Theft, fire and a forgetful mind are all excellent reasons to invest in a reliable home safe. Like most security systems, safes offer peace of mind when important documents and valuables are concerned. Think of property deeds, passports, gold bars and other assets that cannot be tossed into a drawer, no matter how safe your home is.
According to a Dubai-based security expert with 30 years of experience, a home safe is essential for any house. Ijaz Anwer, a general manager with Axon Business Systems, which supplies high security equipment and solutions in the Gulf region, details the ins and outs of purchasing one.
Are home safes any good?
You'll be looking to safely lock away belongings for yourself or the family. Most families in the UAE prefer an individual safe for every member of the house, says Anwer.
"Firstly, if you're leaving expensive watches and jewellery out on the counter and in the eyes of different people, you'll need to prevent possible theft from happening. But, we also see a lot of customers who want a safe for every [adult] child if they live in a villa. Usually, siblings and couples will want their own storage for personal belongings, just to get secure access," said Anwer.
What home safes essentially do is keep valuables protected from "two major threats in security": fire and theft. Not any metal storage will be fit for the job, however. Some easily melt in the event of a fire, while others can be broken into.
Which home safe is the most secure?
A good home safe comes certified and graded, which proves that it's been tested in realistic settings.
"[The ideal safe] should have a minimum level of fire and theft protection. There are international bodies that certify these standards, such as the European or EN Standard, which is used here in the region. Make sure the safe has at least a 30-minute fire and a 30-minute anti-burglary protection," advised Anwer.
Even lock systems warrant close attention. Pay heed to the lock certification and the class (A, B or C) it falls under. A lock with an A classification, for instance, offers a less sophisticated system than a high-security C-class lock, appropriate for banks and ATMs.
For home users, a safe with a basic A-class lock would suffice. This could be a digital keypad, combination wheel or a traditional key lock system. Though the type of lock depends on the end user, Anwer recommends a dual system, where either a keypad or a combination dial is accompanied by a key lock for extra security.
Speaking of added protection, more people are opting for an anti-tamper alarm feature. Anwer explained: "If somebody tries to shake the safe or hammer it, or enters the wrong code thrice, the safe sounds an alarm." This triggers audible security that could be connected to your overall home security system. However, app connectivity is still a new roll-out.
It's important to look for manufacturers that have been in the vault game for the long haul. British Chubbsafes, Anwer's top recommendation, set up in the 1800s and manufactures some of the most reliable safes in the world. Other trusted old manufacturers include the French brand Fichet and lock makers Swiss dormakaba, and US-based Sargent and Greenleaf.
We've listed your best options from Amazon below, featuring Chubbsafes and other well-reviewed home safes with certifications. Shop with a Prime membership to get free, fast delivery.
1. Best Overall: Chubbsafes Homestar Series Model 56E Cash Safe
- Burglar-resistant as certified by Sold Secure
- Anti-drilling plate on the door and the body
- Anti-tamper alarm system
- Emergency power connection
- Can be bolted to wall or floor
- Only one lock system
The Homestar 56E model by Chubbsafes is a 29kg cash safe with a 54-litre capacity. Suitable for storing jewellery, hard drives, cash and other valuables, the 56E safe is tested and certified by Sold Secure, an independent British certification agency, so it's designed to outsmart theft. A single electronic lock secures the contents, but its anti-tamper alarm system alerts you with an audible warning when the safe is physically attacked or the code is entered wrong thrice. Batteries are to be replaced internally; however, in the event of no charge, you can attach a nine-volt battery to the external emergency power connection.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh122.50 for 12 months with select banks.
2. Best Fireproof: SentrySafe Fireproof and Waterproof Steel Home Safe
- Protected against one-hour of extremely hot fire
- Waterproof for 24 hours
- Survives a five-metre fall, even in fire
- Certified by independent bodies
- Dual lock with keypad and key
- No alarm
- Pricier than the original listing
An all-rounder model by SentrySafe, it's protected from 24 hours of water submersion, one hour of fire contact as hot as 927 degrees Celsius, and a five-metre fall in the event of a fire. Nearly bulletproof, this home safe is certified by two bodies, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Intertek Testing Laboratories for electronics (ETL). More good news is that it comes with a dual-locking system with a digital keypad and a key. The door is further secured with four live-locking bolts. Inside the 34-litre safe, an additional locked drawer offers stronger security for precious goods. You have a wide range of options for storage here, from DVDs and USBs to paper documents, thanks to the waterproof and fireproof construction. Reviewers say that they're finally sleeping better with this level of security. They do recommend replacing the AA batteries every six months.
