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Best Security Lock Boxes 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated December 1, 2018
Best Security Lock Boxes of 2018
On that note, I review the three best security lock boxes of 2018 to help you get value for your money. I have taken the initiative to educate you on the top three best security lock boxes that you can buy this year.
Welcome to my website! If you plan to buy security lock boxes and looking for some recommendations, you have come to the right place. You can make a choice based on the my list as you shop.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this security lock boxes win the first place?
I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product.
№2 – Safe Lock Box
Why did this security lock boxes come in second place?
I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture.
Why did this security lock boxes take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new.
Security Lock Boxes Buyer’s Guide
Item Weight: 1.lbs.
KeyGuard cabinet comes in on the 8th position thanks to its impressive features like the fact that it provides keyless operation. After all, what’s the essence of getting a key lock box if it comes with a key for you carry around? That’s like trampling upon the very role it’s designed to play, right? It comes with easy to use buttons which make the entry of your home by your friends and relates a breeze, while at the same time making entry by uninvited guests and intruders a rock.
Top Things We Recommend before Buying a Safe Searching for the right safe is sometimes a difficult task. For over 2years our goal at The Safe House has been to answer your questions in an honest and clear way that cuts through all of the hype of other sources.
With that being said, we feel it is our responsibility as professionals in the safe and security products industry to cut through the hype and misinformation that the internet is filled with and give you only the most important considerations as you search for a safe to satisfy your needs.
The Safe House knows its products
Unlike a lot of online companies The Safe House have actual showrooms and warehouses where we have been serving our customers for over 2years. We have two locations in Nashville & Knoxville Tennessee. We specialize in Home Safes, Commercial Safes, Gun Safes and Storm shelters. We are registered Locksmiths and Security is our only business
We work with individuals and companies all over the U.S. for their security and safety needs. Many of our customers include state and federal agencies, jewelry stores, large corporations, but our main focus are individuals just like you.
Read this article and let us know if you have any questions.
Key: There are various types of keys, but all work a lock mechanism by moving pins or discs into alignment to allow the lock plug to be turned and open the lock
Shackle: We know the shackle as the D-shaped part of a D-lock/U-lock or padlock. It shackles two things together. In our case, it’s our bikes to something sturdy
Links: Chains are made up of links; hoops joined together. The smaller the internal diameter of the links the better, as this gives less space for a lever to be inserted
Protection: Nobody wants a bare metal lock clattering against their frame. A cloth cover is handy to keep your pride and joy looking nice and to prevent the lock from corroding
Lock barrel: Manufacturers will centre the lock mechanism in the centre of the barrel. Check the weight of the barrel because if it’s heavy that’s a sure sign it’s armoured
Multiple keys: Multiple keys are essential, with manufacturers such as OnGuard offering up to five with a lock. Keep one at home, one at work and one on your keyring
Maintenance: Check the action of the mechanism because locks spend most of their lives outdoors, so corrosion can be a problem. Use a light lube or water repellent (GT-8or WD-40) liberally
Warranty: An extended warranty is always good. It’s not going to cover you against theft but it should be a sign that the lock won’t fall apart or seize up on you
Anti-theft guarantee: This guarantee is a form of insurance pioneered by Kryptonite. It does bump up the price, but definitely adds peace of mind into the package
How we tested… £11,000 worth of locks tested to destruction
Over the two decades that we’ve been putting together our intensive and independent lock tests we’ve always used a combination of manual and power tools, and force and finesse to try and break locks.
This time we’ve upped our game, significantly, by using the facilities of Germany’s biggest security manufacturer, Abus, and more importantly its state-of-the-art test labs, and training on how to use the machines on offer.
We devised a full-on torture chamber of tests that fully simulate each and every way a lock is attacked and broken. For this we needed multiple models from each manufacturer, so thank you to those who took up the challenge and supplied test samples willingly.
With nine tests on a total of 2different models (2are shown here with seven reviews below), that’s 26separate tests, and a total of in excess of £11,000 worth of locks tested to destruction…
Bracket test: Some of the locks come with a handy bracket to fit to your commuter bike. We tested the brackets fixed to a bike that’s fixed on a treadmill, with bumps and lumps to simulate road conditions. This ‘rattle’ test runs for a total of 200 hours, which is plenty of time to see if the bracket is up to the job of carrying your lock safely
Corrosion test: One of each lock was subjected to 16hours in a climate chamber to ISO 922standards. The time is equivalent to around 10–1months of outdoor use in a salty air environment, such as living on the coast. Over the 16hours temperature and humidity both fluctuate to further simulate real-world conditions
Freeze and hammer test: This test simulates the use of plumber’s freeze spray, which chills the metal. The theory is that it’ll make metal more brittle when struck with a hammer. Our test lab consists of a chiller cabinet that freezes the lock down to -40°C, it’s then struck with a weight simulating a full force sledgehammer blow multiple times from 1m and from 2m
Locks were subjected to a standard saw blade and a tungsten item
Saw test: Our test machine is an articulated saw. Each lock was cut first with a fresh, standard steel blade. If it survived that test, it was then cut with a high-quality, precision tungsten blade in the same saw
Bolt crop test: The bolt cropper is perhaps the favourite tool of the modern bike thief. Short, concealable bolt croppers are available for very little cash and can get through most budget locks with little fuss. Higher standard locks are much tougher, and those that cross over into motorcycle security stronger still. Our bolt cropping rig has to be capable of out-performing hand-operated bolt croppers, so the one we’ve used is a hydraulic jaw that cuts like a bolt cropper, but is capable of applying in excess of 250 kiloNewtons of pressure, that’s around the equivalent of a 1.5m-long set of bolt croppers operated by a couple of contestants from World’s Strongest Man
Our corrosion test replicated a year-long hard life outdoors
Tensile pull test: This pulling rig had to simulate the bottle jack approach to breaking locks. A small hydraulic bottle uses a jack to push apart the two sections of lock, breaking the mechanism and causing the lock to fail. Our hydraulic test rig does the same by pulling on both parts simultaneously. This rig is capable of over seven tonnes of pulling power, your average bottle jack can perform to around three
Torsion test: The good-old torsion attack, or crowbar to you and me, is a very effective method but the downside is that it usually leaves the bike being stolen with significant damage. Our test rig can torsionally twist a lock to massive pressures, the equivalent of using a crowbar of more than 1.5m and one of those world’s strongest men doing the crowing!
Picking test: Picking locks is a learnable art, and with many ‘picks’ available online we are seeing a rise in bikes being stolen this way. We used a resident expert armed with an inexpensive homemade pick to try and open the locks on test
We’ve got the full lowdown on lock performance after compromising 2popular locks
Grinder test: Hand-held powerful battery-operated angle grinders are a fast and effective way to cut through metal. However, they do generate a lot of noise and sparks, so if you park your bike in a high traffic area, and not hidden out of sight, you’re less likely to see this method of attack being used in broad daylight. For our test we used an off-the-shelf unit, with multiple batteries and a constant cycle of recharging, along with a fresh grinding disc for each test, so that each lock had the exact same conditions to record the time it took to cut through
D-locks or U-locks
The D-lock, or U-lock as it is alternatively known, is the classic bike lock. The design consists of a big shackle and toughened crossbar with the lock mechanism built in. It’s been around for years, and it’s really just a supersized padlock. The benefits are the strength for its size and relative portability.
Two years ago, we chose the best lockbox after spending hours on research, interviews, and tryouts, as well as shadowing professional locksmiths as they mimicked burglar break-ins. For this update, we scoured the field for new entries that could meet our standards—and we found none. Our original pick, the Kidde AccessPoint KeySafe, remains the best lockbox available, hands down.
No new lockboxes can match the strong combination of security and price of our current pick—the Kidde AccessPoint KeySafe. This year, we’ve added a new pick for a vehicle-mounted lockbox. For simply hiding a spare key, we’re sticking with our low-tech fake rock pick.
How we picked
Despite their limited market, lockboxes come in a bewildering variety of forms and are sold under multiple brand names. To cut through the tangle, we first spoke with locksmiths and realtors for advice. Our conversations revealed a consensus: The most secure lockboxes are wall-mounted models made of solid metal and attached by concealed screws. A determined thief with a crowbar or sledgehammer might consider breaking into one, but actually doing so would cause a scene and draw too much attention—and quash any burglar’s grand plan.
These wall-mount boxes make a mockery of the alternative: shackle-style boxes with a U-loop that goes over a doorknob or gate for convenience. We categorically reject these for use on homes and rental units. As one locksmith explained, a quick snip with bolt cutters will get through the loop on most models. Then the perp can take the box away and use all of his faculties to break in without worrying about onlookers.
Our locksmiths then helped us decide between locking mechanisms. There are three common types: wheels, which employ tumblers marked with numbers or letters; push buttons, on which you punch in a numerical code payphone-style; and dials, on which you enter the combination with a rotating dial, like on a classic school padlock.
Wheel models dropped out of consideration almost immediately: Our locksmiths emphasized how easy it is to insert a thin metal shim between the tumblers and work out the the combination by feel.
Push-button boxes are simple to operate—kids can do it, which is a real selling point—but they have a significant drawback: The numbers can be pressed in any sequence (so if your combo is 3-2-1, you can also open it by pressing 2-1-3, or 1-2-3). That dramatically reduces the effective number of possible combinations, which in turn reduces security. Plus, when trying to crack push-button locks, burglars (and locksmiths) first simply look for the extra wear-and-tear on the combo’s numbers. To avoid that vulnerability, you have to change the combination with some regularity. That can be confusing for infrequent users and kids. And be honest: How high is changing the combo going to be on your list of chores? The simplicity of push-button locks is attractive, but it’s also a bit of a liability.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
If there’s a downside to the Kidde, it’s that it’s a bit more difficult to set up than push-button models—setting the code requires manipulating a set of internal discs and takes about 1minutes. But we (and our experts) feel strongly that the extra security is worth that minor hassle.
Cheap and simple, this fake rock is not at all secure, but it can keep a spare key safe—just make sure you put it in a discreet location.
If you can tolerate something less convenient and want to spend as little as possible, you can get this fake rock and stash your key inside. Our locksmith expert, Justin Jacobs, keeps the key for his house in Napa in a fake rock that he places way down the block. That way, should an opportunistic thief come across it, there’s no way to know which house it opens. (Neighbors get suspicious if someone is taking a key door-to-door.)
We looked hard to find the best fake rock, and this is the one we’d get.
For certain outdoor activities—surfing is a big one—bringing your car keys along is inconvenient. Locking them securely to your vehicle instead is an attractive option, and for that, we recommend the shackle version of our wall-mounted, dial-lock pick: the Kidde AccessPoint Portable.
As stated above, all shackle models have a significant built-in weakness: the shackle can be cut, allowing the thief to retreat somewhere private to break open the box and steal the key. So, again, don’t use a shackle model on your house or rental property. It would be too easy for someone to walk up as though they were an innocent visitor, pop the shackle, and disappear with your key. And when using one on your car or truck, take a couple of extra steps to boost security. Conceal the lockbox in the undercarriage or engine compartment, locking the shackle around something anchored and robust: a shock strut or engine-block mount, for example. Don’t shackle it to the car door handle, as at least one manufacturer suggests, because it’ll become an obvious target in an empty parking lot. And the more confined the space you put the lockbox in, the harder you’ll make it for a thief to put a pry bar or pair of bolt cutters into action. So tuck the box behind a wheel or in a tight spot under the hood (provided you can pop the hood from outside, that is!).
There are dozens of different lockboxes out there, but once we learned how flimsy wheel locks and button locks are, we dismissed a majority of competitors. The Master Lock 5400D, for example, can be had with a bit of metal and some sensitive fingertips. That meant we couldn’t recommend models like this one from Vault Locks, either.
Button locks present more options, but they, too, are susceptible to a break-in by an expert. That includes models like this one from KeyGuard, and the push-button version of our Kidde dial-lock pick.
We also tested the Master Lock 5900D, but the plastic exterior and thin cable connector made it feel fragile. The wheel combo system, of course, is easy to crack.
Surrounded by other books, the dictionary safe is a viable choice. It is spacious, but may draw attention if not blended in carefully with its environment.
If you are looking to hide items while traveling, this one is probably not your best bet. Who goes on vacation with a dictionary? Instead, consider the hair brush safe reviewed in this article.
Also, don’t lose the keys or you will be “busting into” the safe compartment yourself!
It’s also easily concealed and transported.
The safe storage area is small. Since a hair brush is so light, the items you stow inside the brush has a big impact of the brushes overall weight.
The hair brush safe is a creative alternative to other diversion safe offerings.
Here’s what you need to know about smart home security…
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re shopping for a home security system. That’s because it’s a massive, growing category that covers everything from professional firms like ADT and Vivint to standalone DIY devices like cameras, sensors and locks. Although those two camps are still pretty divided, we’re starting to see companies such as ADT embrace third-party device integrations — and an increasing number of DIY companies are offering features typically reserved for professional firms, like 24/monitoring
Yes, the home security market is a veritable hodgepodge of options. That’s great because there’s bound to be something that’s right for you, but it’s also a challenge to sort through the mess of stuff on shelves today to find that perfect device or comprehensive system. Fortunately, we’re here to help you make sense of it all so you can move past the product research phase to enjoying a functional home security package.
Standalone security cameras are another common DIY category. They are particularly appealing for folks who want to keep an eye on one specific area of vulnerability. (Of course, you can buy multiple cameras, but it might make sense to upgrade to a kit with a combination of cameras and sensors if you have a lot of entry points in your home.)
Salient Eye that convert spare Android or iOS devices into cameras for free. All three work well, but we’re partial to the Android-only Salient Eye because it lets you arm and disarm your camera and will even turn on a siren if it detects motion while you’re away.
Camera-equipped doorbells such as SkyBell and are also available. They send alerts to your phone when someone knocks or rings the doorbell and give you the option to pull up a live stream — they’re basically digital peepholes so you can see and talk to whoever’s at your front door whether you’re home or away (as long as your phone is connected to a cellular data or Wi-Fi network).
Want more details? Be sure to check out our security camera buying guide.
The Roku and the Shield allow you to bring your own content along via USB or microSD; the Apple TV gives you access to your full iTunes library. Additionally, both the Shield and the Apple TV provide a robust selection of games, both casual and hard-core. (The Fire TV isn’t a stick or a dongle in the strictest sense of the term, but it has more in common with them than it does with full-size boxes.)
Full HD Streaming Players
Streaming players are especially useful for viewers who still have 1080p TVs. After all, a 4K set is almost guaranteed to be a smart TV, but plenty of 1080p sets predate integrated apps — or simply don’t offer them, to keep prices down.
While 4K HDR sticks will work fine with 1080p TVs and vice versa, neither idea represents a great investment. There’s no need to pay a premium price for 4K HDR support if your TV can’t handle it; by the same token, there’s no reason to miss out on top-notch picture quality just to save a few bucks.
Sling TV on the PSPro
It’s worth noting that in order to view UHD content on a PSsystem, you’ll need to invest in a PSPro, which supports 4K and HDR for both games and video content. Both the Xbox One S and Xbox One X support 4K HDR video, although only the Xbox One X supports 4K HDR gaming as well.
It’s not worth buying a game console just to watch Netflix, but if you also want to play the latest games and watch Blu-rays, a game console is probably the right investment. (The Xbox One S and Xbox One X have 4K Blu-ray players; no PSsystem does.) Check out the Tom’s Guide comparison between the Xbox One and the PSto see if one of them should be your streaming solution.
Stand-Alone Locks as the name implies are an “all-in-one” access control system for a single-door. The lock powered by replaceable internal batteries can be unlocked by keypad, proximity card or a combination. The advantages of stand-alone locks are they can be installed and operational in minutes. Some offer hand-held readers that extract the audit trail from the lock. The disadvantages of stand-alone locks are they are stand-alone and not part of a broader network.
Proximity readers are the most popular option in commercial access control. They are easy to use, and when cards are lost, it is a simple matter to deactivate them and issue new ones. They can also be combined with photo IDs for additional security. Proximity cards, which can work from one inch to three feet from a sensor, are the most common. Because there is no contact between the card and reader, they are very reliable and suffer little wear and tear. They are also inexpensive. A specialized type of proximity card is the automobile tag, which allows access to a parking facility without requiring the driver to open their window or get out of the car. Automobile tags can work at hundreds of feet away from a sensor. Security access systems can use magnetic stripe or barcode cards, as well, and these can be a money‐saving option if you already use one of these technologies for employee ID cards.
Keyswitches offer electronic auditing through a network while continuing to use a physical key to activate the lock. are common for single door security access and less expensive systems. They are easy to use but less secure, since users have a tendency to write down the entry code or to “lend” it to others. They also do not provide detailed audit trails until you provide unique codes to each individual.
Biometric systems rely on physical characteristics of the users for identification such as fingerprints, handprints, or even retinal scans. They are by far the most secure methods of access control. However, they are also considerably more expensive and can seem invasive to employees forced to use them constantly. Early models proved less unreliable outdoors, so they were not recommended for exterior security access.
To ensure free pass to exit a secure door, all locking systems include a quick exit device. Examples include; push-to-exit buttons, request-to exit bars, motion detectors, emergency (break-glass) exit and Time delayed exit. These buttons are mounted in the interior, on the casing surrounding the door (mullion mount) or on a wall near the door (gang mount). Examples of Egress Device types follow. ‘Clicking’ on any of the device photos will open a new window with direct access to pricing, and product datasheets for further and more detailed reference.
Push-To-Exit Buttons as the name implies Push-To-Exit buttons are wall mounted near the exit point and contain directions on a large green or red button. Depressing the button releases the door.
Push Bars attach across the inside of the door at the height of the door latch. You exit the door by pressing against the bar. The action of pressing the bar releases the latch and the door opens.
Emergency Exits attach on a wall near the exit point. Emergency exits are available is two general types, the first is a ‘break-glass’ model. To gain exit, you break the glass face. The action depresses a button inside the switch and releases the door. The second type uses a pull down handle to release the door.
Motion Sensors function by detecting a vehicle or person approaching an exit and unlock the door. In addition to motion sensors, several other type of free exit systems are available including: loop detectors and photo cells or beams
Delayed Egress function by starting a timer once the device is activated. Delayed egress can include voice commands and sounds explaining the door will open in ‘x’ seconds. For example, once depressed. a delayed egress can count down from 1seconds to zero and then release the latch opening the door. Delayed egress devices provide the emergency opening functional of a free exit system while providing a delay for enhanced security.
In all locking systems, the locking device represents the physical security barrier. Locking devices include Magnetic Locks (Maglocks), Electric strikes, Deadbolts, Magnetic Shear Locks and Electrified locksets. These devices are mounted on the door and door casing. Examples of Locking Device types follow. ‘Clicking’ on any of the device photos will open a new window with direct access to pricing, and product datasheets for further and more detailed reference.
Magnetic Locks electromagnetic lock, magnetic lock, or maglock is a locking device that consists of an electromagnet and armature plate. By attaching the electromagnet to the door frame and the armature plate to the door, a current passing through the electromagnet attracts the armature plate holding the door shut. Unlike an electric strike a magnetic lock has no interconnecting parts and is therefore less suitable for super high security applications because it is possible to bypass the lock by disrupting the power supply. Nevertheless, the strength of today’s magnetic locks compares well above that of conventional door locks and they cost less than conventional light bulbs to operate. Power supplies incorporating a trickle-charged lead-acid battery pack should be used to retain security for short-term power outages. Magnetic locks possess a number of advantages over conventional locks and electric strikes. For example, their durability and quick operation can make them valuable in a high-traffic office environment where electronic authentication is necessary.
Choosing a Door Access Control Manufacturer and Vendor
As with any major business purchase, it is worth taking the time to ask a lot of questions when choosing an access control manufacturer and support vendor. You want a vendor who is large enough to be stable and provide timely customer support when you need it, yet small enough to be responsive to your needs. Flexibility is also important: the vendor should be able to adjust to your specific requirements. The best vendors will ask you questions as well. They will walk you through the specification process and help you design the solution that best fits your needs. They do not need to see your facility, but they may ask you to send digital pictures of specific entry points. Avoid vendors who have the perfect system for you; after five minutes of conversation; and by the way, it is on sale this week only!
Most access control vendors work with a wide range of customers, but you should look for one that has experience in your industry. In particular, do not work with a company that handles mostly residential systems: for your business, you need commercial‐grade access control. Many manufacturers produce residential versions that are considerably cheaper; but they are not as reliable and not built for the same amount of use as commercial systems. Also, look for a vendor who supports multiple brands of hardware. Access control hardware is fairly standardized and will work with most controllers. However, controllers and software are more specialized, so make sure the dealer you choose has significant experience supporting the brands you decide on. Factory certification from manufacturers indicates a greater level of training and support, but it is not essential
Integration and Installation
In addition to providing you with the right products, the vendor you choose will also be responsible for providing going support and helping to integrate it with any other related systems you have. There is no real standard for connectivity between access control and alarms, time and attendance and video surveillance, so there will always be some additional custom work involved in creating links between these systems. Most important, there are local and national codes governing the types of locks and hardware that can be used on fire and exit doors, so make sure you are familiar with the ordinances in your area.
Do not overbuy – Securing door after door inside your facility is likely to frustrate employees more than increase security. Do not feel like you have to include every door in a security access control system: a mix of card access and plain old keys is often the best combination. Focus your access control points on the perimeter of your building.
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Mail Boss 750Mail Manager Locking Security Mailbox
Mail Boss (as the name suggests) is a manufacturer that focuses purely on making mail boxes. Truth be told, they’re pretty good at it as well. They have released several mail boxes that are not only categorized as some of the best ones in the market, but they have also been approved by the USPS (United States Postal Service). Why? We are just about to get to that.
Let’s first talk about what the mail box is actually made of. This box isn’t made of cheap metal like your typical mail box. It is made of 1and 16-guage electro galvanized welded steel. This basically means that you could hit the top of the mail box with a sledge hammer and you’ll barely put a dent on the thing.
The box has two main openings. One is where the mail man will put in the envelopes and the other is the compartment with the lock. The opening for the packages is wide enough so the mail man could easily stuff a small package in there. But, the opening is just too small for someone to fit their hand inside and pull out an envelope.
Another safety mechanism of this box is that it can’t be forced open with a crow bar. The anti-pry latch design prevents the thief from using a blunt object. The box contains a 12-disc wafer lock with three keys. The lock is impossible to pick but make sure you take good care of your keys.
All three brands offer a key replacement service and the option to buy keyed alike locks. But beyond this there are significant differences in the extent of their after sales service.
But way out in the lead are Kryptonite who are famous for their outstanding customer service. What does this mean in practice?
Not valid if torches, battery operated tools, or any power tools, including hydraulic tools, were used to open or cut the lock
But you should also bear in mind that neither program is particularly popular among cyclists due to the restrictive nature of their conditions. Certainly, neither is a replacement for including your bicycle under your home insurance or arranging specialist bike insurance.
The Components Alarm System
A good starting point is to know what a system is how a system works. The basic process is that when a sensor is tripped and it communicates this to the control panel, there is a short delay and then the alarm is sounded and notifications are sent out by the system to a professional monitoring center or to the phone of the owner if it is self monitored.
The standard home alarm system is made up of components.
Control panel – this is the “brains” of the system. This is where the system is programmed. It controls and monitors the sensors, sounds the alarm and sends notifications out to the monitoring center and/or nominated people. It is plugged into the wall. It should have a battery backup so the system continues to work even when there is a power outage. Sensors – these are the devices that sense changes in the home and when tripped they send a signal to the control panel to let it know. The two sensors included in a basic set up are:
Window/Door Contacts – these are in two pieces. One piece is the sensor and the other is a magnet. The magnet is normally attached to the door or window. The sensor is attached to the frame of the door or window. When the window/door is opened and the gap between the two is greater than the prescribed amount (less than an inch) a signal is sent.
Siren – this sounds the alarm when the sensors are tripped. It can be internal and/or external depending on the set up. An internal siren will let anybody at home know that the alarm is triggered and in many cases this will scare off the intruder. Most internal sirens when set up in a house are not loud enough to be heard by neighbors. External sirens are normally loud enough to be heard by the neighborhood but this does depend, of course, on how loud it is.
Monitoring – a system can be monitored or unmonitored. A monitored system is one where the notifications are sent to a monitoring center that assesses the situation to determine whether to dispatch emergency services.
An unmonitored system can either work where only the alarm is sounded and is monitored by the residents (if they are at home) and if they are away it depends on the neighbors to alert police or it is self-monitored where the notifications are sent to phones of the owner and other people set up in the system.
Notifications can be sent by landline, cellular network, VOIP, internet or a combination.
On top of the basic system outline there are a number of other devices that can be added to the system:
Panic buttons – these sound the alarm immediately and send notifications out when pressed to get help in an emergency
Glass break sensors – these hear the sound of breaking glass when a window is smashed
Carbon monoxide sensor – these detect the carbon monoxide in the air to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
Smoke detector – detects smoke that indicates the presence of fire and sends out a warning as to the presence of smoke
Water sensor – these detect the presence of water. They are used in basements, attics and where pipes or boilers are stored. They can help in detecting a leak before it becomes a flood.
Temperature – used to detect changes in temperature outside a pre-set range and send a notification. These can be useful if your home goes below a certain temperature to let you know that your home is cold and pipes might start freezing
Cameras – these can be used to see what is going on at home by streaming video and taking pictures. They can be controlled remotely to pan and tilt around the room. They can be used to see if there is an intruder in your home or if it is a false alarm or just to check that your kids are safe and sound at home. These can start sending a feed automatically when a sensor has been tripped.
Home automation – many systems now give you the opportunity to automate your home. It gives you the ability to control and monitor your home remotely through your smartphone or computer. You can control your lights, lock and unlock your doors and have these things happen at a certain time or when a sensor detects an action. An example is you could have it set up so when a motion sensor detects someone entering a room the lights come on and when they leave the room the lights are turned off.
Monitored or Unmonitored
Monitored systems are monitored by a professional monitoring service (see going with an alarm company). They monitor the system 24/and will dispatch emergency services. You will be charged a monthly fee and be tied into a long contract of to years except for Simplisafe with it being the only company that has a monthly contract that allows you to cancel at any time without a penalty. Most companies operate with a year minimum contract.
There are two types of unmonitored systems – one where only the alarm sounds. The other is where you self- monitor and you get the notifications sent to you on your phone. You then make the decision as to what the right course of action is. The big advantage here is that you are not paying a monthly fee and you won’t be signed up to a long term contract. I’ve written more about the differences between unmonitored and monitored systems here.
Hardwired Or Wireless
A hardwired or wireless system describes how the various security devices communicate with the control panel. A hardwired system communicates through wires that run through the walls. Some modern homes come pre-wired that make installation straightforward. But many homes don’t have this and installation requires the drilling of holes and running wires through the walls and under the floor. Most people opt for these to be professionally installed.
Wireless systems communicate using radio waves. The devices and control panels have wireless transmitters. Most wireless systems come pre-configured to work with each other and the installation is easy and it can be done in a few hours or less. There are few DIY skills or technical skills needed to do this.
Wireless coverage is limited up to a few hundred yards from the control panel. It can be expanded with the use of repeaters but for very large homes a hardwired solution is going to be needed.
DIY or Professional Installation
When you choose a professional installer they can do an excellent job. They will know where to install the sensors for best coverage and to avoid false alarms. They are often the best choice when you choose to install a hardwired system as it involves running wires through your walls and under the floor boards. The downside of this is that you are going to be charged, your walls will be drilled into and you are going to have strangers in your house for a day or two.
Wireless systems are much more straightforward to install and many people choose to do it themselves. There are few skills needed with most systems programmed to work out of the box. You may need to screw the devices to the walls, windows and doors although you can use double-back tape to mount them. It can be done in a few hours or less. Most companies offer help and troubleshooting advice on line or by phone if you run in to trouble, so it’s worth picking a system with excellent customer service like Fortress Security.
If you do decide to go with an alarm company to install and monitor your system you are going to be tied into a contract of some sort. It is important to understand the contract. Areas to look at are the penalties for breaking the contract, what happens at the end of the contract term (is it automatically rolled over and you are locked in again), what happens when you move. In the FTC article referenced in the section about alarm companies the FTC have a number of questions to ask before you sign on the dotted line.
You really want situation where you can get out of the contract when you want. Many DIY systems don’t come with a contract or you only need to sign up for year at a time making it much easier to get out of.
Door to Door Salesman
The advice is not to buy from a door to door salesman. There is unfortunately a large number that use high pressure and devious sales tactics to get you to sign. If one comes to the door it is best to not engage with them and don’t invite them in to your home as you might not be able to get them to leave easily.
Most home insurance policies offer a discount for installing a home security system. The biggest discounts are normally offered for a system that is professionally monitored with a smaller discount for one that is self monitored.
How much of a discount you can get differs from company to company and policy to policy and needs to be checked with your insurance company. The discount offered is not going to cover the cost of the monitoring.
There are a number of factors to consider when buying a home security system. It starts by planning it and counting the devices you’ll need for entry points, motion detection and remotes for arming/disarming. Also this is a good time to make an assessment as to the additional security sensors, environmental sensors and home automation features to get upfront or at a later date so as to ensure the system you buy can expand to suit your lifestyle now and in the future.
Then it’s a matter of deciding on the type of monitoring, DIY or professional installation and whether you want a wired or wireless system.
If you choose to use an alarm company to do the monitoring and/or installation it’s important to do some extra checking on the background of the company using the FTC guidelines. The pricing of the system should be easy to understand. It’s important to be comparing total cost and realize the discounted equipment cost will be recovered in the monthly cost. So it is the cost of the equipment, installation and the monitoring cost for the term of the contract that needs to be compared.
If you choose the DIY route for installation and monitoring check out customer reviews and review sites that have taken the time to analyze the product in detail.
The system itself should be able to be expanded as you need, have a backup battery for power outages, manufacturer’s warranty, good customer support, be hard to tamper with and has a reliable system for sending out notifications.
And don’t forget to check if you need to have a permit, if you are charged for false alarms and if you can get a discount on your home owners insurance.
The Tactical 2by Liberty is another popular option from their product line. This safe was specifically designed for the tactical expert and features a dual-flex tactical interior that is fully customizable. The Tactical 2has 2long gun spots, pistol pockets, utility gear trays, ammo cans and several other storage pockets for other miscellaneous items. The Tactical 2has a 3-layer 30-minute fire rating.
The Defender series is the mid-level safe from Fort Knox but is most likely higher quality than most other brands top of the line unit. The Defender offers a fire rating option of either 90 minutes or 120 minutes as well as a size option of 18-guns up to a whopping 100-gun capacity.
The Protector series from Fort Knox is a step above the Defender and offers multiple capacity options from 18-guns all the way up to 73-guns. It also has a fire rating of up to 90 minutes. And like the other models from Fort Knox, there are 2colors to choose from!
Fort Knox backs the craftsmanship and build quality of their products with an outstanding lifetime warranty to the original purchaser and guarantees a defect free product for life. This warranty isn’t just limited to the shell of the unit like most brands, it covers the lock units as well. They will even replace or repair a vault that was damaged from the result of a flood, fire or accident.
BF 7250 HD
The BF7250HD by American Security is the largest unit that they make and can hold up to 4guns and has a generous burn rating of 120 minutes. This unit has 2” thick walls and a nearly 5” thick door. The BF7250HD comes in a variety of color options.
The TF5924Eskinny and tall size makes it the prefect size for you closet. It features a max 1gun capacity and a burn rating of 30 minutes. This is a great option if you’re looking a more compact way to store your guns without compromising protection.
One of the most popular safes from American Security is the NF series. This is the perfect mid-level option that provides plenty of storage and security. The NF series can hold 16-3guns depending on the configuration and has a fire rating of 90 minutes. The NF series also comes in a variety of exterior colors as well as different hardware finish options.
To ensure peace of mind when it comes to the reliability and security of your safe, American Security offers a 24/36days a year helpline as well as a service department with thousands of trained technicians. In addition, most of their products come with a lifetime warranty against fire and theft that requires no labor charge, no additional fees for parts and they pay the freight charges. Pretty unbeatable if you ask me!
Browning has been in the firearm and sporting good industry for more than 13years and is considered to be unmatched when it comes to product quality. Browning’s headquarters is located right in Morgan, Utah and has now grown to be one of the most popular, authoritative outdoor products brand.
Browning has made a significant impact in the world of hunting and personal defense. They are considered a key player in the outdoor product world because of their full line of guns, ammunition, clothing and accessories. Browning also offers a line of superior quality safes that are not only made from solid steel but also have a beautiful finish. Browning specializes in a wide variety of safes and vaults including pistol vaults, vault doors and also a variety of full size gun safes. With tons of sizing options available, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a safe that best fits your situation. Lets take a quick look at a few of Browning’s popular safe models.
SR 26F Silver Series
One of the most popular safes from Browning is the SR26F Silver Series safe. This safe is entirely made in the USA and is fully customizable. The SR26F has a fire rating of 100 minutes and will hold anywhere between 1and 2guns depending on the configuration.
HR 37F Hunting Series Gun safe
Another popular model from Browning is the HR37F gun safe, which is a part of the Hunter Series. Like the SR26F, the HR37F is completely made in the USA and has several great capacity and accessory option to choose from. The Hunter series has a 90-minute fire rating and has is capable of holding between 2and 6guns depending on the configuration you choose.
One of Cannon’s most popular models is the Patriot. The Patriot comes in several different sizes and capacities and can hold anywhere from guns all the way up to 30 guns. The Patriot is also ETL verified for a fire rating of 30mins. This is a great solution if you’re looking for a small to mid-sized gun safe from Cannon.
The Scout is popular mid-sized to large capacity safe from Canon. The Scout comes in different sizes and will carry anywhere from 2guns all the way up to 4guns depending on the size you choose. The Scout is ETL verified for fire resistance up to 30min. If you’re looking for a Cannon safe that has a medium to large capacity, this is a great choice.
Field and Stream
Field and Stream first started in 187and has now grown to be one of the largest outdoor sporting good stores in the country competing with the largest name outdoor superstores out there.
Field and Stream has a huge selection of outdoor products offering a vast selection from nearly every single brand of outdoor gear in existence. They have 1locations that span across the eastern side of America all the way from northern New York down to Alabama. Field and Stream also offers a variety of their own branded items including high quality gun safes. These safes are an incredible value and are a great choice if you’re on a budget but still want a safe and secure way to store your guns and valuables. But just because these safe are built with affordability in mind does not mean that they do not carry the same great features of safes that are double in price.
Sportsman Gun Fire safe
The Sportsman Gun Fire safe is the smallest of Field and Stream’s line of full size guns safes. This model will hold up to guns and is perfect for anyone who needs a small and compact option and does not plan on expanding their collection in the future. Like the other great options from Field and Stream, the Sportsman is ETL verified for 30 minutes of fire protection.
Field and Stream offers a limited lifetime guarantee that states they will repair or replace any safe that is damaged due to fire or theft free of charge. In addition, they also provide 5-year warranty that protects you against defects in materials and workmanship.
Fortress was developed over 20 years ago from their parent company Heritage Safe. Their brand name may not be as popular as some of the others out there, but as you know, the name isn’t everything.
One of the best selling safes from Fortress is the FS36E. This is their mid-sized safe that has a generous capacity of 3guns and comes equipped with an electronic lock. This model comes with adjustable shelves and door organizer, making it extremely versatile. The FS36E has a fire protection rating of 40min.
The near smallest of the Fortress line is the FS14C. This is one the smallest full size gun safes that Fortress makes and will hold up to 1guns. This unit comes with the dial style lock, bolt down kit and a shelf to hold some accessories and ammo. The FS14C has a fire protection rating of 20min.
One of the largest of their product line and most popular is the FS45SE. This unit was designed with the collector in mind and has ample storage for 4guns, several adjustable shelves and a door organizer. The FS45SE comes with a quick access electronic lock and a fire protection rating of 40min
All Fortress safes come with a lifetime warranty against damaging break-ins, break-in attempts and fires. This means that they will replace your safe free if in the event of one of these unfortunate scenarios. Their safes also come with a 10-year product warranty that protects you against manufacture defects and problems in the workmanship. If that wasn’t enough, their safes also come with a 1-year satisfaction guarantee.
Homak’s flagship model is the HS50133360, which has a generous 3Gun capacity. This is the largest option provided by Homak. The 3gun model comes with your choice of either an electronic lock or a mechanical lock depending on your preference. This model comes with adjustable shelving for plenty of accessory storage options as well as a 30 minute fire resistance rating.
The 1Gun capacity HS40221160 from Homak comes in a textured hunter green finish with gold hardware to compliment. The 1gun model comes with a combination lock, adjustable shelving and barrel rest. This model is in the light duty series from Homak and does not provide any fire resistant properties.
Another great model from Homak is the 2Gun safe the HS50121240. This is the same high security safe as the 3gun capacity model but in a smaller size. This unit comes with fully adjustable shelves for accessories and ammo as well as an adjustable barrel rest. This model has a fire resistance rating of 30 minutes.
To ensure peace of mind, all Homak gun safes come with a 5-year limited warranty that covers all parts and replacement cost. This warranty isn’t quite as good as some of the other brands I’ve reviewed but their products are built to a high quality standard which ensures a long lasting product.
The MBF6032E is one of the best selling safes from Mesa. This unit is capable of storing up to 30 guns and has several storage shelves for ammunition, handguns, knives and any other weapon or valuable. The MBF6032E also features an internal power strip for accessories like lights and dehumidifiers. This safe has a 60-minute fire protection rating.
Another popular safe solution from Mesa is the MBF7236E. This is the largest of the MBF product line and can hold up to 4guns and still provide plenty of storage room for handguns, ammo, cash and collectibles and anything else you need protected. Like all Mesa gun safes, it is constructed of 100% steel ensuring only the highest security and peace of mind and has a fire protection rating of 60 minutes.
The MBF5922E is the smallest of the Mesa product line offering a 14-gun capacity as well as few shelves to store your ammo, handguns and anything you need locked up. This unit also comes with an internal power strip for dehumidifiers, lighting and security cameras. The MBF series has a 60-minute fire protection rating and are all made from 100% steel.
Mesa provides a lifetime warranty for all of their Fire Gun Safe series safes against burglary and fire damage. As long as you are the original owner, Mesa will repair or replace the safe at no product cost, just pay shipping and moving costs. Mesa also provides a 1-year warranty on all of their locks that guarantees your lock free of manufacturers defects.
Situated just north of Chicago, Stack On is located in Wauconda, IL and has a nearly half of a million square foot facility for manufacturing and storage. Stack On started in 197and has since provided a wide variety of products including secure storage safes.
Stack On offers a full line of high quality organizational products that are designed to create a place for everything and to keep your spaces organized and less cluttered. There product line includes portable storage and organization, garage organization storage, tool storage and secure storage. Their safe line includes a vast selection of over 1different models of safes in all different shapes and sizes. Stack On is one of the top selling safe brands available and is considered to have the broadest range of safes available. Let’s take a quick look at some of their most popular models out right now.
A top selling model from Stack On is the FS-14-MG. This unit is a smaller capacity full sized safe that is capable of storing up to 1guns. It also has a few adjustable shelves for storing things like ammo, handguns, valuables and anything else you need kept secure. The FS-14-MG is ETL verified for fire resistance up to 30 minutes.
The TD-54-SB is another popular top selling model from Stack On. This safe is one of their large capacity safes that is capable of securely storing up to 5guns. This unit comes with adjustable shelves for storing any accessories or valuables and also comes with door storage organizer for expanded storage capabilities. The TD-54-SB is ETL verified for fire resistance up to 60 minutes and is also waterproof.
The TD-28-GP is another top selling featured model from Stack On. This is a medium capacity full sized safe that is capable of storing up to 2guns. This model also comes with adjustable shelves as well as a door storage organizer with removable zippered bags as well as removable holsters for pistol storage. The TD-28-GP is ETL verified for fire resistance up to 60 minutes and waterproof in up to 2ft of water for 7hours.
The R1Ranger Deluxe is a small to mid-sized capacity safe from Winchester. It is capable of storing up to 2guns and has plenty of room for storage along with adjustable shelving to provide you with tons of different storage combinations. The R1Ranger Deluxe comes in a two different colors and lock choices and has a fire rating of 60 minutes.
The Winchester R3Ranger Deluxe is the same great safe as the R1just in a larger sizing option. The R3will comfortable hold up to 30 guns and has plenty of shelving and door storage to hold your pistols, ammo, valuables and accessories. This unit has two different color options and lock choices and has a fire protection rating of 60 minutes.
Winchester also has a Legacy series. All of their safes offers a limited lifetime warranty on most models of their gun safes. This warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship and damage from burglary or fire. Winchester also provides a 1-year warranty that protects you against workmanship flaws and defects in the mechanical or electronic lock.
Safes are now becoming a centerpiece in some living rooms, game rooms, and bedrooms. This can add lots of great character to a room but also poses as a threat to overall safety. Especially if your safe is movable or light duty. I would always recommend a hidden gun safe over out in the open placement. Be strategic in the placement of your safe and always consider all possible threats. A hidden gun safe could be as simple as hiding it in the back of your closet or an inconspicuous spot in your basement.
A common choice is the in-wall gun safe. The in wall gun safe comes in a large variety of shapes and sizes and can be small enough to hold just one handheld and some rounds or large enough for a few rifles and ammo. They generally sit situated between two studs and can be easily hidden by framed artwork, a poster, a mirror or anything that is easily removed to allow access to the safe.
If you are looking for a quicker way to access your safe than the in-wall style and would like it to be hidden and easily accessible right from you bedside, you might want to consider the under bed safe. Under bed safes come in a huge variety of sizes from something as small as a bed frame mounted safe that has extremely quick access to a hand gun, all the way up to a full sized gun vault that has enough room to store several rifles, pistols and rounds.
Night Stand Safes
A nightstand gun safe can be large enough to hold several handguns, rounds, important documents, cash, etc. and is not limited to just one handgun like some of the other options available. I find this option to be a great balance between accessibility and safety.
Quick Access Safes
Quick access gun safes are generally just large enough for a handgun and maybe an extra clip or two depending on the model. This is a great option if you’re just looking for some added security to the weapon beside your bed or in the glove compartment of your vehicle. Like the name, these safes are designed to provide the quickest access possible in the event of an emergency. Quick access units are not as safe as some of the other options out there and usually provide much lower security. If your quick access safe is stolen, odds are within a short amount of time the burglar will have gained access to the contents inside.
Strength and Construction
The next question to ask yourself is how secure do you want your safe to be? Safes come in a variety of security levels and can be made from several different types materials and thicknesses. This factor definitely plays a part in the overall security of you items. Here are some things to consider when choosing the strength of the doors and walls: Are you often out of town for long periods of time? Is your area susceptible to burglary? Are the items stored in your safe extremely valuable? If you your home or office is empty for extended lengths of time, this can give a burglar an extended amount of time to try and break into your safe. These questions will help you determine what security strength you will need when purchasing your new safe.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Security Lock Boxes wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Security Lock Boxes
- №1 — First Alert 3031F Deluxe Locking Steel Security Box
- №2 — Safe Lock Box
- №3 — SteelMaster 221614003 Heavy-Duty Steel Fire-Retardant Security Cash Box