Nothing sends chills down one’s back like the thought of a fire.
A fire has the ability to completely destroy everything you’ve worked for, and yet there is very little you can do once it starts.
You might have time to grab something on the way out, but you may also not. Most of what you have can be replaced, but there are certain items that you can’t. Documents, for example, will go up quickly, and it’s not like you can run to the office and sift through a filing cabinet.
Instead, you need to protect your important documents with a fireproof safe.
Fireproof safes not only can protect against fire but against theft as well. So you may need something light and easy purchase. Or you might want something extreme, like Fort Knox inside your office.
Whatever you’re interested in and whatever needs you to have, here are the 12 best fireproof safes for improved documents.
If you just wanted any old safe you could head out to the local big chain grocery store and buy a safe. These have locks, and you’ll have it the same day. But there’s much more to consider than whether a safe locks or not.
If you’re going to invest in a safe, you want to know the safe will actually work.
Because there are plenty of safes out there that are nothing more than boxes or cabinets with a simple lock.
Instead, before you buy anything, here is what you need to consider.
There is an incredible range of costs when it comes to fireproof safes.
You can find entry level safes for well under $100. And you can find other safes for well over $1,000. Now, more expensive doesn’t always mean better. However, more expensive usually means larger and heavier.
Price shouldn’t be your only determining factor. There are a handful of other fireproof safe specific features you need to consider, but the price of your safe can be all over the place, so know this before moving forward with your purchase.
Yes, the safe will likely say “Fireproof” in the title, but just how fireproof is it?
Fireproof isn’t one size fits all. It’s similar to “waterproof,” where a device is waterproof up to a certain depth and for a certain length of time. With fireproofing, the safe is fireproof for a certain time and at a certain temperature.
Naturally the hotter the temperature and the longer the time the better. The average house fire burns at 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit. It can burn hotter in some areas and cooler in others, but that’s the average temperature to keep in mind.
Additionally, during a house fire, one room will burn, on average, for 20 minutes, before the flames spread to the next room and the fire dies down in the current room. Due to this, you need a safe that is good for at least 30 minutes, although more is better. This is especially the case if the fire lasts longer, or if the safe is in a lower area of the house and burning debris might collapse on it.
So a burn temperature of 1,100 and length of time of 30 minutes are minimums for your safe.
It might sound like a strange feature to consider when shopping around for fireproof safes, but a waterproof safe is a must. If where you live has a sprinkler system, these may kick on at any time during a fire. The fire department will also use high powered hoses.
If your safe isn’t waterproof the fire may not damage the internal documents, but the water might.
4. Space and Weight
How much room do you need to store your valuables and important documents? Do you just need room for a folder, or are you storing every draft of the latest novel you’ve been working on?
The amount of space is something to consider.
The weight is another important point of concern.
There are smaller safes that are fireproof and have enough room to store your documents. But these safes can be picked up and stolen without any problem.
Are you looking to protect your documents just from fire, or do you want to protect your documents from theft as well? If you want both, you’ll go for something that’s too heavy for anyone to easily lift it and take it out of the house. If you just want something that protects against fires you can go with something lighter.
The right safe for you is going to depend on exactly what you want to protect. Do you just want to protect a few documents, or do you want to protect other items as well? Additionally, do you want it to be hefty so it can’t be stolen, or is that not a concern? There is much to consider when picking out the right safe because you’re not only talking about protective features you’re also talking about a price tag. The safes on this list range from under $50 to over $2,000, but if you’re only protecting Social Security cards and passports, you don’t need to drop a few thousand dollars.
Ultimately, we decided to go with the Phoenix Datacare 2 Hour Key Lock Fireproof Safe. It has everything we want in a safe. Now, this safe is not large enough to store rifles (there is one on this list that is), but you can store just about anything else. It’s also fireproof, waterproof, can take a fall from 30 feet and it doesn’t require batteries. There’s nothing flashy about the safe, it just does its job exceptionally well.
Some of the highlight features for the safe are:
When you don’t need anything large and bulky, the SentrySafe 0500 Fireproof Box is a great option. Not only can it keep your documents safe but it’s about as low as you can get in terms of price point.
This is a small box that is easy to pick up and travel with. That might be exactly what you’re looking for, or it may mean you want something that needs to be heavier to avoid easy theft.
Now, it is important to point out you can’t fit a full-size legal folder or document into this model. At .15 cubic feet, the interior measurements are 9.7 inches by 7.3 inches by 3.8 inches. Basically, this is good for passports, birth certificates, Social Security documents, and other smaller forms.
If you want to fit full-size documents and folders inside you’ll need to invest in a safe that is smaller. However, you can fit USB flash drives, DVDs and CDs inside.
The safe is UL Classified at 1550 degrees for 30 minutes, so it should hold up to the average house fire. However, this safe is not waterproof.
