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Home Safe Reviews

By: Lisa Maloney on August 16, 2017

Editor's note:
SentrySafe continues to dominate both the portable and home safe categories in our updated report on fireproof safes. However, we have our eye on the First Alert 2017F as a worthy competitor. It successfully survived a true trial by fire in one expert test. We've also expanded our coverage of pistol and long gun safes.

SentrySafe SFW123DSB Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Weight - 86.3 lbs. Interior dimensions - 13.8" x 12.6" x 11.9" Capacity - 1.23 cu. ft.

Best fireproof home safe

Of all the safes we evaluated, the SentrySafe SFW123DSB offers the best combination of fire and flood protection at a reasonable price. It's UL-rated for up to an hour in 1700-degree fire and against exploding or rupturing in a flash fire. This safe is also ETL-verified for impact resistance during a fire and flood resistance for 24 hours in 8 inches of water. This SentrySafe is a top choice for protecting USB drives, CDs, DVDs and portable hard drives.

Buy for $168.06
SentrySafe 1200 Review
Best Reviewed

Best portable fire safe

In the portable fire safe category, the SentrySafe 1200 fire-safe chest draws excellent reviews for its UL-rated 30 minutes of protection in fires of up to 1550 degrees. It's also ETL verified for keeping internal temperatures low enough to protect USB drives, CDs, DVDs and portable hard drives. The SentrySafe 1200 is small enough to hide discreetly away or pick up and run with during an emergency, but, at 3.5 by 12 by 7.5 inches, it's not exactly spacious.

GunVault SpeedVault SV500 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Weight - 7 lbs. Interior dimensions - 8.5" x 2.25" x 5.75" Capacity - One handgun

Best handgun safe

Both owner and expert reviewers love the GunVault SpeedVault SV500's balance of security and quick, one-handed access with either hand. When you key in your pre-programmed access code, the bottom of the vault drops open to give immediate access. The GunVault's 18-gauge steel isn't going to keep a determined burglar out, but it's still a solid deterrent, and it works great for securing your handgun from nosey adults or inquisitive children. The GunVault comes in a biometric version as well.

Buy for $119.42
SentrySafe QAP1BE Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Weight - 11.9 lbs. Interior dimensions - 2.2" x 9.7" x 6.7" Capacity -  0.08 cu. ft.

Best biometric handgun safe

The SentrySafe QAP1BE is one of the best biometric gun safes on the market. It's small enough to stick in a drawer but offers quick access to your handgun, draws plenty of praise for being sturdily built, and can be bolted in place as an additional theft deterrent. The biometric fingerprint reader is the SentrySafe QAP1BE's best feature, reading multiple fingerprints and working almost flawlessly for quick access. There's a keypad and key lock backup as well.

Buy for $143.20
AMSEC BF6032 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Weight - 913 lbs. Interior dimensions - 52 7/8" x 26" x 14" Capacity - 11.1 cu. ft.

Best long gun safe

Protecting your valuable guns from damage or theft should be a top priority, and for that you need the AMSEC BF6032. It stores up to 20 guns, is ETL-verified for two hours of fire protection at 1200 degrees, and it's UL-rated for resisting up to five minutes of sustained attack protection with typical tools. At 913 pounds, no one's running off with the AMSEC BF6032, either. It's pricier than some, but most say it's well worth it.

Buy for $3,379.00
Stack-On 14-gun Safe Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Weight - 287 lbs. Interior dimensions  -  52.75" x 16.5" x 14.75" Capacity - 7.57 cu. ft.

Cheap gun safe

If the AMSEC or other high-end gun safes are a bit above your price range, reviewers suggest taking a look at the Stack-On 14-gun safe FS-14-MB-E. Fire-resistant up to 1400 degrees for 30 minutes, it also will do a good job of discouraging thieves and keeping young children (or unauthorized adults) from accessing your guns. The FS-14-MB-E is also versatile, with adjustable shelving if you prefer to use it just for general storage.

Types of Home Safes

Fireproof Home Safes

Although they sometimes come with theft-deterrent features like relockers and pry-resistant hinges, a fireproof home safe's primary focus is exactly what the name suggests: Defending the contents against a house fire. Most fireproof safes use either moisture-rich insulation or concrete amalgamate to do this, paired with doors that seal shut in a fire for extra protection. Many larger safes also come with a range of interior organizers, and some are waterproof against flooding or the firefighter's hose.

Portable Safes

For those who just want a layer of extra protection for difficult-to-replace documents such as social security cards, birth certificates or other small items, these highly affordable safes will probably do the trick. Most are fireproof and can be moved fairly easily; some are waterproof, too. Although these small boxes aren't the best deterrent against theft because a burglar can just carry them off, many people choose portable safes primarily for their fire and water protection, then hide them so a thief cannot easily find them.

Gun Safes

Gun safes employ the similar security features to home safes, although gun safes are often designed for quick access in case you need the gun for self-defense. Second, although the federal government doesn't require you to lock your firearms up, some states do; and some states levy penalties or criminal charges for allowing children access to firearms. Always check your local laws regarding firearm storage. If you live in California, the California Department of Justice has a specific set of standards for which gun safes are acceptable. They also provide a roster of approved gun safety devices.

Fireproof home safes and gun safes keep your valuables secure

While no one likes to think that events like break-ins, fires and floods might happen to them, the truth is that these things can happen to anybody. Most people arm their homes with door locks, window locks, and fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as a way to forestall these disasters; so it makes sense to add a fireproof safe that can protect hard-to-replace documents, currency and large and small valuables in case of fire or flood. The general rule when buying a safe is to get the largest safe you expect to be able to fill -- that way, you won't have to invest in a second safe in the future.

If you have guns, a safe designed specifically for handguns or long guns like rifles and shotguns will not only protect your weapons from fire, water damage and theft, it will keep them safely out of the hands of small children or unauthorized adults.

It may be tempting to head straight for the cheapest safes -- but if there was ever a time to invest in quality, this is it. However, price is not always an indicator of quality either, and we read plenty of reports of pricey or even custom-made safes that owners felt seemed cheap or tended to collect condensation in spite of their cost. Regardless of price point, look for home safes that are rated by Underwriters Laboratory (using the UL mark) or Intertek (using the ETL mark). Testing from these third-party companies gives you an honest gauge of just how much fire or flooding the safe can withstand, and how well it will hold up against break-in attempts.

Finding The Best Home Safes
Our Sources
"The Best Fireproof Document Safe"
"Honest Gun Safe Reviews"
"Best Gun Safes at Every Price Point"

There aren't a lot of expert reviews of safes, but we found an impressive hands-on test of fireproofing at TheSweetHome.com, plus a couple of useful roundups by the editors of GunsandAmmo.com and the thorough reviews at GunSafeReviewsGuy.com. With such a scant list of expert sources, we paid very close attention to the hundreds of owner reviews posted at retail sites like Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com, Cabelas.com and others. The result is our recommendations for the home and gun safes that will keep your valuables secure and undamaged.

Elsewhere In This Report
Recently Updated
Home Safes buying guide

What every best Home Safes has:

  • Clear information on the packaging.
  • UL or ETK certifications.
  • Safes should be large and heavy.

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