How To Choose The Best Fireproof Safe For Your Cash, Document And Valuables

When you think of a fireproof safe, do you ever wonder which is the best fireproof safe? It’s an interesting question to ponder when you consider just how many different manufacturers have come to market and achieved success in recent years. The truth is that when it comes to fireproof safes, there are a lot of things that can go wrong if you don’t measure up with the research process. Finding the best fireproof safe for your cash, documents and valuables should not be left to chance or taken for granted just because it seems like everyone wants to talk about fireproof safes these days.

Fireproof safes are not just used by individuals but also by companies and businesses. Commercial fire proof safes are a special type of safe which is used in all commercial establishments such as banks, schools, hospitals, stores and all the other commercial institutions. We’ll show you what to look for when buying a safe.

 

Terms To Know Before You Buy

 

We all understand that the best place to keep our valuables and important documents is inside a safe. It’s rare that we read heat-resistant, moisture-proof, fireproof/waterproof , waterproof, steel and composite as terms when describing safes. However, it’s also crucial to know what each of these terms stands for before you buy one for your home or office.

  • Heat-resistant: this means a material that has the ability to resist a change in its form or property caused by heating. 
  • Moisture-proof: this term indicates that a material is resistant to changes in moisture content, and minimizes its effect.
  • Fireproof/waterproof: is a special kind of material that provides some kind of protection from fire while waterproof is a material impervious to water
  • Steel: Steel is an alloy that is composed primarily of iron and carbon, along with a small amount of other elements. It is a basic material in construction, tools, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons. Steel’s strength makes it useful for a wide variety of purposes.
  • Composite: Composite steel is called a “composite” because it is made from more than one material. Basically, it is low carbon steel and byssus combined into one metal bar.

 

What Are Fireproof Safes Made Of?

Since the earliest reported safe installation in Ancient Egypt 13BC, the materials utilized to build today’s safes have come a long way. That safe was made of wood, but it included a locking system that was comparable to the pin and tumbler system used today. Wooden safes were used until around 1830, when the first iron safe was constructed. To better protect their contents from fire, the iron safe featured a wall composed of ceramic, stone, brick, and other materials. 

Fireproof safes are constructed of two steel skins or layers filled with a non-conductive, heat-resistant liner. The liner can be made of gypsum, perlite, vermiculite, cement, or diatomaceous earth, among other materials. A hard plastic inner skin coated by a heat-resistant liner can be used to make less expensive fireproof safes.

Is There A Difference Between Fireproof And Fire-Resistant Safes?

Although the terms “fireproof” and “fire-resistant” sound different, it is generally accepted that there is really no difference between the two when it comes to safes.

 

How Long Can A Fireproof Safe Last?

The phrase “fireproof” does not imply that the safe can resist the heat of a fire indefinitely. Even if a safe is designated as fireproof, it can succumb to the fire over time.

Most fireproof safes won’t endure more than 30 to 60 minutes. Higher-end fireproof safes can keep your valuables safe for up to four hours.

 

Fire Proof Ratings:

High-quality fireproof safes are usually tested and certificated by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). As a result, UL-rated safes are advised. The UL certification means fire-resistant capabilities of the safe have been evaluated in a controlled setting. 

Even if you don’t know what a safe is made of, you can determine its capabilities by checking its UL class rating. 

There are three UL class ratings in total:

  • Class 125 rating
  • Class 150 rating
  • Class 350 rating

Each rating specifies the temperature that can be maintained inside the safe (125°F, 150°F, and 350°F, respectively) for a specific duration of time during outside temperatures up to 2,000°F. 

Because paper auto-ignites at temperatures about 450°F, the Class 350 safes are suitable for it.

Class 150 and 125 are used to store more sensitive items, such as photographic films, magnetic tapes, and compact disks, that might be harmed by greater temperatures.

To offer the essential safety, these safes must have all its components, including the door, rated the same class of  fire protection.

 

What Properties Should The Materials Have?

Regardless of how a fireproof safe is constructed, one of the most significant difficulties is that, while it must withstand extreme temperatures, it must also provide adequate insulation to keep the contents within as cool as possible.

The fire does not have to enter the safe to cause serious harm to the contents inside. Because of the high temperature, many items can burn easily.

In a nutshell, this means that the materials used to construct the safe must fulfill two primary functions:

  1. The materials utilized must be able to endure high temperatures and be non-combustible.
  2. The materials must be capable of insulating the inside from the outside’s high temperature.

 

Cheaper vs. Expensive Fireproof Safes

Internal hard plastic skin coated by concrete or gypsum is common in less expensive fireproof safes. These can work, but only in tiny fires. The more expensive fireproof safes, on the other hand, can be made of higher-grade and thicker steel and can use combinations of gypsum, ceramic wool, fiberglass, vermiculite, cement, and diatomaceous earth for superior thermal insulation.

Steel thickness and insulating materials utilized can differ. A thicker safe will be more burglary resistant, and a thicker liner will provide better heat resistance.

Steel plates ranging from 6 to 10 gauge are used in some of the strongest safes while  14 to 20 gauge steel, on the other hand, can be a more cost-effective option, but the steel is thinner.

 

Conclusion

As explained above, fire safety is a matter of life and death that should not be overlooked. Thus, you must choose your fireproof safe wisely. When selecting a fireproof safe for your home or business, make sure it has the type of protection and security options that are best for your assets. For example, if you have particularly valuable assets that need extra protection, then look for a safe with a lower degree of fire resistance to allow for added personalization. Look at what different safes offer and then make your choice based on the features that are important to you and your needs.

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