Coolest Gadgets is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Best Fireproof Safe [2019]

Best Overall: SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof And Waterproof Safe
While it’s not the biggest on our list, it is more than capable. With a one-hour fireproof rating and a 24-hour waterproof rating, along with the 1.23 cubic feet of internal storage, it easily protects everything you need without breaking the bank.

Sale
SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

  • Interior Light To See Inside
  • ETL Certified For Up To A 15-Foot Drop
  • Pry-Resistant Hinge Bar For Added Security From A Break-In

Budget Pick: SentrySafe 0500 Fireproof Safe
When it comes to value and protection, the SentrySafe 0500 is exactly what you need. Keep it up off the floor and you should be good come fire or flood. While it doesn’t offer waterproof protection, it will keep your documents and other goods safe in a fire.

Sale
SentrySafe 0500 Fireproof Safe

  • Small And Portable
  • Simple Lock And Key Mechanism
  • Fireproof For Up To 30 Minutes In 1550° F Temperatures

Premium Pick: SentrySafe SFW205CWB Fireproof And Waterproof Safe
When you want the biggest and baddest option on the market, you go with the big boy – the SFW205CWB from SentrySafe is definitely the big boy. With storage equivalent to the size of an office mini-fridge, there’s not much that you can’t keep safe. With the waterproof and fireproof options, it’s easily worth every penny.

SentrySafe SFW205CWB Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

  • Hugh Interior Space With Shelves And Bins
  • ETL Certified For Up To A 15-Foot Drop
  • Mechanical / Combination Lock

How We Picked

With so many fireproof safes on the market right now, how do you know which one is right for you?

Every company claims that they have the best fireproof safe, but what claims are really true and which ones just go up in smoke? That is exactly what we are going to talk about today. We have looked at hundreds of fireproof safes, looking at all of their features and the qualities that make them good. And, we have got a pretty good idea about which ones rise to the top.

To help you understand what we looked at, we have included a buyer’s guide that highlights the features and/or factors that we considered. While reading through this guide, you might have a few questions about fireproof safes – no problem, we have included a frequently asked questions section too that should help you out some.

So, are you ready to see the ten best fireproof safes for 2019?

#1 SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

Specs:

  • Storage Space: 1.23 cu. Ft.
  • Fire Rating: 1-Hour
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Water Rating: 24 Hours
  • Weight: 87.3 Pounds
  • Size (H/W/L): 17.8” x 16.3” x 19.3”

For those who want to protect their valuables from fire and water, the SentrySafe SFW123GDC is a good place to start. With plenty of room, plenty of protection, and plenty of extras, you won’t be left wishing for a better option. If you value your possessions, then you seriously can’t pass this up.

Getting started, the SFW123GDC looks like a normal safe. It’s big, blocky, dark grey, with a locking mechanism, big handle, keyhole, and a digital keypad. The keypad is super easy to use and has LED lights that light up when pressed (great for using during the night). Inside of the safe, there is another LED light that helps you see inside day or night.

SentrySafe SFW123GDC Lock

Now, this is not an overly-large safe, but you probably won’t be grabbing it on the way out the door in an emergency. As for size, it is 17.8” tall by 16.3” wide by 19.3” deep, giving you an internal storage capacity of 1.23 cubic feet. And, with a weight of 87.3 pounds, even the best of strongmen aren’t going to want to try and lug this out when everything is going crazy. And that is fine, being that it is UL-certified to last up to one hour at 1700°F while keeping everything inside safe.

SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof And Waterproof Safe in storage

Some of the other features of the same include the ability to set your own combination. Unlike some brands, you can actually change the combination to numbers you actually use (and will remember). Again, this safe can withstand temperatures of 1700°F for up to an hour. But, they didn’t stop at just fires; they also address flooding. In fact, this safe can withstand being totally submerged for up to 24 hours! And if it falls down the stairs or balcony, it can take it with an ETL rating of 15 feet.

What We Like

Inside of the safe, you’ll find key hooks, specialty pockets for high-value items, binder pockets, and even grooves for shelves. The amount of storage is amazing, with about half the space of an office mini-fridge. And while it may not store your cold drinks and ham sandwiches, it can definitely protect your valuables from fire or flood.

