The Best Fireproof Safe

First Alert 2092DF Waterproof 1-Hour Fire Safe with Digital Lock

Our Top Pick for 2016: First Alert 2092DF Waterproof 1-Hour Fire Safe with Digital Lock
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $214.62*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

As technology has advanced, certain items that we used to view as important have become obsolete. This is not the case with a safe. In fact, because of the prevalence of theft in our society, having a good safe is more important now than it ever has been. Modern safes have been designed not only to protect against theft, but also to protect against fire and water damage. Many have been equipped with features that make them the best choice for protecting digital storage items as well as digital appliances. Some are opened manually and others open using an electronic keypad.

What we have done in our review of safes is look at some of the different safes that are designed for residential or office use and examine their features. We have broke these down into gold, silver, and bronze categories. If you find that the top three picks are too expensive for your budget, feel free to look at our budget option, which is reviewed at the end.

Table of contents

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Works With Included Key Or Your Own Customized Digital Code
1.3 Cubic Foot Capacity
Includes Tray And Shelf
Tamper-proof Hinges
Durable Construction
UL Classified Fire Protection (1 Hour At 1700 Degrees F)
Easy To Operate And Program
Backlit Digital Keypad
Verified To Pass A 15′ Drop Test
Total Wall Rated At 1700 Degrees F. At 30 Minutes
Emergency Override Key
Verified Water Resistance Up To 8″ For 24 Hours
Full 10 Year Warranty
UL Classified 1 Hour Resistance To Fires Up To 1700 Degrees
60% Bigger Bolts Than Traditional Safes

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): First Alert 2092DF Waterproof 1-Hour Fire Safe with Digital Lock

First Alert 2092DF Waterproof 1-Hour Fire Safe with Digital Lock Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $214.62*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerWe have selected the First Alert 2092DF Waterproof safe as our gold product because this is a safe that has proven again and again to stand the test of time. You can have the confidence when using this safe that your valuables, important documents, and other keepsakes will be secure from intruders and will be secure from the threats of fire and water.

The safe is mid range in size, with its dimensions being 19.6 x 17.5 x 18 inches. It has the capacity to hold 1.3 ft.³ of materials.

The first feature we looked at was its ability to protect against fire. The safe is UL classified and is designed to protect your valuables from a fire that has an average temperature of 1,700 degrees for at least one hour. This temperature is a lot hotter and the protection time is a lot longer than what most home or office fires generate. This means that you can have the confidence that your materials are protected, regardless of the pressures put on this safe.

The second thing we looked at is waterproofing. The safe has a waterproof seal that guarantees to keep your documents dry, even if the safe is immersed in water.

The safe comes equipped with override keys that are hidden in the interior of the safe, but can be accessed during an emergency if you forget the access code.

The entire safe is designed to protect your documents and your valuables against the most common threats they will face. One nice feature of the safe is that it has four locking steel bolts. These secure against forced entry. The hinges of the door are concealed, which makes it even harder for a criminal to open your safe by trying to pry it open.

The First Alert safe can easily store any valuables or documents that you need. It is versatile since it has detachable shelves and a key rack. You can arrange the contents in the safe anyway you want to keep them neat and organized, while at the same time allowing you to have the quick access you want to easily remove the things you are storing.

Because the interior is large, you can put small or medium-sized valuable items in the safe and not worry that you need to squeeze them together or pile them together in an disorganized way. Even electronic media such as USB drives, hard drives, electronic devices, and CDs are protected from damage when they are stored in the safe. So basically the safe provides you with the option to store anything of value that you are worried about.

A nice thing about the safe is that it is very easy for you to operate. It is super easy to program and gives you the versatility of being able to program three different eight numerical codes. For added security, you have the ability to change the security codes whenever you want. So if you think that some nefarious individuals have gotten a hold of the combination to your safe, simply change the combination and your valuable items are safe once again.

If you completely forget the codes for your safe or if you lose the keys to your safe, the supplier can assist you with getting new keys and resetting passwords.

