How home safes are made?

Making a home-office safe

There are two main elements in a safe: the box and the lock.

The Box

The box is the body of the safe, designed to store your valuables and keep them safe and secure. Safe boxes are made with sheets of solid steel, and are several centimetres thick.

Most safes contain three primary layers of protective metal:

  • The outer mild steel skin.
  • A hard plate barrier material to protect the lock.
  • A mild steel layer to which the lock is attached.

The outer skin which you can see is often mild steel, because hardened steel can crack under repeated blows. This way, the outer layer will dent and deform, but not crack, while the inner layer remains intact.

Underneath this is a hard plate, specifically to protect the lock mechanism.

The inner skin is also made of mild steel.

Some safes may have additional layers intended to insulate the contents, between the inner and outer skins, containing various non heat conductive materials like vermiculite, perlite, mica or gypsum. This together with a door seal gives the safe a degree of fire resistance.

A quality safe should use a minimum of 3 mm steel in the body of the safe. 

Door construction is also very important. Some safes use the same thickness steel as the body for the door on the safe, making their door flexible and vulnerable to pry attacks. Look for a safe with at least 6 mm of solid plate steel or composite equivalent in the door. More secure safes have an 8 mm to 12 mm steel plate in the door.

Heavy duty external hinges allow the safe door to be removable. They also allow the safe door to open a full 180 degrees. Exposed hinges do not compromise security. The only advantage of internal hinges is the look of the safe. A disadvantage to internal hinges is that sometimes you can open the door to just over 90 degrees.

The Lock

The mechanism to open a safe is the lock. The lock can be mechanical or electronic and it is designed to provide a high level of security against forceful entry. The lock is the “door” part of the safe, which you can open or close to access your valuables.

Today, locks can be electronic or mechanical, and can protect against a range of burglary attempts. The idea is to ensure that the safe owner or authorised person can only open the safe.

Read more about dial and digital locks here.

Safes can come with additional parts, like storage solutions, shelves and organization trays, however the two most important features of a home safe are the box and the lock.

Useful information

What you need to know about buying a safe.
Choosing either an electronic or more traditional dial lock is one of the first questions you need to address before purchasing your new safe.


Find this helpful?

You might also like to check out the following.

Digital locks

What features to look for when you choose a digital safe .

Home safes

How home safes are made and what to look for when you buy.


What makes a safe fireproof and why it is important.