Security Safe Scams Uncovered

A high security safe is a must have addition to any well equipped arsenal. Unfortunately however, not all security safes are created equal. Many unsuspecting consumers have been fooled by clever marketing pitches into believing they were purchasing a sturdy security safe, only to find out they had unwittingly stored all of their weapons, cash, and family valuables in a box built of little more than drywall and sheet metal – which an unskilled attacker with a screwdriver was able to gain access to in less than 5 minutes.

In an effort to arm you with the info you need to know before purchasing a potential liability. Here at the Brown Safe Research Labs we have compiled a short list of the most common security safe scams to be aware:

1. Security Safe Protection Ratings:

90% of the so-called security safes widely available today carry no recognized rating. The manufacturer or reseller of these safes simply create their own construction rating to hide the fact that their safes fall short of industry recognized standards. Other safe builders list a rating of “Theft Resistant”, which simply means that it has a lock on it. This rating is the same carried by a common place file cabinet. Some makers claim a RSC (Residential Security Container) Rating or TL-5. This minimal rating certifies that a single attacker armed with only a hammer and crowbar will be able to open the safe after five minutes.

Tip to spot this scam: Ask about the thickness of the steel used to build the safe. Settle for nothing less than a Class B Rated Security Safe. A Class B safe is constructed of ¼” solid steel plate on all five sides with a door made of ½” solid steel.


2. Misleading Wall Thickness:

This is a common trick employed by safe manufacturers aiming to outwit their clients into thinking they are purchasing a robust safe. By combining the measurements of thin gauge steel with the thickness of drywall fireproofing panels, and even the air space between panels, these builders offer misleading measurements that the uniformed consumer would assume represents the thickness of solid steel.

Tip to spot this scam: Check the weight of the safe. These counterfeit safes at 60 inches tall will weigh between 300 and 800 pounds with fire protection. Whereas a true security safe of the same size will weigh 600 pounds without fire protection and will easily weight in at 1500+ pounds with fire protection.


3. Oversized Locking Bolts:

Many luxury security safes come adorned with multiple massive locking bolts protruding from a seemingly secure door. Upon further inspection the impressive locking bolts barely extend into the interior of the door where they terminate immediately and are held in place by tiny ¼” bolts. The result is boltwork that only passes through the carriage at one point and provides very limited protection.

Tip to spot this scam: This is one of the more difficult tricks to identify, and short of removing the boltwork cover to check for yourself it can very hard to tell if the oversized locking bolts continue into the interior of the safe’s door. However if it seems too good to be true, then it generally is. If the bolts are overly flashy looking, beyond 2” in diameter, and the weight of the safe doesn’t coincide with seemingly thick construction – then this is not a high quality security safe.


4. Fire Protection:

The vast majority of security safes on the market touting fire protection make use of fireboard or common drywall construction. While these safes do reduce the spread of heat, the fire resistance is not nearly adequate enough to keep contents inside free from damage. Fireboard panels contain high levels of moisture which creates a constantly damp environment inside the safe, causing corrosion of metal belongings and wilting of paper based items. In a fire this moisture is released in the form of steam which destroys most anything of value contained within. However, it’s the support beams used to hold the fireboard panels in place that are the major weakness of these inadequate fire safes. These metal structural members act as excellent conductors and pass heat directly from the outside of the safe into the interior. The solution lies in using a superior build process and specially formulated concrete alalgamate material to act as a barrier to heat transfer. These composite cladded security safes provide substantially more fire protection without the downside. In fact the 2.5” of solid concrete-like material adds increased penetration resistance and burglary protection to create a truly high security safe.

Tip to spot this scam: From the exterior fiberboard and composite fire safes can look nearly identical. However, there is one tell tail giveaway of fire safes built using drywall panels versus composite cladding, and that is the weight. Composite cladded fire safes are vastly more heavy than the skimpy drywall fire safes. As a point of reference, even a small 24″ tall composite safe weighs in at nearly 900 pounds.


These are just a few of the tips to arm yourself with so that you can make an informed decision, visit the Brown Safe website for more information when selecting the right security safe for your needs.



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