The Best Fireproof Safes of 2022

Valuable documents, family heirlooms, and firearms are susceptible to damage or loss in the face of fire, water, or intruders, but this collection of the top fireproof safes can keep your valuables secure.

By Stacey L Nash and Jasmine Harding | Updated May 25, 2022 10:45 AM

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Best Fireproof Safe Options

Photo: amazon.com

Fireproof safes can stop a fire or break-in from escalating from terrible to truly disastrous by keeping essential documents like birth certificates, Social Security cards, and passports safe from destruction or theft. These have at least 30 minutes of fire protection and the durability to keep thieves out. They’re also a good way to organize and keep track of sensitive information in your home as part of your home security system.

Useful features range from biometric locks and backup locks to alarms and water resistance. Wondering ‘what is the best fireproof and waterproof safe for home use?’ Your budget, capacity needs, and available space will help determine which fireproof home safe is suitable to keep your valuables secure. Each of the top picks below was selected after an in-depth review of the market and thorough product vetting.

  1. BEST OVERALL: SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof and Waterproof Safe
  2. BEST VALUE: Honeywell Safes & Door Locks 30 Minute Fire Safe
  3. BEST WITH ALARM: SentrySafe 1.23 cu. ft. Fireproof/Waterproof Safe
  4. BEST MINI SAFE: First Alert 2030F 0.39 Cubic Feet Fire and Water Safe
  5. BEST SAFE BOX: Honeywell Safes & Door Locks 6104 Fire Resistant Box
  6. BEST SAFE CHEST: SentrySafe HD4100 Fireproof Safe and Waterproof Safe
  7. BEST BIOMETRIC SAFE: SentrySafe SFW205BPC Fire-Safe Biometric, 2 Cu Ft
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: Sanctuary Platinum Series Home and Office Fire Safe
The Best Fireproof Safe Option

Photo: Istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Fireproof Safe 

Fire and theft are at the top of most people’s home security concerns. Some safes offer better protection from one than the other. Water damage is another issue at the top of many people’s minds, and there are safes that offer some water resistance in addition to their other protective capabilities.

Ultimately, the items you want to protect and what or whom you want to protect them from help determine the right capacity, locking mechanism, and fire rating for your safe.

Type/Lock Mechanism

  • Key lock: Plain and simple describes these locking mechanisms. However, you need to keep track of the key. If it’s kept in the room with the safe, it could get destroyed in a fire or be found by burglars.
  • Mechanical combination lock: There’s no key management involved with a mechanical lock combination, nor do you have to worry about a dead battery or electronic malfunction. Some mechanical locks also have a key lock to use in an emergency. However, you’re more limited in the choice of combinations with a mechanical combination lock.
  • Electronic combination lock: These locks have more password options, and you don’t have to worry about losing the key. However, some models need periodic battery changes. Like mechanical locks, an electronic lock may come with a backup key in case you forget the code.
  • Biometric lock: Biometric locks use a fingerprint or retina scan to open the safe. You don’t have to remember a code or keep track of a key. Some may have a key as a backup security measure.

Material

Most safes are made of thick steel sheets. The sheets, which can be several centimeters thick, give safes their hefty weight. However, these aren’t just any sheets of steel. Safes contain plates made from both hard steel and mild steel. Heat can cause hard plates to crack, exposing the contents to hot temperatures. Mild steel warps rather than cracks, protecting the contents even as temperatures rise.

Fire safes are also constructed with a layer made of a nonconductive composite material that prevents the interior temperature from rising for 30 to 120 minutes. Fire-resistant insulation is also often used to help keep those interior temperatures down.

However, steel isn’t the only material used to make fireproof safes. ABS plastic and various resins are used as well. These two materials are lighter weight and are typically used to make smaller, more portable safes.

Size and Capacity 

Start your search for a fireproof safe box by making a list of what you want to keep inside it. If you have valuable jewelry or other irreplaceable items, a bank lockbox offers the best protection.

Passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, insurance policies, and tax returns are also valuable documents that could pose a problem if lost to theft or fire. Take a look at your list and make sure the safe will hold everything on it. For example, firearms take up more space than documents or DVDs.

Size also plays a role in where you can put the safe. Obviously, a fireproof wall safe or a large safe is harder to hide and easier to spot. If you want to keep the safe hidden, consider a small fireproof safe that more easily fits in a closet, crawl space, or under floorboards. Keep in mind that small safes are vulnerable to theft if they’re not hidden.