Some features of the SentrySafe 0500 Fireproof Box to consider include:
If you need a safe that has more room than the previous option, the AdirOffice Security Safe with Digital Lock is a great step up. It looks and feels a bit like the classic hotel safe you find in the closet.
At 1.25 cubic feet, there’s more than enough room for you to store your folder of documents. It’s not a bookshelf worth of storage space, but it’s more than enough for most basic needs.
The AdirOffice Security Safe with Digital Lock uses a programmable code which you can create. It also comes with an override key, should you forget the code.
If you want to get flashy you can even opt for a few different color options, including black, blue, red, and white.
The 1.25 version has internal measurements of 12 inches by 12 inches by 15 inches (you can use a shelf to partition the middle of the safe, or you can take this out).
This is a good shelf for storing valuables against theft as it can bolt into the ground. However, it is not fireproof. So if you’re looking for a safe that is, in fact, fireproof this is not the option to go with.
Some features of the AdirOffice Security Safe with Digital Lock to consider include:
The AmazonBasics Fire Resistant Safe gives you a well built safe that features a digital dial pad and solid handle lock. There is also an override key should the battery on the safe fail.
The safe is fire resistant for up to 20 minutes at 1200 degrees. This is right at the bare minimum for fire protection, which means you will likely be covered in an “average” house fire. Of course, there’s nothing average about a fire, so ideally you’d like something with a higher temperature rating and a longer duration, but it should still hold up in most cases.
The safe is also not waterproof, so it’s best to keep your documents within waterproof containers within the safe, just in case.
The safe can be bolted to the ground for added theft prevention (it weighs at over 60 pounds, so it can be lifted if you’re worried about this).
The internal dimensions of the AmazonBasics Fire Resistant Safe are 12.5 inches by 9.6 inches by 18.1 inches.
Some features of the AmazonBasics Fire Resistant Safe to consider include:
This safe is on the smaller side, yet it gets the job done and will provide you with a number of security features. It is fireproof for up to one hour at 1700 degrees. It can withstand falls and can be submerged in water for up to 24 hours without any leaking.
The lock comes with a preset dial combination (not all too different from the locker combinations you’ve likely used). There is a secondary locking key to give you dual locking security (this is not an override key but the combination and the key must be used in unison.
The safe is on the smaller side but it is incredibly durable and heavy. Just by looking at it you’d never guess it tips the scales at 86 pounds. It can also be bolted down.
Internal measurements are 11.9 inches by 13.8 inches by 12.6 inches.
If you want a safe that is a bit more elegant in design, the Safe Box Digital Security Safe is the way to go. It has a sophisticated design that features an excellently crafted digital display.
There are two unlocking options to consider. First, you can use the combination (a personal code you set) plus the master key. Or, you can bypass the personal code and use the master key and emergency key together (the emergency key access is hidden under the Tigerking logo).
You can look up access records on the LED screen. This way, if you think others are accessing the safe you can always check the back records.
The internal dimensions for the safe are 14.6 inches by 8.7 inches by 10.3 inches with a total internal capacity of 0.8 cubic feet. In total it weighs 67 pounds.
The safe says it remains “in flames” for up to 30 minutes, but it does not give a fire rating temperature, which is something to consider. Ideally, the safe you purchase will highlight the exact temperature it can sustain.
The safe is not waterproof.
The safe does have screw features, so you can screw the safe into a wall or floor, although the screws are not as heavy duty as some of the bolt options of other safes on this list.
This is the kind of safe you want to get if you like the LED and overall design and look of the safe as the stainless steel does look great against the glossy black. Plus the padded interior is a nice touch.
Some features of the Safe Box Digital Security Safe to consider include:
When you’re serious about keeping your documents safe, the Fire Alert is an excellent option. In terms of a household or small office safe, this device gives you what you need (as long as you don’t need more space).
The safe is waterproof, so your documents will not get soaked when a large fire is put out (it is also airtight, so it can be dropped in a pool and the internal documents will not be damaged). The safe is also able to withstand temperatures of 1700 degree for up to an hour.
The Fire Alert safe uses four live door bolts and backlit digital keypad. There is an emergency override key, should you forget the combination. It’s also pry-resistant as the hinges are concealed. This way, it can’t be pried open with a crowbar.
You’ll love the heavy duty turn handle, which gives it the feel of a secure bank vault.
Interior dimensions are 13.63 inches by 13.25 inches by 12.5 inches.
If you work in a small business, especially a business that deals with daily cash drops, you understand the importance of having a strong, secure safe. The Steelwater AMSWEL-310 is exactly the kind of safe you should consider.
