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What’s The Difference Between A Lock Box And A Key Safe?

Finding the best way to safely store keys can be a bit challenging for many people. Even though they are such an important item and essential to home security, they are also one of the most lost, misplaced, and stolen items in the world.

When going out, many of us keep our house keys in our pockets or bags, but let’s be honest, we all know how risky that can be.

When it comes to spare house keys, there are a few very common and overused places that most people use to hide them: under the doormat or a flower pot. But just think about it; if all of us know about these “hiding spots”, we’re sure criminals and intruders do too!

So, what is the best place to safely store your keys? Thankfully, due to an increase in security practices and the popularity of security systems for both home and business use, people are becoming more aware of how to keep themselves and their properties secure.

There are a number of key storage solutions out there, and key safes are one of them. What are key safes, though? Key safes are lockable key storage devices mounted on the exterior of your house that keep your keys away from the wrong hands.

A common question among many people looking to invest in key safes is whether key safes and lock boxes are the same thing. Well, are they?

You need to understand that not all key safes are made equal and not all of them are secure. It takes quite a bit of understanding to figure out which ones are legit and which ones aren’t.

Read on to find out the difference between a lock box and a key safe, and how to choose the best one for your home:


With so many different types of lock boxes and key safes available out there, it can become seriously difficult to choose the right one for your security needs, especially if you don’t have the necessary information regarding it.

Oftentimes, you will see many manufacturers using the terms lock box and key safe interchangeably, which results in even more confusion.

To help you navigate through this jargon and clear the confusion, here are some basic explanations of the different types of key safes:

Lock boxes and key boxes

These are some of the lowest-priced mechanical push button key storage devices that are not the safest option for storing your keys.

With prices typically starting as low as £15, you will get what you pay for, which is nothing but a scroll box partially made out of plastic.

Often advertised as key safes, these lock boxes are very easy to break into and do not provide any level of proven security.

They can be used for storing keys to a shed that has low-value items in it. However, for homes and other high-risk properties, we suggest opting for higher security products such as key safes.

Secure mechanical key safes

As opposed to mechanical push button lock boxes, these secure mechanical key safes offer a higher level of security and are made to withstand various levels of physical attacks and tampering.

They typically fall in the price range of £60 to £80 and can be installed outside your home for maximum convenience.

For the most secure mechanical key safes, look for those accredited by SBD (Secure By Design) police initiative and/or LPCB (Loss Prevention Certification Board).

Smart key safes

Simply put, smart key safes are digital key storage devices that you can access remotely through a smart device such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop via an app.

This gives you the advantage of being able to open and close the key safe through your smart device, along with changing the codes from anywhere in the world.

Priced above £100, these smart key safes are very reliable and convenient. However, not all key safes are as secure as you may think.

To make sure you invest in one that keeps your possessions safe and makes it worthwhile to spend that much money, get one that has been accredited by the police and is what you would call burglar-proof.


A key safe is a strong metal box that you can use to securely store your keys. It is installed outside of your property, on a brick or concrete wall, and is accessed using a combination code or your smart device, depending on the type of key safe you have.

The combination code lets you access the contents of the key safe and should not be shared with anyone except authorised individuals.

The installation of the key safe is very important, especially the place where it has been installed. You must hire a professional security company to install the key safe for you in the best location and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

It must be fitted to a solid surface, such as a concrete or brick wall, using the approved fittings to make sure that it cannot be broken into.

To reduce the risk of your key safe and property being targeted by criminals, you must hide the key safe out of plain sight.

You must change its location if it can be clearly seen from the road, is easily identifiable as a key safe, is near the door, or at eye level.

If any of the above criteria are true, you must change its place and fit it in a position where it cannot be seen by passers-by, is hidden by a window, mailbox, or plant, and anyone tampering with it can be clearly seen.


Since the key safe contains the key to your home, you need to take all the necessary precautions to ensure it stays safe and secure from criminals. Once they have access to your key safe, they will have your house key will easily be able to get access to the inside.

To make sure your key safe is protected, you must regularly change its code. This will make sure that only you and other authorised individuals have access to it.

It is very easy to change the code and can be done as many times as you wish. If you need help doing it, contact the manufacturer or a reliable security company.

There are two ways someone can forcefully try to open your key safe: by entering the code or by knocking the key safe off the wall and breaking it.

