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Different Types Of Safes For Your Home

Home security extends basic door locks and intruder alarms. To ensure that your valuables are safe from theft and harm, you need to add an extra layer of security in the form of safes.

What is a safe? In the simplest terms, a safe is a metal or plastic box that requires a key or code to access its components.

You can store your valuables such as money, jewellery, and important documents in a safe to keep them protected not only from theft but also from fire and water damage.

You’d be surprised to know how many different types of safes there are and, if you are not familiar, it might be a little difficult to choose the best one for your safety needs.

Read on to find out all there is to know about the different types of safes for your home and the features to look out for when getting one for your valuables:


As mentioned above, there are several different types of domestic safes for safety and security purposes. The most common ones include:

Security safes

Security safes are versatile safes that can be used to hide a number of items without a worry. They are generally small in size and can easily be hidden under or behind a piece of furniture.

They are used by people to safeguard their cash, jewellery, and other valuables when they are going away on vacation and want to be sure that an intruder breaking into their house wouldn’t get their hands on these precious items.

A few important features of security safes include thick doors and walls, a high impact rating, and a seamless design to make sure there is no way to forcefully crack them open.

Data safes

Made specifically to protect items such as laptops, USBs, hard drives, cash, and any important documents including IDs, passports, and birth certificates, data safes ensure that all these items are never lost, damaged, or stolen.

Most data safes are smaller than other types of safes and are designed in a way to keep papers and small electronic equipment safe. Their size makes them portable and easier to move around without any trouble.

A few important features of data safes include fire and water resistance so that you don’t have to worry about your important papers and gadgets getting destroyed in the event of a fire or flood.

Gun safes

Although gun safes are not mandated by law, gun owners do have the legal obligation to ensure their firearms remain safe from theft and misuse.

In addition to that, to gain your gun license, the police will inspect not just your property but also your gun storage provision. This means that without the proper gun safe, your license is most likely going to be rejected.

Therefore, any family that owns a gun needs to have a safe place, aka. a gun safe, to store their firearms and keep them out of unauthorised hands such as children in the house and burglars breaking in.

Gun safes come in a variety of sizes and, although there is no legal obligation, they should meet the British Standard BS7558 that ensures that they will be able to withstand a 5-minute-long attack using common burglary tools.

Depository safes

Different from the deposit/drop safes usually found in banks and retail stores, depository safes for homes are much smaller and can fit anywhere easily.

Their unique feature is that you can deposit money or other small items into the safe without having to open it. You can simply slide in the contents through a small opening.

This makes them very useful for individuals trying to save money. The items inside can easily be retrieved, but for that, the safe needs to be opened which adds an extra incentive for the user to save more.

File safes

File safes are great portable safes used to carry around your important files and documents full of information.

They are not just portable but also sturdy enough to protect the contents from any kind of damage. They are designed to hold letter-sized files and folders and come with strong locks to protect your confidential information against theft.

Wall safes

Wall safes are, as the name suggests, installed on the walls of your house and are used when you want something that is both hidden and easily accessible.

They easily fit on the wall without taking up too much space and being too obvious, and chances are that you’ve seen these very common types of safes on television and in the movies.

They can easily be concealed by a painting or a piece of art and are ideal for small belongings such as paperwork and jewellery.

Safe boxes

Safe boxes are small boxes that come with various lock options and are large enough to hold items of value such as small gadgets and plenty of important documents.

They can either be freestanding, bolted to the floor, or mounted on the wall for extra security. The latter provides more security since if they are not bolted or mounted, they are usually small enough to be carried away with ease.

Bolting it to the floor or mounting it to the wall can help put the owner’s mind at ease and provide added protection to their valuables.

Portable safes

Made ideally for travelling, portable safes are a lot smaller than other types of safes and are easily lifted and carried, even when they are full.

Since they are designed to be portable, they usually have a strong handle on them that makes them easy to carry.

Portable safes also come with separate trays so that you can compartmentalise your items such as jewellery, cash, and important paperwork.

Diversion safes

Safes are usually installed in a few typical locations, and sadly, burglars know exactly where to look for them. For this reason, you can invest in diversion safes for your valuables that look like regular items, such as a hardcover book that won’t attract unwanted attention.

These diversion safes blend really well with the home décor and can be used both indoors and outdoors to hide items such as the house or car keys.

They are small enough to be easily lifted and moved around the house without an issue. However, due to their size, they are not suitable for storing large items but are ideal for things like keys, money, USBs, hard drives, and documents.


Now that you know about all the different types of safes for your home, let’s talk about the different locking mechanisms and the level of protection they provide. The most common types of locks include:

Key locks

Key locks, also known as manual locks, are the standard locks that come with the most basic safes and are incredibly easy to use and control.

As with any other door in your house, safes with key locks rely on a key to open them to access the contents inside them.

They are extremely high quality and durable and are perfect for individuals who have trouble remembering access codes.

The only problem with using keys is that you may misplace or lose them, making the safe and its contents vulnerable to threats. The good thing is that only individuals with the physical key will have access permission, and it is very difficult to have them copied or duplicated.

