Buying a Safe

Finding a safe that satisfies your requirements doesn't need to be difficult, but it will help if you have some background information. This information page will give you a brief description of some of the common terms you will need to be familiar with before you purchase a safe.

Things to consider when buying a safe:

  • What do you want to store in it - valuables, cash, documents or magnetic media?
  • The size of the safe - often determined by what you want to store.
  • Do you need shelves inside?
  • Location – fitted into a wall or the floor or free standing.
  • Do You need fire resistance?
  • What is your budget?
  • Type of lock configuration – combination, electronic, key
  • Construction of the safe.
  • Protection from safe being tampered with e.g. secondary re-locking device.
  • Consider how the safe will be fitted in your home or business
  • Cash rating - this needs to be equal to the value of goods secured in the safe and helps with your insurance premiums. 

What is a Secure Storage Unit?

The Australian/New Zealand Standards use the term "Secure Storage Units" to describe what are more commonly known as safes or strongrooms. Secure storage units are designed to protect cash, valuables and documents against theft or destruction and range in size from small domestic safes to large strongrooms. Secure storage units fall into several types:

Types of Secure Storage Units.

Free-standing safes range from minimal security fire cabinets to high security bank safes. All free-standing safes under 1 tonne need to be firmly bolted down and most come standard with bolt holes.

In-ground safes offer moderate security for minimal cost. As the name suggests in-ground safes are installed below ground and are embedded in concrete. These safes are easy to conceal with carpet or other flooring material.

Strongrooms are secure rooms built into the building structure. Access to this room is via a strongroom door.

Safe Classification

Safes and strongrooms are classified into five grades according to Australian Standard AS/NZ 3809:1998. These grades should be used as a guide when purchasing a safe or strongroom. The table below sets out these grades.

Grading Typical Application Approx. Rating
Extra high security (Strongrooms only) High volume financial institutions, safe deposit, mercantile properties Over $50000
High Security Major jewellers, major retailers, financial institutions, banks, clubs, TAB, casinos Over $50000
Medium Security Large retail, department stores, post offices, hotels $35-50000
Commercial Security Large factories, medium retail, real estate agents $10-35000
Basic Security

Homes, small business, offices



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