According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are more than 350,000 fires a year. Property damage typically totals more than $6 billion per year. With numbers like that, it is no wonder fireproof safes are among the top sellers to homes and businesses. Fireproof safes protect your important documents, cash, heirlooms and more when disaster strikes. The protection they provide is both monetary and sentimental. But how do you choose the right fireproof safe for your needs?
Below, you can see a chart which compares the best fireproof safes currently available on the market. We did extensive research to put this chart together. All of these products are popular and highly rated by purchasers. We took a look at customer reviews as well as the features and options available, and are confident recommending all of them.
|SentrySafe Fireproof Combination Safe||1 Hour||$$$|
|LockState Digital Fireproof Safe||1 Hour||$$$$|
|SentrySafe Combination Fire-Safe||1 Hour||$$$$|
|First Alert Fire Safe with Digital Lock||1 Hour||$$$$|
|First Alert Fire Safe with Combination Lock||1 Hour||$$$|
|Paragon Digital Lock Fire Proof Safe||30 Minutes||$$$|
|SentrySafe Water-Resistant Combination Safe||1 Hour||$$$$$|
|Amsec Fire Combination Safe||1 Hour||$$$$$|
- Know what you need to store
- Understand UL ratings
- Look for “UL” listed, not “UL tested”
- Understand your protection timeframe
We will go into each of these in detail in just a moment so you know exactly what you are looking for. But first, we want to talk briefly about the products we recommend.
While any of these fireproof safes would make a great purchase, it is vital that you buy the right safe for your specific needs. So let’s start talking about what you need to know to purchase the best fireproof safe, beginning with what you need to keep inside.
1. Know what you need to store
Before you even go out looking for a safe, it is vital you know what you want to use it for. The most important question to ask yourself is whether you are planning on storing paper documents, media, or both. If you are planning on storing media (data on a disc, USB drive, external hard drive, or so on), you need a fireproof media safe with the appropriate UL rating. If you try to store media in a fireproof safe rated only for paper, the data will be destroyed.
2. Understand UL ratings
Safes are given ratings by Underwriters Laboratories, typically abbreviated “UL.” UL ratings are your key to figuring out whether a safe is right for your needs. Ratings are expressed with a number, like UL 125 or UL 72 or UL 350. Paper safes typically are rated UL 350. This rating means the temperature inside the safe will not exceed 350 degrees for the timeframe given (more on that shortly). This temperature prevents paper from charring, but it will not protect data. For that you need UL 125 or UL 72. This will keep the temperature at 125 degree or 72 degrees respectively. This ensures that the technology will not melt.
3. Look for “UL listed,” not “ UL tested.”
Pay close attention to the advertising language you see. Let the buyer beware of products that say “UL tested,” or “tested to UL standards.” This simply means the product was submitted for testing, not that it passed the test. You want to purchase a product that says “UL listed.” These products are the best fireproof safes. You never can be sure what you are getting with the rest.
4. Understand your protection timeframe
No safe is truly fireproof. Technically these safes are only fire resistant. And given enough time, their internal temperatures will eventually rise beyond the UL rating. Most safes are tested to perform for an hour in 1700 degree temperatures. As the average fire burns at about 800 degrees for 20 minutes before being extinguished, this rating is sufficient for most buyers. You may also purchase 2 or 3 hour safes. While the average buyer does not need to do this, you might if you live out in a rural area and know you may be waiting for the fire trucks to arrive.
That covers what you need to know about fireproof ratings, and should be enough to help you select the right safe for fire protection. Don’t neglect to check out the other features included with the safes you are considering however. When you are shopping for a fireproof safe, think of the following:
- Locks, impact ratings, and other security features
- Water resistance
- Weight, dimensions, and materials
- Warranty on your purchase
Be sure to read through customer reviews as well to find out what real-life buyers just like you think about the safes you are thinking of purchasing. That way you can avoid potential pitfalls and find a safe that is perfect for your needs. Not sure where to start? Scroll up again and take a closer look at our comparison chart and our fireproof safe reviews. We’ve done all the hard work of comparing the top fireproof safes so you don’t have to!
Reviews of the Best Fireproof Safe
SentrySafe SFW123DSB Combination Fire Safe
This fire safe is UL classified to protect your possessions from fire for up to an hour at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also protect your data; it is ETL verified to keep USB drives, DVDs, and other multimedia safe for up to an hour. Additionally, this safe provides you with water resistance in up to 8 inches for as long as 24 hours. Sturdy design features include four large 1-inch bolts and solid steel construction. The lock takes a combination and a key. Inside, you will find an adjustable shelf and a tray, key rack and pocket on the door for your small loose items.
First Alert 2092DF Waterproof 1-Hour Fire Safe
This safe features a 1.3-cubic-foot capacity, and can be purchased with or without a carrying handle for added portability. Inside you will find a shelf which you can adjust or remove as needed. It is UL classified to provide up to an hour of fire resistance in temperatures up to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, it provides your possessions with protection from flood conditions. The lock is a digital keypad. An emergency override key is included, and your purchase is backed by a 5-year limited warranty. There is also a lifetime replacement policy if your safe is damaged in a fire.
First Alert 2087F Waterproof 1-Hour Fire Safe
This fireproof safe is a combination lock alternative to the First Alert 2092DF which we also recommend. Design features include durable steel construction, concealed hinges which are resistant to prying, and a removable shelf that you can adjust as you need it. The safe has been UL classified to provide up to an hour of fire resistance, maintaining an internal temperature of under 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The safe also protects your possessions from water if your sprinklers are triggered. The combination lock comes with an emergency override key. The safe is quite large and heavy, but easy to install. While the security features are good, buyers emphasize that the main reasons to purchase this safe are fire and water protection.