Overall

When you want a safe for security and protection, you can’t overlook this SentrySafe. The SFW123GDC is built to fight out thieves, falls, fires, and floods. With the ability to change the combination, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting the codes when time is fleeting. It also comes with special features to prevent thieves from getting in, no matter how dedicated they are. When it comes to being prepared, this is what preparation looks like.

Sale
SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

  • Interior Light To See Inside
  • ETL Certified For Up To A 15-Foot Drop
  • Pry-Resistant Hinge Bar For Added Security From A Break-In

#2 First Alert 2030F Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

First Alert 2030F Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

Specs:

  • Storage Space: 0.39 cu. Ft.
  • Fire Rating: 30 Minutes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Water Rating: 24 Hours
  • Weight: 27.0 Pounds
  • Size (H/W/L): 8.5” x 16.0” x 12.79”

Sometimes you need something small, simple, and effective. And the First Alert 2030F is perfect for those who don’t want a big safe that can’t be moved around easily. It’s built to keep your document and other non-sensitive digital goods safe from fires, floods, thieves, and other damages.

First Alert 2030F Fireproof And Waterproof Safe open

Like we said, this is a small, simple solution for those looking to keep their documents safe. Size-wise, it is 8.5” tall by 16.0” wide by 12.79” deep; this is considered compact and/or portable. And, at only 27 pounds, it wouldn’t be that hard to take it with you in an emergency. As for design, it opens up from the top using an easy-to-grab handle with a contoured bottom to make it easier to hold. To gain entry, you simply need one of the two keys provided. This is one of the simplest locking mechanisms, but it is still effective for keeping prying eyes out. Because of its size, it can easily be hidden under a bed, in a vehicle, in the closet – pretty much anywhere.

First Alert 2030F Fireproof And Waterproof Safe close-up

As for features, it has a clamp-style latch that protects your valuables from thieves. The lid itself creates a waterproof seal that can withstand almost any type of flood that comes in. For fire protection, this is rated for up to 30 minutes in up to 1550°F temperatures.

What We Like

Not everyone needs a big, bulky safe that can’t be carried with them. Sometimes, all you need is something with a handle that can make it out with you. For the price, what is can do is impressive. No, it won’t survive a full-on house fire (most likely), but it can make it through if it wasn’t sitting in/under flames. But, it’s designed to be portable so you can take it with you.

Overall

The First Alert 2030F is a great, budget-friendly option that gives you water protection, fire protection, and even intruder protection in a small, portable safe. They keep everything simple using just a key-lock mechanism. Ultimately, for those who want something they can take with them, the 2030F from First Alert should be your first option.

First Alert 2030F Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

  • Fairly Lightweight
  • Built-In Carrying Handle
  • Waterproof And Fireproof To Protect Your Valuables

#3 FireKing SureSeal SS104-A Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

FireKing SureSeal SS104-A Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

Specs:

  • Storage Space: 0.38 cu. Ft.
  • Fire Rating: 1 Hour
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Water Rating: 2 Hours
  • Weight: 60.9 Pounds
  • Size (H/W/L): 7.31” x 19.87” x 17.00”

If you want a chest with an hour fireproof rating, you pretty much have to upgrade to a full-sized chest, or do you …?

The FireKing by SureSeal SS104-A is built to give you all the benefits of a chest with a higher fireproof rating. Of course, it does this by upping how much it weights. It nearly doubles the weight of the others at a staggering 60.9 pounds. It does have a handle, but it would be hard to run with this during an emergency. Of course, you could leave it behind and still be fine.

FireKing SureSeal SS104-A empty

It is built to hold all kinds of documents and other important goods. One thing to note, this will hold A4 Legal documents without any type of bending or flexing. The latches use dual-compression to ensure a waterproof and fireproof seal.

FireKing SureSeal SS104-A Fireproof And Waterproof Safe open

What We Like

This gives you plenty of fire protection without being a full-sized safe. While it may not be AS portable, it is portable. Of course, you might have to subscribe to the local gym before you could run with this bad boy.

Overall

Again, getting the fire protection of an hour generally requires a full-sized safe. The SS104-A from SureSeal secures your documents while giving you fire protection and water protection. The included key-lock mechanism will keep any prying eyes away and it won’t break the bank either.

