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It doesn’t matter what type of safe you’re looking to buy or how much money you’re looking to invest in it – this guide has got you covered!
And since we both know why you’re here, I’ll skip the boring introduction and get straight to the point:
I’ve put together a round-up of 15 highly recommended models – and today I’m going to help you find the best gun safe for your needs!
Thinking of Buying a Gun Safe? Here’s Why You Definitely Need One
If you’re a gun owner, investing in a gun safe should be a no-brainer – but I’ll give you three reasons why buying a gun safe should be your top priority, anyway:
- It Makes a Difference Between Safety and Tragedy – The most apparent reason why anyone, including you, should consider getting a gun safe is the fact that these metal boxes often make a difference between keeping you and your loved ones safe and taking part in a horrible accident with a tragic outcome.
- Safe Storage Laws Exist for a Reason – The 2nd Amendment states that gun ownership is your right, no one’s trying to deny that. However, if you decide to practice that right, make sure you’re ready to follow the laws that come with it, including Child Access Prevention Law and Firearm Locking Device Laws.
- Your Insurance Depends On It – If you want your gun to be fully covered by your insurance policy, locking your firearms in a safe will probably be a non-negotiable requirement as far as your insurance company is concerned.
And the list goes on – the three reasons listed above barely scratched the surface!
Want to know more about the benefits of owning a gun safe?
You can check out my 15 Reasons To Own A Gun Safe – you’ll find some compelling arguments there!
Best Gun Safe: Comparison Chart of 2019’s Most-Recommended Models
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of all the gun safes I’m going to talk about today:
|SentrySafe QAP2E Gun Safe with Digital Keypad||Handgun||Steel||Digital Keypad||16.4 x 9.8 x 3.2 inches||16 pounds||1-year warranty||View product|
|Stack-On QAS-1304-12 Low Profile Quick Access Safe with Electronic Lock||Handgun||Steel||Electronic Lock||13 x 9.9 x 4.2 inches||12.5 pounds||N/A||View product|
|Vaultek VT20i Biometric Handgun Bluetooth Smart Safe Pistol Safe||Handgun||Carbon Steel||Biometric||11.5 x 9.0 x 2.75 inches||7.05 pounds||3-year warranty||View product|
|New and Improved Steelwater Heavy Duty 20 Long Gun Fire Protection||Long-Gun||Steel||Electronic Lock||59 x 28 x 18 inches||453 pounds||Lifetime warranty/ One year against manufacturer defects||View product|
|FCH Electronic Rifle Gun Safe Large Firearms Shotgun Storage Cabinet||Long-Gun||Steel||Electronic Lock||13.78 x 11.8 x 57.1 inches||N/A||30-day warranty||View product|
|Barska Quick Access Biometric Rifle Safe AX11652||Long-Gun||Steel||Biometric Lock||9.75 x 8.63 x 52.13 inches||62 pounds||One-year limited warranty||View product|
|Viking Security Safe VS-25BL Biometric Safe||Multi-Purpose||Steel||Biometric||10 x 14 x 10 inches||27 pounds||N/A||View product|
|Digital Safe-Electronic Steel Safe by Stalwart||Multi-Purpose||Steel||Electronic Lock||12.2 x 7.9 x 7.9 inches||11.68 pounds||5-year limited warranty||View product|
|First Alert 2087F Waterproof and Fire-Resistant Bolt-Down Combination Safe||Multi-Purpose||Resin||Combination Lock||17.8 x 15 x 19.8 inches||82 pounds||5-year limited warranty||View product|
|Ivation 16-Gauge Steel Lockbox with for Handgun Storage||Car/Travel||Steel||Manual Lock||9.5 x 6.5 x 1.8 inches||3 pounds||N/A||View product|
|Vaultek Essential Series Quick Access Handgun Safe||Car/Travel||Carbon Steel||Digital Keypad||10.5 x 8.5 x 2.125 inches||5.29 pounds||N/A||View product|
|Viking Security Safe VS-52BLX Biometric Fingerprint Hidden Wall Safe||Hidden/In-Wall||Steel||Biometric||14 x 19 x 4 inches||37.5 pounds||1-year warranty||View product|
|Protex PWS-1814E Electronic Keypad Wall Safe||Hidden/In-Wall||Steel||Electronic Lock||3.9 x 14 x 18.1 inches||28 pounds||N/A||View product|
|GunVault SV500 - SpeedVault Handgun Safe||Bedside||Steel||Digital Lock||6.5 x 3.5 x 13 inches||6.61 pounds||5-year warranty||View product|
|SentrySafe QAP2BEL Gun Safe||Bedside||Steel||Biometric Lock||16.4 x 9.8 x 3.2 inches||16 pounds||1-year limited warranty||View product|
Best Gun Safe: My Top 15 Recommendations (By Type & Price)
Let’s get straight to the point:
Here are the best gun safes that will fit all your needs – and your budgets, as well!
Best Handgun Safe
1. SentrySafe QAP2E Gun Safe with Digital Keypad
If you don’t plan on storing much else in your safe except a gun or two, this SentrySafe is worth checking out. Due to its two-gun capacity, it will be spacious enough to store your firearms, yet compact enough to fit inside a drawer.
The safe features a basic keypad, but if you’re interested in a nearly identical model with a fingerprint scanner, stick around – there’s one waiting for you at the end of the round-up!
The first thing you’re likely to notice about this safe is how sturdy and well-made it feels. The main advantage has to be the single-handed access, though – the safe door lifts automatically, and since your guns are stored “at the ready,” you can get to them in a matter of seconds.
However, be sure to “wake up” the keypad before you type in the security code, or it won’t be accepted.
- Fairly spacious with a two-gun capacity
- The door opens automatically for single-handed access
- It feels sturdy and well-made
- Can be wall-mounted or bolted down
- It eats through sets of batteries like crazy
- The keypad is somewhat unresponsive
2. Stack-On QAS-1304-12 Low Profile Quick Access Safe with Electronic Lock
We both know that sometimes spending a lot on a safe is not an option – which is why I wanted to show you this budget-friendly model by Stack-On.
The overall design of the safe is all about keeping a low profile – it’s slim and compact so that it won’t draw any unwanted attention. However, I highly recommend mounting the safe for an added element of security.
Even though it has a handy time-out period if someone tries to “guess” your security code, I feel like the keypad is too basic – you get to set your security code, but you only use four digits.
The door doesn’t open automatically – you have to slide a knob first – which can be viewed as an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on how you look at it. You never know when that “extra step” might come in handy.
- Comes with a removable mounting plate
- Programmable On/Off feature for sound
- Time-out period after three incorrect entries
- The keypad is limiting in terms of choosing a security code
- The door doesn’t open automatically
3. Vaultek VT20i Biometric Handgun Bluetooth Smart Safe Pistol Safe
Next one up is a “smart safe” by Vaultek – and if you’re all about getting the latest tech, I know you’re going to love this one!
The safe comes with a biometric lock combined with a backlit keypad, but more importantly, it’s equipped with impressive anti-theft protection features, including anti-pry bars, anti-impact latches, interior mounted hinges, as well as interior security brackets.
It keeps your gun safe and looks cool doing it!
I gave the app a chance because it seemed like a fantastic concept, but in reality, it’s more annoying than it is convenient. For instance, you have to be within Bluetooth range, or it won’t work – and you have to pair your phone with the safe all over again every single time you open the app.
That said, it does allow remote access, and that’s always a plus!
- Impressive anti-theft protection features
- The door automatically opens when unlocked
- Uses a rechargeable battery
- The keypad and the safe’s interior have LED lighting
- VAULTEK Smart App allows remote access
- You have to be within Bluetooth range for the app to work
Best Long-Gun Safe
4. New and Improved Steelwater Heavy Duty 20 Long Gun Fire Protection
If you want top-notch protection, let me introduce you to the Steelwater long-gun safe:
Not only is the safe fire-resistant but it’s jam-packed with security measures, as well.
I won’t go into too much detail right now, but know that the safe is more than capable of handling both drilling and prying attacks. Even if the lock gets damaged, the interior spring-loaded bolt will kick in and re-lock the safe automatically!
It’s not just the best long-gun safe – it’s a fortress!
All these security features might seem like “overkill” compared to some other models, but keep in mind that this is a safe that will hold up to 20 long guns, so there’s quite an investment to protect there.
You can bolt it down if you wish, but considering that it weighs over 400 pounds, I don’t think there’s a chance of someone picking it up, anyway.
- The average capacity of up to 16 long guns
- Gear-driven locking system protects against prying
- Internal spring-loaded bolt re-locks the safe when the lock is damaged
- EMP-proof digital keypad
- Extremely heavy
- Very expensive
5. FCH Electronic Rifle Gun Safe Large Firearms Shotgun Storage Cabinet
Okay, now that we have the most expensive long-gun safe out of the way, it’s time for me to show you what you can get with a somewhat limited budget.
And the FCH is a good example of that. Granted, we’re talking about a storage cabinet, rather than an actual heavy-duty safe, but if your main goal is to keep your gun collection away from children, this gets the job done.
It comes with an additional lock box with an independent key lock, located inside the actual “safe,” which brings an added layer of protection for things like handguns and ammo.
It seems that it holds most of its weight in the door, though, so I highly recommend bolting it down to prevent the entire thing from tipping over by accident.
- Programmable security code
- Comes with an additional lock box inside the safe
- Reasonably-priced storage solution
- It’s not as sturdy or durable as an actual gun safe
- Minimal protection against theft
- You have to bolt it down to prevent it from tipping
6. Barska Quick Access Biometric Rifle Safe AX11652
Now, I’d like to show you another example of a long-gun safe in a similar price range as the one discussed previously, only this time it’s a model by Barska.
The safe features a smart biometric lock, and by “smart” I mean that it memorizes up to 120 fingerprints, which is a lot by any standard – and the more scans you provide, the more accurate it is.
More importantly, the biometric scan only takes 2.5 seconds to unlock the safe, allowing for almost instant access to your guns.
The battery holds up surprisingly well – for up to 10,000 scans – and notifies you when it’s low in power, as well.
However, the same compact design is its biggest downside, as well. The safe is relatively small, so, if you plan on storing more than two rifles in it, look elsewhere – this one doesn’t have the capacity for it.
- Saves up to 120 fingerprints
- Fast biometric lock scans fingerprints in 2.5 seconds
- Programmable to Silent Mode
- Fits up to four rifles and handguns
- Long battery life with back-up battery pack
- The interior is fairly small
Best Multi-Purpose Gun Safe
7. Viking Security Safe VS-25BL Biometric Safe
If you’re searching for a safe that will protect more than your guns, one of the first models I’d like to recommend is this Viking Security Safe.
It has a biometric lock that saves up to 32 fingerprints, as well as a keypad with a single PIN code, which gives access to multiple people and makes it an ideal choice for larger families that share one safe.
The safe comes with a few handy features, as well, including an audio warning if it’s left unlocked, a built-in LED interior light and a time-out period after several incorrect entries. Anchor bolts and pre-drilled holes are included, too, in case you’d like some added security.
One thing that kept bugging me about this one is that the keypad isn’t backlit – I’m not sure how they remembered to include an interior light but skipped something as basic as a backlit keypad.
- Built-in LED lighting
- One removable shelf
- Audio warning if the door is left unlocked
- Saves up to 32 fingerprints or one PIN code
- Time out period after multiple incorrect entries
- Programmable sound On/Off feature
- The keypad isn’t backlit
8. Digital Safe-Electronic Steel Safe by Stalwart
The previously discussed model may not fit everyone’s budgets, which is why I wanted to introduce you to a much cheaper option – the Digital Safe by Stalwart. It’s somewhat small, but it gets the job done.
The safe is rather simple, without any bells and whistles, but it does have one thing that the previous model didn’t – a backlit keypad.
All jokes aside, though, it allows you to set both master and guest lock combinations, and after three or more incorrect entries, it sets off an alarm to notify you about a possible burglary attempt.
If you want maximum protection, you can always bolt the safe down or mount it on the wall. However, if you choose to do so, keep in mind that this model isn’t fire-resistant – and anchoring it will prevent you from moving the safe in case of a house fire.
- Programmable master and guest lock combinations
- After three or more incorrect entries it alerts you about potential theft
- Can be mounted or bolted down for added security
- The safe is not fire-resistant
- It’s a bit loud
9. First Alert 2087F Waterproof and Fire-Resistant Bolt-Down Combination Safe
Okay, it’s time to get serious about protecting your guns, and other valuables, including passports, cash, and jewelry – both from getting into the wrong hands and being destroyed in a disaster such as a flood or a house fire.
Enter First Alert – one of the best waterproof and fire-resistant gun safes on the market.
The Ready-Seal works to protect your valuables in even the worst-case scenarios and doesn’t get compromised even if you decide to bolt down the safe for extra security. Considering its massive weight, it probably won’t be necessary, though.
And no, it doesn’t cost a small fortune – it’s rather affordable, considering the level of security it provides.
Unfortunately, though, there’s no way to change the factory-set lock combination – not that I know of, anyway. It’s quite disappointing, especially since it renders the entire thing useless if an “outsider” learns your combination.
- Fire-resistant design and waterproof seals
- Pry-proof hinges will resist crowbar entry
- Bolting it down doesn’t affect its performance
- There’s no way to change the lock combination
- The inside of the safe traps a lot of moisture
- Not portable
Best Car (Travel-Friendly) Gun Safe
10. Ivation 16-Gauge Steel Lockbox with for Handgun Storage
Simple in its design the Ivation Steel Lockbox is a budget-friendly handgun storage solution for any gun owner who spends a lot of their time on the road.
Granted, it’s not an actual gun safe, and it won’t protect your firearms in “extreme” situations, but it comes with a 1500-pound-rated security cable that prevents grab-and-go theft scenarios, and, more importantly, feels quite sturdy for what it is.
My general impression of this lockbox is that it will do a more than decent job at keeping your gun locked away safely, especially if you’re a frequent traveler and need a gun safe that meets TSA requirements. If someone tries to pry it open, though, they will most likely succeed on their first try.
It’s one of the best travel-friendly gun safes out there – but it shouldn’t be your primary means of securing your firearms.
- It feels sturdy and heavier than expected
- Comes with a 1500-pound-rated security cable
- Meets air travel guidelines as checked baggage
- Budget-friendly price
- The interior lacks padding on the sides
- The locking mechanism feels a bit flimsy
11. Vaultek Essential Series Quick Access Handgun Safe
Next one up is a rather pricey gun safe by Vaultek – compared to the previously discussed travel-friendly option, that is – but as far as portable safes go, it has to be one of my personal favorites.
The slim design and a lightweight carbon steel construction combined with a steel security cable, as well as pre-drilled mounting holes make this an excellent choice for handgun storage on the go. Plus, it has Security Sleep Mode feature, which kicks in when someone tries to “guess” your security code.
One of the most remarkable things has to be the battery, though. It’s rechargeable and holds up for up to four months at a time – even more, depending on your usage.
The auto-open lid is a handy feature for quick access, but the actual mechanism is so forceful, that it makes the entire safe “jump” as it opens.
- Comes with pre-drilled mounting holes and a steel security cable
- Features responsive LED lighting for low-light conditions
- Rechargeable battery
- Security Sleep Mode kicks in if the wrong code is entered
- The force of the lid opening shifts the entire safe
Maybe you’d prefer to keep your safe hidden inside a wall, and this Viking Security Safe with a biometric lock is an excellent option for that.
The safe saves up to 32 individual fingerprints with non-volatile memory, allows you to set a PIN code, depending on your preferred method of input, and comes with four override keys, as well.
I liked that it notifies you if you leave it unlocked, too – you’ll find it handy if you’re the forgetful type.
It comes with three adjustable shelves, and even though they’re not of the highest quality, they allow you to customize the safe’s interior.
I appreciate that they included a built-in LED light, too, but the position is somewhat off, so it doesn’t illuminate the entire safe. That said, a dim light is still better than no light at all.
- Saves up to 32 fingerprints
- Audio warning if you leave it unlocked
- Built-in LED light and carpeted interior
- Three adjustable shelves included
- Pre-drilled holes for easy installation
- The shelves feel flimsy and poorly made
- The LED lamp doesn’t illuminate the entire safe
13. Protex PWS-1814E Electronic Keypad Wall Safe
There’s not much wiggle room price-wise when it comes to in-wall gun safes, so the fact that these two are so similarly priced shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The Protex model features a simple keypad lock that lays flush with the safe’s door, allowing you to hide it behind a painting or any other wall decoration quite easily.
Once you punch in your security code, the motorized locking bolt system opens the door automatically, allowing for quick access to your firearms and other valuables.
The safe comes with an external power source, too, as a backup in case the batteries die without you noticing. Convenience-wise, that’s a massive advantage most users will appreciate.
Unfortunately, though, there’s no way to turn off the sound. The safe’s beeping could be an issue in a home-intrusion scenario – but let’s hope it doesn’t get to that.
- Motorized locking bolt system opens the door automatically
- Interior LED lighting turns on automatically
- Two removable shelves included
- The external backup power source in case of dead batteries
- No way to disable the beeping sound
- The locking mechanism takes up interior space
Best Under-Bed/Bedside Gun Safe
14. GunVault SV500 – SpeedVault Handgun Safe
When your main reason for owning a gun is protecting your home from intruders, keeping it at arm’s length can be a deciding factor – having a gun wouldn’t be of much use if you didn’t reach it in time, now, would it?
Enter GunVault SV500 – possibly the best single-gun capacity safe you’ll come across today.
The safe offers several mounting options, so you can keep it under the bed or at your bedside table – whatever seems more convenient to you.
Speaking of convenience, the fast and responsive lock and the drop-down mechanism on the drawer allow you to access your gun quickly – albeit with a clicking noise – while the LED light turns on automatically to help you find everything you need in low-light situations.
The batteries drain pretty fast, though, so keep a close eye on them – or keep the override key nearby at all times.
- Offers multiple mounting options
- The lock and the drop-down drawer are fast and responsive
- Features an interior LED light that turns on when you open the safe
- The mechanism is noisy
- The batteries get drained pretty fast
15. SentrySafe QAP2BEL Gun Safe
If you’d rather keep your safe in your bedside cabinet or drawer, this SentrySafe might be the perfect choice for you – mounting it on the wall or bolting it down is still an option with this model, but it’s not a must, as it is with the one I showed you previously.
The main thing I like about this safe is how focused it is on allowing you quick, single-handed access to your guns:
Thanks to the gas strut, the safe door opens instantly, and your weapons are stored “at the ready” – which not only looks cool but saves time, as well.
It has the same keypad-related problem as other SentrySafe models – you have to “wake it up” by pressing a button before it accepts your input. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s a bit confusing when you’re in a hurry.
- Features a fingerprint scanner and a keypad
- The gas strut allows for single-handed access
- Interior light helps in low-light situations
- It can be wall-mounted or bolted down
- It’s not silent
- It won’t accept your entry if you don’t “wake up” the keypad
Need Help Choosing the Best Gun Safe for Your Needs?
There are four vital things you have to consider before you pick the best gun safe – steel gauge thickness, capacity, lock mechanism, and overall safety and ratings.
These are the make-or-break factors that draw the line between poorly-made safes that barely offer any protection and those high-quality ones that feel like they could withstand anything you throw at them.
Steel Gauge Thickness
Not all safes are created equal – but I’m sure you realize that by now.
That’s why the first thing you need to pay attention to is the overall construction of the safe and, more importantly, the thickness of the walls themselves – the so-called steel gauge thickness.
Don’t fall into the “higher number” trap, though, because steel gauge works oppositely – the lower the number, the thicker the steel.
So, for instance, 20-gauge steel is way thinner than 10-gauge steel.
Here’s why it matters:
When the thickness of the steel is doubled, it doesn’t become two times stronger – it becomes eight times stronger. I don’t have to tell you how big of a difference that makes in safe’s overall durability!
Locking Mechanism: Electronic vs. Mechanical
The next factor you must consider when choosing the best gun safe is the type of lock you prefer. The primary choice you’ll have to make is between an electronic and a mechanical one, but if we’re going to be nit-picky, you have four options here:
- Lock and Key – It’s an old-school, inexpensive solution for securing your firearms – as long as you don’t lose the key, that is.
- Combination Lock – If you want a tried and true, low-maintenance, battery-free locking mechanism, this is it.
- Electronic Lock with a Keypad – These are the modern-day equivalent of dial locks, using a numbered keypad to enter your security code.
- Biometric Lock – The main idea here is that you’re using personal identity – your fingerprints – as a key for unlocking your safe, so there’s no risk of someone stealing your “key.”
Whatever you choose, make sure you have a backup option, as well, to avoid getting locked out of your safe if the central locking mechanism fails.
Size & Capacity
What good is a gun safe if it doesn’t have the capacity needed to fit all your valuables?
So, when it’s time to pick the best gun safe for your needs, ask yourself the following question:
Is it spacious – or compact – enough to suit my needs, and do I have a suitable place for it in my home?
There’s no right or wrong answer here – it’s all about finding something that works for you.
How Safe Is Your Safe?
You’d be surprised how often a safe turns out to be not as safe as you hoped for – and, unfortunately, when something like that happens, it’s often too late to do anything about it.
That’s why it’s vital to consider the following:
One way to protect your valuables in case of fire is to get a safe that offers an adequate level of protection in such scenarios, which means a certified gun safe with a minimum one-hour fire rating – of course, the longer the fire protection, the better.
RSC (Residential Security Container Certification)
If a safe receives a Residential Security Container (RSC) Certification, it means that it passed the Underwriters Laboratories testing methods, and withstood drilling, prying, chiseling, punching and other forms of tampering with the safe for a total of five minutes.
It’s not that impressive, but it still offers some level of protection in a burglary attempt that involves basic manual, as well as electrical hand tools.
Floor Bolting Ability
Being able to bolt down the safe brings an extra layer of security to the table.
I always recommend picking a model that can be either wall-mounted or bolted down, to prevent burglars from simply picking up your safe and walking away with it if they realize that they can’t pry it open on the spot.
Every state has specific standards and regulations regarding firearms storage, and one of the most talked about has to be the California Department of Justice (DOJ) regulation.
A DOJ certification isn’t a must-have, but some of the best gun safes on the market will most certainly have it, promising you a unit that features high-quality construction, locking system, hinges, as well as bolt work that will be able to withstand burglar attacks.
4 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy a Gun Safe
Buying the best gun safe is simple if all you’re going to store in it is, in fact, a gun – but what if there are some other high-value items you’d like to keep safe, as well?
1. Paperwork, Money and Other Delicate Items Need Extra Protection
Of course, protecting items such as cash and paperwork, as well as data and media, from theft and fire is of utmost importance – but you should be extra picky about the safe you’re using here.
Fire-resistant safes seem like the obvious choice, but because they create steam as a method of regulating internal temperature, they may end up doing more damage than good.
2. Pick the Right Security Rating for Your Valuables
The most common mistake I see people make is not considering the maximum value of the safe contents, and as a result, picking a completely wrong safe for their needs.
Here are a few safe rating vs. content value guidelines you should keep in mind:
|B-Rate||$5,000 – $10,000|
|B/C Rate||$10,000 – $20,000|
|UL RSC||$15,000 – $30,000|
|C-Rate||$25,000 – $50,000|
|UL TL-15||$100,000 – $200,000|
|UL TL-30||$195,000 – $375,000|
|UL TL-30X6||$275,000 – $500,000|
|UL TRTL-30X6||$500,000 – $1,000,000|
3. Don’t Put Too Much Trust into Fire-Resistant Safes
If you plan on storing high-value items in there, a fire-resistant safe, although great for protecting your belongings from heat and smoke, won’t do much in case of burglary. The metal construction is often so thin – especially in low-cost fire-resistant models – that a few simple hand tools are all it takes to break inside the safe.
4. Sometimes It’s Better to Spend More
Buying a safe is an investment in both your safety and peace of mind and you shouldn’t be afraid to spend more if that’s what it takes to keep your valuables safe and sound.
And while the price doesn’t necessarily determine quality – always pay attention to the actual features – if getting the best gun safe for your needs means spending a bit more, then it will be money well spent.
Final Thoughts & Recommendations
I won’t even try to announce the winner of the round-up, not because there are too many options to choose from, but because it would be like comparing apples and oranges. You can’t compare a long-rifle safe with a portable one – it makes no sense!
Instead, I encourage you to pick a category first and go from there. I’m sure there’s the best gun safe for your needs – and your budget – hiding in one of them!
Source: Safety HUB