This relatively small, light home safe is sized for flat documents as large as 8.5 by 11 inches. It's waterproof when closed, and it can be left unlocked to deter a thief from carrying off private papers with no resale value. The SentrySafe Waterproof Fire Chest H2300 is rated to keep its interior temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or less in fires of up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit, and to do so for up to 30 minutes. Experts say that although better safes offer more protection, this level is adequate for most home fires. In addition to protecting documents, the safe is rated by ETL for more rugged media such as DVDs, CDs and memory cards, but not for floppy discs cassette tapes or photo negatives. The warranty is for one year (or lifetime replacement after a fire).
The 24.5-pound weight and exterior dimensions of 7.5 inches by 15.3 inches by 14.9 inches make the SentrySafe Waterproof Fire Chest H2300 a good choice for a small space and for a portable safe. It doesn't have a handle, but it does have carry grips. The simple tubular key lock is far from burglar-resistant, and any belongings with resale value -- a passport, for example -- should be stored in a safety deposit box instead.
The lid is sealed from water (certified by ETL tests) -- an important factor because firefighters usually flood a home with hundreds of gallons. The insulation can release some moisture into the interior, however. Therefore, the manufacturer recommends storing photos and documents in air-tight plastic bags. Adding silica gel packets inside the safe is also a good idea.
If you need a larger safe, the SentrySafe Waterproof Fire File H3300 (*Est. $105) offers similar pluses and minuses and similar ratings, but with one important difference. At 75 pounds, it's not something you can easily pick up and run with in an emergency. On the other hand, the 1.29 cubic feet of capacity makes it more versatile.
We found detailed owner-written reviews and ratings at Amazon.com. The manufacturer's site publishes the average rating from more users but without any explanations or comments. However, the owner's manual published there does add useful information.
More than 60 owners give the SentrySafe H2300 mostly positive reviews for storing important documents. The main complaint is that it lacks a handle. Owners add that it's important to read the instructions about how to open the safe.
Review: SentrySafe H2300 Fire-Safe Waterproof Chest, 0.36 Cubic Feet, Silver Gray, Contributors to Amazon.com
More than 200 owners give the H2300 safe an average rating of 3 on a 5-point scale, but no comments are published. The owner's manual provides useful details, including recommendations for counteracting internal moisture. Full specifications are also published here.
Review: Waterproof Fire Chest H2300, Editors and contributors to SentrySafe.com