Sale
FireKing SureSeal SS104-A Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

  • Comparable Fire Rating To A Full-Sized Safe
  • Holds A4 Documents Without Bending
  • Built-In Carrying Handle And Key-Lock Mechanism

#4 SentrySafe SFW205CWB Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

SentrySafe SFW205CWB Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

Specs:

  • Storage Space: 2.05 cu. Ft.
  • Fire Rating: 1-Hour
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Water Rating: 24 Hours
  • Weight: 124.8 Pounds
  • Size (H/W/L): 19.3” x 18.6” x 23.8”

If you really want a BIG security safe, then the SentrySafe SFW205CWB is worth a look. With enough room inside for multiple shelves and/or bins, it’s a storage heaven. It’s waterproof, fireproof, intruder proof, and drop-proof. From small handguns to family heirlooms, whatever you put in here is safe.

Earlier, we looked at a smaller version of this safe, but it had a digital lock; this one is equipped with a mechanical lock, making it harder to get into and never leaving you needed to change out the batteries. It’s still big, blocky, and HEAVY, so it’s not going to be very portable; you will probably need a dolly and a few friends to help get it into your house. So, the lock itself is a combination-styled lock that you would see on an old locker from high school (you remember how fun those were). If you forget the combination, you can use the secondary key to unlock it.

SentrySafe SFW205CWB Fireproof And Waterproof Safe measurements

Again, this is an extremely heavy safe, with a weight of 124.8 pounds. In fact, you probably should put some type of mat underneath it to keep it from permanently altering your flooring. It comes with a bolt-kit to bolt it to the floor and/or wall if you feel it could still end up walking away somehow.

As for features, there is nothing that can get inside of this. It is waterproof for up to 24 hours. It is fireproof for up to an hour in 1700°F temperatures. It has special hinges designed to prevent prying from criminals. It’s even rated for a drop of more than 15 feet. The locking pins are huge, sticking into the side of the case with no wiggle room at all.

SentrySafe SFW205CWB under desk

What We Like

This is an absolute monster! It’s huge (like mini-fridge huge) with the ability to protect everything inside for a long time. The fact that it has a combination lock instead of a digital touchpad is great as you won’t need to worry about the batteries dying. And if you do forget the combination, just pull out the trusty key(s) and you’ll be good to go.

Overall

For those who want to go BIG, this is it. The SentrySafe SFW205CWB is a beast. While it has the beauty on the outside, it has the beast on the inside. No matter what happens, you’ll be fine. From bad weather, fires, floods, drops from the second story, or an unhappy criminal, all of your contents will still be there. For those who like to over-prepare, here is your next safe.

SentrySafe SFW205CWB Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

  • Hugh Interior Space With Shelves And Bins
  • ETL Certified For Up To A 15-Foot Drop
  • Mechanical / Combination Lock

#5 First Alert 2602DF Fireproof And Waterproof Fire Chest

First Alert 2602DF Fireproof And Waterproof Fire Chest

Specs:

  • Storage Space: 0.39 cu. Ft.
  • Fire Rating: 30 Minutes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Water Rating: 24 Hours
  • Weight: 27.45 Pounds
  • Size (H/W/L): 8.5” x 16.13” x 12.75”

When you want more than a briefcase but less than a refrigerator, you go for a chest that looks like something from the bank vault. The First Alert 2602DF looks built to withstand the hammer of Thor. It’s has a digital lock for enhanced security and two override keys in the event you forget your password.

So, this is bigger than some of the portable fire safes we’ve mentioned already, being a little thicker. To give you an idea of its size, it is 8.5” tall by 16.13” wide by 12.75” deep. It’s fairly light at 27.45 pounds and could easily be carried in the event of an emergency. Of course, you could leave it behind as it has a 30-minute window in the hottest of heat. It does not have a handle that you can grab, but it does have a ridge that gives you a solid edge to grab. The digital lock works using four “AA” batteries that can be accessed from the top of the unit. If the batteries are removed, the digital lock quits working. Of course, you can use one of the two override keys to still get in, but it will definitely keep prying eyes at bay.

Featurewise, it can withstand a fire for up to 30 minutes and water for over a day. The digital lock is easy to use, but it does not light up like some other options.

What We Like

This is bigger and deeper than some of the other chests on our lists. Because of this, you can easily store a lot more when it comes to documents and other heirlooms. Plus, it comes with a digital lock and key override system; something not available on some other chests.

