In-wall safes are a good option for those who want the security concealed safes offer without the major construction required to install an in-floor model. Yes, there is construction involved when installing an in-wall safe, but it is far less and can often be a DIY project. Plus, many in-wall safes can be removed and even relocated should the need arise.
As with any safe it is important to select one of quality construction and a design which meets your specific storage requirements. If you have never purchased a safe before this can be a challenge, so we have put together some tips to help you.
Unlike in-floor safes, which are protected by the surrounding concrete, in-wall models are very susceptible to fire. It is important to select a model which is fire resistant for at least 20 minutes, the average burn time for a house fire. While it is important to select one with a high overall temperature rating it is also important to consider the insulating capabilities. As you can imagine when fire surrounds your safe the interior temperature will rise considerable and too high a temperature will damage items stored inside even if the fire does not penetrate the safe walls. Items such as jewelry, cash or documents can withstand up to 350 degrees. Electronics, computer drives and photographs have a much lower tolerance of approximately 125 degrees.
Obviously one of the many reasons you purchase a safe is to protect your valuables. The advantage of having an in-wall safe is the ability to conceal it behind a picture, mirror or piece of furniture – thieves cannot take what they cannot find. But some thieves will come prepare with tools, either because they suspect you have a safe or because they have encountered them before. In either case it is important to select a model with a higher TL rating, the rating the Underwriters Laboratories uses to determine the length of time it will take to break into a safe with typical hand tools. For example a rating of TL-15 offers 15 minutes of protection.
There are many different types of locking mechanisms available on today’s safes including dial combination, keypad combination, key operated and even biometric (fingerprint) scanners. Each has advantages, and often disadvantages as well, so it is important to select a model based on your personal needs. For example, those who may need quick access in an emergency may want to select a keypad or biometric system while those who will be accessing the safe frequently may desire a key. Old fashioned dial combinations may seem antiquated but they too have advantages including reliability and the fact that they do not rely on any power source.
So, now that you have some basic information needed to make a better informed decision it is time to start shopping. In the following section we will review a few of the more popular models and see how they compare to each other and the criteria listed above.
PROTEX Fire Resistant Electronic Wall Safe
Protex Safe is a U.S. based company specializing in advanced safes using the latest state-of-the-art technology; offer a wide range of models and designs. This model is no different. The 3/16” solid steel construction provides the basic platform but there is more, much more. The door is reinforced to prevent attempts to force it open. The front frame is flared, so it overlaps the wall opening edges to prevent removal. The lock is operated by way of an easy to use, programmable keypad & sturdy steel knob. The keypad is backlit by LED lighting for use during reduced lighting and there is also a key operated backup should you forget your code. The interior is equipped with two removable shelves, allowing for storage of odd or larger sized items. You will also be pleased to find the interior is lined with a fire-resistant velvet lining. This lining not only protects your valuables from dings and scratches it is also capable of providing up to 30 minutes of fire protection for documents and other valuable. Measuring 28” x 20” x 12” this safe is designed to be installed between the studs, although at 57 lbs it may require additional reinforcement.
- Easy to use programmable keypad.
- Door thickness will provide high level of security.
- Lots of storage, taller and deeper than many similar models.
- Sits flush so it can be concealed, but looks good enough to be visible.
- Interior shelves are nice feature, but not as sturdy as the rest of safe.
- Fire protection not rated for electronics.
AMSEC WFS149E5 UL Wall Safe
This safe offers the latest in security, technology and fire protection. The ½” recessed composite fire door if both pry and drill resistant. The recessed design allows the handle and lock to sit flush with the surrounding wall allowing the safe to be concealed by almost any wall hanging. The door is secured by 1 live ½” locking bolt and dual sliding deadbolts. The extra deep interior provides plenty of room for all your valuables and the drawer shelf allows for easy placement of small items too. The locking mechanism is operated by High Security Electronic lock and push button keypad with illuminating backlight.
The fire rating as verified by Underwriters Laboratory is an impressive 1 hour and guaranteed to keep inside temperatures below 350 degrees. This means that you important documents, files and valuables will be safe no matter how hot things get outside.
- Extreme fire rating including protection against dangerous inside temperatures.
- Easy to use, fast operating electronic lock.
- Sits flush for easy concealment.
- At over 100 lbs this is a very heavy safe, professional installation recommended.
- Not water or moisture resistant, use of dry bags or silica gel cans recommended.
Barska Biometric Wall Gun Safe
The Barska Biometric combines craftsmanship and technology to provide a dependable, concealable and easy to access option for storing your valuables. The solid steel, seamless box construction provides just what you are looking for in a safe- the ability to defeat intruders. The dual motorized locking deadbolts not only lock but do so with dependability. With pre-drilled mounting holes, accessible from only inside the cabinet, means once the safe is in place it is there to stay.
With interior dimensions of only 13.75×3.5”x18.75” is perfect for those looking for a hidden safe place for a wide range of valuable including documents. The between the studs, wall flush design and black powder coated finish means installation is easy and the finished product looks as clean as it is strong. Standard configuration includes two removable shelves, which can rearrange to meet personal preferences.
The biometric lock, operated by self-contained battery power source, offers the latest in operating systems. Simply apply your finger, your print is read and the door is unlocked. Speaking of fingerprints the system memory is able to retain 120 individual prints- you and 11 other individuals can records ALL your personal prints for easy, fast access. Of course there is always the possibility the power will fail or the reader will not be able to recognize a print in which case the supplied secondary key lock means you will never need a lock smith(or blow torch).
- Faster access is almost impossible to find.
- Dual operating systems means you will always have access.
- Size and flush mounting means it is easily concealed behind picture, mirror or small furniture.
- Easy set up especially for electronic system.
- Does not offer fire or waterproof rating.
- Shelves held by only small plastic clips pro to breaking.
Viking Security Safe VS-52BLX Wall Safe
This safe makes protecting your valuables fast, secure and reliable. The body is constructed of 3mm of high grade steel, the door is 5 mm, laser cut and attached by seamless welds. A 20mm solid steel locking bar, 2 insertion slots and an anti-pry steel strip are added for extra protection.
The advanced print reader is a single finger design capable of storing 32 individual prints-enough for you and several family members or co-workers. The adjacent LCD screen and keypad provide up to date status and battery level information as well as a second means of entry. The unit will continue to retain stored prints even if the batteries are removed and the key lock allows access when power is unavailable. If an unauthorized user attempts entry the units will time out after 5 incorrect pins or 10 incorrect prints. There is also a warning beep should the door be left unlocked for more than 1 minute.
- Multiple means of access even if power is lost.
- LCD screen provided current status and power levels.
- Interior light to assist in finding items in the dark.
- Very high recognition rate.