Chances are you have valuables in your home that would be difficult or impossible to replace—things like jewelry, passports and financial documents. What are the chances of any of them surviving a fire though? If you’re not keeping them in a fireproof safe of fireproof box, the chances probably aren’t nearly as good as they could be.
When it comes to securing your home, fires are a significant threat. According to a recent report by the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 354,400 home fires per year. In addition to the tragic deaths and injuries they cause, home fires are also responsible for $6.9 billion in property damage. While quality smoke detectors and fire alarms can help, fireproof safes and fireproof boxes offer an extra layer of protection for your most important valuables.
So, how do you pick the right fireproof safe? First, it’s important to note that while safes may be labeled fireproof, essentially anything (including all safes) will burn if subjected to high enough temperatures for a long enough period of time. To determine how protective a safe is, you want to look specifically at a safe’s fire resistance rating, which tells you how long it can withstand a fire up to a certain temperature. Beyond that, you’ll want to consider the size of a safe—both its interior and exterior dimensions—as well as other special features it may offer.
To help you narrow things down, SecurityNerd took a closer look at some of the most popular fireproof safes on the market. Here are our eight of our favorites.
1. MSafe PF 32 Fire Safe
You may recognize MSAFE from our top picks for the best home safes. The size on the PF 32 is great – not massive, but at 13-3/8″ wide by 11-5/8″ deep inside it fits documents comfortably. The pull out drawer at the top is also ideal for passports as well. I likely wouldn’t go larger than this in an apartment, but given the space I don’t know that most folks would ever need to.
- Fire Protection: 1 Hour Fire Protection
- Exterior Dimensions: 12-3/8″ H x 17-1/2″ W x 16-3/4″ D (+1 inch for the handle and hinges)
- Interior Dimensions: 8-1/8″ H x 13-3/8″ W x 11-5/8″ D
- Interior Cubic Inches: 1,270 Cu. In.
- Interior Cubic Feet: 0.573 Cu. Ft
- Weight: 84 lbs.
- 1 Hour of Fire Resistance: All the safes in the PF line are tested under the EN 15659 standards.
- Upgraded Lock: Just like the PSB line, the ring pull handle and electronic keypad are easy to use and feel very high quality.
- Water Resistant: While not waterproof (since waterproof would mean the entire safe can be submerged, which would rule out the option of bolting down the safe) the PF line is water resistant.
- Burglary rating: The PF line is not a burglary safe, for reference none of the fire safes we have reviewed are.
2. SentrySafe SFW205GQC
SentrySafe is a leader in the home safe industry, and this model gets good marks all around. It provides 2.05 cubic feet of storage inside, so it’s made to hold a significant amount of your valuables, but it also comes in a variety of other sizes to fit various spaces and in models with either a dial combination lock or a digital keypad. A secondary lock requires a key for extra security. It’s certified to keep your valuables safe for up to 1 hour at temperatures reaching 1700 degrees, and an interior light is a nice extra touch to help you see the safe’s contents when it’s opened.
Beyond protection from fires, this safe can withstand a fall of 15 feet in case you need to toss it from a window, and it’s waterproof. Note, however, that if you choose to bolt the safe to the floor, it’s no longer waterproof, as you have to drill holes in it for the bolts.
- Fire rating: Up to one hour at 1700 degrees
- Exterior dimensions: 18.6” W x 19.3” D x 23.8” H
- Interior dimensions: 14.8” W x 11.9” D x 19.6” H
- Weight: 125 pounds
- Storage capacity: 2.05 cubic feet
- Secure: This safe has two locking mechanisms for extra security—both a key and either a dial combination or digital keypad.
- Sturdy: It can be dropped from as high as 15 feet and still remain closed
- Waterproof: It offers 24 hours of protection in up to 8 inches of water, which is great in case of flooding.
- Requires batteries: Six AA alkaline batteries are required.
- Heavy: Because it weighs 125, its portability is limited, and you’ll likely need help getting it into your home.
- Fireproof safe is UL Classified to endure 1 hour at 1700°F and keep interior temperatures safe for irreplaceable documents, valuables,...