Overall

Looking for a bigger, deeper option without buying a huge safe? Then the First Alert 2602DF is perfect for you. It gives you the benefits of a smaller chest while giving you the protection of some of the larger safes.

First Alert 2602DF Fireproof And Waterproof Fire Chest

  • Lightweight
  • Deep Internal Storage
  • Fireproof And Waterproof To Protect Against Most Emergencies

#6 SentrySafe CHW20221 Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

SentrySafe CHW20221 Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

Specs:

  • Storage Space: 0.28 cu. Ft.
  • Fire Rating: 30 Minutes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Water Rating: 72 Hours
  • Weight: 20.0 Pounds
  • Size (H/W/L): 6.6” x 15.4” x 14.3”

Here’s another budget-friendly option that is simple and does its job well. This is great for storing documents and other small objects that won’t get destroyed if the heat gets a little high. If you don’t need a ton of space, there’s no reason to spend the big bucks when you can get the CHW20221 from SentrySafe.

SentrySafe CHW20221 Fireproof And Waterproof Safe opened

This is another briefcase-styled safe that is simple and somewhat small. It can easily be stored under the bed or in a closet; pretty much anywhere you can think of. Inside, there is one compartment for everything. Documents will easily fit in here as well as a full-sized pistol as it has a total of 0.28 cubic feet of internal storage. In fact, it even comes with strapping to help keep everything in place. As for weight, it is a mere 20 pounds which is nothing. Most children could pick this up without hurting themselves. As such, it is extremely portable, especially in an emergency situation.

SentrySafe CHW20221 measurements

Again, this is a small fireproof safe. It can easily be grabbed when you are running from the house. Of course, it is fireproof for up to 30 minutes, but it also waterproof for up to 72 hours! It can be locked/unlocked using a key, which is generally enough to keep your private documents private.

SentrySafe CHW20221 in storage

What We Like

This is a budget-friendly option that looks good, even on the office desk. It is small enough to fit under the backseat of a truck or under your bed. It’s light enough that you could run with it if you wanted to.

Overall

Not everything has to be BIG, and the CHW20221 proves that size doesn’t always matter. When you have just a few things that need to be protected, there’s no reason to have your own personal locker in the bedroom. Instead, just buy one of these ultra-light, portable safes and rest easy knowing that a fire and a flood can’t touch this.

SentrySafe CHW20221 Fireproof And Waterproof Safe

  • Small And Portable
  • Waterproof For Up To 72 Hours
  • Can Easily Hold Documents Up To A4 Size

#7 First Alert 2011F Fire Chest

First Alert 2011F Fire Chest closed

Specs:

  • Storage Space: 0.17 cu. Ft.
  • Fire Rating: 30 Minutes
  • Waterproof: No
  • Water Rating: None
  • Weight: 14.5 Pounds
  • Size (H/W/L): 6.1” x 13.9” x 11.1”

Looking for a lightweight option that won’t weigh down your wallet. Then the First Alert 2011F Fire Chest is right up your alley. It is a portable, carry-style fire chest that will give you 30 minutes of fire protection. And while it may not offer water protection, it can easily be taken in an emergency.

This is a very compact option with a total size of 6.1” tall by 13.9” wide by 11.1” deep. It’s extremely light at only 14.5 pounds, making it something you could easily grab on the way out the door or window. If you live in an area where flooding may occur, you should probably keep it off the ground (in a closet). Internally, you get 0.17 cubic feet of storage which is enough for money, security documents, passports, and other legally binding agreements.

First Alert 2011F Fire Chest

What We Like

If you want a safe that can be stored under your car/truck seat, this is the option for you. It’s not very big, can be carried wherever you want, and will stay safe even in a fire.

Overall

When you want to protect your digital media like hard drives and USB sticks, this is the perfect solution. Not only that, but it can protect your sensitive documents without being hard to take with you if things go bad. There’s no reason to trust just any safe – trust the First Alert 2011F Fire Chest to keep you safe all day, every day.

