All of us have certain belongings and valuables that everyone wants to keep as safe as possible. These articles could range from legal documents, bonds, certificates, passports, jewelry, cash, and other items. Safes or vaults serve as an important medium of storing and protecting these precious items against burglary, fire, floods, and other unforeseen circumstances.
But before buying, installing a safe at your home, office, or any other place, it is important to have a thorough knowledge of safes which will definitely help to decide the best depending on the needs and requirements. There are different types of safes available in the market which we have discussed in detail in this article so that one can gain a certain amount of knowledge before contacting a safe manufacturer.
By Key Lock Type
One key basis of differentiating between various kinds of safes and vaults is the lock type. This is an important one and should be chosen carefully. The different types of safes by key lock type are listed below.
Electronic/ Digital Lock Safes
With the advancement in technology, there are new major developments in the safe lock types too. With the incorporation of electronic or digital locks in safes which are a bit more advanced than their mechanical counterparts, the security levels have been enhanced.
These electronic locks have a digital keypad that runs on batteries. These are the same as traditional locks but they have a password of four to six digits which is entered on the keypad.
As soon as the correct passcode is entered, the locks open themselves automatically and the locker or safe can be accessed. It is generally a faster and convenient manner of accessing the safes.
- Digital locks are usually reliable and durable and they experience less wear and tear over time.
- These are user-friendly as the entire process is happening on a digital screen that has lights that makes it easier to see the passcode which is entered. The option of changing the passcode is also available which means users can change the passcode from time to time.
- The security levels of a digital lock can be increased in certain manners such as by setting a time limit, a beep or alert when the wrong passcode is entered, and others.
Since the lock functions on batteries, these need to be changed from time to time though there are warning alerts when the battery needs to be changed.
These locks are expensive as compared to mechanical locks.
We know that no lock can assure 100% safety and hence, these locks can also get hacked by hackers.
Fingerprint Lock Safes
These kinds of locks constitute a new era in lock technology since they do not require a key or code. They work on the biometrics of a person. A fingerprint lock safe has a biometric sensor that is accessed by the saved fingerprint only. This way it provides an advanced level of security and avoids the fear of someone doubling up the keys of the safe or the passcode getting stolen.
- These types of safes are very convenient to use. There is no need to remember a password or passcode.
- Provide maximum security since the finger is scanned by a 3d sensor so anything which does not match, will be rejected immediately.
- The accuracy depends on the condition of people’s skin.
- Health issues are a prime concern since the sensor is touched by people time and again which can lead to the multiplication of germs on the surface. If the safe is used by two or more people, then there are chances of spreading communicable diseases too.
Mechanic/ Key Lock Safes
As soon as we hear the term mechanical locks, an image with brass or stainless-steel spinner with small numbers incised on the surface appears in our minds. Mechanical locks can either have a spinner that is rotated several times to fit in the perfect passcode or it can also have a lock and key system.
- Mechanical locks are extremely durable with low maintenance if used properly.
- They do not run-on batteries which means no extra charges of replacing these batteries time and again.
- They are low in cost.
- They are time-consuming as to enter a single digit the whole spinner needs to be rotated until the number is fitted. Also, if one forgets the passcode in between, then he has to start from the beginning which is annoying too.
- A locksmith is needed to change or reset the password.
Combination Lock Safes
These are chosen by a lot of people and have become a new trend in safe locks. The combination lock does not depend just on a 4-digit or 6-digit passcode but it has a combination of numbers and letters in a series. It has a single rotating dial where numbers and letters are etched on the surface. The dial is rotated and the correct number or letter is entered to open the safe.
- These combination locks are versatile to use in several places and can be fixed easily
- They are very secure since there are numerous combinations available
- It is easy to use and does not require a locksmith or other aid to reset or change the password.
- People can forget the combination and then it can get hard to retrieve it since there are several combinations available
- They can get jammed due to rust but can be fixed
The second major basis of classifying different kinds of safes is depending on the place and way they are installed in. We have three prime safes depending on this basis which are discussed below.
Free Standing Safes
These safes are one of the most common yet desirable. They are usually made of heavy steel. They are available with a wide range of locks like mechanical locks, digital locks, combination locks, and other kinds of fancy and advanced ones like fingerprint locks.
These are called freestanding because they are fitted at any place like the inside of a cabinet, cupboard, shelf, or any other place which is unconventional and does not fall into the direct vision. These safes can also be fixed to the floor or wall since they already come with bolt marks where bolts can be fixed and tightened accordingly.
