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Safes Buying Guide

Levels of Safe Protection

How do you evaluate a safe and whether it will meet your needs? Here are some ratings to consider when purchasing a safe.

UL Rating

A UL rating is the safe’s ability to withstand fire, impact, explosion, water and attempted theft for specific amounts of time and at certain temperatures, after which the contents inside the safe are unharmed and/or fully functional.

Underwriters Laboratories, a not-for-profit organization, tests a wide range of products in the interest of public safety. While there are no government or international standards regarding the production of safes, UL ratings are widely accepted. While not all safes are UL tested, many manufacturers voluntarily follow or surpass these industry standards.

In order for a media safe to be UL certified, the contents should not exceed 125 degrees F or 80% humidity. All contents must be functional after the test.

For a safe claiming to be impact resistant to be UL rated, the contents of the safe must survive being hit by falling debris or being dropped from a distance of at least 30 feet. Depending on how it’s made a safe can protect it contents, including paper, from the heat of a fire for up to three hours.

UL Rating Testing Temperature Standard Safe – Max. Interior Temperature Data/Media Safe – Max. Interior Temperature
½ hour 1550° F 350° F 125° F
1 hour 1700° F 350° F 125° F
2 hours 1850° F 350° F 125° F
3 hours 1920° F 350° F 125° F

Burglary Safe Rating

The burglary safe rating is determined by how long it can deter an attack against an expert with the best available equipment. The longer the stated time span, the more formidable an obstacle it represents to a would-be thief.
  • 15 minutes (TL-15)
  • 30 minutes (TL-30)

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