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Safe Identification Guide

If you’ve ever worried about the safety and security of your valuables and important documents, installing a safe in your home or office might ease most of your worries.

Safes are secure, lockable boxes that help keep your cherished possessions safe not only from theft but also from fire and water damage.

There are several types of safes for homes and businesses available in the market that are suitable for a wide range of consumers and security requirements.

Some may require a higher level of protection against theft than others while some properties may be at a higher risk of fires and may require a safe that is resistant to even the worst fires.

It is safe to say that there is a perfect safe for everyone out there, and if you are unsure about choosing the right one for your needs, we are here to help you make the decision.

For safes that you already have installed on your premises, you need to be able to identify them and know their make and model.

This piece of information can be crucial for several reasons such as for insurance purposes, to have the safe repaired, or times when you lock yourself out of your safe and need a professional to help you access its contents.

For times when you do not know which safe you have and need the information to provide to professional services, here is a detailed guide on safe identification, how to do it, where to find the serial numbers, and much more:


Knowing the type of security measure you have – whether it is a door lock, security system, or a safe – is very important to fully understand the product and its features.

When it comes to safes, you need to be able to identify the type of safe you have for:

  • Proper and permitted usage,
  • Insurance purposes,
  • Repair services,
  • Maintenance services,
  • Removal and relocation services,
  • Safe opening services.

There are several different types of safes for different properties and requirements, ranging from electronic safes to data safes, fire-resistant safes, and gun safes that can store a wide array of items.

You cannot be using a data safe to store your guns and a gun safe to store your important office documents. You need to know the type of safe you have and its intended purpose to enjoy maximum safety and security.

Other than that, in case of a break-in on your property where the burglars manage to bypass the safe and access its contents, you need to provide your insurance company with the required information regarding your safe and its cash rating in order to make a claim.

For times when you lock yourself out of your safe, misplace the keys, or forget the combination, properly identifying your safe will enable you to use the appropriate measures to unlock it, reset the code, and recover it.

Using the wrong access method for your safe may not only cause unnecessary worry and panic but may also damage its internal components.

Lastly, if you need to call professional services for safe maintenance, repair, opening, removal, or relocating services, you need to give them enough information about your safe so that they have an idea of the issue at hand and do not walk into the job without the necessary information.

Ideally, you must provide the professional locksmith with the brand and model of the safe since it allows them to familiarise themselves with the job at hand and prepare accordingly.

In addition to the make and model, they must also be made aware of the type of safe it is and the type of locking mechanism it has.


To identify your safe, you need to know:

  • The serial number and purchase information,
  • The type of safe and what it is used for, and
  • The locking mechanism


Several popular brands make secure and high-quality safes great for a number of purposes, with some of the best ones including Chubbsafes, Yale, and Securikey.

The first step is to identify the brand of the safe you have, which can be pretty easy to determine since all good quality safes are labelled with their brand name. Look in the front and all other sides of the safe for a company logo that tells you which brand it belongs to.

Once you have that, you can move on to finding the serial number of the safe, which is often displayed externally on the back panel of the safe, bottom of the safe, or the handle of the safe.

For security purposes, some safes may not have their serial numbers plastered on the external body of the safe. If that is the case, do not worry and simply use the purchase information on the receipt you received when you got the safe.


Another important part of safe identification is identifying the type of safe you have by looking at it. If you can send a picture of your safe to a professional locksmith, it may give them the required information to make an informed decision regarding the services required.

If sending a picture is not possible, you can look for a few identification marks and signs that may be useful to the professional dealing with your case. A few questions to ask yourself and keep note of include:

  • Is it freestanding or fixed to the wall or floor?
  • What type of door does it have?
  • What is the style and position of the handle?
  • Does the safe have turn handles?
  • Are the hinges concealed?
  • Are there any special numbers or letters on the hinges?
  • What type of lock does it have?
  • Is there a name, number, or logo on the safe’s door?
  • What colour is the safe?
  • Are the door and body of the safe in different colours?

As mentioned above, there are several different types of safes available for home and office use. Some of the most common ones include:

Freestanding safes

One of the most common types of safes found in many residential and commercial premises, freestanding safes range from very small, portable safes weighing only around 10 kgs, to bigger and heavier ones weighing over 2 tonnes.

Made from high-quality steel and armoured on the sides for additional protection, freestanding safes offer a wide range of features such as adjustable shelves and compartments and highly secure locks including biometric and drill-resistant locks.

Although they are not fixed to something (hence the name), freestanding safes come with tools and fixings that allow them to be fixed to a wall or the floor.

Wall safes

Wall safes are secret security compartments that are installed inside a wall to offer convenient protection for your belongings.

They are mostly small and can accommodate a few items such as papers, a bit of emergency cash, boxed jewellery, or loose jewels.

Since they are dependent on the size and depth of your wall, you may have to compromise a bit on space with these safes.

