How to Purchase a Safe

How to Choose a Safe

A safe can provide excellent protection for your valuables. There are many, many safes out there, but it can be difficult knowing which one you should choose To get the right safe for your needs, you must consider several different factors, including what protection you need the safe to provide, how much you plan on storing in the safe and several other things. Once you know what you need the safe to do, you will have a much easier time choosing the right model for you.

What Protections Do You Need?

There are three main protections that a safe can provide – burglary protection, fire resistance and water resistance. Different safes will offer a different level of protection against each threat.

Fire Resistance

A safe cannot be made fireproof, but it can be insulated to protect items in the interior from combustion for a certain length of time. Determine what you will be keeping in the safe and then look for a safe that keeps the internal temperature below the temperature threshold that will damage your valuables. For instance, paper should be kept below 350 degrees, while DVDs need to be kept below 125.

The fire resistance is measured in hours, with most home safes providing protection for half an hour. In most cases a half hour should be sufficient, but if you want more protection and are willing to spend the money, you can get longer fire rating times.

Water Resistance

Most safes that offer both burglary and theft resistance will be waterproof to some extent, but if this is an important feature, make certain the safe you choose meets your requirements.

Burglary Protection

There are two main factors to burglary protection – locking systems and steel thickness. A combination lock is the preferred system for increased security. Some safes my also try to sell you on the number of locking bolts the safe uses, but understand that the bolt or bolts are just there to prevent the safe from being pried open. An excessive number of bolts is just a selling point, and not really necessary.

Steel thickness is the second factor for burglary protection. Steel thickness is measured by gauge, with the smaller number indicating greater thickness. In most cases 12 gauge is sufficient to keep a burglar out of a home safe, but you can go much thicker depending on your needs.

What To Consider Before Buying a Safe

You also need to determine what you will be doing with the safe. How it will look may be important. Whether you need to be able to move it on your own, and how much you plan to store in it, will also be major factors in which safe you choose.


Some safes are practical, while others also add embellishments for visual appeal. If your safe will be down in the basement, you probably do not care too much about how it looks. But if will be in an area where you have to look at it all the time, or where guests or clients will see it, you may want it to look presentable.


A large safe requires at least two strong individuals and a dolly to move, while a smaller safe may be able to be picked up by an average adult. If you want to be able to move the safe, you need to make sure it is possible to do so. Obviously, this will limit what you can store in it, but it may be worth it if you want to be able to take the safe with you or remove it in an emergency.


The easiest way to determine the size of the safe you want is to take everything you want to put in the safe and put it in a pile. You can then measure the pile for its cubic area. To do this, measure the length and the width of the pile, then multiply the length by the width. Take the number you get and multiply it by the height of the pile. The number you get from your calculations will be the cubic area of your pile.

Take the cubic area of your pile and then multiply it by two so you will have room to grow. Some people make the mistake of buying a safe that barely holds what they have right now, which is shortsighted. Safe owners almost always grow into their safe, adding items as time goes on. Getting a big enough safe is important if you want to avoid buying another safe later on.

Choose Your Safe Based On Size Number

Once you have determined all of the criteria you need in a safe, you can start shopping for safes that will work for you. You can use your required cubic area to pick out a safe that is big enough, and you can look for the other factors – fire resistance, burglary protection, etc. – to narrow down your options.

When shopping for the safe, make sure you try to find one from a reputable manufacturer. Not all safes are equal, and while there are some standardized testing measurements from organizations like Underwriters Laboratories and Intertek that you can depend on, you still want a safe that is manufactured using high standards. Manufacturers like Gardall and Burg Watcher are known for their quality. Looking over offerings from these companies would be a good place to start.

Order And Installation

At Great Valley Lockshop, we offer high-quality safes for a variety of needs. When you order a safe from our company, it usually takes about a week to arrive. Once we receive the safe, we will install it in your home or business. Professional installation is important, both for your safety and to ensure the safe operates as intended.

Find out the Best Location to Install a Safe in Your Home and How to Install a Safe.

Please note that we do not install floor or wall safes.

If you are interested in buying a safe, please contact us by calling (610) 644-5334 or fill out our free online estimate request to discuss your requirements. We are here to help you find the perfect safe for your needs.

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