Three best gun safes

Kyle Schurman

Always place your gun safe in a climate-controlled environment to keep the guns and ammunition safe and ready to use.

Gun safety for firearm owners receives a lot of attention, and deservedly so. Beyond learning how to operate the gun, firearm safety also involves storing the weapons properly and keeping them secured away from children. If you own guns, having a gun safe is a must. Not only do you need to keep the gun away from other family members, but the gun safe also protects your investment should someone break into your house.

Numerous gun safes are available in different sizes and with different locking mechanisms. With the help of this guide, you are sure to find the right model for your needs.

Considerations when choosing gun safes

Steel: Pay particular attention to the thickness of the steel in the safe. Thicker steel, such as 10 gauge, means hand-operated tools will not be able to penetrate it. Steel of a lower gauge number is thicker, and steel of a higher gauge number is thinner.

Lock: The locking system must fit your needs, too. If the safe is too difficult to open or if the lock isn't reliable, you will be less likely to use the safe. Some safes have a traditional spinning dial. This is a reliable option, but it takes longer to open. Other gun safes use a keypad or fingerprint scanner to open the door. These locks are costlier than dials, but you can open the safe more quickly with these systems. These locking mechanisms use batteries that you will have to change periodically.

Placement: Finally, pay attention to how you store the gun safe. You can mount many gun safes to a wall or the floor, which prevents a thief from carrying it away. Some are made to be embedded into the wall, between the studs. You must install a wall-mounted safe properly or it could pull loose and get damaged. Some smaller gun safes are meant to be hidden in a closet or drawer and don't require any mounting.

Gun safe prices: As a general rule, larger gun safes cost more because they can store more guns and other items. Gun safes that hold a single pistol cost about $75 to $100. An average-size gun safe costs roughly $300 to $500. Safes that can hold a dozen or more rifles cost $1,500 to $3,000. Safes that contain a high fire-resistance rating cost more. Adding maximum fire protection to an average-size safe adds about $100 to $200 to the price.


Q. How should I interpret the dimensions of a safe?

A. Look at the external dimensions to see how much space the safe will occupy. This is especially important if you want to mount the safe in a particular location. The internal dimensions are important for determining how many and what size guns you can store inside the safe.

Q. Aren't all gun safes fire resistant?

A. All gun safes will protect guns from fire to some degree. However, different safes have different levels of protection. The most important aspect of fire protection is the ability of the safe to keep the interior temperature lower than the exterior temperature during a fire. Any safe from a trusted manufacturer will give you a fire rating that lists the interior temperature during a fire.

Q. Do gun safes require ongoing costs or maintenance?

A. Each safe manufacturer will have some particular maintenance recommendations. You should oil the lock bolts annually to make sure they continue to work without sticking. If the safe runs off batteries, you should test the batteries monthly and replace them as required. You might want to have a locksmith "tune up" the safe's mechanism every few years.

Gun safes we recommend

Best of the best: Vaultek VT20i 

Our take: It's pricier than some other choices, but it's exceptionally sturdy and well-engineered. If price isn't your top concern, strongly consider this option.

What we like: Smart, portable, and made of heavy-duty materials. Manufacturer pays close attention to security with strong anti-theft mechanisms.

What we dislike: Expensive. A small number owners have had trouble with the fingerprint functionality.

Best bang for your buck: Gunvault SpeedVault Biometric 

Our take: Fast access for those who need to store one handgun. Small enough to conceal anywhere.

What we like: Works when mounted or hidden in a drawer. Can store several different fingerprints when multiple people need access.

What we dislike: Battery power lifespan is below average.

Choice 3: Stack-On Convertible Security Safe  

Our take: Huge gun safe that can hold up to 22 rifles. Versatile design so you can store items of various sizes.

What we like: Fully adjustable interior. Move the four shelves around to create the perfect storage layout.

What we dislike: Electronic lock sometimes malfunctions. Won't protect against a big fire.

Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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