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Safe Guide: How to Choose a Safe

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of fitting and installing a safe in your home or office, here are our thoughts when choosing a safe. 

There’s lots to consider, such as whether a floor or wall safe is best, and whether you should get a key lock safe or a digital safe. Here we break it down for you so that you can see the benefits and the pitfalls of each type of safe.

Pros and Cons of Installing a Safe

Domestic safe installation

The Pros

  • Your possessions are in a safe location and cannot be accessed by anyone without the passcode or key.
  • In the case of a fire, cash and documents are protected.
  • Your safe can be well-hidden and undetected by burglars.
  • Provides piece of mind that your cash, jewellery and documents (such as passports) are kept safe.


  • Initial cost of purchasing and installing the safe.
  • You need to bear in mind the insurance cash rating: a £1,000 cash rated safe can store valuables up to the value of £10,000.
  • Do you need fire protection?

Safe installation in a commercial building

The Pros

  • You can ensure that documentation and cash reserves are protected from employees.
  • You can have peace of mind that your important business documents are protected in the case of a burglary or fire.


  • Initial cost of purchasing and installing the safe in your office or commercial building.
  • The safe that you purchase will have a cash rating and you must abide to that amount in your safe so that it is fully insured. Always check with your insurer when installing a safe.
  • Do you need a deposit facility?
  • Do you need fire protection?

What type of safe should you install?

Installing a Floor safe

The Pros

  • Floor safes can be well hidden from intruders, under a rug, furniture or bed.
  • The safe will be sat in concrete, which means that an intruder will only have access through the door of the safe, giving the safe extra protection.
  • As the safe is encased in concrete, this adds additional protection against a fire.
  • Some floor safes have a higher cash rating compared to wall safes, which you should consider if you have high value items needing to be stored.


  • A floor safe isn’t as convenient to access as an above ground safe.
  • Installation costs can be higher than a conventional safe.
  • The installation process is less discrete from your neighbours compared to wall safes.

Installing a wall safe

The Pros

  • Wall safes are bolted from in the inside, which means that burglars would struggle to access the bolts to break into the safe.
  • Wall safes are easier to install compared to floor safes, as wall safes do not need to be encased in concrete.
  • Easy to access compared to bending down into a floor safe.
  • You can hide a wall safe behind a mirror or picture frame so that it’s undetected.
  • Protected from water damage.
  • Out of reach from children if installed at adult eye-level.
  • Discrete delivery compared to a large floor safe.


  • Wall safes often aren’t as big as floor safes so if you require space to keep objects or jewellery you might be short of space with a wall safe.
  • Wall safes have limited fire protection and thus a lower fire rating which is something to consider.

Installing free-standing safes

The Pros

  • Free-standing safes allow for a higher cash rating compared to wall safes.
  • Free-standing safes are more robust and heavier than wall safes.
  • They can be bolted to concrete floors for added protected against burglars.
  • They have greater protected against water damage.


  • Free-standing safes can take up a lot of room in your home or office.
  • They are harder to conceal, are more obvious to an intruder and show that you have something to protect.
  • They are often much heavier and larger, making the safe difficult to deliver discretely.

Locking Options

Most quality safes come with a choice of locking options: key operated, electronic keypad and biometric thumb print readers are the common options.

The most common type of safe is a key operated safe, these come in many options and qualities. Higher quality commercial safes have the option for two key holders to be present to open the safe.

If you lose your safe key or it ends up in the wrong hands, then it could cause issues. Digital keypads are very popular as they are easy to access. More advanced keypads on commercial safes also offer a variety of features such as an audit trail and timer facilities.

DIY or professionally installed safe?

When we install a safe we ensure that it meets professional insurance requirements. We follow through with the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that all of your valuables will be protected.

When installing a safe yourself you need to ensure that you follow the manufactures’ guidelines and meet your insurance requirements. 

Cash Rating

The cash rating determines how much money can be stored in the safe, and the maximum value of the items kept in the safe. If your safe has a cash rating of £1,000 this means that the value of your items can be up to £10,000.

The higher the cash rating of the safe, the higher the quality of the safe. This is due to the safe being made from higher quality materials and a more robust locking mechanism.

Fire Protection

Safes come with a fire rating which indicates how fire resistant the safe is. No safe is completely fire-proof but the majority of safes can keep documents protected for 1 to 2 hours. A data safe offers fire and water protection for discs and hard drives.

Finding the safe for you

It’s essential to think about what you will keeping in your safe.

  • What will it be used for?
  • Who will be accessing the safe?
  • Where will you install the safe?

This way you can have a good idea of which safe you need. We recommend checking with your insurer when installing a safe too.

Talk to us today for free quality advice. We are an approved partner with Rottner and Comsafe safes and can provide you honest and trustworthy advice.