Safe Buying 101


So you’ve decided that you need a safe. What Now?

Buying a safe is an important and somewhat difficult decision. There are hundreds of retailers getting into the safe-selling business. However, many “Big Box Stores” stock inferior products to meet price points rather than sell quality safes.

Comparing safes can be very difficult, but choosing one that fits your needs doesn’t have to be! Let the experts here at Hyatt Safes show you the difference between brands and models in the simplest terms possible. We want to help you find the safe that will safeguard your valuables from the many dangers in today’s world, whether your concern is fire, theft, or both. When starting your search, don’t just compare safes against one another. Determine what level of protection you need and look for safes that have the ratings and features that you need.

Here are a few questions to help you get started, which highlight certain ratings and features that different safes offer:

  • What fire rating do I need?
    The easiest way to figure this out is look at the value of the items you plan to store inside your safe. The higher the value monetarily or sentimental the higher the fire rating should be. Also small fire boxes can always be added inside the safe for specific items. Of course, the higher the fire rating, the better.
  • I have a budget in mind what should I choose: Fire Rating or Size?
    This can be one of the most difficult decisions to make prior to purchasing a safe. It has been our experience after selling safes for more than 50 years is that SIZE is the most important decision. The chief complaint that we hear from safe owners is that their safe is too small. We see people every day who are either thinking of purchasing a second safe or trading up for a bigger size. We recommend planning for what size you will need in five years, not just now. Buying one size larger than you think you need now allows for new items to be added later. Be careful not to skimp on quality for volume.
  • I have found a cheap gun safe, but it is not UL Listed. Is it a good safe?
    The short answer is No. Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) requires that the steel body of a safe be 12 gauge or thicker (the smaller the gauge number, the thicker the steel). This is important both in fire and theft situations, because the strength of the steel is the primary determinant of a safe’s performance.
  • The safe I am looking at has external hinges. Can’t a thief just cut off the hinges and take the door off?
    No. Any safe that is UL listed and has external hinges must have a locking mechanism on both sides of the door, so that the door will not come off even if the hinges are cut off. The thief actually just wasted a lot of time if he cut off you hinges. Most safe manufacturer warranties will cover any damage caused by theft attempts or fire.
  • I want to put my safe upstairs. Will the floor hold it? It is our experience that 900 pounds is about the maximum limit for a safe’s weight if it is going to a second floor. Most safes are designed with a large enough footprint that spreads the stress on the floor around, much like a refrigerator.
  • How do I get my safe home, and put it where I want it?
    Hyatt’s has a professional, licensed & bonded delivery service. Our team will put the safe exactly where you want it, level the safe so the door does not swing open or closed on its own, install accessories, set custom combinations and bolt your safe down.
  • Can I purchase a safe online?
    The short answer to this question is Yes. However, this may end up costing you a lot more in delivery charges for the safe to end up at the end of your driveway than to buy it locally.
  • How can I determine a safe’s ability to survive a theft attempt?
    This is the hardest question to answer in the safe industry. Every brand and model will have slightly different features to counter a theft attempt. The main features that you will want to ask about are:
    • Bolt Coverage on all 4 sides
    • Reinforced door frame (75% of safes on the market lack this)
    • Re-Locker / Anti Drill Assembly
    • Lock-Box Assembly
    • Body Thickness (12 gauge or thicker)
    • Door Thickness (a 2″ composite door may be weaker than a 1/4 inch steel plate door)
    • Liner Composition (fireboard vs. concrete)
  • I’ve read so many safe catalogs, but still can’t decide! Reading a company’s literature about its own products always makes choosing difficult. The only way to really compare safes is by looking at them in person. That is why Hyatt Safes carries a variety of manufacturers and models – so we can show you the difference.