If you are worried about where to put the safe, you can have the confidence of knowing that it can be installed in any standard wall, be it in your residence or in your office. The product comes with instruction manuals that you can use for this purpose. This makes it so much easier to hide the safe if you are worried about someone possibly stealing your valuables.

The safe itself is made from a combination of plastic and steel. When you see it, you may be surprised that the external covering is plastic, but this is just a façade. The actual body of the safe is steel. It’s heavy, weighing 93 pounds. So this is not something that just anyone is going to be able to lift and carry away. This thing is solid.

Reviewers on Amazon like this product. More than 50 percent of those who reviewed it gave it a five out of five star rating. Some reviewers did find the initial programming of the safe to be a challenge, but after reviewing the instructions, they were able to program the safe and store away their valuables. Multiple reviewers commented on how heavy and how solid the design of the safe is.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Paragon 7800 Electronic Digital Lock and Fire Proof Safe

Paragon 7800 Electronic Digital Lock and Fire Proof Safe

View it on Amazon for $139.39*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerOur silver product is the Paragon. It is a fireproof safe that includes a digital lock. When selecting this as our silver product, we looked at some of the features that it has and compared it with the needs that many homeowners and business owners have.

One feature that we liked about this safe is that it was UL classified to offer fire protection for 30 minutes. It can withstand temperatures from between 1400–1700°. This is more than enough to protect your documents in the case of a house fire or an office fire. In most occasions, home fires or office fires, even if they create a total loss, do not burn in one spot for hours at a time. And they definitely do not burn at this hot of a temperature consistently. This gives you the added confidence of knowing that whatever documents or valuables you put in the safe will stay safe.

The Paragon is designed be installed in your home or office. You can open it manually with a key, or like the majority of users do, you can open the digital safe using the keypad and the code that you programmed.

A nice security feature for this safe is that its hinges are hidden. This means their tamper-proof. This is just another feature making it harder for the bad guys to get the things that you want to protect. Because of its size and its design, the Paragon works just as well in a residential setting as it does in a commercial or office setting.

In all of our reviews, we talk about the importance of a manufacturer warranty. The Paragon 7800 has a 10 year full warranty. This is a strong vote of confidence on the part of the manufacturer about the quality of the product they are producing.

Some safes are very secure. In fact, they are so secure that even the owner has no idea how to open them. This is usually because of complicated programming instructions or insufficient instructions. This is not a problem with the Paragon 7800. It comes with clear instructions, and its simple design makes it easy to operate and to program.

The safe itself is sturdy. It weighs 74 pounds, and it is 14.8” x 16” x 19”. This means that the safe is heavy enough to prevent someone from just lifting it and carrying it away, and it is large enough to allow you to store small to medium-sized valuables.

The safe comes with predrilled holes inside the safe that you can use to anchor the safe to the floor. It is designed with double walls that have fire resistant insulation. It has an external layer of steel that is 2 mm on the body and 5 mm at the door. The solid steel construction makes it that much harder for thieves to break into the safe using mechanical tool attacks.

In the interior of the safe, you will see a removable shelf that allows you to customize how you will store the items you are protecting. The programmable electronic lock allows you to create codes from between the 3 to 8 numbers. If you are concerned about your safe code falling into the hands of unscrupulous individuals, you can change the code as many times as you would like.

On the bottom of the safe, you’ll see a gray carpet with padding. This is a nice added touch which allows you to store more delicate valuable items without worrying about the safe damaging them.

The product received many positive reviews on Amazon.com. Almost 50 percent of reviewers gave the product a perfect five out of five stars. Many commented on how they liked the large interior space which gave them the opportunity to store larger objects. Some reviewers did express concerns about the keypad not functioning after a couple years of use, but overall the majority of users of this product were happy with it.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): SentrySafe SFW123CU Combination Fire Safe

SentrySafe SFW123CU Combination Fire Safe

View it on Amazon for $172.78*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardWe have chosen the SentrySafe as our bronze product because of the many features it offers. It has been designed in a way that will protect valuable items, including digital media and documents, from theft, fire, water damage, and the unexpected. It offers outstanding design features that ensure whatever is kept inside will be safe.

