We know that it can be quite complicated to fully understand what you’re buying when you are thinking about investing in a safe, especially a safe that is “rated” as either burglar-safe or fire-safe. There are lots of governing bodies that proclaim to rate safes but only a few ratings that we respect as safe and vault professionals. Burglar safes are made from solid steel plate or a combo of steel and composite fill (ie, concrete) to make the safe secure from breaking. There are four basic ratings that we rely on when looking at a burglar safe. The first two ratings are given to safes that meet certain physical classifications while the latter two rely on net “working time” for their rating.
1) B-Rate: This is a category that does not undergo testing to be rated. It is essentially the catch all for safes on the market that meet the following criteria; ¼ inch thick body, ½ inch thick door.
2) C-Rate: This safe includes a ½ inch thick steel box and a 1 inch thick door and lock. This rating, again, undergoes no testing and you should trust it accordingly.
3) TL-15: The UL which is responsible for all fire-safe rating and testing, has also come up with a series of tests to rate burglar-safe safes. To receive a TL-15 rating, a safe must pass all the tests outlined in UL Standard 687 with the addition of a UL listed Group II or 1R lock, 750 pounds minimum (or instructions for anchoring the safe to a wall or floor), body walls of 1 inch thick and tensile strength of at least 50,000 PSI, and one hole ¼ inch thick or less to accommodate electrical conductors arranged to have no direct view of the door or locking mechanism. Essentially the lable means that the safe resisted cracking by safe-cracking professionals for a net working time of 15 minutes with the use of common hand tools.
4) TL-30: this rating also by the UL has similar guidelines as those above except that the safes must withstand cracking for 30 minutes or more by professionals with some additional tools. This safe is pretty dang safe!
Next time you’re thinking about getting a burglar safe, take a look at their ratings and now you know what the best ratings in the business are!
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