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Best Fireproof Safes for Your Valuables and Documents

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Updated: 11/13/2022
fireproof safe

If you want to protect your valuables, important document, or sensitive media from fire, smoke, and water damage, then you need a fireproof safe. A regular safe is not able to protect your content from fire damage, but a good fire-resistant safe can keep the inner temperature low enough for a period of time to keep your valuables from igniting in case of a fire disaster.

We've reviewed and picked some of the best fireproof safes available on the market that should suit most needs. Here are our top picks and reviews for each fire-resistant safe.

Best Overall: SentrySafe SFW123GDC

Our Pick

SentrySafe SFW123GDC

Best Mid-Size Fireproof Safe

SentrySafe SFW123GDC is your go-to choice if you're looking for a reliable, fire-resistant focused, mid-size safe for all your valuable documents, media, and data files.

The SentrySafe SFW123GDC is a great fireproof & waterproof safe with a digital keypad entry and a secondary key lock as the backup locking option. The SFW123GDC is UL classified to protect your most important documents and valuables for up to 1 hour at 1700˚F (927˚C) and is able to withstand a 15-foot fall during a fire and remain closed. Besides being fire-resistant, Sentrysafe is also known for its waterproof ability to protect your sensitive files inside the safe from all types of water and flood for 24 hours in 8 inches of water, as verified by ETL.

Being one of the best mid-sized fire-resistant safes with a 1.23 cubic feet size, The SFW123GDC has an exterior size of 16.3 in. W x 19.3 in. D x 17.8 in. H and an interior size of 12.6 in. W x 11.9 in. D x 13.8 in. H with a medium weight of 86.69 pounds.

The SentrySafe SFW123GDC is remarkably strong with an anti-pry reinforced door with 4 live bolts and an alloy steel structure that is secure enough. You can choose to bolt down the safe for more security and its interior lighting is great for night use.

What We Like

  • 1-hour fire resistant and 24 hours water resistant
  • Sleek design
  • Digital lock is easy to use
  • SentrySafe is a trusted brand

What We Don't Like

  • Primarily designed to protect against fire with foam materials, it’s not too solid against burglary attacks
  • Handle is plastic and flimsy

Large Size Alternative

SentrySafe SFW205GQC

Best Large Digital Fireproof Safe

SentrySafe SFW205GQC is the large size version with an exterior size of 18.6" W x 19.3" D x 23.8" H, 2.05 cubic feet size, and weighs 125 pounds.

Best Combo Lock: SentrySafe SFW205CWB

Also Good

SentrySafe SFW205CWB

Best Combo Fireproof Safe

SentrySafe SFW205CWB is a classic fireproof and water-resistant safe with a traditional mechanical combination lock. It's the optimal safe if you prefer the combo lock access.

The SentrySafe SFW205CWB is a large fireproof & waterproof safe with a combination dial lock and a secondary backup key lock for emergency entry. Being large with a 2.05 cubic feet capacity, The SFW205CWB has an exterior size of 18.6″ W x 19.3″ D x 23.8″ H and an interior size of 14.8″W x 11.9″ D x 19.6″ H and weighs about 125 pounds. Additionally, it includes an interior tray and drawer for added organization to fit your A4 size documents, photos, and sensitive assets.

The SFW205CWB is like other SentrySafe products, which is classified 1-hour fire rating at 1700˚F (927˚C) by UL and can withstand a 15-foot fall during a fire and remain closed verified by ETL. It can also protect your documents and valuables from water damage for up to 24 hours in 8 inches of water.

The SentrySafe SFW205CWB is a very solid, alloy steel large safe with an anti-pry reinforced door with 6 large 1-inch live bolts. You can bolt down the safe for added security and enjoy its interior lighting for convenient use at night.

If you prefer a medium-sized combo lock version, check the SFW123DSB.

