Fireproof Safes Info

Accidents happen in a way that we can’t predict and they also happen instantly. But, there are several things we can do to at least prevent these – like being careful with hazardous materials that will cause such accidents and not letting them become a disaster.

One particular event that could happen quickly is the spread of house fire. Most of the time, when it starts spreading, it would be hard to control and it can’t be extinguished easily. Then, think of all the essential documents, such as birth certificate, as well as precious metals and family photos, which could get burnt and lost because of fire damage. If you want to be sure about your important belongings, we think it’s better to keep them in a safe. Now, we’re lucky that people have invented fire resistant safes made especially to endure high heat and keep the most valuable things we put in there in the event of a fire. Safety deposit box at the bank where you keep your valuables under lock and key is the thing of the past.

portable fireproof safe

Before you invest in these fireproof safes though, I’m sure you have some questions running around your mind and we’re here to answer those. To give you clarity and enlightenment on why buying a fire safe would be worth it. Let’s go and start knowing more about them!

Are fireproof safes really fireproof?

This might be the first question bugging your mind before you’re going out and buying that fireproof safe. I know you’re ensuring if they really work the job of protecting your valuables from fire and how they differ from the regular safes you already know. But, here’s what we know about a fire resistant safe.

best fireproof safe

Fire safes are tested for their fire resistance and they only last long for a specific amount of time depending on their rate (UL, UL1, UL2, UL4). Unlike waterproof cases, fire safes cannot protect the materials inside them indefinitely, there are fumes and heat that weaken their structure. Still, fire safes are proven to withstand fire for more than 30 minutes but not longer than 4 hours. To sum it up, fire safes are effective.

Additionally, when we compare fire safes to regular ones, there really is a great difference which makes it do its job. For the fire safes, there’s an extra layer of insulation provided between the sheets of steel. The door has a wider area of insulation which also protects the lock. There is also this thing called an intumescent seal around the door in good quality safes, this seal inflates when exposed to too much heat.

fireproof safe test

On an important note, do not let the term fireproof mislead you. The fire safes that exist today are only fire resistant for a specific amount of time.

What are the fireproof ratings for fire safes?

So, you must be wondering what fireproof ratings mean, these are actually the common fire ratings. A rating of UL can withstand 1550 °F for at least 30 minutes, UL1 for an hour, and given that the temperature is at 1700 °F. The third rating is UL2 which is fire-resistant for 2 hours with a temperature of 1850 °F. Lastly, with a rating of UL4, this fire resistant safe can guarantee protection to your valuable things for the utmost 4 hours and with a temperature of 2000 °F.

fireproof safe fire endurance test

What type of Fire Rating is best?

This is certainly one of the most important things you should consider before buying a fire safe. Those rated with UL (Underwriters Laboratory) Class of Fire Protection are highly recommended, or the ones that are US certified. The best fireproof safe box you could get is the one with the highest UL rating, like for example, and from the ones stated above, the UL4 would be best which can last long up to 4 hours at a temperature of 2000 °F.

Now, if you’ve found the most affordable and perfect safe for you, it’s important to check as well the intumescent seal we mentioned earlier. This seal has to be included in your safe to have the best fire rating, it seals out any moisture trying to enter your safe and during the fire, the seal will expand to seal out fire and smoke and keep any water from entering the safe once the fire is being extinguished.

fire resistant safe

Remember, you must be aware of the fire safe that you’re buying, because a lot of them that say they are “fireproof” are sometimes not, specifically when we’re talking about the cheaper ones. They could lure you into thinking that they are indeed fire-resistant but lack the intumescent seal that is very vital. To help you as well with what to buy, we’ve provided you with a list of top recommended fire safes.

What are the top recommended fire safes?

In January 2020, Nick Guy, a journalist, researched every fireproof safe from three main manufacturers and then tested quite a few safes. He burned them with a controlled fire along with the supervision of professional firefighters.

Here’s the list from Guy’s research:

●     Honeywell 1104

Honeywell 1104 fireproof safe

According to him, this is the best safe you can get, it’s what is rated the highest to last long against fire at a great temperature, which means this has the greatest potential to keep your valuables safe.

UL, the safety organization verified that this safe can keep things secure for an hour considering the condition of the fire is as high as 1700 °F. This safe doesn’t also just is fire-resistant but can also keep spray and flood water out for at least a day.

With a price ranging from $90-$103, it has a dimension of 17.2 inches (length) by 20 inches (width) by 7.3 inches (height). It is actually so large that it is enough to hold letters and legal-sized paper and not fold them. Also, it weighs 56 pounds since the additional protection of the Honeywell 1104 is larger and heavier.

●     Honeywell 1108

Honeywell 1108 fireproof and waterproof security chest

With the same UL rating as the previous one, Honeywell 1104, this model of fire safe from Honeywell is a larger version. What makes this different is its weight, capacity to hold papers, and price.

Due to its heaviness which weighs 80 pounds, it is designed to hold both letter and legal-size hanging file folders, which is really helpful if you need to secure tons of paper or just simply want them to be organized. The measurements are 16.9 inches (length) by 20.1 inches (width) by 13.4 inches (height) and has a price that starts at a booming $160.

●     First Alert 2037F

document fireproof safe

If you think that Honeywell 1108’s capacity for holding hanging folders is good but you need a cheaper one that still does its job, this one is for you.

This only costs from $62 to $85 and weighs only 39 pounds, but the UL fire rating for this one is for only half an hour with the temperature only reaching 1,550 °F. But, if you’re looking on saving some money and looking for something smaller, this safe has the dimensions of 13.25 inches (length) by 16.25 inches (width) by 13 inches (height). Still, it does its job perfectly and you can store more papers in it.