Sale
First Alert 2011F Fire Chest

  • Lightweight And Easy To Carry
  • Fireproof For Up To 30 Minutes In 1550°F Temperatures.
  • Perfect Size To Protect Security Documents And Passports

#8 Honeywell Fireproof Cash Box And Safe

Honeywell Fireproof Cash Box And Safe and documents

Specs:

  • Storage Space: 0.17 cu. Ft.
  • Fire Rating: 20 Minutes
  • Waterproof: No
  • Water Rating: None
  • Weight: 3.88 Pounds
  • Size (H/W/L): 4.2” x 12.7” x 8.7”

Sometimes all you want to do is keep your cash safe. Most cash drawers that are stored overnight aren’t capable of surviving a fire. But, the Honeywell Fireproof Cash Box and Safe can and it’ll do it without looking like a safe too.

Honeywell Fireproof Cash Box And Safe open

This literally looks like a cash box and functions like one too. It has the cash drawer inside, room to store other documents, and a key-lock mechanism for security. It can keep your money safe for up to 20 minutes in temperatures up to 1200°F.

Honeywell Fireproof Cash Box And Safe

What We Like

This is not a “safe” in the technical sense; it functions as one, but it is a cash box that keeps your money safer. If a fire were to break out, there’s a good chance that your cash will be good the next day.

Overall

Protect your investments with this cash box solution from Honeywell. Even though Honeywell is more of a home/office solution company, they’ve stepped into the fire protection industry and come up with a comparable offering. For the price, this is worth it as an extra measure of protection.

Sale
Honeywell Fireproof Cash Box And Safe

  • Cash Box Design
  • Extremely Light And Portable
  • Fireproof For Up To 20 Minutes In 1200°F Temperatures.

#9 AmazonBasics 1.24 Cu. Ft Fireproof Safe

AmazonBasics 1.24 Cu. Ft Fireproof Safe

Specs:

  • Storage Space: 1.24 cu. Ft.
  • Fire Rating: 20 Minutes
  • Waterproof: No
  • Water Rating: None
  • Weight: 67.0 Pounds
  • Size (H/W/L): 19.7” x 14.2” x 13.8”

We all know that AmazonBasics is the generic answer for higher-quality, more expensive versions of the same product. The same can be said of this fireproof safe.

AmazonBasics 1.24 Cu. Ft Fireproof Safe open

This safe is built to provide basic protection without costing a fortune. A 1.24 cubic foot internal storage is nothing to scoff at. It has adjustable storage shelves to make fitting anything you want easier. Of course, the fire protection rating is limited to 20 minutes in temperatures up to 1200°F. And this should be enough in most cases.

AmazonBasics 1.24 Cu. Ft Fireproof Safe keylock

This is a full-sized box safe that can be mounted to the floor. It does weight 67.0 pounds so it’s not going to wiggle away. However, it might not survive a flood as it is not waterproof. If you need a waterproof option, there are other options on our list that will meet your needs better.

What We Like

This is an inexpensive version of some of the other full-size, floor-mount safes mentioned on our list. While it doesn’t have as long of a fireproof rating, we’re fairly confident that our goods will be safe inside of this one too.

Overall

AmazonBasics is a good generic answer to some of the more expensive units on our list. Of course, there are some limitations such as a lower fireproof rating and the lack of waterproofing, but it’s a good option for someone who needs a solution that won’t cause their wallet to catch fire.

Sale
AmazonBasics 1.24 Cu. Ft Fireproof Safe

  • Budget-Friendly Option For A Floor Safe
  • Fireproof For Up To 20 Minutes In 1200°F Temperatures.
  • Adjustable Shelves Makes It Easy To Fit Most Items Comfortably

#10 SentrySafe 0500 Fireproof Safe

SentrySafe 0500 Fireproof Safe

Specs:

  • Storage Space: 0.15 cu. Ft.
  • Fire Rating: 30 Minutes
  • Waterproof: No
  • Water Rating: None
  • Weight: 11.0 Pounds
  • Size (H/W/L): 6.1” x 12.2” x 10.3”

If you want a small, simple-to-use fireproof safe, you cannot go wrong with the SentrySafe 0500. It is extremely small and portable, perfect for hard drives, rings, and other small documents. It’s lightweight and easy to carry, although it does not come with a handle.

SentrySafe 0500 Fireproof Safe and documents

This is one of the smallest fireproof safes that we’ve seen, with an internal storage space of only 0.15 cubic feet. It is big enough to hold a subcompact handgun, small documents, and even hard drives. It has a rough-texture exterior with a key lock on the top. To carry this, there are two grips on the side (no carrying handle though). It is extremely light, barely even registering at 11 pounds. If you were in a hurry, this would feel weightless compared to some of the other options on our list.

