Buying a Safe?
A simple Checklist

What do I need to store in my safe?

Work out what you need to store in your new safe. What you store will determine things like fire ratings and ultimately the size of the safe you require. If you are only going to store coins and jewellery you won’t need as higher fire rating as that for documents. Guns and electronic records require specially designed safes for the purpose.

How big should my safe be?

If you have worked out what you need to store in your safe, do a quick measure up of the largest items. Remember safes have thick walls so the internal space can be a bit smaller than your think. Particularly take note of safes with internal shelves. Often these are fixed and will reduce your usable space. It is best to opt for a safe with an adjustable and removable internal shelf. Lastly buy a bigger safe than you think you will need initially. You will always find more things to store in a safe.

Where am I going to put it?

It is always best to put a safe in a concealed space. In a cupboard or under stairs is ideal. Make sure that you have a sound base to secure your safe. A concrete floor is the best base for a safe. Get the outside dimensions of your new safe to ensure that it will fit. Pay attention to the lock and handle. These will add at least an additional 50mm to the depth. Something you will need to consider if you are concealing the safe within another cupboard. Lastly make sure you know which way the door swings and how far it is above the ground so you can judge that you have enough clearance.

Choose your lock type.

A safe used principally by one person in a home office situation is ideal for a traditional dial combination lock. However, if the safe will be used by multiple people or in a business environment it is almost always better to opt for a digital lock.

How much should I pay for my new safe?

You can buy “safes” for under $100, but we think that these should be called cash boxes rather than safes. Generally, the more you pay the bigger and better safe you will get. Some commercial safes can cost many thousands of dollars. The cost of more security features and fire rating rises exponentially, so you really need to determine your own needs. Mid-range safes between $700 - $2,000 depending on size is probably the “sweet spot” for most small to medium businesses and home offices. Most people will only (hopefully) buy one safe in their lifetime, so a reasonable investment up front will amortize to less than $50-70 per year over time.

How do I get it home?

When you are shopping around make sure that the prices that you are quoted include some sort of delivery, or that you are prepared to transport your new safe yourself. Even the smallest quality safe will weigh many kilograms and larger versions range into the 100 kg zone.

Lastly ask about the warranty. You should have two distinct terms. The warranty on the lock, particularly digital, will be shorter than the safe box. Typically, you will get 1 -2 years warranty on the lock and anywhere between 5 – 30 years on the safe box.

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.