As the name itself suggests, this type of safe is installed inside of a wall. These are one of the most popular means of hiding valuables and precious items at home. Wall safes are generally smaller in size though custom home safe is also available which means they can be available in any size depending on the requirement.
Wall safes are fixed into a wall cavity and are generally easy to install. These safes are ideal for flats and small houses and can be installed at any secretive or concealed place like behind a big painting, inside a cupboard, and others. The best place to install these safes is, however, at a corner, where two walls meet which will make them fire-proof at the same time and ensure more security.
Floor safes are embedded onto a concrete floor which makes them concealed and provides a high level of security and satisfaction. These saves are fixed in the foundational structure of the building or house. For this, a hole is excavated and then the safe is lowered which is usually kept two feet above the ground to protect it from water and moisture.
These types of safes match the level of the floor and thus are hard to find by burglars. Using a carpet, rug and other floor coverings further increases the security. The only con is that one needs to bend to open these safes which is not considered convenient by many.
On the basis of application or storage items, there are two types of home safes: home safes and commercial safes. These are discussed with their subtypes below.
Generally, there are four main types of home safes. These are burglary-resistant, fire-resistant, jewelry safes, and gun safes.
1. Burglary-resistant Safes
These safes are made heavier to increase their security factor. Burglary-resistant safes could consist of in-wall, floor, or even standalone safes. They are generally built fireproof too and available in several lock types.
2. Fire-resistant Safes
These provide resistance from the fire up to an hour or several minutes depending on their quality. They can be used to store papers such as car insurance, your will, and other legal documents which are of no use to the burglar but need protection from fire.
3. Jewelry Safes
These safes are used to store all the precious jewelry and related items. These are made of heavy steel but from the interior, they are pleasing to the eyes since they are covered with velvet to protect these delicate items from moisture and other elements. They should be installed in a safe yet accessible place. Wall safes are a good option.
4. Gun Safes
A gun safe is typically designed to store arms and weapons which you need to keep out of reach of children which means they are designed in that manner precisely. They are available in different sizes, strength factors, and other specifications e.g., fireproof gun safe, burglary-resistant gun safe, etc.
It ia always advisable to get a gun safe from only the best gun safe manufacturer.
Businesses have confidential files, folders, documents, and other items that need to be kept under vaults for security. The different types of safes and vaults under the category of commercial safes are as follows.
1. Office Safes
These can be called improvised versions of home safes since their fire resistance is higher, they are stronger and tested against several parameters like drop tests, fire tests, etc. These usually have a digital lock system.
2. Bank Vaults
These are not boxes that are fixed in place rather these are secured rooms which are designed differently. Superior quality steel is used to make the doors and complex systems of locks are used to ensure utmost safety. These are also fire-proof.
3. Media Safes
These safes are made to tolerate high temperatures while ensuring the utmost safety levels. These are one of the finest and most expensive safes which are used to secure valuable papers and even digital media like CDs, audiotapes, videos, and other things.
4. Hotel Safes
These are the safes which one can see in the hotel rooms provided by the staff to keep the valuable stuff at one place but these are low in security levels. The hotel staff usually have a duplicate key or card to open these in case of emergencies.
5. Deposit Safes
These can be seen in post offices and banks where quick deposits are made. There is a small opening at the top so that the deposit can be inserted conveniently without opening the main door over and again. These keep the deposits safe until they are transferred to the main safe or locker.
By Fire Rating
There are various kinds of fire ratings that need to be understood before deciding amongst different types of safe. These ratings are provided by various reliable sources such as the K.I.S. (Korean Industrial Standard) Fire Test, U.L. Class of Fire Protection, and a variety of other European test standards.
UL Ratings are seen as one of the most trustworthy ratings against fire protection. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories which is an institution dedicated to making people and businesses aware of the safety standards. According to their fire-tests, they have established five ratings:
- 350-4 hour (4 hours resistance at 350 degrees)
- 350-2 hour (2 hours resistance at 350 degrees)
- 350-1 hour (1-hour resistance at 350 degrees)
- Insulated record container 350-1 hour
- Insulated record device 350-1 hour
The UL Ratings serve as a mark of guarantee and product quality.
We all know that no safe can be considered as the best type of safe because every safe has its pros and cons and does not guarantee 100% protection against floods, dire, burglars, and other circumstances. Yet, having prior knowledge about different types of safes and vaults before investing in them can augment the results and make the safes more efficient. Every house is different and thus, there are different kinds of safes suited to different types of houses.
Contact a trusted manufacturer like Safewell that will provide you with all the different types of high-quality safes, be it jewelry safe, or gun safe, or any electronic safe!