Often hidden behind a painting or piece of furniture, concealed wall safes provide additional security since the location of the safe is hidden from anyone, including potential burglars.

Underfloor safes

Underfloor safes are secure boxes that are installed underground with a safe door at the top. Since the body itself doesn’t offer the best protection, they are encased in concrete to up the level of security.

Often confused with floorboard safes that are secured to joists and sit in the void between the floor and ceiling, underfloor safes are placed in sturdy, concrete flooring and require professional installation.

They can, however, also be set into floorboards, although it is done enclosing the safe in concrete and building shuttering around them.

The doors to these safes are typically round in shape and become thicker as the level of security improves. The round lids limit the size of the items to be stored in the safe, not allowing very large items to go through.

Fire safes

Fire safes, also called fire cabinets, are designed to protect digital and magnetic media, paper, and other valuable items from smoke and heat damage caused by fire, as well as to keep them safe from theft.

The insides of fire safes are designed in a way to keep them below the temperature at which these items will combust. They are usually constructed with an insulated-walled body with a special fire-resistant composite that releases steam when heated.

Due to the safes’ insulated lining that makes the walls thicker, they may appear to be more spacious than they actually are.

Deposit safes

Deposit safes, also called commercial drop safes, are a type of security safe installed in various business setups to safeguard cash and important documents from thieves and burglars.

They are also used to temporarily store items until they can be transferred to a bigger, more secure safe, and are mostly found in businesses such as banks, postal offices, and retail stores, where deposits are made at regular intervals.

They normally have a slot, either on the top or front, or a drawer, depending on the size of the safe, that allows employees to make deposits into them without even having to open them.

This not only helps keep the deposits private and safe from outside threats but also restricts employees from being able to see or steal whatever’s inside.


Another important aspect of safe identification includes identifying the type of locking mechanism the safe has. This can be particularly useful when you have lost access to the safe and need a professional locksmith to open it for you.

Identifying the locks is very easy since each one looks and works very differently. Some of the most common locking mechanisms for safes include:

Key locks

Key locks are manual locks that all of us have ample experience using and, therefore, are easily identifiable.

Key locks on safes are very similar to key locks on regular doors on your property, where the system requires a specific key to open a specific lock in order to gain access.

Some common types of key locks that you may come across include single bitted safe keys, double bitted safe keys, solid double bitted keys, Fichet safe keys, Mauer Varos safe keys, La Gard 2200 keys, and detachable safe keys.

Combination locks

Combination locks use a secret code that only authorised individuals know which is entered using a dial on the safe to gain access.

A typical combination lock has a combination dial that moves like a wheel for you to enter the right sequence of numbers.

Electronic locks

Electronic locks, also known as digital locks, are advanced systems that come with a keypad for entering a code or password to gain access.

They allow you to easily change the code to revoke access permissions and are ideal for situations where temporary access is given.

Similar to a keypad that you may have seen on an ATM, these systems work in a similar manner and are extremely user friendly.

They also allow multiple users and let you set unique codes for each user so that you can track their activity to see who accessed the safe and when.

Biometric locks

Biometric locks use your unique identifiers such as fingerprints, retina scans, and voice recognition to allow only authorised individuals to gain access. Most safes with biometric locks make use of fingerprints than any other form of verification.

These systems come with advanced scanners that scan your features and check the input with a previously saved version. If the scans match, you are allowed access. If they don’t match, the safe remains locked.

Dual locks

Dual locks, as the name suggests, use two different locking mechanisms in one to provide double protection. The two most common lock types found on dual locks are key and combination locks, or biometric scanners and keypads.

They require both forms of authentication to gain access and are ideal in situations where one authorisation method has been compromised.

The easiest way to identify a dual lock is the presence of not one, which is usually the case, but two different locking mechanisms to access the safe and its contents.


We are members of the Master Locksmith Association (MLA) and are familiar with a wide range of safes, cash boxes, and strong boxes. Our SSAIB contractors can help you assess your security needs and recommend a suitable safe perfect for your requirements.

If you are unable to identify your safe and need the required information, you can count on our experienced professionals to help you to the best of our abilities.

We offer professional safe installation services to not only prevent theft and fire damage but also ensure that your safe is secured in place properly, cannot be removed, and is not in danger of falling or damaging anything.

We also offer safe opening services since misplacing the keys, forgetting the code, or failure of the safe itself can all lead to the contents of the safe being inaccessible.

By design, of course, safes are very difficult to access in these circumstances and you need a professional safe engineer to do it for you. Our Calder specialists can open most safes and can restore them to full working order afterwards.

When you need to relocate or remove your safe entirely, you can count on us to carry out the job with ease. In addition to that, our professional safe repair and maintenance services ensure that your safes are always in optimal health providing you with the best level of security.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our security professionals right away for the best safes for your property!

Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash