remain below 350 degrees internally for up to four hours, even if temperatures reach as high as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit outside the safe. At 350 degrees, paper begins to warp, leading to a loss of readability and potential damage.

Best small fireproof safes

Smaller safes are perfect for protecting documents and small items like watches, CDs, and photographs. However, these safes can also be physically removed from your home more easily unless they are bolted down. If a burglar steals the safe, they can take all the time they need to crack it.

First Alert Fire and Water Resistant Safe

First Alert 2017F 0.19 Cubic Foot Water and Fire Protector ChestThe First Alert fire safe is a safe for the modern age. Unlike many safes, it employs a keypad rather than a dial. Of course, there is also a keyhole in case the batteries die or you forget the code. Despite that, it’s designed to be theft-deterrent, so any would-be lockpickers will have difficulty opening it. The First Alert fire safe can withstand temperatures up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit for up to an hour before it begins to fail, and the safe itself is waterproof. Efforts to put out the flames won’t damage the interior contents; in fact, this safe could be stored at the bottom of a lake without damage.

The inside of the door itself has one large pocket and five hooks for storing smaller items, and the interior of the safe has a shelf that can be removed and inserted as needed. The safe comes with a five-year limited warranty, but a lifetime after-fire replacement guarantee. At 90 pounds, the safe is heavy, but not so heavy that it can’t be removed, so make sure to keep it somewhere inconspicuous.

Pros

  • Spacious
  • Heavy
  • Combination keypad and key

Cons

  • Door feels plastic
  • Safe cannot be bolted down
  • Moisture builds up inside

Tech specs

  • Fire Rating: Class 350 fire rating
  • UL Listing: UL-certified 1-hour fire resistance up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Additional Features: Waterproof
  • Size: 17.5 x 19.63 in. x 18H
  • Weight: 93 lbs.

SentrySafe SFW123DSB

SentrySafe SFW123DSB 1.23 Cubic Feet Combination Fire-Safe, Medium GreySentrySafe has a number of smaller options, but the 1.23 cubic meter fire safe has a lot of features that make it a standout choice. For starters, the $250 price makes it an affordable choice. It’s also capable of withstanding temperatures up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour before the contents inside are damaged, and it can handle submersion in up to eight inches of water for nearly 24 hours. Four heavy-duty bolts seal the door in place.

The door has multiple compartments and hooks for storing smaller items, and the two interior shelves give you a place to store documents, memory cards, family photos, and more. One downside is the safe’s thin exterior; a determined thief could drill through it with the proper equipment, so items of extremely high value should be kept elsewhere.

Pros

  • Large amounts of storage space
  • Heavy

Cons

  • Dial and handle feel cheap
  • Good for storing documents, but too thin for high-priced valuables
  • Moisture can build up inside

Tech specs

  • Fire Rating: Class 350 fire rating
  • UL Listing: UL-certified 1-hour fire resistance up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Additional Features: 24-hour water resistance in depths up to 8 in.
  • Size: 16.3 x 19.3 x 17.8 in
  • Weight: 101 lbs

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Best medium-sized fireproof safes

A medium-sized safe is great for storing small firearms or larger volumes of documents. They tend to be on the heavier side, making them harder for thieves to snatch, and some can be bolted to the floor for further protection.

Amsec Fire Combination Safe

AMSEC FS149 1 Hour Fire Safe with Combination Lock SafeThe Amsec Fire Combination Safe’s door is 2 ½ inches thick, with a Class 350 fire rating. This is great protection for documents, but not so much for electronics. It also isn’t water resistant, so moisture is able to seep in from outside. The Amsec Fire Combination Safe provides plenty of storage, and it can be bolted to the floor to keep it secure. Bear in mind, however, that this safe is designed to provide protection against fire, not burglars.

The safe includes a built-in shelf in the center, leaving space for larger items like handguns, small antiques, or jewelry to be stored inside. The combination lock has two side bolts that slam into place when the safe is locked, making it resistant to forcible entry.

Pros

  • Built-in shelf
  • Can be bolted to the floor

Cons

  • Not as much storage as comparable safes
  • Not water-resistant or waterproof

Tech specs

  • Fire Rating: Class 350 fire rating
  • UL Listing: UL-certified 1-hour fire resistance up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 19.12 x 13.5 x 15.68 in.
  • Weight: 92 lbs.

