Safes: Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions about safes.

Fire-protection vs. anti-theft

Should I buy a fire–protection or anti–theft safe?

Deciding whether to purchase a fire–protection or anti–theft safe depends largely on what you plan to store.

  Fire–protection Anti–theft
Ideal for Storing important documents Valuables, such as cash and jewelry
Advantages Keeps the inside temperature of the safe below 350 degrees (paper begins to char at 420 degrees) for between 30 minutes and two hours. Protects against break–ins using common hand and electric tools as well as some drills
Keep in mind Equipped with a lock, but does not provide the highest level of security against theft. Some fire–protection safes are also water–resistant. Typically is not fire–resistant

If you have items that require dual protection (fire– and burglary–resistance), insurance experts at The Hartford Financial Services Group say, "consider using a fire–protection container or small safe within a larger burglary–resistant safe or vault."

If you still have questions about what kind of safe is best for your business, call your insurance agent, who should be able to help you pick the right safe based upon your business and storage needs. Another reason to call your insurance agent — owning a safe may entitle you to discounts on your insurance premiums.


Is a fire–protection safe also water–resistant?

Some higher–end fire–protection safes are also water–resistant. According to Sentry® Safes, "The water–resistant gasket protects the safe contents from fire–hose spray and flooding to a level which is below the locking mechanism. (Do not allow water to rise above the locking mechanism, as water can enter through the lock)."

As with fire–protection safes, a water–resistant safe only protects the inside contents from water for a certain period of time. Sentry® has tested water–resistant safes in the following conditions: "15 minutes with up to 1,000 gallons of water spray [and] six inches of water for one hour."

Media safes

What is a media safe?

Media safes specifically protect your company's intellectual property, such as computer disks, videos, audio tapes, film, and photos. Media safes are similar to fire–protection safes, but keep the inside temperature much lower during a fire (125 degrees Fahrenheit for a media safe versus 350 degrees Fahrenheit for a fire–protection safe), as media items are far more sensitive to heat than paper.

Safe ratings

How are safes rated?

Many fire–protection, anti–theft, and media safes come with a rating from Underwriters Laboratories, an independent, not–for–profit product–safety testing and certification organization.

Underwriters Laboratories rate anti–theft safes based on how long it would take someone to burglarize them. For fire–protection and media safes, the company says "the hourly rating signifies the amount of time the device can withstand a standardized fire of controlled extent and severity." Staples offers fire–protection safes rated for ½ hour, one hour, and two hours of protection.


What is the best kind of lock? Manual combination, electronic, or key?

As long as the lock meets the anti–theft rating of Underwriters Laboratories, manual combination, electronic, and key locks generally offer the same protection. So you may choose the lock type based upon personal preference. If more than one person needs access to the safe, a combination lock may make more sense than distributing several keys.

How do safes with electronic locks work?

Electronic locks open using a code. These locks do require batteries, which will need to be changed. When the battery is low, an electronic lock typically emits a beeping noise to alert you. Many safes with electronic locks also come with a back–up key.

How do I change the safe's combination?

Consult your owner’s manual. It should have detailed instructions about changing the combination.


How big of a safe do I need?

The size of the safe you need depends on what you plan to store. To get an initial idea of what size you'll need, measure the largest item you plan to safe keep. Then tack on at least 25% more space. As time goes by, you'll likely store more items. Buying a 'larger–than–you–need safe' will prevent you from quickly outgrowing the safe.


How much do safes weigh?

Safes are heavy, weighing between 30 and 650 lbs. If you're considering a safe that weighs more than 500 lbs. check to be sure your office building or home was constructed to accommodate that kind of high–density weight. Also note that fire–protection safes tend to weigh more than anti–theft safes. When shopping for a safe at Staples, you'll find safe weights listed on the product description pages.

Approximate weights of anti–theft safes

Size Approximate weight
.5 cubic feet 36 lbs.
1.3 cubic feet 55 lbs.
4.2 cubic feet 195 lbs.
6.1 cubic feet 230 lbs.
9.8 cubic feet 331 lbs.
  Approximate weights of fire–protection safes

Size Approximate weight
.8 cubic feet 87 lbs.
2.0 cubic feet 206 lbs.
3.0 cubic feet 331 lbs.
4.6 cubic feet 507 lbs.
5.8 cubic feet 628 lbs.

Bolting a safe

Can I bolt my safe to the floor?

Yes. In fact, some safes even come with a bolt–down kit for the wall or floor. To avoid negating the fire–protection qualities of the safe, carefully follow the instructions in your owner’s manual.


How will my newly purchased safe be delivered?

Most smaller safes are typically delivered to you directly from Staples. Larger safes are shipped dock–to–dock from the manufacturer. Dock–to–dock delivery consists of the motor–freight company backing the truck to a trailer–height dock. The customer then provides the equipment and labor to unload the safe from the trailer. Call 1–800–333–3330 for additional delivery service options and costs.

How long does it take for a safe to be delivered?

Smaller safes are typically delivered in one to seven business days from the order date. Safes that ship dock–to–dock from the vendor typically arrive in seven to 14 business days from the order date.

How do I know if a safe will be delivered directly from the vendor or from Staples?

If a safe will be shipped directly from the vendor (dock–to–dock), the product description page will be clearly marked with the following language.

Delivery details: Safes ship direct from the manufacturer. Extra charges apply for deliveries other than dock–to–dock. Dock–to–dock delivery consists of the motor–freight company backing the truck to a trailer–height dock. Customer provides equipment and labor to unload product from the trailer. Call 1–800– 333–3330 for additional delivery service options and costs. Please allow 7–14 business days for delivery.

Returning safes

Can I return a safe if it doesn't meet my needs?

For more information, call1–800–3STAPLE, email, or read the Staples Return Policy.

Items not to store

Is there anything I shouldn't store in my safe?

Consult your owner's manual for complete details, but yes, there are items that should not be stored in a safe. For example, "Sentry® Fire–Safe® products are not for weapons storage, nor for computer disks, audio–visual media or photo negatives, delicate items which need special protection such as stamps and collectibles, and pearls."

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