One of its best safety features is its big bolts. It is a combination safe that has bolts that are larger than most bolts used in traditional safes. There are four 1 inch bolts. It has a pry resistant hinge bar, which means your valuables will be kept safe from thieves. Even if the safe is dropped, this model has been ETL verified in order to ensure that all of the contents are safe and the safe remains locked at a 15′ drop. This means it is almost impossible for a thief to get at the contents inside of it.

It offers advanced fire protection, which will keep your valuables safe at up to 1700°F. It is ETL verified in order to protect CDs, DVDs, USB drives, memory sticks, and other digital media for up to an hour. It offers advanced UL classified fire protection, which means your valuables will stay safe for up to an hour if the fire reaches 1700°F.

And, of course, your valuables will be safe if there is a flood from a natural disaster or because of damaged pipes or a water leak in your home. It has been ETL verified to resist up to 8′ of water for 24 hours.

This safe is definitely a force to be reckoned with. It is 102 pounds. The dimensions are 11.9 x 12.6 x 13.9 inches. It has a tray and shelf in order to keep all your personal items organized.

In addition to all of these unique features, this combination fire safe is well regarded by Amazon reviewers. They have given this safe a 4.1 out of five star rating. More than a 50 customers have reviewed the item and about 46 percent of them gave it a five star rating.

One Amazon reviewer really put this safe to the test. After more than 15,000 homes, including his, were burned down by a wildfire, he was worried that he would return to a safe that was filled with ashes, like many of his neighbors did. However, this safe protected all of his personal belongings, including wedding rings, documents, cash, and gold coins. He felt that the safe was an amazing purchase. The only thing he mentioned was that working with the company was a little bit complicated. They thought their safe would be replaced if it went through a fire, but they had to purchase another one.

Some individuals who reviewed the product had a little bit of difficulty finding the combination that came with the safe. Some reviewers felt they were fortunate that when the safe arrived, it was open. This allowed them to get in the safe and then set a combination.

Our bronze pick will definitely do a good job in protecting documents, cash, and other valuables in case of a fire, flood, or other disasters. And the huge bolts and unique pry resistant hinge bar will keep it safe from thieves.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): SentrySafe 1200BLK Fire Chest

SentrySafe 1200BLK Fire Chest

View it on Amazon for $27.41*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickThe SentrySafe fire chest is a great budget option for individuals who would like to protect valuable items in case of fire. It offers outstanding protection for a fraction of the cost of safes that are currently on the market. It is a great way to protect cash, documents, digital media, and a variety of other things in case of a fire without having to fork over hundreds of dollars. The low price that you will pay for this fire chest will definitely be worth it when all of your valuable items are kept safe through a fire.

This fire chest offers a variety of features that will ensure that anything kept inside of it will be fire safe. It has been UL classified in order to protect its contents for at least half an hour. It has also been ETL verified in order to protect digital media for at least half an hour. It is on the smaller side, only weighing 12.5 pounds, which means that it can easily be carried in case of an emergency or transported one from one place to another. Its small size also means that it is easy to store. Its dimensions are 11.2 x 14.3 x 6.1 inches. This will allow you to slide it under the bed, store it in your closet, or put it in some other place that is out of the way.

The SentrySafe fire chest is black and is constructed of steel. Standard size paper documents can easily fit inside this fire chest if they are folded in half. It is not waterproof, but it offers sure fire protection. Individuals who are concerned about water protection and mold can easily put their valuable items and documents inside a plastic bag and then store them in the fire chest. The inside dimensions are 11.25″ X 7″ X 3.375″.

Most reviewers on Amazon say that this is a great fire resistant storage box. For many people, it is a great way to store cash, jewelry, documents, pictures, and digital media. It does not fit a ton of things inside, but it will keep your most important valuables safe.

Many people noted on Amazon that individuals who are interested in purchasing this item should remember that it is a fire resistant storage box. It is not a safe. This means that all of the items will be kept safe in case of fire, but it is not something that will be protected from theft. A person could very easily pick it up and leave your home with all of your valuables inside.

