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The SentrySafe SFW123GDC – Our #1 All-Around Safe Pick
If you are in the market for a home safe, there are few models that offer more bang for the buck than the SentrySafe SFW123GDC. That’s why we ranked it Number #1 in our roundup of the Best Home Safes.
When weighing the cost vs. benefits of this safe, we feel that it represents one of the best values available. Now, it isn’t large enough to house a firearm collection. And it shouldn’t be your go-to safe if you are looking to protect priceless heirlooms, tiffany jewelry, and an Audemars Piguet watch collection…
However, it will effortlessly meet the needs of the average homeowner trying to safeguard important documents, some rainy-day cash, a handgun or two, and a few valuables. As a matter of fact, it was our runner- up pick in the Best Fireproof Safes of 2023.
It has sufficient heft that it can’t be carried off easily (if you elect not to bolt it down) and provides both fire and water protection that will protect your valuables against all but the more extreme conditions.
If you are looking for protection at a reasonable price, the SentrySafe SFW123GDC is a worthy candidate for your serious consideration.
Rating the SentrySafe SFW123GDC – Evaluating the Common Features of Home Safes
When trying to choose the best home safe for your home and family, there are a host of factors to consider. There are many styles and features designed for specific applications.
The type, size, and features of the safe will vary depending on your priorities and the amount and type of items that you want to keep in the safe.
The type of safe required for one just trying to store a few documents may be very different from a safe designed to safeguard a large gun collection or priceless antiquities and jewelry.
This guide will focus primarily on finding the best home safes for everyday use.
Of course, some of the safes may be suitable for more than just keeping a few documents safe from harm. At the top of the list are a couple of safes that are fireproof and large enough to safeguard a fair amount of valuables as well- providing the best of both worlds…
Top 6 Considerations When Buying a Safe
The Size and Weight
Home safes come in a variety of sizes. They range from smaller portable ones, for a few documents and small items, to larger units, designed to house gun collections weighing many hundreds of pounds. The best home safes are large enough for the items you need to store. You should also factor in a bit of space to keep valuable items you might purchase in the future.
Smaller, portable safes that can be hidden and carried when traveling.
If you are looking for a bit more versatility, there are some modest-sized fireproof safes that will enable you to store documents and some valuables as well. An average-size 1.3-cubic-foot safe typically weighs in the 80-100lb range. This is usually large enough to store important documents, a handgun or two, and expensive jewelry.
While the weight makes it difficult for an intruder to carry it off, these safes can usually be bolted to the floor for an extra measure of security.
Some of them even contain a separate smaller lockbox inside which can be transported. Additionally, fireproof pouches can easily be taken on the road as well.
The SentrySafe SFW123GDC comes in a variety of sizes, from .82 to 2.05 cubic feet with the mid-tiered size of 1.23…which seem to be right in the sweet spot for the average homeowner.
Types of Fireproof Safes
Safes for your home can provide protection against a variety of threats – theft, fire, or even water. Some safes do a good job protecting against all of them. However, there are typically trade-offs to be made. Not all safes are designed to address all these risks. When selecting your home safe, be sure that it is designed to protect against the risks that concern you most.
When choosing the most secure safe to use at home, there are a variety of styles to choose from:
Portable – If you travel or are away from your primary residence for extended periods, a portable safe might be a good fit. (or work well as a secondary unit). It will be more convenient to bring the safe with your valuables and important paperwork with you.
Wall Safe – Safes for walls are typically installed in between the wall studs. They can be easily concealed behind furniture or prints and paintings. However, they are not very spacious and often provide less protection against fire and flooding.
Stand-Alone – They come in a variety of sizes and can even be bolted to the floor. These safes offer more durable construction and may provide additional protection against fire, water, and theft.
Gun safes – Are available in various sizes, from small handgun boxes to massive safes for rifles
In addition, there are different levels of protection against specific types of threats. Keep this in mind if you are looking for safes that are fireproof.
Although they are often referred to as “fire-proof” safes, a more accurate term would be fire-resistant. Fire-resistant safes are rated Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and other agencies based upon the safe’s ability to keep the contents below a certain temperature after the exterior is exposed to fire-level temperatures. It is based on keeping the temperature below 350 degrees F for times that range between 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
This temperature was selected because these safes are commonly used to protect important paper documents. Paper begins to char at 387°F and ignites at 421°F.
The most common UL classification system is as follows:
- Class 350-4Hr. (formerly Class A) 4 hrs. @ 2000°F
- Class 350-2Hr. (formerly Class B) 2 hrs. @ 1850°F
- Class 350-1Hr. (formerly Class C) 1 hr. @ 1700°F
- Class 350- 1/2Hr. (formerly Class E) 30 Min. @ 1550°F
Most fireproof home safes can keep the contents below 350°F for a minimum of 30 minutes after being exposed to flames. This is often sufficient, as house fires usually do not exceed 1200°F and are put out in less than an hour. However, for those who reside in more rural areas, where the response time may be longer, it might make sense to consider higher-rated safes.