UL and Fire Ratings 

In truth, no safe is 100 percent fireproof. Safes are fire resistant only up to a certain temperature and for a certain amount of time.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) evaluates safes and gives them a fireproof rating. These ratings indicate two things—the maximum temperature at which the product can maintain a safe interior temperature, and the length of time the safe can hold that temperature.

The interior temperature determines the kinds of materials the safe can protect. For example, the interior of a paper document safe shouldn’t get hotter than 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above that, and the paper will burn. However, electronics may not be able to withstand temperatures of more than 125 to 150 degrees.

The UL rating also indicates how long the safe can hold that interior temperature. Most home fireproof safes offer at least 30 minutes of protection. That may not sound long, but most fires move through a room in less than 20 minutes. For additional peace of mind, however, some safes offer up to 120 minutes of fire protection.

Water Resistance 

Waterproof safes indicate how long they can protect their contents from water as well as the depth at which they can maintain that protection. Most resist water for approximately 24 hours, but some may offer up to 72 hours of protection in water that’s 8 to 40 inches deep.

If you live in a flood-prone area, it’s a good idea to put the contents of the safe in waterproof bags, whether the safe is rated for water protection or not. Some safes also offer humidity resistance, which can protect items or documents that are sensitive to subtle environmental changes.

Usability 

Usability features include display visibility, weight, and the safe’s overall portability. LED displays are much easier to see in dim conditions. Considering that safes are often stored in dark, secure areas, a display that’s easy to see will make the safe more functional.

Some safes are portable with a top or side handle for easy carrying. These small safes may weigh 25 to 30 pounds. Others weigh more than 100 pounds and would take two people to move.

Weight

Fireproof home safes can weigh anywhere from 20 pounds to hundreds of pounds. The ideal safe weight depends on several factors, including portability and intended location and use.

If portability is a concern, look for a lighter safe, weighing under 30 pounds. These safes will be easier to take along when traveling or commuting. They’re also usually smaller and made to store items like USB drives, cash, passports, and other important documents you may need to carry with you.

Lightweight safes are easier to carry—both for you and a possible burglar. For larger or freestanding home safes, a hefty weight can work to your benefit; it’s harder for a robber to make away quickly with a safe that weighs hundreds of pounds.

Tips for Buying and Using a Fireproof Safe 

The items you want to protect, your available space, and the threats from which you want to safeguard your items will help you determine the right safe for you. Here are a few more tips to help you find the best fireproof safe and incorporate it into your home security system.

  • Install the safe above ground level (not in a basement) to reduce the chances of water damage during a flood.
  • The first level of a multistory home offers the best protection from fire.
  • Safes that come with a bolting system are designed to be attached to the floor or exterior wall for added security.
  • Do not keep the safe in plain sight. As part of a comprehensive plan to keep your home and its contents secure, store your safe in a place that’s inconspicuous or hidden.
  • Look for a safe that’s “UL listed” or “ETL verified.” These labels indicate that they’ve been tested by and passed third-party scrutiny.

Our Top Picks

The safes on this list offer a wide range of features and perform well under UL or ETL testing. Some models have extra features like alarms, while others offer biometric entry. We used fireproof safe reviews and user experience to critically examine the features and benefits of the top fireproof safes to select options to meet a variety of needs.

Best Overall

The Best Fireproof Safe Option: SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof and Waterproof Safe
Photo: amazon.com

The SentrySafe SFW123GDC ticks all of the boxes for the safekeeping of sensitive items. Its UL rating indicates that it can keep its 1.23 cubic feet of interior space at a safe temperature for paper documents, DVDs, and USB drives for up to 60 minutes in temperatures up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. The SFW123GDC also resists water for 24 hours in depths up to 8 inches.

Burglars will have a hard time cracking this egg since it can also withstand a 15-foot drop without breaking. The safe also comes with bolt-down hardware to secure it from thieves. You can set your own combination on the digital keypad but also have the assurance of access with a backup key.

On the interior, a locking drawer and shelves organize your documents and valuables, with interior lights that illuminate contents in the dark. At 86.3 pounds, this model is not lightweight. It requires four AA batteries to run the lock mechanism and interior light.

Product Specs 

  • Fire Rating: Protects for up to 60 minutes/up to 1,700 degrees F
  • Lock Type: Electronic combination lock
  • Dimensions: 19.3 by 16.3 by 17.8 inches
  • Weight: 86.3 pounds

Pros

  • Contents stay dry in 8 inches of water for up to 24 hours
  • Locked drawer and organization features
  • Interior lighting makes content more visible
  • Can withstand a 15-foot drop
  • Comes with backup key
  • Includes hardware to bolt in place

Cons

  • Heavyweight

Get the SentrySafe fireproof safe at Amazon, Walmart, and The Home Depot.