●     First Alert 2602DF

solid construction small fireproof safe

Running second from the list is First Alert 2602DF, a little bit smaller and costs lesser. If you’re looking for something that starts at $85 and occupies a smaller floor space, this one is perfect for you.

It’s rating from UL states that it withstands fire at 1,550 °F for half an hour but considering its smaller dimensions at 12.75 inches (length) by 16.1 inches (width) by 8.5 inches (height) and weight of 27 pounds, it’s already a great investment for something this affordable.

Is a fireproof safe worth it?

This is probably the biggest question in your mind right now. But, if you’re already planning on buying a regular safe, why not upgrade it to a fireproof one? Since it has the additional level of protection and it does its purpose of securing and making sure your valuables are in good condition.

A fireproof safe built with the best quality will surely protect your valuables in case of fire, and here’s an important note, you’ll only purchase this once and its cost is practically lower than the value of all the things you keep inside. Fireproof safes are worth investing in especially if you live in areas susceptible to fire.

is fireproof safe worth it

If you’re one of the people who have documents that they need close at hand most of the time but need to be protected from damage over time such as birth certificates, passports, wills, deeds, and many more, fireproof safes are the best for these documents. These safes are designed to protect your documents from fire, theft, and water. The locks are also amazing and safe for our modern times.

What is the minimum fire rating to protect paper and money?

Before getting into the fire rating or fire test of the safe you need to protect your papers and money, let us first know at what temperatures these things actually burn. Did you know that paper deteriorates at a temperature of 424-475 °F (218-246 °C)?

fireproof safe box for paper and money

So, the recommended and minimum fire rating to make sure your papers and money are protected stands at UL1, a safe that is rated to withstand high heat of 1700 °F for about an hour. This type of safe can also protect electronics given the same amount of time.

A safe with a fire rating of less than an hour cannot provide adequate protection for your belongings once the fire starts. And there are a few good safes with a UL1 rating like from the list above.

What do I need to do before buying a fire safe?

Now that we have answered a few questions regarding the fire safes, their effectiveness, ratings, and many more, let us proceed with what you, as a consumer, should actually take note of before making that purchase.

●     Know what to store

First, know what you are going to store in the safe. If you need it for storing documents, then you need a fireproof document safe. If you want to sure your guns, then look for gun safes. All fireproof safes work well for storing documents like paper and also some money but if you’re someone who’s going to store CDs, DVDs, or hard drives in the safe, you might actually have to look more at specialized types of fire safes.

●     Consider the fire ratings

Second, start looking for fire ratings for the fire safes you are considering buying. Again, this part of buying a safe must not be overlooked since this tells the effectiveness of the safe. And it is really important to understand the fire ratings and what are the items recommended to be put inside.

●     Where to put your safe

Third, you should also consider the area where you are putting your safe. It is best to check if the floor is durable enough to hold such heavy material – because fire safes can get really heavy, especially when protected with many fire resistant layers. Make sure the floor won’t collapse under the weight of the safe.

●     Determine price range

Lastly, determine your price range. We know that these fire safes can get expensive but we think it is better that you don’t limit yourself to the cheap ones. Although they are expensive, it’s just a one-time purchase and it’s more worth it than buying the cheaper ones and potentially losing your important documents in the event of a fire.

Can fire safes also be used for burglary attacks?

If you think of hitting two birds with one stone, this, unfortunately, does not work for fire safes that cost cheaper than usual. These fire rated safes, with no question, can protect cash and important documents from heat and smoke damage, however, fire resistant safes typically use very thin steel (14-18 gauge) for their body construction, which is perfect for fire safes. But steel this thin allows the safe to be easily punctured, cut, or sawed with common hand tools, which concludes that it is easy to defeat from a burglar’s point of view.

locking mechanism burglary fireproof safes

So, it is totally not recommended to store big amounts of cash, heirlooms, or pieces of jewelry in just some cheap fire rated safe. Unless you choose the better choice which is rated UL1 or UL2 with also an RSC rating for burglary safe. These safes are designed to guarantee to protect your valuables from a disastrous fire and unexpected burglars.

What are the types of locks for a fire safe?

fire resistance safe locking mechanism

From the burglary context and with the different locking devices there are, I’m sure you’re wondering what could secure and lock your safe in the best way. Maybe you’re thinking if an electronic locking mechanism is better than a mechanical locking mechanism or perhaps vice versa. These two locks are UL rated and provide an excellent level of protection but here’s how they differ.

Traditional locks or mechanical ones are verified to be hard for burglars to break-in. But to make it more difficult for the burglar or make it more secure, you should consider having at least two redundant locks so that it takes more time to break in. And you should not forget regularly check its quality by having it serviced at regular intervals.

If you’re going for electronic locks or digital locks, they’re also good. But what you must also keep in mind is it should be EMP or electromagnetic pulse resistant. An EMP is an intense burst of energy that can just explode your safe.

Also, these locks are powered by batteries, so it is also important to know when to change your batteries. One advantage of electronic lock type is that you can register as many people as required to access the safe, which can be easily changed, too.

Conclusion

Due to fire’s nature of unpredictability and swiftness, we must be always ready for the worst-case scenario. But regardless of its said nature, there are still ways we can prevent this accident or disaster from happening – by taking the preventive measures we know and are provided for.

Although let us not take off from our minds what the worst-case scenario can be, the fire spreading so much, and everything important to you is left in ashes. Mainly, this is the reason why getting a fire safe would be worth it. There, you would be able to keep your valuables in one safe place.

 Well, it is not mandatory to have a fire safe in your house since it can get expensive, but it is highly recommended, especially for areas and houses made of materials more susceptible to fire. Still, the final decision is from you and we hope we have answered enough questions for you.