In theory, any safe could be called a security safe. And any kind of box with a lock could be described as a safe. The earliest safes were just that: wooden boxes bound with iron with a big heavy lock. Once an item is put inside and the key turned, it becomes that much harder for a would-be thief to steal it.
However, true security safes – or cash safes, as they can also be known – have been specifically designed to keep the burglar out. They will have any number of engineering and technological features that make them resistant to brute force or other means of attack. Over time, the tools available to a burglar have become increasingly sophisticated, so manufacturers have created safes that are stronger and more complex.
A typical security safe might feature:
- Anchoring holes to secure it to a concrete floor or wall
- A double-bitted key lock, which is very difficult to pick
- Anti-pry doors and hinges which can’t be forced with a crowbar
- Drill resistant plates protecting the lock and boltwork
A good cash safe will tend to be quite heavy relative to its size as it will have thick metal walls and an even thicker door. It will also have what are known as cash and valuables ratings, which give an indicator of how secure the safe is. The higher the cash rating, the higher the protection. The lowest cash rating is £1,000, indicating a very basic level of security. The most secure safes available, known as Eurograde VI safes, have a cash rating of £219,000.
To prevent manufacturers making incorrect claims about their safes’ protective abilities, independent international standards have been drawn up by security experts, who test and certify many safes. A safe that has been independently tested and certified in this way is guaranteed to provide the protection claimed.
Some safes are designed more to protect their contents from fire rather than see off burglars. Such safes are referred to as “fire safes” or “fireproof safes” and may not have even the most basic of burglar-resistant features. Safes that provide both fire and burglar resistance are also available, giving you the best of both worlds.