The SentrySafe SFW123GDC offers superior protection against both fire and water. It provides fire resistance for an hour at 1700°F and is waterproof for 24 hours-even when immersed in water. Consequently, it was our runner-up pick on our Best Fireproof Safes of 2022.
For the best fire resistance, a location on a concrete surface such as a basement or garage floor will be less susceptible to extreme temperatures.
Some items, such as computer disks or DVDs, are easily damaged by extreme heat. If you are looking to store sensitive info on this type of media, you will need to purchase a safe which will keep temperatures under 125°F.
These are typically far more expensive, so you may want to consider just converting to digital media and storing it in the cloud.
Home Security Safe Rating Index
Not all safes have UL Ratings. However, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) rates certain safes based on the construction, design, and capability to deter forced entry attempts. Following are some very general industry guidelines commonly used to recommend safes by specialized safe retailers.
The most common burglary ratings are:
• B-rated – $5,000 or less worth of important items.
• Rated B/C – Up to $10,000 worth of content.
• UL RSC – Up t0 $15,000 worth of content.
• C-rated – Up to $25, 000 worth of content.
• UL TL -15 – Up to $100,000 worth of valuables The safe can be able to withstand an attack of 15 minutes using ordinary tools and devices.
These values are typically doubled when combined with top-rated monitored home security systems!
One of the features that distinguish fireproof home safes is the type of locking mechanism it uses. The lock type can be a simple as a key or combination…or as sophisticated as a fingerprint sensor.
A biometric safe is opened by using a fingerprint sensor that matches fingerprints that are programmed into the safe. This can be the fastest and most efficient system, but some of them can be finicky.
Also, bear in mind, it will require a power source-either battery or an AC outlet. (as does an electronic keypad)
Keys and combination locks are more traditional and don’t require power. However, keys can be lost, and codes can be forgotten. As a result, it is always best to have a backup means of opening the safe.
The most common types of safe locks are:
- Traditional lock: This safe opens with a traditional key.
- Combination lock: Uses a series of numbers like vintage school lockers.
- Electronic Keypad: Requires the entry of a personal PIN code.
- Biometric lock: Access is gained by registering fingerprints into the system.
- Dual lock: Multiple methods are required for access. For example, you may need to enter both a combination and use a key. Some systems include the key as a backup.
Water-resistant safes can safeguard important documents and valuables from water damage resulting from flooding, broken pipes, leaks, and water damage caused by extinguishing a fire.
The possibility of water damage may be much higher in areas that are prone to flooding, or when storing a safe in the basement. Also, safes located on upper floors can end up submerged in a fire if the wood floors are compromised. The weight of the safe can crash through fire-ravaged floors and the safe can end up underwater in the basement if the fire damage is extensive enough.
For protection from water-related damage, look for a safe that has an ETL waterproof certification. This independent Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL) rates safes based on their ability to withstand a certain amount of exposure to water for a specified period of time.
Premium Features to Look for in a Home Safe
The best fireproof home safes may offer additional features to enhance usability, security, and convenience:
- Hardware – Additional mounting hardware for securing the safe to the floor or a wall. This provides an additional measure of protection against theft.
- Lighting – Interior lighting can aid in identifying the contents of the safe. Backlit keypads make it easy to gain access in the dark
- Adjustable Shelves – Help you optimize the interior space and customize it to your needs. Some home safes even have a lockable shelf or box which can be quickly removed and taken with you.
- Carpet or Felt Lining – A carpeted lining can protect firearms and valuables from getting scratched or marred.
- Tamper Alert – An audible alarm that is activated if it detects vibrations due to a possible break-in attempt or if the passcode is repeatedly entered incorrectly.
These are some of the most common features that we evaluated in determining our list of the Best Home Safes of 2022.
Not only does the SentrySafe SFW123GDC, offer superior fire and water protection, but it also offers premium-level features…at a wallet-friendly price!
Outstanding Value- Top Pick
SentrySafe SFW 123GDC
- Dimensions – (L) 19.3″ x (W) 16.3″ x (H) 17.8″
- Item Weight – 86.3 Pounds
- Waterproof? – Yes
- Fireproof? – Yes, 1 hour at 1700°F
- Lock Type – Electronic
- Capacity – 1.23 Cubic Feet
Fireproof & Waterproof
Available w/ Combo or KP Lock
Multiple Sizes Available
Back-Up Key Lock
Requires 4 AAA Batteries
Weighing in at almost 87 pounds, the SentrySafe SFW123GDC is no lightweight. It is solidly constructed and built to more than withstand the trials that might be faced by the average homeowner. While it may not have some of the high-tech features found on high-end models, the backlit digital keypad and secondary locking key are easy to use and get the job done.