What We Like

  • 1-hour fire resistant and 24 hours water resistant
  • Elegant design and look
  • Classic combo lock
  • SentrySafe is a trusted brand

What We Don't Like

  • Primarily designed to protect against fire with foam materials, it's not great at burglary resistance
  • Handle is plastic and flimsy

Best Basic: Amazon Basics Fire Resistant Safe

Amazon Basics Fire Resistant Security Safe

Best Basic Fireproof Safe

Amazon Basics Fire Resistant Security Safe, just as the name suggests, has all basic features and provides decent protection, and it does its job nicely at an affordable price.

If you want a legit and cost-effective fire-resistant safe for your documents and items, then the Amazon Basics Fire Resistant Security Safe can be a great choice. It has an electronic safe lock and backup key for emergency access. The safe has a large 2.1 cubic feet size with an exterior size of 16.93 x 13.78 x 25.98 inches to keep all your documents, passports, jewelry, cash, and valuables.

The safe's 14-gauge heavy-duty steel body with 4 large 0.75-inch bolts provides reliable strength. Compliant with modified UL 72 standard for safety tests for fire resistance of record protection equipment for 20 minutes, tested by Intertek for essential fireproof performance.

What We Like

  • Friendly cost with decent fire protection
  • The electronic keypad lock is easy to use
  • It's basic but competent for its job

What We Don't Like

  • Not UL listed, only compliant with modified UL standard

Best for Letter Size Files: SentrySafe 1160 Fireproof Lock Box

Top Pick

SentrySafe 1160

Best Letter Size Document Fireproof Safe

SentrySafe 1160 Fireproof Lock Box is perfect for storing your letter-size legal documents and files from fire damages and is easy for transportation with a handle.

If you are looking for a fireproof safe for your important documents, SentrySafe 1160 is your best choice. The SentrySafe 1160 is UL and ETL classified for 1/2 hour protection for your records, valuables, media, and data like CDs, DVDs, memory sticks, and USB drives.

What's best with the SentrySafe 1160 safe is that, unlike other safes, it can actually hold 8.5″ x 11″ letter size documents flat with an interior size of 3.8″ H x 13″ W x 8.6″ D, and it will not have mold inside, damaging your contents if the safe is not opened for a long period.

This safe also includes convenient carrying grips for ease of transportation and portability. The 17 pounds weight and 0.25 cubic feet size is just perfect for ordinary use.

What We Like

  • Handle for carrying with ease
  • Can actually hold letter-size document falt without the file being bent
  • No mold inside if the safe is not opened for a long period

What We Don't Like

  • Not water-resistant like other SentrySafes
  • Only key lock available

Also Good

SentrySafe CHW30220

Fireproof & Waterproof With Bigger Size

SentrySafe CHW30220 is also a good choice for your files, with extra waterproof protection and a bigger size capacity. But it does not have a handle.

Best for File Folders: SentrySafe HD4100 Fireproof and Waterproof Safe

SentrySafe HD4100 Fireproof Safe and Waterproof Safe

Best Fireproof Safe for File Folders

The SentrySafe HD4100 fireproof and waterproof safe is the best safe if you have stacks of files and documents that require secure storage.

If you have a lot of file folders with important files like medical records, business records, and financial paperwork to store and protect from fire and water damages, The SentrySafe HD4100 Fireproof Safe and Waterproof Safe is what you're looking for.

It is UL classified to endure 1/2 hour at 1550°F for fire potent and ETL Verified for 72 hours of water submersion, offering the peace of mind for your files at all times.

What We Like

  • 0.65 cubic feet large interior size for your document
  • Fireproof and water-resistant, offering max protection

What We Don't Like

  • No handle included. Not easy to move the safe
  • Mainly for paperwork and fire protection, not built against burglary attacks

Digital Lock Alternative

SentrySafe FHW40300

Best With Digital Access

The SentrySafe FHW40300 is an upgrade alternative for storing your file documents with digital lock entry and a built-in handle for easy transportation.

