It is extremely important that you understand what these terms mean before you ever buy a traditional safe. Knowing this information can make all the difference when shopping for the safe that protects your belongings in the way you need.
Another thing you should know is that an investment in a good safe may also lower insurance costs. Ask your insurance provider!
Glossary of Terms in the Safe Industry
Fire Safe – Any safe that is made of thin sheets of material molded together to make a double layered box. There will be some type of insulator that keeps the internal temperature much lower than the outside temperature when in a fire. Fire safes have to be able to perform like this for a specified amount of time. The typical fire safe available today is rated for up to 2 hours maximum.
Burglar Safe – Often made from the toughest materials, like solid steel plates and concrete. Safes of this variety have ratings based on how well they hold up against attempts to break in. Common ratings are B-rate, C-rate, and TL for more standardized tests.
Residential Security Container aka RSC – This is an insurance rating for home and office safes. Think of this as a fire safe with better burglary defense.
Non-Standardized Test Safe Ratings
B-Rate – Any locked box, typically a quarter inch on all sides and a half inch of material for the door. There are no actual tests performed to determine its performance.
C-Rate – Locked boxes with a half an inch of material on the sides and one inch for the door. No test to evaluate its performance either.
Standardized Test Safe Ratings from Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL)
TL-15 – These safes have met the standards of UL Standard 687. This is a safe with an inch of steel or its material equivalent. You can trust this safe to endure 15 minutes net working time of attempts with tools to break into it.
TL-30 – These safes are similar to the TL-15 except they can go 30 minutes before failing.
TL-30×6 – The 30 minute test applied to all sides of the safe being rated.
TRTL-30 – This test rating is for safes capable of withstanding a half an hour of net working time with various tools including torches.
Net Working Time – This is the time spent using various tools, including power drills, sledge hammers, and all kinds of saws, to break open a safe.
Class 350, 1 Hour Fire Rating – Safes with this rating were heated for an hour, reaching an external temperature over 1500 degrees F. They were then allowed to cool down. During all of this, the internal temperature must never climb above 350 degrees F.
Class 350, 2 Hour Fire Rating – These safes go through a similar test but for 2 hours. They must also be capable of maintaining an internal temperature of 350 degrees F.
How to Use this Information
Before you buy your safe, you must consider what your specific needs are and look for a safe that is rated to perform to that standard. This will probably be a combination of the items you will place in this safe, the location of the safe, and the likely threats to it. Of course you should also factor in any insurance benefits as well.
For a more portable safe, the Smart Armor Safe would make a great choice. It is as convenient as it is secure and has many technological benefits that lots of large safes lack, like global tracking and Bluetooth connectivity.