It is UL fireproof rated to protect important documents and digital media against heat reaching 1700°F for up to an hour. The interior temperature will remain below 350°F for up to an hour.
And should the floors burn through, it can withstand impacts of 15-foot drops and keep those valuables dry for 24 hours in up to 8 inches of water.
The safe has four live-locking bolts, a pry-resistant hinge bar, a locking drawer, and even an interior light inside. It comes in a variety of sizes to meet the needs and budgets of all but the most demanding situations.
Although it doesn’t have quite the same level of fire resistance as our top choice for best fireproof safe, it does have greater capacity…and was our #1 pick overall in our best home safes category.
SentrySafe SFW123GDC Review – Video
What real Amazon customers had to say about the SentrySafe SFW123GDCS
Overall, the SentrySafe SFW123GDCS, garnered a 4.6 out of 5-star ratings on Amazon. (based on 6,562 global ratings) 80% of the ratings were 5-stars, with 11% 4-star. Following are a few summaries:
However…like any product, not everyone was happy…..
Home Safe FAQs
How big should my safe be?
Which size SentrySafe SFW123GDC to Choose?
The safe comes in 3 sizes ranging from .82 to 2.05 cu. ft. The size you select depends on a couple of factors:
- Contents – What objects are you trying to protect? This will dictate how much capacity is required. You may want to size up a bit to be sure that the safe is large enough to accommodate future items that you may acquire. Safe capacity is often expressed in terms of cubic feet or inches. You may want take a look at internal dimensions if you have bulkier items.
- Location -Sometimes, where you want to locate the safe might determine the size.
The mid-sized 1.23 cu. ft. model seems to be compact enough to fit in a closet and still provide enough capacity to meed the needs of most consumers.
Where should I place my safe?
Where to place the SentrySafe SFW123GDC
This is largely dependent on what you are protecting, how often you will need access, the size, and type of the safe, and the size and room available in your home or apartment.
If possible, you may want to bolt it to the floor in an unused closet.
Just make sure that it as accessible as you need to for your own access while still being difficult to find by an intruder- or anyone that you don’t want to be able to access it.
What to store in a home safe ?
Protecting Valuables in the SentrySafe SFW123GDC
The items you choose to protect in your home safe will often dictate the size, weight, and capacity of the safe that you choose. This can vary greatly, but some of the most common items are:
- Important documents- I.E. a property deed, car title, a will, home, and health insurance, bank account information, medical records, etc.
- Guns – Guns should be secured against unauthorized use.
- Cash – Having an emergency stash of cash tucked away in a safe can provide some peace of mind in times of trouble.
- Valuables – For Instance- jewelry, silver, gold, or family heirlooms.
- Computer Backups- A large capacity flash drive or backup drive can be periodically updated to preserve digital data and photos if you don’t want it on the cloud.
- Keys- A set of spare house or car keys, or keys to a safety deposit box at your bank.
- ID – Documents such as passports, social security cards, birth certificates, or a marriage license should be kept in a safe place that can withstand fire or flood.
Do I really need to bolt down my safe?
Should I Bolt Down my SentrySafe SFW123GDC
It is considered a best practice to bolt a safe to the floor. If intruders break into your home and locate your safe, they may very well just remove it from the property if they can.
Taking extra steps to secure your safe will help prevent this from happening.
The 1.23 co/ft version of this safe tips the scales at 87 pounds…so it will be a challenge to carry out under one arm…but, it does come with a bolt-down kit for extra peace of mind.
How do I maintain my safe?
SentrySafe SFW123GDC Maintenance Tips
Safes don’t really require much maintenance. However, if it has an electronic keypad, you do want to make sure that the batteries are charged.
Also, because fireproof safes are sealed, it is a good idea to use some sort of desiccant to prevent moisture build-up and keep things from smelling musty.
Home Safe Security Recommendations
Top 5 Tips to Keep the SentrySafe SFW123GDC Secure
- Keep it Locked – Develop the habit of always locking your safe right away. If the safe isn’t locked, it is nothing more than an organizer for your most valuable items. You never know when you might be unexpectedly distracted or called away suddenly.
- Use a Complex Code – Avoid using the year of birth, birth dates, last 4 of social. It is important to pick a code that can’t be easily guessed or that you commonly use.
- Bolt it Down – If you take the extra step of bolting it to the wall or floor, it will be far more difficult to remove. Although 100 lbs. might be difficult for you to lift, determined thieves might find it less challenging…
- Select Strategic Location – It is usually a good idea to try and keep it hidden and out of view, if possible.
- Conceal Contents – Keep the contents and the location of your safe to yourself. Never advertise the whereabouts of your safe or what you are keeping in it to others. If you need to access the safe while others are around, ask that they remain in another area of your home.
