Gun safes are used to protect your firearms from theft, and to keep them out of the wrong hands. But how can you ensure you buy the best gun safe, one with a high security rating and a model that can provide the type of protection you need? Gun safes are available in a variety of styles, makes and models, which can make choosing the right model for you based on the type of firearms you have and the number guns you own, a real challenge. But if you know what to look for in terms of the gauge of steel the safe’s made out of, door design, lock options, and even weld quality, then finding the perfect model, one that works for you and your budget, will be a cinch.
I’ve created an in-depth buyer’s guide that will discuss all of the important features you need to look for in your next gun safe, what makes a safe secure, and the features that indicate quality and security. I’ve also included product recommendations for safes that earned a high user rating, so you can get a closer look at which models are currently crushing the market and why. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that lists each of the products in my must-have list, in addition to important information regarding what features they have to offer and how they rated.
Gun Safe Comparison Chart
|Product||Lock Style||Thickness||Gun/Rifle Capacity||Rating|
|Steelwater Gun Safe|
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|Golval Rifle Safe|
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|Steelwater Gun Safe|
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|Kodiak Gun Safe|
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|Jolitac Smart Gun Safe|
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|Moutec Rifle Safe|
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Steelwater Gun Safes Standard Duty AMEGS592818 Gun Safe
This model is one of Steelwater’s best sellers for a number of reasons. It comes with an upgraded one-hour fireproof rating, locking bolts that measure in at one and a half inches, interior LED lighting, and EMP proof electronic lock system, complete with a double bypass key. The key will ensure you are still able to enter your safe, in the event you forget to change the battery or can’t remember the combination. In terms of capacity, this model can hold up to twenty long guns. The safe itself weighs in at three hundred and seventy-three pounds and features adjustable shelves and a carpeted interior.
- Heat-activated expandable door seal
- Interior LED lighting
- Electronic lock
- Master key
- Shelves can be difficult to adjust
Built tough, this model is made out of fourteen gauge steel and features a door that’s five inches thick and made with two layers of fireboard. It also comes with a one-hour fireproof rating, which is the standard for most models in this price range. The included organizer and LED lighting is a huge plus for the buyer who wants to keep all of their guns, accessories, and valuables well-organized.
Golval RF4236 Large Quick Access Biometric Rifle Safe
This safe features advanced biometric fingerprint technology and is able to store up to one hundred fingerprints. It also comes complete with a five-point deadbolt system, mounting holes that you can use to anchor the safe to the floor or wall, and two back up keys. The mounting hardware is included, as is the four AA batteries and one accessory shelf that’s adjustable. This model is fairly small and can only store up to eight rifles, so it’s not recommended for the serious collector or anyone who plans on expanding their rifle collection in the future.
- Five-point deadbolt
- Adjustable shelf
- Lock can store up to one hundred fingerprints
- Can be mounted to the wall or floor
- Can only hold up to eight rifles
This model will be perfect for the moderate collector in need of a durable safe that can store several fingerprints, allowing users to easily access the safe, no combination needed. The safe does have a low capacity, which is why I don’t recommend it for a serious collector who plans on continuing to add to their collection.
Steelwater Heavy Duty AMLD593024-EMP Gun Safe
This is another popular model by Steelwater that landed on my list, and it’s earned quite the reputation for its durable design, innovative features, and better than average capacity, and all for a price that’s affordable.
This model comes equipped with an E.M.P. proof digital keypad and a double-bitted bypass key. The interior features automatic LED lighting, which will make it easier for the user to quickly access the gun or rifle they’re looking for. The safe is designed to handle sixty minutes of fire exposure, which is common with higher-priced models. Also included are two USB ports, and an upgraded steel locking bolt system. This model is made out of twelve gauge steel, which further adds to the safe’s durability. The included twenty solid steel locking bolts are designed to last twenty-five percent longer and feature a more durable design compared to bolt systems produced by Steelwater in the past.
