Beginners Guide to Buying a Safe

Buying any product can be daunting, but when selecting a safe there is the added pressure that the incorrect choice could result in the loss of cash or valuable items which, at worst, will mean the loss of items that are irreplaceable and, at best, can result in hassle with insurance companies and higher premiums. Just settling on the safe that offers the highest security isn’t the answer either, as these will come at a cost and this level of security might not be required.

That’s why we have put this guide to buying a safe together. To provide you with clear, concise information to make your selection process that bit easier and to provide peace of mind that the safe you purchase is precisely the right one to meet your needs.

Why Do You Need A Safe?

First, it’s important to identify what the you need to protect (money, important documents, jewellery) in order to assess how large the safe needs to be. What is the maximum cash value of the items that will be stored inside? Where will the safe be installed? Will you need to deposit items or cash quickly and discreetly, thereby requiring a top or front loading rotary drum? Will the items require fire protection? These are just a few questions that need to be considered.

Getting clear on the exact requirements for the safe is the first step and will make the selection process a lot quicker, as we can quickly eradicate choices that don’t meet your needs.

Does Size Matter?

In practical terms – yes, size matters. If you need to store large electronic devices, A4 documents, medical supplies or other bulky items, you will need a larger safe or high security cabinet.

Beginners Guide to Buying a Safe

However, it’s important to know that size is not indicative of improved protection. In some instances, a smaller safe will offer a much higher level of security than a larger model. After addressing the practicalities of space, you then need to work out the value of the items being stored in the safe. In many cases this will vary throughout the year, so the maximum value of the cash or items that will be stored overnight at any one point will need to be ascertained. If this requirement is met, the safe will provide sufficient protection for all possibilities. Safe manufacturers will ideally provide advised cash ratings for each safe as guidance for customers, who can then match it to their maximum cash value.

Why Thieves Like Cash

Thieves will much prefer stealing cash compared to valuables, as the value speaks for itself. Jewellery, for instance, will need to be sold to a buyer and, as a result of the necessary shady transactions, is often sold for a fraction of the price that would have been paid by the original owner. As a result, insurance underwriters usually multiply the cash value of jewellery by 10, so the equivalent cash limit of £6,000, for instance, would be insured for up to £60,000.

Beginners Guide to Buying a Safe

Safe models approved by the Association of Insurance Surveyors (AIS) means these products will be listed in the Official Safe List, which is used by many insurance companies nationwide, giving customers peace of mind as to the quality of the safe and the ease with which the contents will be insured.

High Standards In Europe

Some safe suppliers, such as Securikey, are members of Eurosafe UK and will therefore be committed to supplying incredibly high quality, reliable safes that meet and often surpass industry standards. The common European standards for safes are EN14450 & EN1143-1 and in order to meet these standards, the safe will have passed a vigorous, independent tests. This will be demonstrated on the safe with clear labelling and the appropriate security rating, although it is always best to check that the documentation actually uses the word ‘tested’, as other wording like ‘approved safe’ or ‘designed to meet European standards’ does not indicate an official test has taken place. All Securikey Mini Vault & Euro Graded safes have been fully tested, with grades from 0 to 5 available offering cash ratings ranging from £6,000 and below up to £100,000 for Grade 5 safes and the Mini Vault range offering £40,000 in protection for valuables in a domestic situation.

Beginners Guide to Buying a Safe

Safe Installation

The safe’s location is very important, for a number of reasons. Opinions differ as to whether a safe should be situated in a public area, where both the safe itself and any attempts to break into it would be clearly seen, or if it should be hidden away where it is not easy for thieves to find – but where, if found, they could attempt to access the contents safe from prying eyes. As with any situation, each application will vary and the correct choice can be made according to individual circumstances with the guidance of the safe supplier.

However, there are certain aspects of an installation on which the safe supplier will not be authorised to advise, such as whether a floor is capable of bearing a certain weight. It is therefore the customer’s responsibility to ensure the floor is sturdy enough to support the weight of the safe being installed. It may also need to be strong enough for the safe to be bolted onto, which is usually a requirement for models under 1,000kg to ensure thieves don’t remove the entire safe. Base fixings must be used in order to ensure the safe installation meets the requirements outlined by insurance companies.

Beginners Guide to Buying a Safe

In terms of cost and time, an installation on floors above ground level may take longer and need specific equipment, particularly with larger safes, so this is another consideration that needs to be taken into account.

Lastly, it is important that the safe is fitted by a qualified team of safe installers to ensure the installation goes smoothly, quickly and offers the protection needed by the customer once complete. There are also Health and Safety regulations regarding the moving of heavy items which will need to be adhered to, including ensuring the installers are fully insured and the correct equipment is used.


Key Locks

Many safes come with a key lock as standard. A quality key lock can provide a high level of security, provided the keys are carefully safeguarded and not left in the premises when there is nobody present to watch the safe. Copying keys reduces security too, as thieves will have more opportunities to get their hands on a key if there are replicates lying around, so bear this in mind when considering who will need a key. It may be safer to share.

Beginners Guide to Buying a Safe

Combination Locks

Locks that operate via a code remove the risk of damaged, lost or stolen keys. Combination locks provide a high level of security, depending on the intricacy of the code selected (obvious numbers such as the year of one’s birth, etc. are very much discouraged) and the fact that the number is not written down anywhere for a would-be criminal to find and use. For added security, the code can be changed at certain points during the year.

Beginners Guide to Buying a Safe

Electronic Digital Locks

Electrical locks can range from the more simplistic, incorporating a few user codes and a time delay facility, to far more sophisticated locks that offer additional features that enable access to the safe to be carefully managed. These features include time delay override, dual combination, silent alarm, remote signal override, user group management, courier codes and duress codes. The complexity of the lock chosen will reflect the needs of the customer.

Beginners Guide to Buying a Safe

If you have any questions regarding choosing a safe, we’re always happy to help. Simply send an email to or call 01252 311888.

In addition to our ISO 9001 certification, Securikey are also members of Master Locksmiths association, Eurosafe and ESSA. All of these organisations promote the highest standards within the security industry. The inclusion of the ‘AIS Approved’ logo re-enforces the importance of the independent testing.
  • AIS Approved Safe
  • ESSA Member
  • Master Locksmiths Association Member
  • Secure by Design Official Polices Security Initiative
  • iso9001 Bureau Veritas