A hand on the handle of a locked commercial safe.

How to Choose the Best Safe for Your Business

The right safe for your business should be protective, but also easy to use and properly rated for the types of assets you plan to store within it. According to the History of Keys, safes in the form we know them, have been used readily for 2,000 years.

Today, you have dozens of safe styles to choose from, which can make the process a bit more difficult. It’s a necessity for your business. Here’s how to choose the best one.

Understand the Types of Safes Available to You

There are two main types of safes available. Burglar safes are designed to minimize the risk of theft. Fire safes are designed, as their name implies, to protect valuables from high temperatures. All safes provide some level of protection from both fires and theft, but most companies should choose a safe based on their highest risks. Here’s a breakdown.

When Is a Burglar Safe Right for Your Company?

The design and function of a burglar safe is meant to help minimize the ability of a person from getting into the contents of the safe using a wide range of methods and tools. Most basic models can protect against hand tools, but higher burglar safe grading is necessary to protect against cutting torches and explosives. The safe must be designed using materials able to withstand such attacks.

Though there is no safe 100% guaranteed to be inaccessible, this style of safe aims to make it as difficult as possible for someone to open it. It can also help to slow down the theft process, encouraging the thief to either flee or the police to get there.

Is a Fire Safe Right for Your Company?

As noted, a fire safe is designed to protect the contents within it from fire and heat. However, there is no safe that is absolutely fire-proof. More secure safes provide a higher level of protection in the hopes that the fire is put out before the structure fails. The type and intensity of the fire, along with the length of time that fire is present, play a role in how well these safes resist the heat and flames.

The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) provide a full fire safe rating system if you want more specific details. The rating process is designed to communicate to consumers just how safe the safe is. Without providing too many details here, look at the UL rating to determine how much protection you need. If it is a UL Class 350, that means it can maintain protection for items up to 350°F for the amount of time listed. Others are UL Class 125 and UL Class 150.

Considerations: How to Choose One Safe for Your Business?

Now that you have a basic idea of what types of safes are available, you can consider which specific model is right for you. Remember that you have plenty of manufacturer options to choose from and a wide range of cost factors to consider.

Intended Use

The first step is to consider what type of materials you plan to put into the safe. This is the first determinant of size. You can find safes designed to be very small, such as those located in a wall alcove. Most commercial safes, though, are designed to sit on the floor. A drop safe, which is one where employees can drop envelopes or money into for added security, tends to be within a larger safe. Another option you may hear about is a cash safe or cash box. This is designed to accommodate your cash register drawers or to accommodate money in other forms.

Size & Weight

The larger the safe is, the more protection it can offer – to a degree. However, the larger it is, the heavier it weighs. You need to consider supporting the floor structure under the safe to ensure it is strong enough to hold the weight of the safe.

Another consideration to keep in mind is that heavier safes will be more difficult to move. Some business owners appreciate this because it makes the safe more difficult for thieves to carry away in case of a break-in. Other business owners want a safe that is lightweight enough to take with them in case of an emergency or to change locations when necessary.

Cost

The size and protection level offered by the safe influence its price. Generally, larger safes are more expensive. However, if this is a one-time purchase to protect your business, you want to make the choice based on needs, not costs.

Insurance Requirements

Some insurance companies want to know what type of safe you have. It can impact the rates they charge you for coverage. Most companies will have a minimum safety rating from which you should choose. It takes just a minute to contact your agent to find out or to read through your insurance policy to learn about this requirement.

Type of Protection

Most companies need protection from both fires and burglary. For example, if this will operate as a cash safe, it tends to be best to choose a burglar safe because that’s the most likely theft. If you plan to store important documents here, you need more security from fires.

One option you can consider is a burglar safe that has fire-protective cladding added to it. This should be a UL rated burglar safe, but the cladding enhances the safe’s ability to protect against fires as well. These tend to be a bit more expensive and harder to find, though.

Level of Protection

Understanding burglar and fire safe ratings is important. This tells us how the safe was designed – for residential or commercial use – as well as when and how it protects. You can check out our guide to Burglary and Fire Safe Ratings.

Get more helpful security tips on Retail Security and our handy Security Checklist for New Business Owners.

Expert Installation & Service – GV Lock

Our team is here to do more than just install your safe. We aim to educate you about all of your options, so you make the best investment for your needs. Our locksmiths can help you find a top-rated, well-designed safe that you do not have to worry about replacing for years to come.

For a consultation, installation or safe opening services, contact the team at Great Valley Lockshop today. Call our office at (610) 644-5334 or request a quote online.

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