- Waterproof safe is ETL Verified for 24 hours of protection in water up to 8 inches deep offering peace of mind in the event of a flood
- Set your own digital combination fire safe with secondary locking key for strong security; Digital combination safe features 6 live-locking...
- Exterior: 18.6 inch W x 19.3 inch D x 23.8 inch H; Door requires 17.5 inch of clearance to fully open; Interior: 14.8 inch W x 11.9 inch D x...
- For optimal performance, SentrySafe recommends the use of four high-quality, name branded and alkaline AAA batteries with an expiration date...
3. The Steelwater Fireproof Safe
This safe from Steelwater has one of the highest fire ratings available—two hours at 1850 degrees—with inner steel walls and a steel door, so you can rest assured that your valuables will be safe even in long-burning fires. It features an electronic keypad and requires four AA batteries.
Customers say this is a well-made safe, and it’s easy to set up and use. There are some delivery limitations, however, as a full-size tractor trailer must be able to park at the end of your driveway, and they won’t ship to some remote areas.
- Fire rating: 2-hours at 1850 degrees
- Exterior dimensions: 20 7/8” H x 17 1/8” W x 17 5/16” D
- Interior dimensions: 6 1/4” H x 12 9/16” W x 12 3/16” D
- Weight: 143 pounds
- Storage capacity: 1.44 cubic feet
- High UL rating: This safe is designed to withstand temperatures up to 1850 degrees for up to two hours.
- Large storage capacity: With 1.44 cubic feet, it can hold documents, jewelry and more.
- Heavy: This safe is quite heavy (143 pounds), so you can’t take it with you or move it easily.
- Limited delivery area: There are some areas in the U.S. where this safe can’t be shipped, including remote areas and islands.
- Batteries required: Requires four AA alkaline batteries
- 2-Hour fire rated at 1850°F (1010°C) 2- Layers of Steel (Steel inner walls and door, NOT PLASTIC) -- (2)Active rectangular locking bolt...
- (1) Removable/adjustable shelf and (1) slide out drawer - (2) Stationary Rectangular Locking Bolts On Hinge Side--(4) Reprogrammable user...
- PLEASE READ BEFORE PURCHASING: Undeliverable to New York with zip codes beginning in (100-104) & (110-119), some remote areas such as...
- SEE MORE IN-DEPTH DETAILS ON THIS PAGE BELOW ADVERTISEMENTS
4. First Alert 2087F-BD
This safe from First Alert has a number of features that make it a top contender on our list. Not only is it fireproof and waterproof, but it remains so even after being secured to the floor, as it’s made with the company’s Ready-Seal technology that securely fastens it to the floor. It’s also built with multiple anti-theft features, including pry-proof hinges and four door bolts, and it comes with a five-year limited warranty.
- Fire rating: 1 hour at temperatures up to 1700 degrees
- Exterior dimensions: 16.50” H. x 14.50” W x 19.00” D
- Interior dimensions: 12.8” H x 10.38” W x 12.25” D
- Weight: 82 pounds
- Storage capacity: .94 cubic feet
- Large storage capacity: With .94 cubic feet of storage space, it’s large enough to hold documents, jewelry and other valuables.
- Bolts Down Securely: Even after being bolted down, this safe remains both fireproof and waterproof.
- Heavy: Weighing in at more than 80 pounds, you’ll likely need help getting it into your home.
- Moisture issues: Some online reviewers note that the safe gets mildewy and the contents of their safe get moldy unless they secure it inside in waterproof containers or bags.
- Ready-Seal safe protects valuables from fire, water, and theft even when bolted down
- 0.94-cubic foot capacity offers plenty of storage space for files, electronics, and more
- Fire-resistant design withstands temperatures of up to 1700 degrees F for up to 1 hour
- Waterproof seal keeps contents dry even when safe is submerged
- Pry-proof concealed hinges deter thieves and resist crowbar entry
5. SureSeal by FireKing SS104-A
This safe chest from SureSeal is a portable, relatively affordable option for protecting valuables. It can easily hold legal- and letter-size documents as well as passports and other small items, and it’s equipped with a handle for easy carrying in case you need to evacuate your home, though at 56 pounds, it’s still quite heavy. In addition to being fireproof for up to 1 hour, it’s also waterproof for up to 2 hours, and it floats, making it easier to find in case of flooding. This chest also comes with a seven-year warranty.
- Fire rating: 1 hour at temperatures up to 1700 degrees
- Exterior dimensions: 7” H x 19 ⅞” W x 17” D
- Interior dimensions: 7.32”H x 14.8125”W x 12” D
- Weight: 56 pounds
- Storage capacity: .38 cubic feet
- Portable: It’s convenient to grab in case you need to evacuate your home.
- Waterproof: It can protect your documents from flooding, and it floats as well.
- Warranty: This safe comes with a seven-year warranty as well as lifetime after-fire guarantee.
- Security: Reviewers note that the locks seems flimsy and say it doesn’t offer solid anti-theft protection.
- Weight: While it’s not as heavy as some floor safes, at 56 pounds, it’s not light either.
- Designed to meet the security needs of today's consumer
- Protects CDs/DVDs, flash drives, portable hard drives and other valuable items from fire and water damage
- Holds letter and legal size files flat
- Dual compression latches and handle
- Waterproof for two hours.External Dimensions(inches): H=7 5/16 W=19 7/8 D=17
6. Honeywell 1104
Both fireproof and waterproof, this safe box chest from Honeywell is a good choice for storing letter- and legal-size documents as well as flash drives, CDs and other valuables. It’s certified to withstand 1700-degree temperatures for up to 1 hour and has been verified to protect contents for 24 hours in water as deep as 39 inches. While it’s a bit heavy (54 pounds), it has a handle to grab should you have to evacuate your home.
- Fire rating: 1 hour at temperatures up to 1550 degrees
- Exterior dimensions: 7.3” H x 20” W x 17.2” D
- Interior dimensions: 7.32”H x 14.8125”W x 12” D
- Weight: 54 pounds
- Storage capacity: .39 cubic feet
- Cost: At just about $85, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to provide solid protection for your important paperwork and other valuables.
- No batteries: A simple key lock is provided for privacy.
- Portable: A handle is attached, making it easy to grab this case should you have to evacuate your home.
- Weight: While it’s made to be portable, this safe box is also quite heavy, weighing in at 54 pounds.
- Not Theft-proof: As with other portable cases, the locking mechanism is reportedly flimsy. Not to mention the fact that a thief could easily walk off with the entire case.
- Molded chests – Fire safe water proof safe box with carry handle: important letter and legal size documents can both lie flat and be...
- Features - Large spacious interior- interior dimensions- 3.77 In. H x 14.8 In. W x 12 In. D
- Quality made – Waterproof: 100 hour waterproof seal is verified to keep contents dry, even when submerged 39 In. underwater
- Secure - 1-Hour fire protection: this fire safe box has a 1-hour UL fire protection rating up to 1700°F/927°C
- Trusted company - In the event of a fire the contents will be protected but the chest itself will likely be damaged. Our after-fire...
7. SentrySafe 1200 Fireproof Box with Key Lock, 0.18 Cubic Feet
This fireproof box from SentrySafe is an inexpensive way to keep valuable documents and other small items safe for up to 30minutes in 1550-degree heat. It’s lightweight (just 13 pounds) and has a handle, so it’s easily portable, and it features a lock with two keys for security.
- Fire rating: 30 minutes at 1550 degrees
- Exterior dimensions: 14.3” W x 11.2” D x 6.1” H;
- Interior dimensions: 12” W x 7.5” D x 3.5” H
- Weight: 13 pounds
- Storage capacity: 0.18 cubic feet
- Portable: It’s lightweight and has a handle to make carrying it easy.
- Inexpensive: At just under $15, it’s one of the most inexpensive options on our list.
- Small: Its internal capacity is 0.18 cubic feet, so it won’t hold a whole lot. (Note: It is sold in smaller and larger options)
- Limited fire rating: Its fire rating is much shorter than that of other larger safes.
- Not waterproof: The manufacturer doesn’t indicate this product is waterproof.