Fireproof Safe Buying Guide

If you have any data, media, and documents worth protecting, you'll want to invest in fireproof safes, but are they really worth the extra money? There are plenty of big box safes on the market, and many of them claim to be fire-resistant, so why would you want to pay extra for one of these little fireproof data safes?

Also referred to as media safe, data safe, document safe, and fire data safe, this type of safe is growing in popularity due to the digital information age we're in. Whether you are a business or a homeowner, you're going to want to be sure you protect your hard work, investment, sensitive documents, and precious memories from theft, fire, water, and other disasters with a solid fireproof safe.

What Is a Fireproof Safe

A fireproof safe is made with fire-resistant materials within the safe's walls and doors that can additionally protect your contents from heat damage. A fireproof safe is not really "fireproof" which makes them can survive any type of fire for however long time. A fire safe is fire resistant that has the ability to keep the items safe from a fire for a certain period of time. For example, a fire safe may keep your paper document safe from fire for 30 minutes or 1 hour. If the fire lasts two hours, your documents stored in the fireproof safe may still get burned and damaged.

Two common types of fire safes:

Fireproof Data Media Safe

Data safes, document safes, or sometimes known as media safes, are designed to specially store valuable data contents such as papers, sensitive documents, hard drives, USBs, precious photos, disks and the like. For a data safe, the fire-resistant feature is a must and the protection against burglary is relatively less important. A data safe without fire-resistant ability is nearly useless.

Also, there are lightweight and heavyweight fireproof data safes. Lightweight fireproof data safes are mainly built for fire protection rather than burglary attacks, which is ideal for home use. Heavyweight data safes are built-for burglary attacks also to provide utmost protection for businesses and are more commonly used in offices.

Fireproof Gun safes

Not all gun safes are fireproof. For example, a quick access handgun safe or a lightweight gun locker is definitely not going to protect your guns undamaged from a fire. Even if you get some heavy, steel made gun safe, the guns and ammo might get heated quickly when a fire happens. To keep your guns safe from all conditions, you should specifically look for a fireproof gun safe.

How Do Fireproof Safes Work

In addition to a traditional safe, a fireproof safe has extra insulating materials as a heat insulation layer inside the safe walls and doors to keep the inner temperature under a certain degree during a fire. The insulating materials used can be various such as perlite, vermiculite, gypsum, and concrete. Asbestos is not used or contained in modern fire safes.

For data and document safes which are commonly used in homes and offices, lightweight materials are commonly used, such as perlite, vermiculite, and gypsum. For heavyweight fireproof gun safes and high-end burglary & fire-resistant safes, concrete and specially made fireproof materials are often the choices.

Additionally, a fireproof door seal is normally used to help prevent the hot gas, smoke, and firefighting water spray from getting inside the safe. When a fire happens, the special door seal expands to prevent air and water from entering the safe.

So when a fire happens, the fireproof safe will keep the inner temperature below the ignition temperature for a limited time, so your document, paper, media, or data won't burn.

What Is UL Fire Rating

Fire rating represents how long and how well the safe can protect the items safe from a fire. Every fireproof safe you purchase should have a fire rating from independent test laboratories. In the US, the most common and trustworthy fire rating is tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories, the UL fire rating.

The UL 72 - Fire Resistance of Record Protection Equipment is the fire-resistant certification for safes. It tests for how long the safe can keep the interior temperature maintaining less than a given temperature when exposed to a fire.

There are 3 levels of UL fire rating you will normally see:

  • Class 125 - 4, 3, 2, 1, ½ h
  • Class 150 - 4, 3, 2, 1, ½ h
  • Class 300 - 4, 3, 2, 1, ½ h

Class 125-300 means the interior temperature(in Fahrenheit) inside the safe during a fire, and the "4, 3, 2, 1, ½ h" represents how long the interior temperature remains. For example, a "Class 350 - 1h" certification means the safe is exposed to 1700 °F to 2000°F(the test exterior temperatures may vary) in an oven, and the interior temperature should maintain less than 350 °F(177°C) for an hour.