As far as features go, it’s fireproof for up to 30 minutes while exposed to temperatures of 1550°F. The lock will not malfunction, even if it has been exposed to high temperatures. One thing to note, this is not waterproof, so keep it up off the ground if flooding might be an issue. And while it doesn’t have a normal carrying handle, it does have the indents on the side where your fingers can grip easily.

SentrySafe 0500 Fireproof Safe open

What We Like

The lighter, the better! Of course, this is one of the lightest on our list and it comes from a brand that has proven themselves. While it probably won’t make it through a long fire, it will make it through a small office/bedroom fire without any issues. There’s not a lot of fluff to this one; a key, a lock, a storage compartment – it’s basic and it works!

Overall

Sometimes you just need a box that can lock everything up without being too big. If it has fireproof certification, that helps too. And the SentrySafe 0500 is a lockbox with a few extra features. While it functions more as a lockbox, you can rest easy even if the bedroom catches fire.

Sale
SentrySafe 0500 Fireproof Safe

  • Small And Portable
  • Simple Lock And Key Mechanism
  • Fireproof For Up To 30 Minutes In 1550° F Temperatures

Buyer’s Guide To Find The Best Fireproof Safe

There are plenty of options when you start searching for fireproof safes. Plenty of brands have become synonymous with them too (i.e. Sentry). But, just because they are the “leader”, does that make them the best option? This buyer’s guide will help you identify which features matter, which features are “good marketing”, and what you should truly be looking for.

How Big Is It?

The size of your fireproof safe is important. If you need to store a few handguns and few documents, a closet safe might be a little too big; you might be better off with an under-the-bed safe instead. However, trying to store a few large rifles and/or other precious belongings might be better off in a large closet and/or floor safe.

A lot of people get into the idea that “bigger is better”. While it is true in the sense that you’ll have more space, it’s not true in the idea that you have to have somewhere to put it. If you have a spouse that doesn’t love the idea of a large, bulky, safe in the room, then there’s a good chance you’ll have a few problems. It’s best to avoid these problems by making sure the size of the safe you want will work with your current room/situation.

How Much Can It Hold?

In order to determine your storage capacity, think about what you will be storing inside and them multiply the expected area value by three. If you are storing a small handgun, a few documents, and some family heirlooms, a small fireproof safe may be sufficient; you might prefer a small floor safe instead. But, if you need to store a lot of guns and/or other significant sized items, then a full-sized floor/closet safe would be best.

But remember, a safe that can hold more tends to be bigger and cost more than other options. Make sure that you are not “over-guesstimating” your size expectations.

How Much Does It Weigh?

While it might not seem all that important, how much your fireproof safe weighs can affect your purchase tremendously. You have to consider how you will get it into the house, where you will put it (the second floor is not a good idea for large/oversized safes), will you try to take it with you when there is a fire, and what will you do to retrieve it after a fire?

Anything bigger than a handheld safe will be difficult to move, especially in the franticness of a fire. Looking back at the last two options, they are starting to make even more sense now.

What Does It Look Like?

In the event of an actual fire, this will not matter – it will be black, charred, and ugly (but everything inside will be safe)! However, the rest of the time, it will be in your home. If it is not hidden away, how it looks will matter tremendously.

Of course, there are basic fireproof safes and there are “Fort Knox” safes. Each of them has their purpose (they do the same thing), but some look more aesthetically pleasing when viewed side-by-side. If this will be in a high-visibility area, consider what it looks like and how much it will stand out/blend in with the environment.

What’s Inside?

Some fireproof safes come with extra shelving and/or storage areas. In most cases, this can be found in smaller cases built for documents and/or guns. However, larger safes can have multiple/removable shelving to accommodate different sized items, latches and braces for securing specialty items, secondary storage containers, and so much more. Again, think about what you are putting inside of the safe and then look for options that will secure them properly.

Are There Any Extras?

When it comes to a fireproof safe, being able to secure your valuables is the biggest feature. However, there are other extras that give your safe some character. Features like biometric locks, LCD screens, LED panels, multiple lock configurations, battery warnings, etc.