Best Value

The Best Fireproof Safe Option: Honeywell Safes & Door Locks 30 Minute Fire Safe
Photo: amazon.com

This small 0.15-cubic-foot safe offers excellent fire and water protection at a reasonable price. The UL fire-protection rating indicates that it can withstand temperatures up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. When locked, it creates a waterproof seal that keeps the interior dry in 39 inches of water for up to 24 hours.

The key lock is simple to use and fast to open, while a carrying handle lets you tote the 19 pounds of safe plus contents wherever you need to go. The design also allows it to hold documents, CDs, DVDs, and flash drives full of your irreplaceable memories and information.

Product Specs 

  • Fire Rating: Protects for up to 30 minutes/up to 1,550 degrees F
  • Lock Type: Key lock
  • Dimensions:9.8 by 12.4 by 7.3 inches
  • Weight: 19.1 pounds

Pros

  • Inexpensive model
  • Compact footprint
  • Interior stays dry in 39 inches of water for up to 24 hours
  • Portable design allows for quick removal
  • Does not require batteries

Cons

  • Interior size requires 8.5-inch by 11-inch sheets of paper to be folded

Get the Honeywell Safes & Door Locks fireproof safe on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best With Alarm

The Best Fireproof Safes SentrySafe 1.23 cu. ft. FireproofWaterproof Safe
Photo: amazon.com

This SentrySafe model features touch screen access and allows users to create their own combination. Too many incorrect code entries or tamper detection (extreme vibrations) can set off the audible alarm.

This safe withstands temperatures of up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 60 minutes and 8-inch deep water for up to 24 hours. Four locking bolts and a pry-resistant hinge bar further resist tampering. An interior light illuminates valuables, making it easier to get in and out quickly.

Product Specs 

  • Fire Rating: Protects for up to 60 minutes/up to 1,700 degrees F
  • Lock Type: Electronic touch screen
  • Dimensions: 16.3 by 19.3 by 17.8 inches
  • Weight: 86 pounds

Pros

  • Contents remain dry in 8 inches of water for up to 24 hours
  • Easy-to-use touch screen
  • Alarm sounds with tampering or excessive incorrect code entries
  • Includes low battery light for the touch screen batteries

Cons

  • Touch screen can go through batteries quickly

Get the SentrySafe fireproof safe on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best Mini Safe

The Best Fireproof Safe Option: First Alert 2030F 0.39 Cubic Feet Fire and Water Safe
Photo: amazon.com

The First Alert 2030F offers 30 minutes of fire protection in temperatures up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s enough protection for multimedia devices like CDs and DVDs. The tough resin materials also seal in the contents to protect them even when the safe is fully submerged.

A clamp-style closure secures the seal, while a key lock keeps out unwanted hands. At 26.3 pounds, this model is relatively portable and still offers 0.39 cubic feet of storage space. That also means thieves could easily walk out with it. However, if you keep it somewhere unexpected and away from prying eyes, it can protect your valuables and keep them secure while traveling.

Product Specs 

  • Fire Rating: Protects for up to 30 minutes/up to 1,550 degrees F
  • Lock Type: Key lock
  • Dimensions: 8.5 by 16 by 12.79 inches
  • Weight: 26.3 pounds

Pros

  • Simple to use right out of the box
  • Holds 8.5-inch by 11-inch documents without folding
  • Watertight when clamped and locked

Cons

  • Limited capacity

Get the First Alert fireproof safe on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best Safe Box

The Best Fireproof Safe Option: SentrySafe HD4100 Fireproof Safe and Waterproof Safe
Photo: amazon.com

The Honeywell 6104’s double steel walls with fire-resistant insulation create a protective chamber for cash, documents, or a few small valuables. It comes with two keys so you can keep them in separate locations and always maintain easy access.

A hidden hinge resists tampering, while a carrying handle lets you take the light 5-pound box with you to trade shows, on trips, or between work and home.

This box’s padded bottom cushions the contents to protect them from falls and scrapes. The durability and fire resistance enable this box to provide extra security while on the go.

Product Specs 

  • Fire Rating: Protects for up to 20 minutes
  • Lock Type: Key lock
  • Dimensions: 4.5 by 12.8 by 8.9 inches
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Hinge design resists tampering
  • Padded bottom protects contents during drops and falls

Cons

  • Limited fire protection

Get the Honeywell Safes & Door Locks fireproof safe on Amazon.