- LED interior lighting
- Two USB ports
- Twelve gauge steel
- M.P. proof digital keypad
- Interior lighting does not consistently turn on whenever the door is opened
The twelve-gauge steel construction and twenty-two gun capacity makes this model a great choice for the serious collector. The upgraded bolting system and door that measures in at a little over five inches thick shows me that this is a manufacturer that goes above and beyond to design a safe that does exactly what it’s meant to and that’s keep your guns, rifles, and valuables, well-protected from would-be thieves.
Kodiak KB19ECX Gun Safe by Rhino Metals
This safe can hold up to four handguns and thirty long guns. The included door organizer will allow you to keep all of your accessories in their place, making them easily accessible. The safe weighs in at three hundred and fifty pounds and has a thirty-minute fire rating at fourteen hundred degrees. This is a lower than average rating. Competing models will typically have a rating of one hour. This can be a big drawback for some potential buyers. Yet it does come with an expandable seal around the door, which will activate in a fire and seal up around the door in order to protect your guns and valuables from water and smoke damage. The two-millimeter thick steel composite door is also thinner than what you’ll find on competing models.
- Heat-activated door seal
- Adjustable shelves
- Electronic keypad
- Low heat rating
- Thin door
This model is a great buy for the gun owner on a budget in need of a model with a high storage capacity, solid construction, and electronic keypad. The short fire protection rating is going to be a drawback for some buyers, however, the expandable heat-activated seal is definitely a plus and one that can help to protect your valuables and gun collection from damage in the event of a fire. Well-built, heavy, and durable, this is one safe the gun owner on a budget doesn’t want to pass up.
Jolitac Smart Quick Gun Safe
This is a biometric fingerprint access safe, which allows you to store up to thirty-two fingerprints. Accessing a safe using this method is fast and easy, and you won’t have to worry about forgetting the combination. The safe is made out of durable carbon steel and features anti-rust insulation coating that prevents corrosion and scratches. The motorized deadbolt locking system is designed to resist assaults from power or hand tools. The recessed door makes it essentially pry-proof and comes with a dual alarm system. If a user is not able to enter the safe after five attempts, or the sensors detect violent vibration, an alarm will activate.
- Stores up to thirty-two fingerprints
- Recessed door
- Motorized deadbolt locking system
- Dual alarm
- Low storage capacity
This model comes with a couple of emergency keys, a foam-padded interior, anchor bolts that allow you to securely anchor this model onto a wall or the floor, and a top of the line biometric fingerprint system that allows you to easily access your safe, without the hassle that comes with a dial lock system. This model is a great buy for the beginner gun collector and those who need a safe they can use to store their valuables.
Moutec Large Electronic Rifle Safe
This is a large deep rife safe that can hold up to five rifles and some accessories. The safe is pry-proof and tamper-resistant and comes with an electronic keypad and a master key that you can use in the event you forget to change the battery or can’t remember the combination. The pre-punched anchor holes will allow you to secure the safe to the floor or a wall, making it impossible for a thief to take off with it.
- Electronic keypad
- Pry-proof design
- Comes with one master key
- Low rifle capacity
This is another great buy for the gun owner on a budget. It comes with some great basic features and allows you to easily program and set up this safe in a matter of minutes. The durable design combined with a free secure lockbox makes this a great choice if you’re looking for a low capacity gun safe and one that allows you to secure and protect your other valuables such as cash, jewelry, and documents.
Gun Safe Buyer’s Guide
If you own firearms, then purchasing the best quality safe possible will be crucial. There are so many models, styles, and types of safes to choose from, that finding one that offers top of the line protection, and quality, can seem like a real challenge, especially if you’re on a budget. But it is possible to find an affordable model that comes loaded with all the features you need, a durable construction, and high-quality steel. If you’ve never purchased a safe before, then this guide will walk you through the different features you should look for, what to look for that can indicate the quality of the safe, and plenty of information that will teach you the dos and don’ts of buying a gun safe and gun safe use.
Before you get started shopping around, start by taking some inventory and list all of the guns you own. This will give you a better idea of the size of safe you need. After you’ve listed all your guns, then you can include accessories, such as bi-pods, grips, rings, scopes, and anything else you want to store in the safe including spare magazines. Some people prefer to use these safes to also store important valuables, cash, and jewelry, in which case you may want to look for a safe that comes with drawers.
Benefits of Owning a Gun Safe
If you own guns, then yes. There are many reasons why you should consider buying one. The most obvious is child safety. If you have children in the home, then a safe will prevent them from accessing your guns. Some states actually require this by law. But even if you live in a state that doesn’t, owning a safe can prevent a serious injury or even death.
- Without a safe there aren’t really many good places to hide a gun. Not locking up your gun can also put you at risk in the event that an intruder breaks into your home, finds your gun, and uses it against you.
- Before you decide to purchase a gun, make sure you check with your state laws to see if owning a gun safe is a requirement. Some states, such as California, will have specific laws concerning gun safes, so it’s important that you follow them.
- Guns and their accessories are expensive and the serious collector will spend a fortune purchasing new guns each year. Because of this, it’s important to buy a safe since it can protect your investment.
- Most insurance companies will give you a deep discount on your insurance if you lock up your guns. Speak with your insurance company in order to learn what type of discount they offer. Any saved money can go toward purchasing a new gun, accessories, and ammunition.
- You’re not always in control of what happens at home. You may fall victim to a fire, flood, or worse. Storing your guns in your safe can protect them against water damage, smoke damage, and from fire.
- A safe will also allow you to keep your gun collection, accessories, and ammunition organized and readily accessible, which can be crucial, in the event of a break-in.
Other Features to Look for
One of the most important decisions you’ll make when you shop for this type of product is the size. Most manufacturers will list how many guns each model is able to store. But these claims aren’t always accurate. In fact, many will advertise a larger gun capacity, but in reality, these safes can only hold a fraction of the guns that the manufacturer claims they can.
Even if the model you end up with is able to hold all of your guns easily, the fact that you’ve filled it up already means that you won’t be able to use it to store any new guns you decide to purchase later down the road. If you want a model that can hold the number of guns and accessories you currently own, with room to spare so you can purchase more later down the line, the buy a model that’s rated to hold twice the number you currently own.
When you’re comparing models, make sure you look at the interior size dimensions. Most manufacturers will only list the external dimensions, which will not help you determine whether or not the safe has the capacity you need.
If you want to compare safe quality, then pay attention to what each model weighs. Obviously, a heavier model will be harder to break into. If you notice two models that are priced similarly but both have very different weights, take a closer look at the specs. Instead of a more durable model, you’re probably paying for cosmetic features such as a fancy interior and chrome plating. If you come across models and the prices are different for two very similar sizes, then check the weight. You want to pay more for more steel, not an enamel paint job. While a heavier gun safe can provide more protection, they can also be a real hassle if you have to move, which is definitely something you’ll want to consider before you buy.
The most expensive part of a safe is the steel and it’s often the first area the manufacturer skimps on. It’s important that the model you choose has a substantial thickness for both the walls and the door. A model with a thinner steel design will be much easier to crack into. Never purchase a new model without first learning about the thickness of the steel used.
Manufacturers will try to trick you into thinking you’re getting a thicker safe than you really are. Instead of the steel thickness, they’ll list the total door thickness. Many models will come equipped with a heavy, thick looking door. Unfortunately, many of these doors will have only a small portion of real steel, while the rest of it is made out of sheetrock that’s been wrapped in a thin sheet of steel. So, while the manufacturer may advertise a particular model as having a door that’s around five inches thick, this doesn’t indicate that five inches of steel have been used. This will often include the bolt workspace, drywall, some steel, and the dial. Basically, the door thickness spec will tell you absolutely nothing about how thick the steel really is.
While a model that’s advertised as having walls that are four inches thick may sound durable, the outer shell of the safe is made out of fourteen gauge steel, complete with drywall. Unfortunately, drywall is nowhere near as strong as steel.
On top of the line gun safes, you’ll come across the phrase combined steel thickness. This usually involves two sheets of steel with drywall sandwiched between them. The drywall doesn’t provide much structural support for the steel. In reality, the addition of the drywall will just make it much easier for someone to break into it. Look for a model that has a combined thickness using ten gauge steel, which is significantly thicker than fourteen gauge.
The walls and the top and bottom of a safe are the thinnest areas, which makes them the easiest to cut through. Because of this, you’ll only want to stick with models that are made out of ten gauge steel. In some cases, you’ll find lower-priced models that use twelve-gauge steel. This thickness and durability are enough to keep out an amateur, but a seasoned thief will know how to cut right through it.
Joints that are welded properly are much stronger compared to base metals. With low priced models you’ll find skip welds, which are welds that are not connected. This leaves the joints much weaker. Next, a type of filler made out of plastic is used between the skip welds in order to make the joints look continuous. Unfortunately, if that’s not bad enough, this plastic filler is usually flammable. On a safe, the outer seams are considered the most vulnerable and can open up in the event of a fire.
A good safe should feature joints that are MIG welded. This welding technique comes with an additional step, requiring the welder to cut off the burned tip of feeder wire at the beginning of each new weld.
In many cases, lower-priced safes will have outside welds that are done only for cosmetic purposes. Some companies will grind down the corners in order to make the model look more appealing. Some of the joints may be polished and ground after they have been welded. However, when the metal is very thin, these extra steps can make the welds weaker.
Because the market for safes is so competitive, there are many manufacturers that try to save money and time every step of the way.
One of the ways they cut corners involves the penetration of a weld. Cold welds with less penetration will allow for longer, faster welds before the metal deforms. This results in saving plenty of time when it comes to stopping or starting a weld. But this also has a negative impact on the strength of a weld, making them vulnerable to failure if someone decides to take a hammer to it.
Because welding is expensive and time-consuming, many manufacturers use metal bending in order to eliminate joints. The body of a safe will have a single piece of metal wrapped around it with no vertical seams. Eliminating long vertical welds is definitely a great idea, especially for buyers who don’t have much faith in a safe’s welding quality.
Bottom line, a good weld on a safe should be full penetration and continuous. Joints that are robotic welded are preferred, as is minimized seams.
A safe isn’t going to help prevent theft if it’s not bolted down, which is why most models will come equipped with bolt holes. These holes are found on the base, on the outer corners, which will make it very difficult for someone to use a crowbar to get enough leverage under the safe. Some manufacturers will place these holes in the middle of the base, which is a huge no. These holes should be reinforced in order to make it even more challenging to remove the bolts. However, if the bolt is fastened to thin steel, it’s not going to help much. A safe that’s got some serious height on it will give someone more leverage when applying force to the bolts.
Frame and Plate Door
The frame is one of the weakest points, as is the door. A plate door will come equipped with a solid sheet of steel, with an outer door made out of composite material. When you’re checking out a new safe, make sure you pay close attention to the door jamb. Pay extra attention to the lip that the bolt will be secured behind. Look for any extra gussets or supports, which will improve the strength of the frame. Some models may have large door gaps, which can make them more vulnerable to a break in since this gives a thief plenty of room to use a pry bar. Top of the line models will have door gaps that are so thin you won’t be able to slide a piece of paper between the door jamb and outer plate.
A door that’s more recessed will be much harder to break into using a crowbar. This refers to the distance from the lip that the door closes against, to the front face of the door jamb. If you want a model that’s incredibly difficult to break into, then look for the smallest gap possible. This is why most gun owners prefer using a recessed door.
Despite popular belief, the hinges on a safe’s door don’t have much to do with safe security. Any model you’re thinking of buying should have a welded tongue or locking bolts placed on the hinge side of the door. The bolts should be fixed since all they do is keep the door closed on the hinge side. Avoid a model that doesn’t come with bolts located on the hinge side.
A gun safe that has internal hinges will usually have part of the fire lining cut out, in order for the hinges to fit correctly once the door is closed. With lower-priced models, if you shut the door too hard you can risk bending the door jam or damaging the hinges. If this happens, you’ll need to purchase a new safe since internal hinges cannot be adjusted or replaced.
Most commercial safes will have external hinges because they allow the door to open wider, which will make it easier to store or remove guns. These hinges can also be repaired and can be adjusted in the event the door comes out of alignment. If you’re moving a safe, these hinges can be removed in order to get rid of some weight and make it easier to transport the safe. Additionally, an amateur thief will not want to deal with cutting off the hinges, only to realize that the door still can’t be opened. Because of this, I recommend purchasing a model that’s equipped with external hinges.