One reviewer mentioned that this safe was put to the test after her home caught on fire and reached 700°. The box was exposed to this temperature for about 15 minutes, and she is happy to attest to the fact that it is definitely a fire resistant box that kept her valuables safe through this unfortunate disaster.

This fire chest has been rated 4.6 out of five stars on Amazon. We are sure that it is a great budget option for individuals who would like to protect their valuables in case of fire, but who are not ready to fork over hundreds of dollars for a large safe.


Pre-purchase considerations

Safe Size

As you have seen in our reviews, safes come in different shapes and sizes. A cheap, lightweight safe is not going to provide a lot of protection against theft. To really protect against theft, you want a safe that is so heavy a person cannot just easily lift it up and carry it away. A good solid safe may have a size that is comparable to a microwave or in some cases a small refrigerator. Some of the more popular safes on the market weigh between 85 to 100 pounds. They are roughly 17 inches on all sides. However, if you are really concerned about someone carrying away your safe, you can purchase a safe for your home or office that weighs in excess of 300 pounds. Regardless of the size of the safe you purchase, it is a good idea for it to be bolted to the floor. This makes moving the safe, regardless of its weight, that much harder.

Protection

Your safe should protect your valuables from whatever could damage them. This obviously includes theft, but it should also include water and fire. It is never a good idea to simply assume that the safe you are purchasing protects against fire and water. It should explicitly say so on the packaging. The best fireproof safes have been tested by Underwriter Laboratories Inc. These safes will have the the UL seal of approval on them. Safes are designed to protect against a certain temperature of fire for a certain period of time. If you live in an area where there are wildfires, then you might want a UL 2 hour fireproof safe. This means that the safe could endure being in an intense fire for up to two hours. If you are worried about a home fire, then a UL one hour safe should be more than sufficient.

When it comes to water protection, the safe should clearly say how long it can stand up to being submerged in the water or sprayed by water. You will also want to see how long the safe is able to stand up to attempted break-ins by locksmiths who have manual tools such as torches, crowbars, and drills.

Locks

Your options include getting a safe with a dial combination. The downside with these safes is that they usually come with a code that is ready set. A locksmith can change the code upon request, but this means sharing sensitive information with a virtual stranger. Electronic push button safes, which are equally as secure as a dial combination safe, gives you the flexibility of setting your own code. The downside is that if you forget your code, you may need to contact the manufacturer and go through a notarization process in order to request a reset for the code.

Location

The safe’s location will largely depend on the design of your home. Some individuals opt to keep their safe in the master bedroom, but the downside is that this is usually the first place that a burglar is going to look when searching for valuables. From a fire safety standpoint, keeping your safe in the basement may be a good idea since usually in a basement there is less to burn, and most fires do not start in the basement. On the downside, during a flood, a basement is vulnerable.

Storage Capacity

Regardless of if you are storing documents, your gun collection, or jewelry, you want to know that the safe you’re using has the space you need. You do not want your valuable items to be jammed up together or to get damage as they are being stored. A rule of thumb when buying a safe, is get one with more storage capacity than you think you need.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Searching for the right safe can be a difficult task. Our goal in creating this guide was to provide you with a clear and honest review that gives you a basis for making your decision. No doubt, you have seen that there is more to a safe than what most people think. They are not just metal boxes where you keep things. A good safe protects your valuables from fire, water, and burglary. It will provide sufficient stores space for you to keep your valuables. It will be easy to access. It will have the ability to be secured to the floor, and it will work well in either a residential or office environment.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Associated Press, Things to Consider When Buying a Home Safe, NBCnews.com, March 11, 2009
  2. Consumer Reports Money Advisor, Choosing and Using a Home Safe, ConsumerReports.org, January 2011
  3. Canon Safe Blog, Top 10 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Safe, Canonsafe.com, February 12, 2015
  4. The Safest Sleuth, First Alert 2092DF Fire Safety Review, TheSafeSleuth.com
  5. Jerry Wilfred, Paragon | 7800 Electronic Safe, TossTheKey.com, February 15, 2016
  6. SentrySafe, Extra Large Combination Fire Safe

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