Best Safe Chest

The Best Fireproof Safe Option: Honeywell Safes & Door Locks 6104 Fire Resistant Box
Photo: amazon.com

The SentrySafe HD4100 features excellent fire and water protection along with interior organization features to keep its 0.65 feet of cubic space easily accessible. This model is UL rated to resist temperatures up to 1,220 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 30 minutes. It’s also ETL verified to keep the contents dry when submerged underwater for up to 72 hours.

All that protection comes with helpful organization features. Elastic straps on the inside of the lid securely hold documents or electronics. The bottom portion has rails for file folders. The chest can essentially become a secure mobile office for business trips or used for important documents at home.

Product Specs 

  • Fire Rating: Protects for up to 30 minutes/up to 1,220 degrees F
  • Lock Type: Key lock
  • Dimensions: 13.5 by 15.5 by 14.3 inches
  • Weight: 38.85 pounds

Pros

  • Impressive 72-hour water protection when fully submerged
  • Design holds standard file folders
  • Elastic straps on lid interior provide added organization options

Cons

  • A small number of units arrive with defective handle

Get the SentrySafe fireproof safe on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best Biometric Safe

The Best Fireproof Safe Option: SentrySafe SFW205BPC Fire-Safe Biometric, 2 Cu Ft
Photo: walmart.com

This SentrySafe protects contents with six locking bolts activated by one of three entry mechanisms, but the finger scanner is the reason this safe made our list. Biometric scans use your unique physiology (your fingerprint) to keep potential thieves out. This safe also has an electric keypad to enter your chosen code or a backup key for use in an emergency.

Six locking bolts hold the door closed, while two removable, interior drawers provide organization options. An interior light makes it easier to navigate in the dark. The safe also includes bolt-down hardware.

Product Specs 

  • Fire Rating: Protects for up to 1 hour/up to 1,700 degrees F
  • Lock Type: Electronic combination lock and biometric scan
  • Dimensions: 18.6 by 19.3 by 23.8 inches
  • Weight: 125 pounds

Pros

  • High fire protection
  • Versatile entry methods
  • Relatively spacious 2.0 cu. ft. interior
  • Two removable interior drawers
  • Comes with backup key

Cons

  • Occasionally arrives dented

Get the SentrySafe fireproof safe at Walmart.

Also Consider

The Best Fireproof Safe Option: Sanctuary Platinum .66 CuFt. Fire/Waterproof Safe
Photo: amazon.com

The Sanctuary Platinum features a safe within a safe construction. The exterior shell can withstand fire up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes. The interior compartment, however, can withstand the same temperature for up to 120 minutes. Organizers in the door add storage space, and these, too, are fireproof. A triple seal design also protects contents for up to 7 days in 4.5 inches of water.

Any tampering will set off an audible alarm. When it’s time to get into the safe, an illuminated keypad offers reliable access. In an emergency (e.g., you forget the code), it comes with two backup keys.

Though this safe is on the smaller side, it has three locking bolts and comes with predrilled holes to fit the included bolt kit. The safe remains fireproof if it’s not bolted down. However, it loses its waterproofing if the bolt kit isn’t used.

Product Specs 

  • Fire Rating: Protects for up to 60 minutes/up to 1,800 degrees F
  • Lock Type: Electronic combination lock
  • Dimensions: 11.25 by 13.75 by 15.25 inches
  • Weight: 57.3 pounds

Pros

  • High fire protection; dual-layered
  • 7 days of water protection in depths of up to 4.5 inches
  • Illuminated keypad
  • Tampering sets off alarm
  • Includes two backup keys

Cons

  • Waterproof only if bolted down

Get the Sanctuary fireproof safe at The Home Depot.

Our Verdict

SentrySafe offers a wide range of fireproof safe options worth looking into. We liked the SentrySafe SFW123GDC for its combination of interior space, entry options, and price. However, if you only need a fireproof safe for documents, a mini safe might fit the bill, and the First Alert 2030F is a highly affordable alternative offering 0.39 cubic feet of storage while still providing excellent fire security.

How We Chose the Best Fireproof Safes

We spent hours researching fireproof safes because they come in a wide range of styles and designs, with varying levels of security to protect from theft, fire, and/or water. We started by looking for safes with maximum temperature ranges above 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit with at least 30 minutes of fire protection.

