How do Features affect the cost of a safe?

There are many features that influence the cost of the safe. Deciding first what features mean the most to you will help you make the best decision when you’re ready to purchase.  

How Much Do FEATURES Affect the Cost of a Safe

In my opinion, the most important feature to consider first is fire rating. A safe’s fire rating is typically measured by the amount of time it takes for the inside of a safe to reach 350 degrees in the event of a fire. An internal temperature of 350 degrees is the point at which damage starts to occur with any paper, plastic, or other sensitive valuables. 

Fire ratings can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours or more, and the price will increase as the fire rating increases. The good news is most safe manufacturers offer a variety of different fire ratings and price points for each capacity.  For example, a 24 capacity safe with a 60-75 minute fire rating could cost anywhere from $1000-$2000. Safes in this range are ideal for storing firearms, while safes with a 110-150 minute fire rating are perfect for protecting important documents, priceless possessions, cash, and more expensive collections. A 24 capacity safe with a higher fire rating of 110 minutes or more typically starts just over $2000. Most of our customers end up choosing either 75 or 110 minutes, which is a great middle-ground for price and protection.

The second most important feature to consider when buying a safe is its level of security. The two main things that affect the security of your safe are gauge of steel and the number of locking bars. 

Gauges of steel can vary greatly from one safe to another, keep in mind...thicker steel = higher price. You can often find cheaper “safes” in large box stores for under $500 that may look the same as any other safe, but all safes are NOT created equally. Most of these box store safes are actually constructed of flimsy 18 gauge steel, and although they look strong on the outside, it’s more of an illusion of security.

Most safes from reputable brands will range from 7 to 14 gauge steel. Lower numbers mean a better safe, but also a higher price. Most people choose a safe in the range of 11 to 12 gauge because This tends to offer the most security for the best price. 

The locking system of your safe, including both the locking bars and mechanism, is what keeps your safe door closed and secure. Cheaper options from big-box retailers or farm stores typically only offer one or two-sided coverage with price points from $500-$1200. Four-sided bolt coverage is ideal and can be found as low as $800 from some manufacturers. 

The next factors to consider are the quantity, size, and construction of the locking bars. For example, a Liberty Colonial 50 with a starting MSRP of $2999 offers four-sided coverage with a total of 10 ¼” locking bars. The Lincoln 50 by Liberty offers four-sided coverage consisting of 15 3/8” locking bars at an MSRP of around $5399. The Lincoln also features a slip-clutch mechanism to protect against forced entry and an upgraded ball-bearing hard plate to protect the lock from drill attacks. As you can see from this example, there are many features that play into how secure a specific safe is – and they all impact the cost of the safe.

One last security feature that can affect your cost is lock type. The most common types of locks are mechanical, electronic, and redundant locks. High-quality mechanical dials and electronic locks are the most common and typically cost anywhere from $150-$200. You’ll want to check and see if the cost of the lock you need is already included in the price of your safe, or offered as an upgrade. Here at Spartan, we include an upgraded electronic lock on every safe but have other options available as well.

Now, when choosing between mechanical and electronic locks, most people’s concern is reliability. From an industry standpoint - lock quality varies greatly, so keep that in mind when you see a safe on sale for $400 and the lock is included in that price. You may find that you’re getting a lower quality safe, a lower quality lock, or more than likely both. 

Redundant locks provide the ease of access of an electronic lock coupled with a mechanical dialing feature as a backup. These locks are typically $350 or more depending on the style or brand.

Again, there are many features that influence the cost of the safe. Deciding first what features mean the most to you will help you make the best decision when you’re ready to purchase.

These are a few ways that the size of your safe can impact its cost. We hope to see you online or in a Spartan Safe showroom near you!


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