How to Choose a Good Fire Rating

Choosing a good fire rating for your safe totally depends on what you need to store. For storing paper documents, such as wills, deeds, and business contracts, you should at least look for a Class 300 rating, because paper burns at around 480°F.

For sensitive media, computer data such as disks, photos, USBs, and hard drives, you should look for a Class 125 or Class 150 rating because these contents can melt at a much lower temperature. Additionally, Class 125 and class 150 certifications have extra requests for interior humidity to be less than 80% and 85% during the fire and cooling period, which is also a critical factor in keeping the data/media content safe from water damage.

How long you need the safe to last to protect your content is a personal choice. It primarily depends on how valuable your contents are and how fast the fire can be put out in your area if a fire happens.

How to Choose the Best Fireproof Safe

Follow these simple tips to choose the best fireproof safe for your home or office. We look at the fire, water, burglar and impact resistance, and a few more other aspects.

Fire Protection

By definition, for a safe to be listed as a genuine fire safe, it must meet the following standard and bear a UL (Underwriter's Laboratory) logo and specific label testifying that it is a class 125 or 150 fireproof safe. The UL site has more specific information on it, but the classification basically means that the internal temperatures won't reach beyond 125 or 150 F, or 52 or 66 C, approximately.

Data fire safes that protect magnetic storage devices, such as magnetic tapes (VCR or audio tapes) and photographic film, need the 150 Class rating from UL. If the contents are the more sensitive disks, CDs, DVDs, USB, and hard drives, then the fire rating class has to be 125 to be effective.

The other fire Class is 350, which is only effective for paper products and non-data storage. The reason for the class distinction is that electronic media has a lower flame temperature than paper. At temperatures greater than 125 F, the data could become corrupt and the media could melt.

On top of these classifications, the UL also will test for impact resistance and the duration that the safe can withstand the fire, with temperatures ranging from 1700 F up to 2200 F. This endurance classification of the fireproof data safe is denoted as "½, 1, 2, 3, or 4" It simply gives a suggested time in which the contents of the safe are indeed safe from the flames, with ½ being 30 minutes, or half an hour, the 1-4 referring to the number of hours the contents will be safe from the flames.

Waterproof

To keep your data safe in storage, you need to be sure the fireproof safe you invest in is also waterproof.

Why do data fire safes need to be waterproof as well as fireproof?

Simple: in the event of a fire, the emergency responders or automatic sprinklers will douse the flames with water. Unless a safe is specifically designated as waterproof, then the data protected from the flames will be susceptible to the damage caused by the firemen's blast of water. The data could easily be lost at that point.

Burglar Proof

On top of the data safe being fire and waterproof, it also needs to be burglar-proof. The term burglar-proof is a bit of a subjective term, actually. The UL classifications for burglary or security grade protection are as follows: residential security containers(RSC), and tool-resistant safes ranging in class from TL-15 and TL-15X through TL-30 and TL30-X6.

The residential security containers are the average jewelry box or other similar devices: they wouldn't prevent theft from anyone determined to get to the contents. The TL-15 Class refers to a break-in attempt, with tools, from an equipped thief, for the duration of about 15 minutes. In other words, a thief with 16 minutes can break into the contents of the safe. The TL-15X6 refers to the fact that this protection is 6-sided, not only referring to the door of the safe.

Given these parameters, it may seem as if there is no such thing as a burglary data storage safe, but in actuality, most thieves aren't planning on attacking a safe so heavily guarded. Most burglaries are thwarted by a serious-looking safe, especially considering the criminal will want to move on rapidly.

Some of the best anti-burglary devices cost quite a bit more and include things such as silent alarms and remote monitoring, bolt-down capabilities to keep the data storage safe on your premises, tempered glass plate re-lockers in the event of an attempted break-in, and of course a UL certified lock of choice (electronic, combination/manual, key, dual lock, or biometric). Again, it's important to verify that the lock itself is UL certified.

