Choosing the best jewelry safe requires some knowledge for this important one-time purchase. Unfortunately, searching online for correct information is not a simple task, because safe companies provide information for the safes they want you to buy, instead of the jewelry safes that you need. Fortunately, though, there are only a few basic things to learn to choose the best jewelry safe for you.
The most important feature for jewelry safes is its resistance to a burglary attack. You would think this is obvious, but after reviewing the construction of so many safes you realize it is not. There are many types of safes designed for various purposes, and they vary in strength and price. Jewelry safes are the strongest and most expensive type of safe. Ecommerce companies typically offer cheaper quality safes but call them jewelry safes. This is disingenuous and shows disregard for your valuable jewelry.
To help you understand the different types of safes to make an informed purchase here is a breakdown of what to look for and how to compare.
Commercial jewelry safes must have a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) burglary rating to qualify for insurance coverage. The amount of coverage will dictate which quality level is required. There are five UL ratings briefly described below (for a comprehensive definition describing the tests go to www.ul.com ). These ratings keep things simple and honest and assures the jeweler and insurance company of the safe’s quality.
Jewelry safes for homes rarely require these UL burglary ratings, which makes it hard to compare quality. Homeowners with very expensive jewelry collections are sometimes required to get jewelry safes with TL15 ratings and on very rare occasions TL30 which is the maximum quality for home safes, because anything beyond this would weigh too much for most homes.
The best jewelry safes for homes are made of steel. To be considered commercial quality a safe must have at least a solid ½ inch steel door and ¼ inch steel body. Anything thinner than this is simple to break into with common hand tools. This quality safe is often referred to as cash safe and is commonly used for securing large amounts of money. When used as a home safe for protecting jewelry, it offers maximum burglary protection. It is many times stronger than most home safes that are twice the weight and constructed with composite materials. The reason is that composite safes typically use very little steel to save on cost, but it’s the steel that provides burglary protection. Steel safes although stronger are lighter and can easily be made in custom sizes to install anywhere in your home.
Because they cost more to manufacture than composite safes, and online sellers focus on the lowest price not the best quality.
Steel is much more costly than composite materials, but better always is. But the bigger reason is in the manufacturing process. Steel safes are made largely by hand with a lot of laborious welding.
Composite safes on the other hand, are simply made from a poured casting and most use as little steel as possible. Safes like this usually come in standard sizes only because it is too costly to manufacture a custom size. These safes are mass produced for ecommerce and big box stores.
NO. This is one of the most misleading subjects in the entire safe industry. Gun safes are designed for securing guns, not jewelry. Most gun safes are made as cheaply as possible with very thin gauge steel that offers virtually no burglary protection. Some gun safes are made stronger than others, but almost none have a strong ½” thick steel door or a ¼” steel body. They usually have an RSC (Residential Security Container) UL rating which is merely a five-minute forced entry test using common hand tools. Consumers are led to believe that this residential UL burglary rating is like the stringent UL test ratings given to commercial jewelry safes, but it is not. Safes with doors as thin as 12-gauge steel (0.104 inches) can easily pass the RSC test. Therefore, it is called a security container and not a security safe. Safes with an RSC rating is good for locking up guns which is what they are intended to do, but they should never be used for protecting jewelry, because they won’t.
See how a typical gun safe is burglarized in less than two minutes
Gun safes are easy to identify by their size and appearance. They are always around 60 inches tall and 24-36 inches wide. They usually have a fancy 3 or 5 spoke handle with a pretty paint finish. When they are dressed up as jewelry safes, they include cheaply made jewelry drawers and inserts. They may also include lighting or watch winders or anything else that alludes to being a jewelry safe. But pretty paint will not prevent your valuables from being stolen.
NO. Jewelry safes need burglary protection, not fire protection. Commercial UL rated jewelry safes for business do not require a fire rating. It is the burglary rating that makes the safe insurable. An all steel safe with a TL 15 or TL30 burglary rating without fire protection will get the required insurance.
NO. Safes that are advertised for fire protection are meant for fire protection of documents, not burglary protection for jewelry. These are inexpensive safes that most provide little if any burglary protection. Safes like this advertise all sorts of features except the most important one which is the steel thickness. These safes should never be used for protecting jewelry.
NO. Most wall safes are meant to hide things and not secure them. They are made with very thin gauge steel and fit between wall studs.
NO. These shoe box type safes should never be used for protecting jewelry. These are one of the cheapest made safes in the industry and can be pried open in seconds. They offer pretty colors and weigh under thirty pounds for easy installation…and removal.
NO. They are designed for gadgetry not security. You will never ever find fingerprint locks on safes used for businesses, and they should never be used for securing jewelry. They are used for hotel style home safes and other inexpensive novelty type safes, but not for high security.
Combination locks or high-quality digital locks are the only types of locks that should be used.
Size depends on the volume of jewelry being secured and where in the home you would like to have it placed. Most homeowners require a safe between 2-4 feet tall if it is only to secure jewelry. The master bedroom closet is a popular location for convenience. Jewelry safes made of steel can be made in any size to fit neatly into millwork or cabinetry.
Good quality custom woodwork is costly. There is a huge quality and price difference in woodwork just like in the manufacturing of safes. Safes that are mass produced cheaply also mass produce their jewelry drawers the same way.
Jewelry drawers add luxury and convenience to a safe, as well as optimizing the storage space. Money can certainly be saved if the safe is designed with shelves only, and jewelry trays can sit on the shelves, but it will not have the flair of a luxury safe.
For most people, a safe is a one-time investment. It provides the convenience of having your jewelry available to wear anytime, while giving you the piece of mind that your most valuable possessions are secure. And, it is not just about money; the intrinsic value of family heirlooms is irreplaceable.