You’ve probably seen safes hidden behind a portrait and installed directly on the wall. A lot of movies feature wall safes containing important documents, a vast amount of riches, and more.
Keeping important items inside a regular vault is not as safe as you think. Burglars have different techniques and tools at their disposal to take all your personal belongings in a matter of minutes. Investing in a simple vault on a wall can add another layer of security for your valuable items. Before you run out and buy a safe, you should know a few important tips when buying a safe.
Simple Tips When Buying a Wall Safe
Wall safes are the best storage space for items that you want to keep away from prying eyes. Compared to normal vaults, it is more expensive. Since you’re investing in long-term storage, you need to make sure that you’re getting the best one available.
The Locking Mechanism
There are four common locking mechanisms used in a safe:
This is the most common lock in a safe. Even the traditional vaults on the wall are using keyed locks to keep their valuables secure. In the past, most people are using padlocks. But, they’ve become obsolete because thieves can open these locks in just a few seconds.
Modern wall safes are not using keyed locks as the main security measure. Usually, they are only added as a backup for the main lock of the vault. If you can’t access it using the main locking mechanism, you can just use the key to open it.
The combination dial is one of the oldest types of locks still found in many establishments around the globe. School gym lockers are still using them and most traditional wall safes are using this.
To open the safe, you just need to spin the dial back and forth to key in the preset combination. The idea is the same with a numerical keypad. But, you are using a traditional dial instead.
The most popular vaults come with numerical keypads. You just need to key in a four- to eight-digit code and you can unlock your safe. This type of lock uses batteries and you can replace them even without opening the storage space.
This is currently the most advanced type of locking mechanism available. You only need your fingerprint or your eyes to open the safe. Most of the models allow you to store multiple retinal scans and fingerprints. This is to enable more users to open the safe.
Next in line is the material used to manufacture the safe. Commonly, manufacturers are using steel alloys and heavy-gauge steel to ensure the durability of the vault. Having a locking mechanism won’t make any sense if the burglars can easily open your storage because of low-quality materials.
They powder coat the exterior steel to make sure that rust and corrosion will not damage the material. As for the interiors, they might have foam or cutouts to protect jewelry and other important items from damage.
Of course, the material should be strong enough to withstand extreme heat. In case of fire, the safe should be able to hold on for at least two hours.
Wall safes are usually small in size because of the limits placed on residential construction. The standard spacing is about 16 inches between two studs. Basically, you only have around 14.5 inches of space so you can’t really install a big vault on your wall.
As a result, the capacity of wall safes is very limited. You can hide jewelry, a few important documents, handguns, and other lightweight items.
If you plan to get a bigger safe, you need a contractor to create a customized space where it would be installed.
A relocker is one of the most important security features that your safe needs to have. It may not be required if you plan to keep regular items. But, if you are going to store confidential documents, jewelry, guns, or other valuable items, this feature can provide extra security.
A safe relocker is actually a small bolt in the safe door. It is usually hidden so even thieves will not be able to tell if a vault has this kind of security feature.
When someone tries to open the safe using drills or crowbars, the impact will trigger the relocker and reinforce the safe. The bolt will be released and prevent the burglars from accessing the safe. You’ll need a locksmith to open the safe when the relocker is released since the locking mechanisms won’t be able to open the safe.
Always Choose a UL Approved Lock
If you are going to buy a safe, make sure that it has a UL-approved lock. If the safe has no UL approval, it means that the locks are low quality.
The only upside of a no UL approval lock is the price. They are more affordable than your normal vaults. But, the downside is the quality. These low-quality locks are very creative, but the quality is sub-par at best. There are instances when the safe owners are locked out of their vaults. There are some reports where the lock only lasted for a few months.
The UL approval from the locks would guarantee that it would last for years or even decades if properly maintained. They are sturdy enough to prevent forceful entry so the thieves would have a hard time opening your vault. Well, they are not indestructible. But, thieves would have to make a lot of noise to completely open UL-approved locks.
Investing in a low-quality safe will not make any sense in the long run. Their initial costs are very low, but they won’t even last for a year. The worst case is that they are not capable of protecting your valuable items for even a few minutes.
Don’t let the price tag scare you. You should use a high-qualitywall safe and keep your important items protected.