A combination safe is any safe that opens using a manual combination lock rather than a digital electronic lock. This is a traditional type of locking mechanism which takes the form of a dial or a set of dials. These are marked either with letters or numbers or both. You rotate them through the right sequence, and the lock opens, allowing you access to your safe.
Before we explore combination safes and combination locks in-depth, take a look at the product comparison chart below. We have culled the web to find you the very best combination safes based on features, prices, and customer reviews.
Is a combination safe what you are looking for? If so, what features are important in a combination lock? Read on to find out more.
What You Need to Know About Combination Locks
Combination locks are pretty basic things. Almost everyone has used one at some point or another in their life. You probably used a combination lock on your locker at school. A UL-rated combination lock is much more secure than a cheap combo lock, but the basic operation is the same. If you have ever opened a combo lock before, you know exactly how you will access your combination safe.
Of course, if you have ever used combo locks in the past, you know the major drawback with them, and that is the fact that they are difficult to operate. It can be hard to count those tiny little marks, especially if the safe is located at an uncomfortable angle. You may mess up repeatedly if you are in a hurry. This can be incredibly frustrating, and in an emergency, potentially unsafe.
On the other hand, some electronic keypad safes have equally annoying features that can be detrimental if you are in a hurry, like a “timeout” feature that locks you out of even trying to get in for five minutes after messing up the code. With a mechanical lock, you don’t have to worry about that. You can try as much as you like to get into your safe.
Here are the UL ratings for mechanical locks
- Group II: A skilled professional can get the lock open in less than 20 minutes.
- Group 2M: A skilled professional can work at this lock for two hours and still not get it open within that timeframe.
- Group I: It takes at least 20 hours of work to get through one of these locks without the help of X-ray technology.
- Group IR: These locks meet all the same requirements as the Group I locks, but additionally can ward off X-ray and radiological attacks.
If you are shopping for a home safe, you probably don’t need to worry about X-rays, so one of the lower ratings should be all you need.
Remember, whether you are shopping for a mechanical safe or a digital safe, the lock is only a part of the equation. The best lock in the world will not protect your valuables if the safe doesn’t feature a sturdy build. There are UL ratings for stability as well. For example:
- TL-15: Two UL team members testing the safe were unable to break into it through 15 minutes of work using portable power tools.
- TXTL-60: Two UL team members working together were unable to get into the safe in under an hour with the help of power tools and dynamite.
There are a whole range of ratings for different types of testing and timeframes.
Now you are familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of a combination safe and should have a better idea if it is what you want to purchase. While electronic locks may have more features and may be easier to use, mechanical locks are sturdy, reliable, and have stood the test of time for a reason. For many buyers, they will offer the best security that money can buy. So have another look at our product comparison chart, and good luck picking out the best combination safe for your needs!