Safes have been in wide use for the past couple centuries, and even in the digital age, safes still remain an integral part of security in banks, businesses, and homes, thwarting even the most experienced of safecrackers and lock pickers.
Although safes appear in various forms—from small lockboxes to safes meant to look like household objects like bread, heads of lettuce, or aerosol cans—the crème de la crème of securing your valuables at home is the wall safe.
Benefits of a Wall Safe
Flexible placement: Freestanding safes are large, which means plenty of storage space, but that extra size makes it much more conspicuous. You may not have a closet or hidden nook for a freestanding safe, but wall safes can be placed anywhere you please—bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, or hallway. As long as you have a wall, you have somewhere to nestle your safe.
Easy to hide: With that easily adaptable placement comes the ability to hide your safe, so you can put it somewhere out of the way, like the bathroom or the closet. You could also go the extra step and cover the safe with a painting or tapestry.
Difficult removal: In general, safes aren’t easy to move around. They’re large, awkward, and easily weigh hundreds—if not thousands—of pounds. Wall safes present an entirely new conundrum for would-be thieves. The fact that wall safes are nested into your wall makes it difficult to even get a finger around the safe. Furthermore, safes are anchored directly to the structure of your home. While it wouldn’t be impossible to remove a wall safe, a thief would need industrial tools, a lot of time, and the muscle to carry the safe—and probably part of the wall and foundation—out your door.
Affordable: The compact size and design of the wall safe generally makes it a much more affordable option compared to full, freestanding safes. However, the size, design, and special features can increase the price. Shop wisely for what you can afford.
Fireproof design: Thieves aren’t your only problem. Fires and natural disasters also pose a big threat to valuables. Fortunately, most wall safes come with a fire resistance rating. Choose the fire rating that you think works with your budget and lifestyle, but know that even low-rated safes are designed to withstand a house fire long enough for the fire department to extinguish the flames.
You’re thoroughly convinced that a wall safe is the best choice for you, but how do you go about choosing the best model for your home?
Location: Consider where you want to put your safe. Depending on the room you choose and the depth of its walls, you may need a smaller or taller safe.
Contents: What you plan to put inside the safe plays a large role in the type of safe you purchase. If you plan to store important documents in your safe, you’ll want to up the fire rating of the safe. The safe may not burn, but its insides will heat up, which could lead to the ignition of those documents. Computers, CDs, DVDs, and other electronics are even more susceptible to heat, so you need to increase the fire rating even more. For further protection, you may need a data or media safe.
Locking system: You can choose from combination locks, keypads, and biometric systems. They are all equally effective in keeping your safe locked. Your decision hinges primarily on the speed of access when you do need to unlock your safe. Biometrics are the fastest option but may also set you back more.
Now that you have your safe, it’s time to put it into your wall. Fortunately, installing a wall safe is surprisingly easy.
- Choose the wall. You should use the existing studs in your home to secure your wall safe. Avoid areas featuring plumbing or wires.
- Cut out an opening. Locate the studs on the wall you want to install the safe. Use a level and draw a square large enough to fit your safe. Use a drywall saw to cut out the opening. If the wall does have wires, you’ll have to adjust them or consider rewiring.
- Test your safe. With the hole properly cut, push the safe in for a test fit. Make sure it sits level. If it’s not level, cut more from the bottom to straighten it out. Don’t try to force it in if it doesn’t fit. Just cut away a bit more drywall.
- Screw it in. With the safe sitting secure and level in your wall, drill the screws that came with your safe into the left and right studs.
Granted, different models mean different sizes and depths, but that’s the basic gist of it. Don’t be afraid to get professional assistance if you need it. You’ll have a secure, secret place for all your valuables in no time!