The highlight of this safe is that it has a removable shelf 1/2″ deep. Although it’s small, it comes with an interior capacity of 0.52 cubic feet. Steelwater AMSWEL-310 has an active rectangular locking bolt, as well as stationary rectangular locking bolts on the hinge side. Plus, it has a pre-drilled 1/2″ diameter anchor hole.
The safe is made from solid steel, with layers of steel inner walls and door. It can withstand a 2-hour fire of 1850°F (1010°C.).
The safe features four-bolt down holes for securing the safe to the floor. It also weighs 75 pounds so it isn’t easily picked up and taken. It features a code lock that is durable and feels nice to the touch.
The safe has an electronic keypad with a total of 4 reprogrammable (4-16) digit combinations and non-volatile memory. Nevertheless, the safe doesn’t have a mechanical key, so make sure to know your digits.
Some of the features of this safe include:
In terms of fireproof features, few safe manufacturers are able to compete with SentrySafe. Pretty much every SentrySafe safe you purchase is fireproof at 1700 degrees for up to an hour. Like other SentrySafe designs, this is waterproof for up to 24 hours.
This design is perfect for when you have a number of documents and valuables you want to protect without purchasing a much larger safe. The bottom portion of this safe is actually designed to hold files, which makes it the perfect fit for your documents.
The interior dimensions of the safe are 14.8 inches by 11.9 inches by 19.6 inches. It has a door clearance of 17.5 inches and weighs 125 pounds.
The safe is pry-resistant with six deadbolts built into the design.
On the interior, there are key hooks for keeping your spare keys, plus pockets to hold passports and other documents.
There is an additional key lock if you want to add a second layer of security. It is not an override lock.
When you really want to get serious with your home or office lock, the Stack-On Elite Junior Executive Fire Safe is the way to go.
The safe provides three adjustable shelves to best fit your storage needs. The black powder and silver gray finish look excellent, plus the handle is sharp and looks great in any location.
The safe uses 10 locking points to keep the door secure and there is a bolt down design, even though the safe already weighs 225 pounds.
The interior measurements of the safe are 36.9 inches by 18.5 inches by 14.5 inches.
The safe isn’t tall enough for rifle safe, but just about everything else you might need can (and will) fit inside.
The safe is also fireproof at 1400 degrees for 30 minutes. It is also fully padded on the inside so nothing will be scratched while sitting on a hard surface.
The Hollon Safe is a classic safe design with a code dial pad and steel handle. It uses a three-way locking chrome bolt construction and is even rated for up to a 30-foot impact.
The interior dimensions of the safe are 26 2/9 inches by 12 5/9 inches by 12 4/7 inches. It is also one of the heaviest safes on the list at 374 pounds, so the chances of anyone stealing the safe without the aid of a mechanical dolly are slim.
The manufacturer does state the safe is fire resistant at up to two hours, but it does not list the fire temperature.
There are moveable (and removable) drawers within the safe, so you can make any needed adjustments to fit what you’re storing. There is also a top key compartment within the safe where you can add secondary protection for valuables such as smaller paper documents, keys, jewelry, and other items.
Some points to consider with the safe include:
Another one from Hollon, Hollon HS-1400E Fireproof Office Safe comes at a higher price tag. Still, it is perfect for your office use. The HS-1400E measures 52″ x 27.56″ x 25″ on the outside and 45″ x 20.86″ x 18.11″ on the inside, with plenty of storage for all the important documents.
The safe is made from solid steel and has a long-lasting finish. It withstands fire for 2 hours and has a 3-way locking chrome bolt.
The interior adjustable shelves and one interior drawer make it easier to organize the items you keep in the safe. Plus, there’s an anchor bolt to bolt it to the floor.
The door on this safe automatically locks and it has an upgraded electronic keypad. It is constructed in a way to prevent smoke damage.
Some of the features of this safe include:
The interior of the Phoenix Datacare 2 Hour Key Lock Fireproof Safe measures at 19.5 inches by 15.5 inches by 16 inches.
It is rated for a 30-foot drop.
Fire replacement warranty will replace your safe for free if your home is ever in a fire.
The fire safe is rated at two-hour fire resistant, although it does not give a specified temperature. However, it is ware resistant to prevent water from pushing into the safe.
The safe has an adjustable internal shelf as well.
Each of these saves brings a number of benefits. It really comes down to the kind of safe you’re interested in and what you want to protect. So the safe that works for you will not always work for the next person.
In terms of overall safe security and protection, we believe the money is well spent on the Phoenix Datacare 2 Hour Key Lock Fireproof Safe. This safe costs more than the other options, but it has everything we want. It’s fire resistant for more up to two hours and it is water resistant. It doesn’t matter how fire resistant a safe is if water damaged everything inside the safe. Of course, you may not want to pay this much, which is more than alright. There are other great safes on this list to go with.
What do you look for in a safe? Which safe would you pick, and if you’ve already purchased a safe what made you go with it?
Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.