It’s not just super-rich guys, spies and movie villains who have wall safes. Anyone who owns valuable items they don’t want locked away in a bank’s safe-deposit vault (where they’re difficult and time-consuming to access) is a prime candidate for a secure home wall safe.
This is particularly important for individuals who possess valuable jewelry or luxury watches they use frequently, sensitive computer drives or discs they need to secure, prescription medication or emergency cash that should remain concealed, or important legal documents they wish to keep hidden yet easily accessible.
While some homeowners consider floor safes due to their hidden nature under rugs and difficulty for intruders to remove from reinforced concrete, it’s often a costly option. Wall safes, on the other hand, offer greater convenience for items accessed regularly.
In this article, we’ll explore the top 5 best wall safes recommended by Your House Garden for your bedroom. But first, let’s delve into the criteria we used to evaluate them in our buying guide below.
The Real Reasons for Having a Wall Safe
No home safe can offer absolute protection in the presence of determined intruders who have unrestricted access to your home, with ample time to locate, crack, or remove the safe. A high-quality wall safe serves as a deterrent, impeding burglars and unauthorized individuals from quickly locating and seizing valuable items or important possessions before fleeing.
Security isn’t the sole reason to own a safe; while fine jewelry may not be susceptible to fires, most other valuable belongings can be rapidly destroyed by flames. A wall safe equipped with the appropriate fire rating (more details on that coming up) can safeguard computer discs, tapes, or even documents for several hours, even in the midst of a raging fire.
For these reasons, our evaluation of wall safes is primarily based on their security features and fire resistance. Of course, there are other factors to consider, and we’ll touch on those shortly.
You’re likely familiar with Underwriters Laboratories, commonly known as UL. This reputable company is renowned for its safety certification of electrical equipment, but it also conducts testing and ratings for various other products, including safes.
While it might be an overstatement to insist that you should only consider a wall safe with UL approval and rating, it’s undeniably the safest approach (please pardon the expression). The market has seen an influx of inexpensive locks manufactured in China, which are susceptible to malfunctions, and safes that may not be as fire-resistant as claimed. UL certifications and ratings provide the most reliable assurance that your wall safe will be a source of protection rather than problems.
Here’s the challenge: in the “affordable” price range, many home wall safes haven’t undergone UL ratings, mainly because they are smaller in size compared to the high-end safes that cost thousands of dollars. In such cases, it’s advisable to stick with well-known and reputable manufacturers, some of whom rely on another testing laboratory like ETL or conduct internal testing.
There are lots of different UL wall safe ratings. Here are a few of the most common:
– RSC: For residential safes; the lock will withstand standard safe-cracking tools for 5 minutes.
– TL-15: One-inch thick steel, with a lock that will hold up against standard tools for 15 minutes.
– TL-30: Similar, but with a lock that will hold up for 30 minutes.
– TL-30X6: Similar, but all sides of the safe can also hold up for 30 minutes.
– TRTL-30X6: Similar, but the entire safe can also hold up against torches for at least 30 minutes.
– Class 125: Interior will get no hotter than 125° for 1-2 hours, in a fire of 1550°. Will protect computer discs.
– Class 150: Similar, with interior temperatures no hotter than 150°. Will protect tapes.
– Class 350: Similar, with interior temperatures no hotter than 350°. Will protect paper.
Some manufacturers rate their own safes as “B,” “C” or “E.” None have been UL-tested but “E” ratings are theoretically similar to TL-15 safes.
There’s a misconception that certain types of wall safe locks offer superior protection against intruders compared to others. Some tech enthusiasts may argue that biometric locks, which scan your fingerprints, are more secure, but given sufficient time, they can be bypassed through brute force.
Other commonly used options include the traditional round dial or keypads similar to those on ATM machines. The best lock is ultimately the one that you feel most comfortable with. Additionally, you may come across safes with dual locks that require separate openings, which can provide you with a bit more peace of mind.
Other Wall Safe Details to Consider
The strength of the material plays a crucial role in its resistance to tampering. Ideally, the door and walls of the safe should be made of solid steel and measure at least ¼” to ½” thick. Additionally, the weight of a steel safe serves as a deterrent to anyone attempting to forcibly remove it.
Considering that wall safes are typically compact and installed between studs, ensure that there is sufficient interior space to accommodate all your belongings. It’s also important to select a safe that fits appropriately in your desired location. Speaking of location, make sure the chosen spot allows for easy concealment of the safe with a wall hanging or another object while remaining convenient for your access.
For your peace of mind, here are the top 5 best wall safes recommended by the Your House Garden review team. We’ve excluded safes that cost over a thousand dollars since they may be UL-rated but fall beyond the budget of most shoppers.
1. AMSEC WFS149E5 Fire Wall Safe
If you have highly valuable items to protect, you might be willing to invest in a premium home wall safe. This UL-rated safe, although the most expensive in our rankings, lives up to its reputation. AMSEC (American Security) has a long-standing history of producing highly secure and well-constructed safes, and this newer addition to their lineup maintains their exceptional standards.
Let’s start with its UL rating: Class 350 for one hour. This means it can safeguard its contents from intense flames and endure a 30-foot drop (equivalent to falling two stories inside a burning and collapsing building) without sustaining damage. The AMSEC model boasts an E5 high-security electronic keypad lock, providing superior protection compared to the solenoid locks found on less advanced safes.
The live locking bolt and deadbolts are crafted from 1/2” solid steel, adding to the security. The safe’s thickness is also notable, featuring a ½” 11-gauge pry-secure steel door as its highlight. One small drawback is that the thickness of the safe reduces the interior storage space compared to some competitors.
The WFS149E5 is designed to fit easily between 16” on-center wall studs, equipped with pre-drilled anchor holes and a built-in flange. However, due to its 13½” depth, it may not be suitable for all homes. If you opt for this top-of-the-line fireproof wall safe, it’s advisable to consult a professional installer.
This AMSEC safe is the clear choice of the Your House Garden review team for those willing to spend extra to ensure their valuables are safe against burglars and fire.
Facts and figures on the AMSEC WFS149E5 Fire Wall Safe:
2. Protex PWS-1814E Electronic Wall Safe
For those who find the AMSEC safe to be excessive for their needs, the Protex wall safe offers a more moderate-level option that falls within their budget. While it lacks the UL fireproof rating and extraordinary construction of the AMSEC model, this secure steel safe provides ample protection against burglars at a price that’s 50-60% lower.
One often-overlooked advantage of touch-pad or biometric wall safes over traditional dial models is their ability to remain inconspicuous. The locking mechanism doesn’t protrude, making it easier to conceal the safe behind a painting or wall hanging. The keypad on the PWS-1814E is particularly sleek, flush with the door. Additionally, it features a compact interior housing, maximizing the available space for storing your valuables.
The lock also comes with other convenient features. Even if you ignore the “low battery” warning for an extended period, your key code will still be retained for another six months. Furthermore, there are two override systems, one powered and one using a key. While this may not offer the ultimate protection, it offers high convenience for everyday users. Constructed from heavy-gauge steel, the safe boasts a 5/8” formed steel door and dual ¾” steel live locking bolts. It easily fits between 16” on-center studs, thanks to its six anchor holes and built-in flange.
This Protex is not UL-rated so you shouldn’t count on it to be impervious to fire-damage or burglars with tools and lots of time. It is well-constructed and roomy, though, and a good choice for everyday use.
Details on the Protex PWS-1814E Electronic Wall Safe:
3. Barska AX12038 Biometric Wall Safe
For individuals who trust the security of biometric technology over a keypad lock, the Barska wall safe is worth considering. While it lacks a UL rating, making it unsuitable for protecting belongings during a major fire or against experienced thieves with ample time, it excels as a gun safe, deterring both hasty intruders and curious individuals.
The standout feature here is the biometric lock, and here’s how it operates. The lock protrudes about an inch from the door, making it reasonably concealable behind a picture. You’ll scan your fingerprints inside the safe, and the system will recognize them on the external reader.
With the capacity to store up to 120 different fingerprints, you can scan your fingerprints from various angles, eliminating the need for precise finger positioning when opening the safe—an extremely practical feature. Backup keys are also provided in case of any issues.
While the AX12038 may not match the sturdiness of higher-ranked wall safes on Your House Garden’s list, it gets the job done. The steel sides are a mere 1/16th of an inch thick (though the door is thicker), and there are no locking bolts on the hinge side of the door—a design choice that may not be ideal but still functions effectively. This safe is designed to fit conveniently between 16” on-center studs.
This Barska wall safe will work fine as a “deterrent” and the biometric feature is definitely cool, although we’d go with the Protex for better protection in this price range.
A closer look at the Barska AX12038 Biometric Wall Safe:
4. Paragon 7725 Flat Superior Wall Safe
Our budget-friendly pick won’t deter skilled intruders, but it provides ample security to keep curious kids or relatives away from your belongings.
The Paragon 7725 isn’t entirely flat but comes close. Its electronic keypad is nearly flush with the door, and it features a recessed key-operated lock (an alternative to the keypad) and a handle that remains inconspicuous behind a wall hanging.
Once you open it, you’ll notice that the spacious locking mechanism doesn’t leave much room, so it’s not ideal for storing large items like precious photo albums. However, it’s perfectly sized to fit between 16” on-center studs.
While both the box and door are made of steel, they’re only 1/8” thick. This is why we wouldn’t recommend relying on it to thwart a well-equipped heist like the ones seen in “Ocean’s Eleven.” Nonetheless, it’s built with durability in mind and will effectively safeguard your cash, medications, or jewelry from those who shouldn’t have access to them.
Paragon’s “Flat” wall safe is inexpensive, constructed wall safe (there’s a ten year warranty!) and a terrific bargain for those who won’t be asking too much of their safe.
Digging deeper on the Paragon 7725 Flat Superior Wall Safe:
5. Stack-On PWS-1522 Wall Safe With Electronic Lock
The Stack-On PWS-1522 shares similarities with the Paragon model: it lacks a UL rating (though the manufacturer claims it’s fire-resistant up to 1400°F external temperature for 30 minutes), it boasts solid steel construction with relatively thin door and walls, it features an electronic keypad lock supplemented by a key, and it’s designed to sit nearly flush against the wall, fitting comfortably between standard wall studs.
So why is it ranked lower than the Paragon? There are three key reasons: it offers slightly less interior space, it comes at a slightly higher price point, and its warranty is limited to three years, whereas the Paragon boasts an impressive ten-year warranty.
This is another good, inexpensive safe that won’t rival Fort Knox (and isn’t meant to), but will give you peace of mind in most situations.
Specs for the Stack-On PWS-1522 Wall Safe With Electronic Lock:
Frequently Asked Questions
Are wall safes worth it?
Wall safes can be worth it for individuals who prioritize discreet storage and easy access to their valuables. They offer a convenient and inconspicuous way to protect items like jewelry, important documents, or small firearms. However, their security level may not match that of larger, freestanding safes, so their worthiness depends on your specific security needs and budget.
Where not to put a safe in your house?
You should avoid placing a safe in locations that are too predictable or easily accessible by intruders. For instance, avoid placing a safe in the master bedroom closet or the master bedroom itself, as these are common areas burglars target first. Additionally, avoid installing safes in areas with poor structural support, like lightweight or hollow walls, as they can be easier to breach. Lastly, it’s not advisable to put a safe in plain sight or in areas where it can be easily seen through windows, as this can attract unwanted attention and defeat the purpose of discreet storage.
Why do people keep cash in safes?
People keep cash in safes for various reasons, including security, emergency preparedness, and convenience. Safes provide a secure way to protect cash from theft, ensuring that it remains inaccessible to potential burglars. Additionally, having cash in a safe can be part of an emergency fund, providing quick access to money during unexpected situations like power outages or natural disasters when electronic transactions may not be possible. Lastly, some people use safes for convenience, as it allows them to have cash readily available at home rather than making frequent trips to the bank.
In conclusion, choosing the best wall safe requires careful consideration of your specific needs and priorities. Whether you prioritize fire protection, advanced locking mechanisms, biometric access, or affordability, there are wall safes on the market that can meet your requirements.
Remember that the best wall safe is one that aligns with your security goals and fits seamlessly into your living space. By examining the options available and considering factors such as safety certifications, locking mechanisms, and size, you can find the perfect wall safe to protect your valuables and provide peace of mind for years to come.