Was Your Safe a Rip-Off?

Cheap Safe Failed Torture Test

Recently, at a local trade show, there were some dazzling jewelry safes with beautiful interiors with decorative hardwood shelves. They were geared towards high-end home owners with larger and more valuable jewelry and watch collections. What shocked me though was the price. We were looking at safes that were above average in looks that were going for $30,000 to $100,000 dollars! Are these fancy artisan-built safes really worth this much? 

On the other end of the spectrum, we see safes all the time selling for $60 dollars in big box stores that are labeled, “designed to resist burglary” and “proven tough.”

With these extremes and everything in between, how are we supposed to know the difference and avoid getting ripped off on such an important purchase? Let’s find out.

1.       Too Cheap – A safe that is in the $40 – $250 dollar range is likely using materials and technology that allows the safe company to make a good profit while still giving the appearance of security. Many of these lock boxes can be defeated with a pocket knife and with someone with much less an experience than a safe cracker. The best selling big-box store safe in America has been defeated countless times on YouTube using no more than a magnet! There are even videos of toddlers breaking into these safes, it is that easy!

2.       Too Expensive – Some companies specialize in delivering a quality product. Some companies specialize in delivering a cheap price. Then there are companies that specialize in having a great marketing strategy. There are plenty of safes out there that have a pretty jewelry box installed, make bold claims for themselves, and call themselves a “luxury high security safe” and seek to charge you tens of thousands of dollars for lackluster security. Go ahead and ask the sales person what kind of burglary rating or fire rating the safe has. Odds are good… it doesn’t have any at all. In fact the safes we saw at the luxury jewelry show going for $30,000 and up, made big claims, but had nothing to back it up!

 3.       No Rating – That leads us to our next point. Any safe worth its salt has been through the grinder. That means the safe has been torture tested and rated by a third party who does not work for the safe company and is qualified to test the safe. The industry standard in America are UL and ETL. They help insurance companies and consumers decide which safes will protect their valuables under the toughest conditions, and which ones will not. Essentially, they hire a team of expert safecrackers to break into a safe using a variety of tools and methods, and if he or she fails to break into it in an allotted time, then the safe gets a rating. If your safe doesn’t have a rating from UL or ETL, then it has not proven to stand up to a real burglary attempt or a real fire.

4.       Fuzzy Language – So any safe that has a UL rating or an Intertek-ETL rating will proudly announce that. You’ll see the rating right on the box, and on the safe itself. Sometimes though, you’ll get a product description on the box that makes it seem like a good safe. One of my favorites is a cheap safe company that has listed on their product description, “PROVEN TOUGH!” Proven by whom, might I ask? Because when I get that box (I can’t bear to call it a safe) in my store to be opened, it’s 30 seconds and I’m in. That’s assuming I spend the first 25 seconds looking for my screw driver. Another company on the other end that sells crazy expensive safes won’t have a burglary rating, but will boast “the same material that armors Military Panzer Tanks!” Dude… you mean steel? My screwdriver is made of the same material as Panzer Tanks!

5.       Too Good to Be True – I don’t need to say it, you already know it, but if the safe seems too well-priced, too pretty, too perfect to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut folks. When you find yourself asking, “Why is this safe $200, and that safe is $2,000 but they look pretty similar?” or better yet, “Why is this safe $20,000 and that safe is $2,000 but they look pretty similar?” it’s usually because someone somewhere figured out how to get you to buy what you think you want, and not what you actually want.

If you are looking for a quality safe that has been scientifically proven and insurance-approved to resist burglary attacks and fires, stop by our showrooms. Our Certified Safe Specialists can answer all of your questions and help you find the right safe for your space, budget, and security needs.