3. Best for Laptop: Yale YLC/200/DB1 Laptop Alarmed Value Safe
- Integrated with a loud 130db alarm
- Enter up to eight digits for code
- Comes with two overriding keys
- Fits a 17-inch laptop
- Can be fitted
- Not fireproof
For anything with dimensions similar to or smaller than a laptop, go for the Yale Alarmed Value Safe. Known for its trusted lock and alarm systems, Yale offers sizeable security storage for documents, cash and jewellery. It uses 16mm electronically motorised locking bolts to secure the door, which has a thickness of 4mm. You can set up a three to eight-digit code, and if you're locked out, the safe comes with two mechanical keys that can override the system. But, the best part is the integrated 130-decibel alarm that sounds once the wrong code is entered three times. Buyers report fitting in a 17-inch laptop, as well as a tablet. They do note that it's solely for keeping out access from curious hands, as it's not fireproof.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh69.17 for 12 months with select banks.
4. Best for Young Users: Rubik Wide Safe Box
- Easy-to-use keypad lock
- Comes with one override key
- Pre-drilled for mounting
- Wide dimensions fit laptop
- Low security level
The kids' knick knacks can be tucked away safely in this value vault. The Rubik home safe is large enough to fit a standard-sized laptop, but small enough to be stored under a bed or in a dorm room. It comes with a battery-powered keypad that needs four AA cells. Young users can go for a simple three-digit code or a more complex eight-digit PIN - if they forget their password, an override key can let them in. With its pre-drilled holes, the safe could be mounted for added security. Some mums and dads in the reviews use it to stow away distracting electronics as well.
5. Best Portable Safe: SentrySafe Fireproof Safe Box with Key Lock
- Fireproof for 30 minutes
- Certified for documents and electronics
- Carry handle allows easy portability
- Comes with two keys
- Doesn't fit A4 documents
SentrySafe's 1210 safe box is another great option for older teens or anyone who wants the ease of portability that may be cumbersome with steel construction. This is a five-litre fire-resistant storage with a UL and an ETL certification, meaning it keeps paper and electronics safe from fire for 30 minutes at a temperature of 843 degrees Celsius. The chest is fitted with a single key lock with bolt-down hardware for added security. You can haul it around with the carrying handle to wherever your next destination may be. Reviewers pick it as an alternative to bank safes to save them time. Those who've used the safe box for years say that it's still in good shape. If a traditional safe seems excessive, the chest is an easier alternative for learning how to store valuables.
6. Best for Home Goods: Yale YSEM/520/EG1 Motorised Maximum Security Professional Safe
- Sold Secured certified against burglary
- Anti-drill plates
- Locks down after three incorrect attempts
- Override mechanical key
- Emergency power access
- Not fireproof
This professional Yale safe is Sold Secured certified, like the Chubbsafes option. Instead of sounding an alarm, the 50-litre safe enters into lockdown mode after three incorrect PIN attempts. Create a four to eight-digit code, with the backup of a double-bitted emergency key. If batteries run out, plug a 9V cell into the emergency power access. The body is reinforced with anti-drill plates and the door is laser cut to keep the gap as small as possible. Reviewers call it sufficient for general household purposes, as they store watches, handbags and documents inside. You can also bolt this safe to the floor or wall.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh145.83 for 12 months with select banks.
7. Best with Biometric Lock: Rubik Safe Box with Biometric Fingerprint Lock
- Stores up to 32 fingerprints
- Manual entry with key
- Warning alarm module
- Coated with fire-resistant paint
- Mountable box
- Not fireproof
If you would rather avoid the hassle of a key or remembering combinations, get a safe with a biometric lock. Rubik's safe box can store up to 32 fingerprints in the system, so it's useful in a home with several family members. Don't worry - two emergency keys with your order act as a backup during zero battery life or an injured fingerprint. While it's not fireproof at this price point, it does have a coating of fire-resistant paint. It's even fixed with an anti-theft alarm module. Despite its petite appearance, this lightweight box fits A4-size documents easily.
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