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Safes Buying Guide
Types of Safes
If you're considering buying a safe, you're probably wondering what type of safe you should choose. When deciding which is right for you, it's important for you to consider where the safe will be located, what you will store inside the safe; how the safe will be installed (in-floor or wall-mounted), and any other features, such as being fire, water or impact resistant.
Here's a list of the type of safes that are available:
Designed for residential use, a personal safe or home safe protects your documents, jewelry and other valuables. They can be placed in almost any room or any location within a particular room. Many types of personal safes have a bolt-down capability and include a kit to fasten them to a floor or shelf. Most quality-constructed personal safes provide a minimum level of protection against water and heat/fire damage.
Ideal for both commercial and residential applications, wall safes are commonly used for storing just about anything you need to have easy access to, such as money, jewelry and important papers. They are typically attached to wall studs and derive their security from being hidden from sight.
In-floor safes, like wall safes, have the advantage of being hidden. When purchasing an in-floor safe, ensure that it matches the type of floor where the safe is being installed. A floor safe designed for a cement floor will be too heavy for a wood floor. Because of the “sunken” nature of their type of installation, you need to break through the floor’s existing material, create a hole big enough to accommodate the safe, line the opening with some kind of cushioning material and then install the safe.
Burglary safes can be used in both home and commercial environments and are designed to be resistant to crowbar, drill and torch attacks for as long as possible. A personal or burglary safe isn’t just for valuable objects or important legal documents; it can also keep your cherished memories, whether paper or disc, from potential harm.
Gun safes come in a wide variety of sizes and models and are used for storing hand guns, rifles, shotguns and other items typically associated with hunting like knives and ammunition. They are usually constructed to be strong, durable and uncompromised. Since a gun safe can hold any number of guns, from one to 30 or more, select the one that will comfortably hold and store your collection. Generally designed to hold no more than two guns, but usually just one, lock boxes are a variation on gun safes.
Drop Safes and Depository Safes
Drop safes and depository safes are typically used in commercial settings like restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, gas stations, hotels and various other retail applications. They provide protection for large amounts of money and important paperwork. They are designed, like burglary safes, to be resistant to all types of theft attempts and to hold money overnight. Even though they are strong, they are not fire proof because of the slot or opening to accommodate deposits.
Hotel safes offer guests the reassurance that their valuables are secure. Typically made of steel, they have self-programmable electronic locks, no handles and override key-locks for emergency opening. Other common applications for hotel safes are dorm rooms, motels and hospitals.
Narcotics or Medical Safes
Narcotics or medical safes are used in any environment where narcotic substances need to be secured, such as pharmacies, drug stores, police stations, clinics, etc. They are typically made of heavy gauge steel, have adjustable shelves and multiple keys that cannot be removed unless the doors have been locked.
Data and Media Safes
Temperatures above 125 degrees damage media beyond practical retrieval methods. Intended to protect discs, backups and other types of valuable electronic information, data safes and media safes keep contents safe from fire for up to three hours, depending on the type of safe purchased. Of course, they also offer heat and moisture protection as well. Media can also be easily damaged by humidity over 85%.
For peace of mind when attending conferences, on a business trip or living in a dorm, laptop safes do provide some level of security and protection. Depending on the type and the manufacturer, laptop safes range from a portable container resembling a laptop case (although somewhat heavier) that is secured by cable to safes designed to protect computers from theft and other forms of damage.