Stack-on Elite Executive Fire Safe

Stack-On E-029-SB-E Executive Fire Safe with Electronic Lock, Matte Black/SilverThe first thing to know about this safe is that it’s expensive. With a hefty price tag, the Stack-on Elite is the luxury car of safes. It has three 1.5-inch locking bolts and three deadbolts that combine for a total of six lock points; it’s nearly impossible to break into without the combination. The second thing to know is that it’s on the upper end of “medium.” At 29 inches high, it will fit comfortably in your closet and provide plenty of storage space. It’s rated for half an hour of fire exposure at 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Stack-on Elite comes with three adjustable shelves and a fully carpeted interior. If you have valuables that are susceptible to damage against hard surfaces, this safe is the place to put them. And at 191 pounds, it’s likely that no one is going to carry this safe away without help.

Pros

  • Heavy door provides extra security
  • Door can be removed when transporting safe
  • Six locking points

Cons

  • High price point
  • Not UL-certified, but tested by a third party

Tech specs

  • Fire Rating: 30 minutes of fire resistance up to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Additional Features: Not water-resistant or waterproof
  • Size: 19.75 x 20.875 x 29 in
  • Weight: 191 lbs

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Best large fireproof safes

Large safes are designed for people with large, expensive belongings that need to be protected, like rifles or larger antiques.

Mesa 6.4 Cubic-Foot Combination Lock Safe

Mesa Safe MBF3820C All Steel Burglary and Fire Safe with Combination Lock, 6.4-Cubic Feet, Hammered GreyIf I had to recommend a single safe on this list, it would be the Mesa. Here’s why: this safe is as fireproof as safes can be. It’s rated for 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two hours, but has been factory-tested at temperatures up to 1,830 degrees without failing. The door is an impressive 4-½ inches thick, with three one-inch bolts that seal it in place. At 300 pounds, the safe is not going anywhere without a team of people to carry it, and it is also equipped with four anchor points. The lock is surrounded by a drill-resistant plate. It would take explosives to break through this safe, and I’m not sure even that would work.

The interior of the safe is fully upholstered, and with two adjustable (and also upholstered) shelves, there is ample storage for just about anything you need to store inside.The downside is the height—some larger rifles may not fit in the safe, but most items that require this level of protection will fit securely.

Pros

  • Three 1-in diameter locks
  • Included anchor kit
  • A drill-resistant plate around the lock

Cons

  • The door has a lot of give even when closed
  • Not UL-tested

Tech specs

  • Fire Rating: Class 350 2-hour rating
  • 2-hour fire resistance up to 1,830 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Additional Features: Not water-resistant or waterproof
  • Size: 22 x 22 x 40 in
  • Weight: 300 lbs

Barska FV-3000

Barska FV-3000 Fire Safe Vault, Black, One SizeThe Barska is by far the most expensive safe on this list. At nearly $2,000, it’s hard to justify spending that much on a fire safe unless the internal contents far exceed that value. However, if you own valuable, potentially dangerous items (guns, antique swords, etc.) you’ll want to keep them locked away. Belongings with sentimental value, such as a cane or family heirloom, won’t fit in a normal-sized safe, but they’ll be fine in the Barska. You gain access via an electronic keypad on the front, and a silent access feature allows you to mute the keypad notification.

As for security, the Barska is rated for 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit for up to one hour. The Barska also has a six-point locking system. When the door is closed, it would be extremely difficult to open without the proper combination. Its weight provides ample security by itself; at 667 pounds, the Barska would need a team of five to ten people to move—and that’s when it’s empty. However, the downside to this weight is that installation is difficult.

Pros

  • Heavy
  • Huge amounts of storage
  • Silent access features

Cons

  • Hard to install and position due to weight
  • High price point
  • Not UL-tested, but tested by a third party with similar criteria

Tech specs

  • Fire Rating: 1-hour fire resistance to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Additional Features: Not water-resistant or waterproof
  • Size: 40 x 22 in x 59.06 in
  • Weight: 667 lbs
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Safest safe?

There’s no “best” fireproof safe that will work equally well for every person. Instead, evaluate the options and choose the safe that best suits your needs. If you only need to protect a few important documents and a photograph or two, a smaller safe is likely the best choice. The downside to small safes is that they can be physically carried away by thieves. Medium and large safes are heavier and tougher to move, but the increased size and cost can make them inconvenient for people who live in apartments or anywhere with limited space.

Take a look at the monetary value the belongings you want to protect and the amount of space they’ll take up, then factor that against the cost of the safe. Of course, there are a few possessions that you can’t place a value on. The best way to determine how much you’re willing to spend on a safe is to ask yourself how much you’re willing to lose.