Understanding Safes’ Fire Ratings

If you’re shopping for a new safe, one factor you might notice plastered on the front of each safe is the fire rating. Many safes boast about their numbers. Despite their claims, it can feel impossible to make heads and tails out of the stats they post. How do you understand a safe’s fire rating?

Here, we’ll dive into the meaning behind the fire ratings numbers. We’ll go over explanations, as well as things to consider when looking to invest in a safe. Let’s get started with this explanation.

Why Does a Fire Rating Matter?

When looking into safes, fire ratings can seem like yet another marketing tactic to get you to invest in a particular brand or style of safe. Some may not think that fire rating matters. If you want to keep everything inside your safe protected, fire ratings do matter.

There are a few reasons why fire ratings matter in the world of safes:

  • They preserve the safe: A fire rating helps determine how much heat a safe can stand before it incurs severe damage. A higher fire rating means your safe can work through more in its lifetime.
  • They keep your items secure: A fire rating determines if your stored items will be safe in a fire. The lower the rating, the more likely you are to lose your valuables in the case of a fire.

These reasons alone provide proof that fire rating is much more than a marketing tactic. It’s a security blanket in case of disaster.

A fire rating matters when trying to decide on the perfect protection for your investments. Now, what does a fire rating say? How do you determine what the numbers presented with a safe say about what they can do against a fire? We’ll talk about the meaning behind a fire rating on a safe next.

What Does a Fire Rating Say?

When looking at a fire rating, you should notice a few numbers. One provides a time and the other provides a temperature. At first glance, it seems confusing to determine how these numbers correlate to each other in terms of fire rating. However, it’s simple to explain how both work together in a safe. You can also read our guide on which are the best fireproof gun safes.

When looking at what makes up a fire rating, here’s what the two numbers mean:

  • The time number means: The time a safe can withstand the temperature given.
  • The temperature number means: The highest temperature a safe can endure for an extended period. 

These show the fire rating of a safe. Each number comes into existence after the company puts the safe under extensive testing. 

The higher the temperature and longer the time, the more effective the fire rating. Most safes go under extensive testing to ensure they can deal with high temperatures for as long as possible.

What is Considered a Good Fire Rating?

We’ve discussed what a fire rating means in a safe. But, what is considered a good fire rating when you’re looking for a safe? What are numbers that should stand out to you when looking for one to work inside your home?

Many companies recommend that you invest in a safe that lasts for at least an hour against fire rating testing. Although 350 degrees is a good minimum for a fire safety rating, you should look at something around 1000 degrees for the best possible protection.

A combination of these factors will ensure your items and stay as safe as possible in the case of an emergency. Don’t put your money into something cheap with a low fire rating. Pick something with extensive testing that has proven to have durability in the worst circumstances.

What Traits Impact a Fire Rating?

There are a few traits that impact the fire rating of a safe. Each of these is critical to a company considering what to make their next safe out of to maximize what it can withstand. Let’s discuss a few of the things that go into a safe to impact its fire rating.

In a typical safe, the following items can influence how a safe performs against a fire rating:

  • Material: Material can wildly change how a safe survives in a fire. Many companies use layers of metals and fire boards for the best results.
  • Testing: How well a safe test shifts the fire rating.
  • Thickness: The thickness of the metal can keep the contents safe from a natural disaster.
  • Gaps: A well-made safe won’t have any gaps in the construction, preventing harm from creeping inside.

These can determine whether a safe will go up in smoke, or withstand an emerging fire.

There is a lot to think about when trying to make a safe that can withstand the scorching temperatures that fire brings. These components work together to make a piece that will keep your valuables safe for as long as possible even when everything else around it goes up in smoke.

What to Consider When Buying a Safe

Now, what do you need to consider before investing in a safe for yourself? What aspects of fire rating are most valuable to consider so you know you’re getting the best possible product for your money? There are a few things you should look at before putting your money down on an item. 

Before you purchase a safe, consider the following:

  • The fire rating: Is the fire rating good? Or is it just average? A higher rating means a better result if a fire starts.
  • The company: Is the company reputable? Do they have a solid history with fire and their safes? Ensure you look into this factor.
  • Reviews: Reviews will let you know what others have thought of the safe. Other buyers are an excellent indicator of the fire rating quality.

These will guide you to the best choice for your life.

Once you have a safe with a solid fire rating, you can feel at least a little better if a fire emerges in your life. Though they’re not absolute, a good fire rating can make all the difference in protecting what you’re invested in for your life. If you want to learn more about gun safes have a look at our review on the best fireproof gun safe under $500.

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