To try the first method, the individual in question will have to know the code. It’s not that easy to crack it, especially if it is a longer 5 to 6-digit one.

Be very careful with who you share your key safe code with since whoever has the code, has access to the key safe and its contents. Do not tell random people the code, and even if you have to share it with someone, such as a service provider, change it as soon as possible to prevent any misuse.

For the second method, breaking the key safe would not only be noisy but very time-consuming as well. Plus, the burglar would require the relevant tools to knock the key safe off the wall, especially if it’s a professionally fitted one, and even that wouldn’t guarantee success.

For these reasons, an opportunistic thief is more likely to break in through the door or window than break into a key safe, making them a reliable investment.


When looking for a key safe for your home, there are a few things that you need to consider. They include:

  • Quality – a good and secure key safe must be strong and sturdy and made of good quality materials. Do not fall for scams and cheaper options since they will be very easy to break into.
  • Price – nothing good comes free of cost, and the same is the case with good-quality key safes. As mentioned earlier, lock boxes can cost you merely £15, but they will not guarantee any form of security.

For maximum protection, you will have to put in a little more money and invest in high-security mechanical or smart key safes that range from £60 to £100+.

  • Police approval – you can find several key safes in the market but not all will provide the same level of security. To ensure that your key safe has been tested to a high standard, opt for one with a seal of approval from the authorities.
  • Size and location – Key safes come in different sizes and capacities. Therefore, you should get one depending on where you wish to install it and the number of keys you want to securely store in it.

Before buying a key safe, make sure you have a specific place in mind for it so that you can get one that easily fits.


Key safes are an essential part of home security, especially if you struggle with keeping your keys safe from being lost or stolen. Here’s why everyone should have them installed in their homes:


The biggest and most important benefit: security. Hiding your keys in random places or giving your keys to random individuals not only makes your property vulnerable to break-ins and crime but may even invalidate your home insurance.

Therefore, to ensure that you have control over who has access to your keys and that they stay safe and away from the wrong hands, you must invest in a secure key safe that is certified by the police and other relevant authorities.


Key safes offer the best solution for when you don’t feel like taking your keys along with you everywhere. No more worrying about taking care of them while you’re out which, let’s be honest, can be really stressful.

You can simply put your keys in the key safe on your way out, where they will stay safe and protected until you come back and open it to retrieve them.

Letting in trusted individuals

Key safes can be used to allow your family members and friends inside your home when you aren’t available to open the door for them.

No more rushing back home or planning your day according to their visit. You can simply give them access to the key safe so that they can let themselves in!

Key safes are also the perfect solution for the elderly, individuals with mobility issues, and who require care and assistance at home.

Emergency access

By securely storing your spare keys in the key safe, you can make sure you or your family members never get locked out of your house. They are a great backup method to access your property in case of such incidents.

Also, they eliminate the need to make unnecessary copies of your keys and give you better control of how they are used and stored, since making spare keys and issuing them to people come with its own security risks.

Cost savings

Not only is using a key safe a more secure way of sharing access to trusted individuals but is also much cheaper and hassle-free.

You won’t need to cut multiple copies of your keys every time you wish to grant a new person access to your home, and you also won’t have to worry about the spare keys getting lost or misplaced, which would force you to replace or rekey your locks or cut a new set of keys, costing you money, of course.

Temporary access

The best thing about key safes is that, after giving someone temporary access, you can very easily change the access code so that they are no longer able to access its contents unless you share the new code with them.

With smart key safes, you also have the option to change the codes through an app on your smart device. You won’t even have to be physically present near the key safe to do that.


To make your key safes even more secure, you can take a few additional security measures that will not only ensure key safe security but will also make your home less likely to be targeted by burglars. They include:


We are members of the Master Locksmith Association (MLA) since 1976 and can work with a wide range of safes and locking mechanisms.

In addition to installation services, our professional locksmiths also offer repair services for when your key safes become damaged or develop faults.

We can access locks that have become jammed and can respond to your calls quickly, which can be very useful if you’ve locked yourself out.

We offer expert key cutting services from our Lock and Safe Shop in Wakefield where you can get your keys cut while you wait.

Using our state-of-the-art digital equipment, we can cut virtually any key including cylinder keys, mortice keys, dimple keys, Mul-T-Lock keys, padlock keys, locker keys, and safe keys to a high degree of accuracy without having to send them away to be cut.

Our other security solutions include:

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

Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash