A few posts back, I went into a bit of detail discussing the benefits of a wall safe, and one of the primary perks is easy concealment. Now, if you read the article, you may also remember that I recommended not storing anything terribly valuable in them because, in most cases, if a burglar really wanted to, it’s quite feasible that he could simply pry the unit out of the wall and run off with it. A floor safe provides the best of both worlds; it offers the potential for incredible concealment, and can be extremely difficult to break into, remove, burn or flood. If installed properly, a floor safe can be a fantastic home security investment.
The majority of these safes, like the Sentry 7250, are built with the option to mount the unit to the surface of a concrete or wooden floor. Though I can’t exactly blame the manufacturers for offering this configuration as an option, I think it’s pretty darn ridiculous. If all you plan to do is anchor it to the floor, you might as well buy a cheap gun safe with better security, access, and capacity for the same price. In my humble opinion, you’re only benefiting from the product if you opt for the in floor safe installation. Choose a low traffic concrete section of your basement or garage where you want to place the safe, and start shopping (or digging if you already bought it).
Last summer, I neglected to address my dying sump pump, and…let’s just say I’m glad I wasn’t hiding any important financial records under my basement floor. First and foremost, I would highly recommend seeking out a waterproof safe (technically – water resistant), like the previously mentioned Sentry 7250. Water is the most likely cause of damage to the contents of a floor safe. If it were me, I’d take it one step further, and secure any documents or photos in a waterproof bag within the safe as well.
You’ll also want to consider a model with some muscle. If your average burglar happens to move your large piece of furniture and carpet under which you’ve placed your safe, most likely he’ll begrudgingly walk away from it when he sees that it’s mounted in two feet of solid concrete. Of course, if he’s schooled in the black arts, came with the right set of tools, or he found your sledgehammer in the corner, he may just decide to take a shot at it. If this is the case, you’re going to want a safe with some extra security features. American Security makes a beefy home floor safe; their B2200 is crowned with a UL Group II lock, a punch resistant relocking device, a dead bar to prevent a pry attack (even if the hinges are yanked off), and a B+ rated door (.75″ of solid steel). This safe in particular also offers fire protection backed by a lifetime warranty. Amsec home floor safes tend to cost a bit more than average (~$600 for the B2200), but solid steel, concrete, and fire proofing are a pretty darn good combination.
Unless you’re going to shell out several thousand dollars on a big ticket gun safe like a Liberty National Security or a Fort Knox Legend, a well constructed, carefully hidden floor safe is going to offer you the greatest security for your smaller valuables. Of course, they have their cons. First of all, as I just mentioned, they’re relatively tiny. Unless you’re going with a custom build or plan on planting these suckers all over your foundation, you’re going to have to be very selective on what you choose to hide in these compact craters. They’re definitely not gun friendly.
Even if you could fit a few rifles in your safe, you’re sure as poopfire not going to be able to get to them quickly in an emergency. As I mentioned before, a lot of these floor safes are very rugged on their own, but if they’re not installed within a concrete foundation, or stupidly left out in plain site, you’re just asking for trouble. The bottom line is, floor safes aren’t designed for casual access – don’t store anything in it that you wouldn’t bury in a time capsule…you get the point.
To wrap it up, they’re great if you invest in solid water and theft protection, take the time to install them properly in the floor, away from easy access, and accept ahead of time that you won’t be storing your everyday valuables. If you’re cool with all of that, they’re pretty darn slick.