Low priced models will not come with any type of door sealing. A seal will help the desiccant or dehumidifier inside the safe to keep moisture off the guns. A door seal is necessary in the event of a fire since it can protect your guns by keeping water, hot gasses, fire and smoke out. Keep in mind that a fire can burn at around six hundred degrees in a matter of minutes. If the safe you purchase doesn’t have a seal or it has a weak one, then you’re putting your guns at risk of serious fire and smoke damage.
If the safe you buy doesn’t come with any type of fire protection, then it should come equipped with an intumescent door seal. These seals are designed to expand to seven times the size when it reaches a certain temperature. When the seal expands, it protects your guns from water, hot gasses, and smoke.
If you have children in the home, then the number of possible combinations each model offers will also be important. Most dial combination locks will come in three or four wheel styles, which have three to four-digit combinations. Each of the wheels on a three-digit dial lock is marked from zero to ninety-nine, so there are countless combinations to choose from. Yet, there is a mechanical tolerance to these numbers, unlike with an electronic keypad lock. Because of the dial’s construction, these combination locks usually have dead zones. In some cases, the number of combinations can be restricted from zero to ninety, instead of up to ninety-nine. This is done in order to prevent any issues with the lock. A dead zone will reduce the number of combinations possible.
With an electronic lock, there are no mechanical tolerances. The fact that it’s much easier and faster to enter a code using this type of lock can be a security issue, which is why most of these models will use a wrong code penalty lockout feature. This feature is designed to prevent someone from using several random codes in order to crack the safe. Without this important feature, a person could try over a hundred combinations.
Push-Button Combination Locks
Many push-button locks have around one to two thousand combinations since each of the buttons can only be used once. With one thousand combinations possible, if someone spends half an hour once a day for a period of two weeks, they would have a fifty percent chance of cracking the safe. Some of these locks do come with an advantage, allowing the user to program the code by pushing more than one button at once.
Warranty on Locks
The type of warranty that a manufacturer offers will reflect the quality of the locking mechanism. Most manufacturers will cover the lock for a period of five years, while others will cover the lock for the lifetime of the safe. When it comes to electronic keypads, these warranties are usually only offered for one to four years. Keep in mind that in some cases, the manufacturer will only honor the warranty based on the manufacturing date, not the date you purchased the safe. Many lock warranties can also come with several exclusions that a manufacturer will put in place in order to avoid paying for a new lock or repairs. Because these lock warranties have such limited coverage, make sure you purchase the best quality lock possible.
For most safes that use a mechanical lock combination, the combination cannot be changed without the assistance of a safe technician. This can be a huge drawback for some safe owners. A high-end mechanical dial lock will allow the user to change the combination, but the process can be a tricky one.
In order to avoid giving away the combination, the mechanical dial lock cannot show any dirt patterns or wear. If you have a safe with a mechanical dial lock, you won’t really need to change the combination often. A big bonus with electronic keypad locks is how easy it is to change the combination. Some models will even allow you to do a factory reset. These will come in handy if you just purchased the safe or recently changed the combination and have forgotten it.
In some cases, an electronic keypad lock will have the option to use nine combinations. If the safe you own offers this option, then make sure you make a master combination. This will allow you to use a backup combination in the event that you forget your usual combination. Make sure you always change the combination with your safe door open. If you attempt to change the combination with the door closed then you can accidentally enter the wrong combination and need the assistance of a locksmith in order to drill the safe open for you.
Often, you’ll find detents that are used to keep the bolts from engaging when the door of the safe is open. This will prevent the user from closing the door accidentally with the bolts out. This means you’ll need to disable the detent in order to change the combination. If you look, you should find a lever, or release pin on the bottom, top, or the side of the door.
Gun Safe Styles
There are a couple of types of gun storage options available. The first is a gun locker and the second is an actual gun safe. Many manufacturers call gun lockers gun safes, which can make it really confusing for consumers. In most cases, a true safe will be a much better option than a locker.
Depending on the thickness and quality of the steel, lockers can be a great option for some gun owners. If you rent an apartment on the fifth floor, then a lightweight locker can be a better solution.
For the small gun collection, there are many rapid access and handgun safes, and hidden safes to choose from. Most of these models will not hold more than two or three guns and don’t provide much protection in the event of a fire. These safes are designed to offer faster access, which is why many owners will often store them next to their bed.
The following ratings are the industry guidelines for the different levels of security a safe is able to provide. These values are often used for insurance purposes but they’re a great resource to use to compare the different levels of protection that a safe offers.
A safe with an RSC rating is perfect for securing a collection with up to five thousand dollar content value. Models with this rating are able to withstand five minutes of an attack with the use of simple tools. This type of rating can also apply to low-end models that can easily be pried open and to very secure safes that can pass a higher rating test, however, the manufacturer did not want to pay for additional testing.
A B-rated safe is recommended for a collection and valuables worth up to ten thousand dollars in value. This means the safe will have a quarter of an inch steel body and a half-inch plate door.
Models with a C rating are designed to protect up to thirty thousand dollars in valuables and guns and should consist of one inch of protection on the door and half an inch of protection on the body.
These safes are designed to protect up to two hundred thousand dollars worth of guns and valuables. This rating means that the safe’s door is able to resist entry from a serious assault for a period of fifteen minutes when hand tools, pressure devices, drills, grinders, and electric tools are used.
A safe with this rating is used to protect content up to three hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars in value. With this type of rating, a door can pass the same tests as the TL15 rating, but for a period of thirty minutes.
Designed to protect up to five hundred thousand dollars of content value, these safes can withstand an assault for half an hour on every side of the safe.
These pricey safes can protect a content value of up to one million dollars for a period of half an hour, against tools and torches. The safe should be able to withstand this type of attack on all sides of the safe and the top and bottom.
There are currently no set standards when it comes to determining what exterior temperature a safe can handle and how long it will protect the contents of a safe when exposed to fire. Each manufacturer will hire their own third-party testing company, which will give each model a fire protection rating. So, what should you look for in terms of fire protection? What’s the standard?
Most companies will certify their products for exposure to temperatures up to three hundred and fifty degrees for a period of one hour.
Many higher-priced models will come loaded with a variety of nice extras for the safe’s interior. A standard safe will simply have soft interior lining. Other models will allow you to customize the interior setup and may even come with interior lighting since the inside of a safe is pitch black, making it difficult to grab what you’re looking for quickly. If you want to keep your guns and their accessories highly organized and easily accessible, then look for a model that has an interior with cubbies, shelves, drawers, and more.
If you live in a damp environment, then you need a dehumidifier. The inside of a safe can become very moist, which is obviously a huge no for steel. There are a couple of different types of dehumidifiers to choose from: desiccant and electric. The electric dehumidifier is a great option since they’re spill-free and nontoxic. However, if the power goes out, then your guns will be left in a damp environment for who knows how long. The desiccant dehumidifier will work with no power and consists of a canister or dry pack of silica gel.
Pistol Safes Versus Long Gun Safes
If you’re a big collector of shotguns or rifles, then there are obvious reasons behind why you’d want to go with this type of safe. However, even if you don’t own a long gun that doesn’t mean that this type of safe would be a bad choice for you.
Most pistol safes aren’t meant to hold more than a small stock of ammunition or a gun or two. While the rifle safe may seem like overkill, even if you only own a few handguns, you can still use it to store important documents, cash, and valuables.
A gun safe offers multipurpose use. Obviously, the main purpose of this type of safe is to protect your firearms against theft, water, and fire damage, but you can put your safe to work and use it to store any valuables in the home, your knife collection, or anything you don’t want small children or thieves to get ahold of.
Gun Safe Location
Many people tend to keep their safes in the garage or basement. A safe can be bolted to the floor in order to prevent them from being moved. If you decide to keep your safe in the garage, then make sure you use a dehumidifier.
Most gun pros recommend that you keep your safe out of sight. This means not placing it out in the open, so just anyone can catch a glimpse. The basement tends to be a great choice if you want to keep your safe away from prying eyes. However, if there’s a chance that your basement may flood, then I don’t recommend taking the risk and installing your safe in that location.
Moving a Safe
When you purchase a safe, the dealer will typically arrange for the safe to be delivered. This will be a must if you’re purchasing a model that weighs three hundred pounds or more. If you do want to move the safe at some point and it’s been installed, then make sure you use a dolly and have a couple of friends help you in order to avoid an accident or serious injury. If you’re planning on moving the safe up a flight of stairs, make sure your stairs are able to withstand this type of weight.
When you’re moving the safe from one location to another, make sure you remove as much weight as you can. This involves removing and disassembling the interior. The door on the safe makes up a significant portion of the weight. If the door is removable, then remove it. Use a heavy-duty appliance dolly and keep the ground pressure of the dolly’s wheels in mind. The small hard rubber wheels will be what is supporting the entire weight of the safe. This type of pressure can damage vinyl flooring, hardwood floors, and ceramic tiles. Make sure you lay down plywood or another type of material in order to protect the floor load and the door thresholds. If you have to move the safe upstairs you’ll need the help of experienced movers and special equipment. A safe needs to fit dimensionally through stairwells and doorways.
Live and Dead Loads
A structure is rated by a couple of types of weights, live loads and dead loads. A gun safe is considered a dead load. Live loads are much more restricted compared to dead loads. If you plan on installing a safe on an upper floor, make sure you keep it at one thousand pounds or less. While some floors can hold much more weight, this will require you to have your home inspected and rated by a pro to ensure you don’t end up doing some serious damage.
The floor surface will also be important. A concrete or hardwood floor is a better choice for security than carpet is, especially if you’re dealing with thick carpet padding. A harder surface will make it harder and more challenging to get a prying tool under the safe. While you can compress the carpet padding when you’re bolting the safe down, in order to improve the situation, the padding can always be scraped out using a prying tool.
Where Can I Install a Gun Safe Over A Two Thousand Pounds?
If you have floors that can support less weight than the safe you’ve purchased, then there are some other options in terms of where you can install the safe. If the floor of your home can only handle around sixteen hundred pounds, and the safe you purchase is over two thousand, then you’ll need to install it in the garage, or you can return the safe and purchase a smaller, lighter model. Most of the time, a model with a lower fire protection rating will be lighter and more affordable since it doesn’t have as much composite. So, with a lower fire rating you’ll save money and the hassle that comes with purchasing a safe that’s too heavy for your floors.
Leveling a Gun Safe
The bolt and lock usually won’t work correctly if you’ve placed the safe on an unlevel surface. This can lead to reliability issues over time. If the safe isn’t level, the door can slam shut or can open on its own. The door can also get racked out of alignment if it’s not on a level surface. Avoid using the bolts in the anchoring holes as a way to level the flooring. Instead, try using shims, which is what most gun enthusiasts recommend. If you’re still not sure how to install your safe properly, contact a professional in your area. This way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your safe is basically unmovable. This will also deter any thieves from trying to take off with your safe, in the event of a break-in.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Will an Electronic Lock’s Battery Last?
If the model you purchase comes with an electronic lock, then you may be concerned about the battery life, how long the average battery lasts, and how you’ll know when the battery needs to be replaced. If you enter your safe one to two times a day, then the battery should last for at least twelve months. Once the battery begins to run low, you’ll be alerted, so you can change out the battery promptly before it loses all of its juice.
Why Does a Safe Need to Be Anchored?
Once you’ve purchased a new safe, you need to find the right location for it, then anchor it. When a safe is anchored it prevents the safe from falling over. It also prevents thieves from moving the safe out of your home, to another location where they will have all the time in the world to access the contents.
Is a Gun Safe Airtight?
Most manufacturers will claim that a safe is airtight once it reaches a certain temperature, causing the seal around the door to close. Aside from that, a safe is not airtight and shouldn’t be. Airflow is needed in order to get rid of humidity and moisture in the air in the safe, however, the use of a dehumidifier is needed for additional protection.
The best gun safe will have a high fire protection rating, a lock mechanism that allows you to choose from thousands of combinations, and should be made out of thick gauge steel, with a solid frame and excellent weld quality. This buyer’s guide, combined with the included product recommendations, is designed to put you on the right path toward purchasing a safe that offers top of the line protection, and much-needed peace of mind.