Choosing a Wall Safe
A home safe protects your valuables, but large, stand-alone safes take up significant amounts of space, and send a clear message to criminals that you have something worth protecting. An in-wall safe fits neatly into the dead space between your walls, and can be hidden safely out of sight.
The Right Size for Your Needs
A wall safe does require more installation than a standalone safe, but the extra effort pays dividends. Easily mountable, the safe is designed to fit between the wall's two-by-fours, which are normally spaced sixteen inches apart. The average in-wall safe has a depth of 3 1/2 inches, so the back of the unit doesn't protrude through the other side of the wall. If the wall backs onto dead space, such as a closet, the safe can be significantly deeper.
Wall safe height varies, but has more flexibility than the unit's depth and width. This allows you to choose a safe with multiple shelves, maximizing your storage space.
Hidden or in Plain Sight?
The ability to hide a safe behind a mirror or painting is a great advantage in a home safe. While some burglars may think to check behind wall hangings, most break-ins are quick, in-and-out affairs. After all, no crook wants to get caught, so they usually focus on items that are easily available.
A hidden safe has another advantage. Potential thieves peeking through windows can't see it. This seems obvious, but a home safe in plain view indicates the homeowner has something of value, increasing the risk of a break-in.
Theft, Fire, or Both?
A safe may be designed to protect against burglars, fire, or both. A fire-resistant safe will have a fire rating which clearly displays how long the unit can resist high temperatures, with a highest possible rating of two hours.
Choose a safe with a UL approved lock of Group 2 or better. Locks without UL approval are cheaper, but the money you save isn't worth buying an undependable lock. In addition, look for wall safes made from steel instead of sheet metal. Sheet metal is lighter, making safe installation easier, but much less resistant to burglary. Choose a safe with a 1/2-inch steel door and a 1/4-inch steel walls.
Locks, Combinations, and Biometrics
Depending on your needs, your safe can open with a simple key, a combination lock, or both. Many units now use digital keypads or biometric information, such as fingerprints. Fingerprint-activated systems are recommended for any home safe used to store firearms.