For the most part, certain brands offer certain features (patenting/ownership rights). However, some of the features can be found on more higher-end safes too. If this is important to you, make sure you don’t skip over this. However, it is important to remember that these features will cost you more money and they don’t improve the primary purpose of a fireproof safe – protecting your valuables during a fire.

How Easy Is It To Open?

The most basic locking mechanism that a fireproof safe will have is a lock/key combination. This is the tried, proven, and trusted way to secure most anything (i.e. doors, cars). However, some have combination locks, hybrid locking systems, touch panel locking systems, biometric locking system, etc.

If you are in a fire, is a key easier to use than a sweaty palm? Is a key easier to use than remembering a combination that you’ve only entered one other time? Will you even remember the combination in an emergency situation? What if you wrote down the combination but it was already burnt in the fire?

Don’t get too complicated with the locking system, especially if you intend to take anything out of it in a fire/emergency.

Fire Rating

There are several factors that go into this, but it breaks down to how hot the safe can get safely, how long it can go before it fails, and how much humidity can make it inside. Make sure you consider how long your safe “may” be in a fire. If it is a large case, it will probably have to last several hours. If it is a portable case, it might not be in a fire for long.

Security

In our previous section “How Easy Is It To Open” we addressed different locking mechanisms during a fire, but we assumed that it was only for protection from a fire. What if it is necessary for protection from someone with nefarious intentions (i.e. a thief)?

Again, how easy/hard is it for someone to get into your safe. A smaller safe can be busted using a screwdriver and a pry bar in most cases. However, larger safes tend to have more robust locking mechanisms and can withstand basic attempts with only a few scratches and/or bends to show for it.

closed safe on shelf of cabinet in hotel room

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between fireproof and fire-resistant safes?

A: While these two terms are used interchangeably (loosely), they are two different things entirely.

If a safe is fireproof, it has been proven using certain certification measurements (UL ratings) that have tested in an actual fire. During these tests, it survived comfortably without any damage to the contents inside, lasting through a certain amount of time without damage to the contents, or sweating on the inside which would damage the contents. Of course, anything can eventually break down if the fire was unstoppable, but most home fires and/or structural fires only last for a few hours.

Fire-resistant is effectively useless when it comes to safes. Basically, fire-resistant means that it will “resist” catching on fire if the flame isn’t directly touching it. So, if the drapes caught on fire, it wouldn’t unless the drapes fell on top of the safe. A fireproof safe wouldn’t catch on fire, even if the drapes fell on top of them and stayed the whole time.

While some marketing departments haven’t figured this “difference” out, there is no reason to buy a fire-resistant safe. If it isn’t certified, it isn’t worth buying.

Q: Are fireproof safes also waterproof?

A: Some are and some aren’t. Most fireproof safes are not sealed so tight that water cannot make it inside; they could be considered water-resistant, but even that is being lenient.

However, some companies do design safes that are waterproof and fireproof. If they are waterproof, they will highlight that fact. Waterproof safes have a different interior construction, giving them the ability to keep water out, even when submerged.

A safe is not waterproof just because it is fireproof. If you need both options, then look for a company that advertises both protective qualities.

Q: Are fireproof safes airtight?

A: Most fireproof safes are not airtight. While they keep most air from getting in or out, they still have small crevices that can leak minuscule amounts of air. When it comes to being fireproof, this is not that big of a deal. Safes that are waterproof do a better of job of keeping air from getting in or out. Even so, they can still let out “some” air/smells.

One situation where this applies is if you had something of “illegal nature” (i.e. weed; not illegal everywhere). If a K9 was brought in, he would most likely still be able to detect the smell of the illegal substance even though the safe was fireproof and/or waterproof.

Q: Are fireproof safes effective?

A: Fireproof safes are as effective as they are rated. Anything above that rating is up for question. If a fireproof safe has been rated for up to four hours, then it will survive a fire that lasts around four hours (in most cases, even longer than that). However, that does not equate for outside factors such as explosions, accelerants, and other fire-enhancing situations.

A fireproof safe is designed to keep the fire out of the inside of the safe. To do this, they have to create a good seal to keep the flame out. In keeping the heat outside of the safe, the inside is now much cooler than the outside; this can cause humidity issues. A cheaper, inexpensive safe may not have humidity factors in place like a more expensive safe might, leading to wet documents and/or destroyed family photos.