Bonus Tip – Think of a home safe as adding a layer of protection to secure important documents and valuables. It is one part of a comprehensive home security plan. However, you shouldn’t let having a safe create a false sense of security. It should be part of a larger commitment to protecting your home, family and valuables. At a minimum, one should monitor the safe location with security cameras-but, a monitored home security system will ensure that you have optimal protection for the things that matter most.
For a higher level of protection, a top-rated monitored home security system will provide more comprehensive overall home security. Even the best home safes can be compromised- but adding multiple layers of protection will serve as a more effective deterrent and provide greater peace of mind.
Summary – The SentrySafe SFW123GDC Delivers Outstanding Value
If you are in the market for a safe to protect a modest amount of valuables and documents against theft, fire, and water damage, it is hard to beat the SentrySafe SFW123GDC for bang for the buck.
It is reasonably priced, well constructed, and provides both fire and water damage protection. At about 90 lbs., it can’t be easily carried off, and even comes with mounting hardware for added security.
OUR #1 Pick for the Best Overall Safe
Of course, if you have more specific needs and requirements, we have selected other alternatives that might be better suited to your individual needs and tastes.
Ultimately, a home security safe is only one component of a more comprehensive approach to protecting your home, valuables, and family. You may wish to also consider checking out our best home security systems, for additional options.
Alternatives to the SentrySafe SFW123GDC
Perhaps you have more specialized needs or are looking for more budget-friendly options. We have compiled a list of some of the very best safes in a variety of categories that should meet almost anyone’s needs or budget.
|TopBest Home Safe Overall||SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof Waterproof Safe with Digital Keypad, 1.23 Cubic Feet, Gun Metal Gray||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Basic Home Safe||Amazon Basics Steel Home Security Safe with Programmable Keypad - Secure Documents, Jewelry, Valuables - 1.8 Cubic Feet||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Portable Home Safe||SentrySafe CHW20205 Fireproof Waterproof Box with Key Lock and Interior Light, 0.28 Cubic Feet||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Biometric Home Safe||Viking Security Safe VS-50BLX Large Biometric Safe Fingerprint Safe||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Home Gun Safe||SentrySafe QAP2BLX Biometric Gun Safe with Interior Light, 2 Handgun Capacity||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Apartment Safe||TIGERKING Personal Safe Security Digital Lock Box Key Combination Code Safe Box Steel Money Box Electronic Small Safes for Home||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Budget Safe||Stalwart Electronic Digital Steel Safe Box with LED Keypad and 2 Manual Override Keys – Protect Money, Jewelry, Passports, and Documents||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Wall Mounted Safe||Paragon Lock & Safe - 7725 Superior Wall Safe 7725 Flat Electronic Wall Safe For Jewelry Security -||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Small Safe - Biometric||BARSKA Biometric Safe - CA DOJ Approved Solid Steel Construction, Fast 2.5 Second Access, 2 Steel locking bolts, Tamper-resistant inner edges, Protective Floor Mat||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Fireproof Safe||Honeywell 2 Hour Fireproof 8 Hour Waterproof Fire Safe with All Steel Exterior, Medium, 2605||Buy on Amazon|
|Best Closet Gun Safe||V-Line Closet Vault II Gun Safe & in-Wall Cabinet, Off White||Buy on Amazon|
|Full Sized Lockable Jewelry Armoire||SONGMICS 47.2" H Full Screen Mirror Jewelry Cabinet Armoire, 6 LEDs Jewelry Organizer Wall Hanging/Door Mounted, Larger Capacity, for Women, Pure White UJJC99WT||Buy on Amazon|
Is Purchasing the SentrySafe SFW123GDC Enough?
While getting a highly rated fireproof safe to secure firearms, important documents, expensive jewelry, valuables, and cash is a worthwhile investment- you might not want to stop there. When it comes to protecting your home and family, investing a few dollars in a monitored home security system may be the next logical step to protecting the things that are most important to you.
A monitored alarm system can help protect your home and family against many threats. Among them are break-ins, home invasions, and environmental threats such as fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, floods, frozen pipes, and more.
And it might be much more affordable than you think.
Today’s home security systems are typically wireless and can be either professionally installed by companies like ADT, or self-installed. DIY systems like Frontpoint, make it even more affordable…and don’t require a long-term contract.
Looking for all the bells and whistles? Companies like Vivint can also serve as the hub for a smart home automation system that includes cameras, doorbell cameras, energy management systems, lighting, and smart locks.
Including your new fireproof safe in a fully integrated security system can take it to the next level, and afford you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your valuables, home, and family are fully protected.
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Thank you for your interest in this SentrySafe SFW123GDC Review. We hope you found it helpful. If you are looking to enhance the protection of your valuables, home and family, click the button below for our top-rated home security recommendations.
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Last Updated on January 27, 2023 by The Home Security Advisor