From there, we considered construction. Does the safe have a live locking bolt? How many? How are the hinges designed? (Exposed hinges are easy to break into.) How many layers make up the fire protection? (It often takes several layers of materials, including thick steel, to stop high temperatures from damaging valuables.)

The locking mechanism also played an important role in our choices. The locking mechanism should be secure enough to deter thieves, though fireproof safes are better at fire protection than protection from burglary. Safes with more than one kind of entry mechanism, like a combination lock with a key, also got higher marks from us. It’s always good to have a secondary locking key in case of an emergency.

5 Things You Should Keep In a Fireproof Safe

A fireproof safe is a good place to store important belongings you want to keep at home, while a safety deposit box is best for really important items that you don’t use often. A home safe will keep items protected but also within easy reach, in case you need to access or use the contents inside. Some items to store in a fireproof home safe include:

  • Important documents like insurance policies, bank and financial account information, legal documents, and medical documents
  • Identity documents like passports, birth certificate copies, Social Security cards, and other ID cards
  • Digital data stored on USBs, CDs, DVDs, memory sticks, and hard drives
  • Cash and other small valuables like jewelry and collectibles
  • Family photos and other sentimental items

FAQs

Fireproof safes aren’t particularly complicated. But if you’re new to them, you probably have a few questions. We’ve got the answers to common questions along with tips to help you better protect your sensitive information and belongings.

Q: Will a fireproof safe survive a house fire? 

It depends on the safe’s level of protection. If the house fire does not exceed the safe’s maximum fire-resistance time or temperature limit, it will survive the fire.

Q: How can I be sure that I have a certified fireproof safe? 

Look for a UL-listed or ETL verified safe; these safes have undergone trusted third-party testing based on design and performance standards.

Q: Are all safes fireproof? 

Not all safes are fireproof. Some safes are designed specifically to deter theft, while others may protect from water damage rather than fire or theft. Some protect from all three. If you want a safe that protects from fire, you need to specifically look for one designed for that purpose.

Q: What is the maximum temperature that my fireproof safe can withstand? 

It depends on the safe, so look at the displayed specifications. Many fireproof home safes can withstand temperatures over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q: What is a UL fire rating? 

A UL fire rating comes from the Underwriters Laboratories and is a rating of temperature and time. This organization tests safes to determine the maximum exterior temperature at which the safe can hold a safe interior temperature and for how long it can maintain that temperature. Be sure to buy a safe that’s “UL listed,” not “tested to UL standards.” The former means the safe has passed the UL tests, while the latter means the safe has been submitted but has not yet passed the safety tests.

Q: What does “ETL verified” mean?

Intertek inspects and tests products for safety and gives an ETL verification for those that pass. Much like the UL, they test safes for fire and water safety. An ETL verification is also a good indicator of a safe’s overall quality and safety.

Q: Is my fireproof safe going to protect my papers if it is flooded?

Not all fireproof safes have been tested against flooding, although many will offer some water protection. For reliable fire and flood protection, look for a safe that is both fireproof and waterproof.

Q: What is the safest locking mechanism for a fireproof safe? 

Choose a safe with your preferred locking mechanism for ease of use and convenience; it’s more important to consider the protection level rather than the lock type when it comes to fire safety. A fireproof safe that has been certified to a certain standard (for example, 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes) will protect its contents from those conditions for the advertised time, regardless of the locking mechanism.

Q: Where should I put my safe? 

The size of the safe will narrow down your options. Look for a low-traffic area that’s not easily seen or noticed. Someplace other than the master bedroom is a good choice since thieves usually start their search there.

A guest bedroom or hall closet are good options. However, avoid the garage or basement. Garages tend to be left unsecured and are an easy target for thieves to carry away a safe. Water easily floods basements, making them a less-than-ideal choice.

Q: Do thieves steal safes?

Determined thieves can steal and possibly open a safe despite complex locking mechanisms. A poorly-made safe may open when dropped only a few feet, for example. The more deterrents the safe offers, the more likely thieves are to leave it alone. An audible alarm may be enough to scare off a jittery burglar.

Q: How do I hide a safe in a wall?

To hide a wall-mounted safe, choose a concealed spot, such as behind a door, furniture, a mirror or painting, or in the back of a closet.

Q: Should I bolt my safe to the floor?

Yes, bolting a safe to the floor offers extra security against theft.

Q: How do I maintain my fireproof safe?

Home safes don’t require much maintenance. Periodic checks for dust and moisture and the occasional cleaning can help to keep contents tidy and prevent a musty smell.