If you want a fireproof safe that will protect your guns, jewelry, and other high-end items from a fire, they will work up to their rating. Beyond their rating, it is completely up to luck and how long the fire sat on it. Again, most home and/or structural fires last around four hours before being extinguished.

Q: How are fireproof safes rated?

A: Safes are rated using a ton of different rating metrics. Some of the ratings include UL Ratings, TL Ratings, B-Ratings, C-Ratings, and Fire Ratings.

UL Ratings are conducted by the Underwriters Laboratories and they conduct tests on products and give a rating code that defines the safety and/or performance of the product. One of the most common ratings currently in use in the UL72. However, there are three primary variants of this rating: UL72 Class 350, UL72 Class 150, and UL72 Class 125.

  • UL72 Class 125 is rated to protect non-paper data and hard disks. This is where the safe’s internal temperature will not rise above 55° celsius and will maintain a humidity level below 80%.
  • UL72 Class 150 is rated to protect non-paper data and photographic records. This is where the safe’s internal temperature will not rise above 65° celsius and will maintain a humidity level below 85%.
  • UL72 Class 350 is rated to protect paper and other highly-sensitive materials/devices. This is where the safe’s internal temperature will not rise above 177° celsius with no measurement for humidity.

TL Ratings are ratings that determine how secure a safe is from all types of mechanical, electrical, and other types of cutting tools.

B-Ratings are when a safe’s walls are less than 0.5” thick and the doors are less than 1.0” thick; B-rated safes must have a locking device present.

C-Ratings are when a safe’s walls are made out of steel, are at least 0.5” thick and the doors are at least 1.0” thick; C-rated safes must have a locking device present.

Fire Ratings is a determination of how long a certified safe can last in a fire before exceeding their internal temperature rating. For instance, a UL72 Class 350 1-Hour rating means that the safe will not exceed 177° celsius internally when exposed to a fire of 926° celsius for up to one hour.

Q: Do fireproof safes expire?

A: Fireproof safes do not have an expiration date on them. Unless they are exposed to flame/fire, they will not degrade in performance. If they are UL72 Class 350 1-Hour rated, they will remain that way until they are subjected to an emergency situation that would degrade their ability to resist heat in the future. If they’ve been subjected to an emergency situation, then they should be replaced.

Q: Do fireproof safes have asbestos in them?

A: Newer model fireproof safes do not have asbestos in them. However, older model fireproof safes did use a combination of gypsum and concrete. If you feel that your safe has asbestos in it, you can have it tested, treated, and/or replaced.

Q: How long can fireproof safes last in a fire?

A: Each fireproof safe is given a UL Rating and a Fire Rating. These two certifications will determine how long your safe will last under optimal circumstances. Even if the safe was rated for three hours, the presence of an accelerant could change that dramatically as the temperature could be lifted well above 926° celsius.

Q: What if I lose my key or forget my combination?

A: In the event that you lose your key or forget your combination, you’ll need to call a locksmith. If it is an emergency situation, either take it with you or leave it behind. A locksmith should be able to open the safe using specialized tools designed to crack safes open. No matter what, a safe can be opened – it just depends on what has to be used to get inside.

Q: What if the battery dies on my fireproof safe?

A: For safes equipped with battery operated digital interfaces, this can be a little complicated. Most will beep when the battery is low while others won’t give any warning at all. If you are concerned about this, make it a habit of changing the batteries out at a set time each year. If the batteries die and you don’t have a secondary entry (i.e. key/combination), then you’ll have to have a locksmith break into your safe.

Conclusion

Like we said before, there are plenty of fireproof safes on the market right now. And if they are truly fireproof, they all function the same. However, each one of the ones on our list had special features that separated them from the rest. We tried to highlight the differences in such a way that you would see why they were the most impressive. Of course, we also included our buyer’s guide to help you see the criteria that we used to rank these. If you did have any questions, there is a good chance it was answered in our frequently asked questions section.

Ultimately, we wanted you to be able to find the best fireproof safe for you. Remember, the safe you need will work for what you want to protect. If it is a couple of documents and a hard drive or two, then a smaller fireproof safe will be your best option. But if you need to pack up some serious firepower (i.e. rifles), then a larger fireproof safe would be your best option. Use our guide to help you in narrowing down your search – if you did not already find one that is perfect for.

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2019-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API