Impact Resistance

It may seem that impact resistance isn't as important to a fire safe as, say, fireproof walls and a tight seal, but impact ratings are very important for a simple reason. Besides the fact that the safe must maintain a certain temperature and must remain closed to the abuse of a theft attempt, in the case of an actual fire, the safe may fall through several floors. Impact-resistant safes are tested to withstand 30-foot falls and remain intact.

Go with UL

It is key to understand, however, that most data fire safes are not geared to also be used as burglary or security-grade safes. They are designed to resist fire, not theft, and not necessarily water, either. To be sure you are investing in the level of protection you need, make sure the data fire safe you purchase reflects an independently tested standard.

Your best investment is to buy a fireproof data safe that is stamped with UL approval. This is one investment you don't necessarily want to go cheap on – by all means make your investment count. Get the water, burglary, and fire resistance you need, and ensure the ratings are from an independent lab.

Unfortunately, you don't want to find out too late that the manufacturer's guarantee or lab test done by the manufacturer was nothing more than a sales tactic. It may sound paranoid, but it's all too true. Unless a manufacturer were to conform to UL testing or a similar industry-proven, independent lab, then the safe isn't worth your dime.

Another problem you may run into is if the UL stamp is only for a certain part of the overall safe. This means that the rest of the safe isn't approved. It isn't illegal to sell these safes, but it is underhanded nonetheless. Stick with trustworthy manufacturers. You don't want to risk your investments and property, thinking you have more protection than you purchased.

A Few More Tips

Other options you may be interested in laying hold of on your fireproof safes are: glass plate re-lockers, backlighting, removable shelves, key override access, de-humidifying devices and anti-electrostatic properties, fire cladding (added protection and sealed environment), silent alarm capability with remote monitoring services, biometric locks or multi-modal locks (e.g., uses both a fingerprint identifier and a key), and a lifetime warranty.

Media fireproof safes with these features in place will cost significantly more than the bare-bones data fire safe, but the added protection is commensurate with the sensitivity of the data stored within. Be sure that your data/media safe offers you the protection against humidity, water, fire, burglar, explosion and impact – and is made from a manufacturer that is in good standing with the UL.

What to Keep in a Fireproof Safe

You can put many things in a fireproof safe, especially those which need special fire protection, such as financial documents like insurance, business contract; legal documents like birth certificates, passports, social security cards, wills, property deeds, car titles; data and media like photos, USB drives, hard drives, cash and so on.

Where Is the Best Place to Put a Fireproof Safe

Generally, a fireproof safe can be installed anywhere you like and see fit, just like a regular safe. Common places such as at the corner of walls, in the bedroom, garage, and offices are all appropriate places to install a safe.

If you do need a best place to put a fireproof safe, beware of staying away from places that may collapse during a fire that may crush or drop your safe. For example, do not put your fireproof safe near the stairs. Or you can purchase a fireproof wall safe or in floor safe that has more chances of surviving a fire. But please note that a wall safe or floor safe is not fireproof by standard, do look for a fireproof label before buying.

How to Bolt Down a Fireproof Safe

If you want to strengthen your fireproof safe against burglary attacks, you can choose to bolt down your safe. Most fireproof safes may provide pre-drilled anchor holes and bolt down kits to fasten your safe to the ground to ensure thieves cannot easily remove the safe from your home or office.

If your safe does not provide bolt down anchors, it's not recommended to drill the safe by yourself because it might damage the safe more or less.

How to Prevent Mold in a Fireproof Safe

If you live in a wet area, a common problem is that your fireproof safe may get moisture and mold inside. To prevent mold in your fireproof safe, the most straightforward solution is to use a safe dehumidifier to keep the moisture out and contents dry.

Even though your fireproof safe may protect the contents from water damage during a fire when the door seal expands, it doesn't necessarily mean that it can keep the moisture out in daily usage.

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