- Fireproof box is UL Classified to endure 1/2 hour at 1550°F to protect irreplaceable documents and valuables from fire
- Fire safe box is ETL Verified to protect CDs, DVDs, and USBs from fire damage
- Fireproof lock box features a flat key lock to prevent the lid from opening in the event of a fire; Includes 2 keys
- Document safe features convenient built-in carrying handle for easy transportation
- Exterior: 14.3 inch W x 11.2 inch D x 6.1 in H; Interior: 12 in W x 7.5 inch D x 3.5 inch H; Small capacity 0.18 cubic feet; Weighs 13...
8. AMSEC Fire Safe
While it’s significantly more expensive than the other fireproof safes on our list, this safe from American Security (AMSEC) is a strong choice if you want excellent protection for your valuables. It provides one of the highest fire ratings, certified to withstand fires up to 1850 degrees for up to 2 hours, and it can withstand a 30-foot drop.
- Fire rating: 2 hours at 1850 degrees
- Exterior dimensions: 21.5” H x 17” W x 18” D
- Interior dimensions: 15.5” H x 11.5” W x 12” D
- Weight: 246 pounds
- Storage capacity: 1.2 cubic feet
- High fire rating: This safe is able to withstand 1850 degree heat for up to 2 hours.
- Durable: It can be dropped from a two-story burning building and still remain intact.
- Anti-theft protection: With thick doors and heavy hinges, it’s pry-resistant.
- Heavy: This safe weighs 246 pounds, so it’s portability is limited, and you’re going to need help getting it in your house.
- Price: At more than $1,000, this is an expensive choice.
- Not waterproof: The manufacturer makes no claims that this safe will protect your documents from water.
- U.L. listed Class 350 degrees two hour fire and impact rating.
- Safe withstand fires of up to 1850 degrees F. and a 30' drop-equivalent to falling through a 2 story
- Increased barriers for burglary protection, U.L. listed Group II combination lock.
- Impresive 3-1/2" thick recessed door with 5/8" thick front for excellent pry resistance.
- Handle activated locking mechanism with 7/8" diameter solid steel chrome plated locking bolts
7 things to consider when choosing a fireproof safe or fireproof box
When evaluating safes, pay attention to both the exterior and interior dimensions. The exterior dimensions will let you know how much space it will take up in a room, while the interior dimensions provide insight into much a safe will hold.
If you plan to move your safe frequently, you want to pay attention to its weight. Some are quite heavy and meant to stay in place, while others are lighter and lend themselves to greater portability.
The fire rating, typically issued by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or ETL Testing Laboratories note how long a safe provides protection from fire and for how long.
Beyond the interior dimensions, you can also look at a safe’s storage capacity, which is typically measured in cubic feet.
Safes come with a variety of different locking mechanisms, including traditional dial and key locks to electronic keypads.
Ease of Use
Look at how easy a safe is both to set up and to use. Some are quite heavy, so having them delivered and set up in your home may take extra planning.
Some fireproof safes are not only fire-resistant, but they’re also water-resistant (great for protecting valuable from the flood that comes from the fire hoses). Others may feature anti-theft features too such as combination locks and alarms.
What is a UL rating?
While there are various types of ratings when it comes to a safe’s ability to withstand fire, UL ratings are the most common. Issued by Underwriters Laboratories, they certify how long a product can withstand fire within a particular fireproof safe or fireproof box. For example, a UL Class 350-degree 1- hour certification means the interior of the safe won’t climb above 350 degrees (paper burns at 400 degrees) in a fire that burns for one hour at 1,700 degrees, while a UL Class 125-degree 1-hour certification means the interior won’t reach above 125 degrees (recommended for media such as DVDs and CDs). Most manufacturers simply state the maximum length of time and heat their products are certified to withstand. UL also offers ratings for water resistance and impact resistance.
The bottom line on fireproof safes
While a fireproof safe can’t protect your entire home, it can help protect some of your most important possessions should disaster strike. Consider how many valuables you want to protect, the size of the space you have to house a safe and your own personal circumstances to select the best one for you.
You may also like: Our picks for the best overall home safes
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.