Combination locks

Combination locks have a dial on them that has to be turned to the correct order to form a combination to open the door of the safe.

If the incorrect combination is entered or an unsuccessful attempt is made multiple times, the safe will remain locked and might even need reinforcements to open.

The downside with combination safes is that whoever has access to the codes has access to the safe and its contents. They usually come with a code already saved before it is purchased, making it difficult to change it later.

Electronic locks

Electronic locks, also called digital locks, are ideal solutions for home safes with several advanced features. They come with a keypad that is used by the user to enter a code to gain access and unlock the safe.

These advanced systems allow up to 100 users and let you set a unique code for each. They also let you change the codes easily and revoke access permissions for any users.

This is an important feature for when you need to give temporary access to someone or your current codes have been compromised.

Biometric locks

For the ultimate level of protection, you need to get a safe with a biometric lock that allows only an authorised person to gain access.

Instead of relying on keys, codes, or combinations, these safes can be programmed to open with the touch of your fingerprint.

Similar to biometric locks on smartphones these days, these systems allow you to save the fingerprint information of an authorised user and get the safe to unlock only by the right person.

This takes away all the fear of compromised keys, combinations, and codes, and provides a high level of protection with the chances of unauthorised persons gaining access almost non-existent.

Dual locks

Dual locks are a combination of two locks and provide double protection than a single lock. The two most common lock types found on dual locks are key and combination locks.

They require both a key and a combination to gain access to the safe’s contents and are ideal in situations when one authorisation method has been compromised.

For instance, if you accidentally misplace your key or they are stolen by someone, you wouldn’t have to worry about an unauthorised individual gaining access since they would need to know the combination of the safe along with possessing the physical keys.

The downside to this is that if an authorised user misplaces their key or forgets the code, they won’t be able to get into the safe either since both authentication methods will be required.

However, due to the increased security benefits and added peace of mind, most people are willing to take this small risk since it is worth it if you look at the bigger picture.


Safes come in so many different types and have certain features to make them a better fit for your requirements. Besides being sturdy and strong, what are the features you must look for when choosing the best safe for your home security?

Some of the best features to look for are:

Water resistance

While protection from water damage may not usually be the primary reason to invest in a safe for many, it should definitely be on the list of features to look for.

This is especially true for people living in areas that are prone to flooding or hurricanes since water can easily damage the safe along with the valuables inside it.

When looking for a water-resistant safe, you will have to see how long it can last in the water and how much water it can withstand.

Fire resistance

In addition to water resistance, you will have to look for a safe that can withstand fire as well. While all safes come with a fire rating, the level varies with the type of safe and particular model in question.

The higher the rating, the greater the level of protection, which is typically judged by the degrees of heat and the number of hours of fire the safe can withstand. If your budget allows it, you must go for a safe with the highest rating, especially if your house is at risk of fires.

Impact resistance

One of the most common ways for thieves to gain access into a safe is to damage it, particularly by dropping it off of a high building or hammering it down.

When the safe gets hit with such impact, chances are that it will break and the contents will come spilling out.

For this reason, you need to make sure that you get a safe that is impact-resistant and will not break open that easily.

Look for one that is sturdy enough to withstand a fall from at least the second floor since home burglars are usually known to throw the safe out of the bedroom window to break it open.

Additional features

Apart from these useful features that must be included in all safes, regardless of their type, there are a few additional features to ensure you get maximum protection against all kinds of threats – manmade and natural.

Bolting your safe to the floor or mounting it to the wall will ensure that nobody can grab it and take it along with them.

Also, depending on where your house is located, in addition to water and fire resistance, you might want to look into humidity control as well since it will prevent mould and mildew growth on your valuables over time.

Having an interior light, especially if the safe is kept in a dark place, will help you see inside it easily. Instead of using a flashlight every time you wish to access the contents, you will easily be able to see everything and find what you are looking for if you buy a safe with an interior light.

Lastly, some safes come with a false bottom that allows you to hide extra items in them and keep them completely out of sight. While the space won’t be very large, it will be enough to store documents, small jewellery, and USBs.


Now that you are aware of all the different types of safes and locking mechanisms, along with the best features to look for, how can you choose the best one for your needs?

Well, the first step includes determining your requirement and understanding why you need a safe in the first place. You need to take into account the following things:

  • What kind of items do you need to put inside the safe?
  • Is your neighbourhood a high-risk one?
  • What is your biggest concern security-wise?
  • How big do you want the safe to be?
  • Where do you intend to keep it?
  • What is your biggest priority – protection against burglaries, fire, or water damage?


If you are unsure about choosing the best type of safe for your home and are getting overwhelmed with the plethora of choices, contact Calder Security to help you make the best decision and keep you, your home, and your possessions safe and sound.

We are members of the Master Locksmith Association (MLA) and are familiar with a wide variety of safes, cash boxes, and strong boxes.

Our experienced engineers not only assess your requirements and suggest the most suitable safe for your needs, but can also install, repair, remove, relocate, and open a wide range of home safes.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our security professionals right away!

Photo by Franck on Unsplash