Safes come in different styles and sizes. Many are only thin steel cabinets without fire or burglary protection. Consider the safe body and door construction first. Carefully review the thickness of the steel and type of locking mechanism, followed by fire rating.
Many safes on the market today, especially those offered for sale by either big box retailers or mass merchandise online websites should only be considered cabinets, rather than safes.
Thoroughly research the type of safe you are seeking. You will find most low-end safes are no more than storage cabinets that have very thin metal bodies made from 14 to 18 or even as thin as 20 gauge steel. Consider what you are storing in the safe and the value of the contents to be protected. A hammer, screwdriver or small pry bar can easily break into a thin metal safe. Do not rely on a cheap thin metal cabinet to protect your valuables and firearms. It just will not do the job!
NOTE: The higher the gauge number the thinner the steel and the lower the gauge number the thicker the steel. More steel ALWAYS equals more security.
A quality gun safe should have a minimum of 11 gauge (1/8”) steel for the exposed surface of the body of the safe, however, it is preferable to have 7 gauge (3/16”) steel for the body of the gun safe. Thicker steel always equals more security.
Door construction is vitally important. Safe doors are usually the first area to be attacked and are found to be the first line of defense to discourage a criminal. Consider safes with at least a 3/16” solid steel plate on the exposed surface of the door. More secure safes have a 3/8” to 1/2″ steel plate on the exposed surface of the door. Reference our steel thickness chart above to learn more about steel thickness.