Wall Safe: Review & Recommendations

At some point in life, many people come into possession of things that they want to protect at all costs. Once that happens, the thought of getting a safe is not far off. Safes or vaults are a classic and increasingly secure option for storing your valuable possessions. Especially wall safes, i.e. safes built into the wall, are an excellent choice for private households.

In this wall safe test at the end of 2020 we want to give you all the information you need to find the wall safe that suits you best. There are several factors to consider before buying, from the security class to the correct installation. We also show you the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of locks.

The most important facts in brief

  • Wall safes are a very secure form of safe for private and commercial use. Once the safe is in the wall, burglars hardly have a chance to steal your valuable possessions.
  • As safe as a wall safe is, the installation is not completely uncomplicated at first. There are a few factors to consider to ensure that the safe can be successfully installed.
  • In order for you to find the right wall safe for you, the basic question is which of your important items should be safely stored in it. Once you have found an answer to this question and are aware of the hurdle of installation, you can make the perfect choice.

Wall safe test: Favourites of the editorial team

  • The best wall safe with electronic combination lock
  • The best wall safe with double-bit lock
  • The best wall safe / furniture safe according to price-performance
  • The best wall safe with socket camouflage

The best wall safe with electronic combination lock

The wall safe PointSafe PW2 E from Burg Wächter is a solid choice at just under €100. It is available in two different sizes and is ideal for storing small valuables. 4 AA batteries are required for operation. With its weight of about 9.4 kilograms it is neither too heavy nor too light for a wall safe. The numerical code can be programmed as required and the safe is security tested.

If you do not want to take care of another key, this wall safe is an ideal choice for you. For your money you get a good level of security and you can access your belongings at any time with your personal code.

The best wall safe with double-bit lock

The PointSafe PW3 S wall safe from Burg Wächter is marked with security level B, thus fulfilling certified standards. The price ranges from 58€ to 90€ (depending on size). It is available in four different external dimensions. This safe is also suitable for storing smaller valuables. The weight is 14 kilograms, which makes it somewhat heavier than the competition. The safe is classically opened with a key. The door is double-walled.

If you are looking for a classic and solid wall safe, you have found it here. The safe comes with two keys, so you always have a spare if you need it. This safe is the right choice for everyone who doesn’t want any technology in his safe and is a friend of classic security.

The best wall safe / furniture safe according to price-performance

The HMF 49200-11 safe with double-bit lock also comes with a key and weighs 6 kilograms. It comes in a fixed size and is smaller than the previous safes. It can be fixed to the wall or floor. A fixation in the wall should also be possible. The door thickness is 4mm.

If you don’t want to spend too much money and still want to protect your valuables well, you will find this safe to be the best option. With the price of just under 40€ you can’t go wrong here. Due to its small size you can also hide the safe perfectly.

The best wall safe with St

The wall safe from Gravitis already comes with practical socket camouflage and costs about 50€. Despite its small size it still offers enough space for your belongings. With its 1.46 kilograms it is by far the lightest of the products mentioned here. It can be opened with a key.

This safe is not only secure, it is already perfectly camouflaged by nature. Without the knowledge of its existence, this wall safe is virtually invisible. With it, you can be 100% sure that no one can get to the contents. Just don’t let anyone try to charge the mobile phone at the safe. This could arouse suspicion.

Advisor: Questions you should deal with before you buy a wall safe

How safe is a wall safe?

When it comes to keeping your valuable belongings safe, there is hardly a more secure option than to purchase a wall safe. A wall safe is not only very difficult to crack, but can also be hidden very efficiently.

Because a wall safe is built into the wall, not only the solid steel casing protects your valuables, but also the brickwork surrounding the safe. Reinforced concrete therefore already covers 5 sides of the wall safe and only the armoured safe door is visible. A safe in the wall therefore offers a minimal attack surface for unauthorized persons.

Taking the safe with you, which is usually the case in the case of theft, becomes almost impossible due to the nature of the wall safe and would only be possible with considerable effort. In addition, the built-in safe offers you the possibility to hide it behind a piece of furniture, for example, or to disguise it as something else.

Wall safes are available in different security levels and fire protection classes. Therefore it is very individual which version is best suited for you. These and other points will be dealt with in the following article.

How much does a wall safe cost?

The price of a wall safe depends on many factors. In general, the price range is very wide.

A large price factor is determined by the security level. This is regulated by standards and, in addition to the security standard, also influences the level of insurance cover for your valuables.

In general, the higher the security level of your wall safe, the more expensive the purchase

Another influence on the price is of course the size. Mini wall safes are the cheapest, but cannot store more than, for example, some jewellery and are still the least secure. Very large wall safes are usually much more expensive, but they also meet higher security standards and offer a lot of storage space.

  • A good compromise between size and security is offered by wall safes in the range of 100€ to about 400€.

Additional price factors are the fire resistance of the built-in safe and the type of lock. For example, if you choose an electronic lock, the battery needs to be changed from time to time.

In addition, when purchasing a wall safe, the cost of installation must be taken into account. If you don’t take care of it yourself, some more money may be necessary. Depending on the effort of the installation you can expect (plus delivery costs) about 300€, because a hole has to be punched into the wall. The exact amount should be inquired at the supplier before.

Where can I buy a wall safe?

You can buy a wall safe online as well as on site. Large online retailers that offer wall safes are for example

amazon.com
eBay.com
safe.com
safe-online.com

Popular brands such as Burg Wächter or Rottner can also be found in online trading.

Most of the well-known local DIY stores also offer wall safes. To mention here would be among others:

  • Obi
  • Bauhaus
  • Hornbach
  • Hagebaumarkt and Hellweg

Of course it is also possible to order a safe on the respective website of the provider. Some dealers offer not only the delivery but also the additional installation or include instructions for installation. You should get information about the exact service from the respective supplier.

Local discounters such as Aldi (Hofer in Austria) or Lidl also offer wall safes. However, this is not always the case and depends more on sales promotions. For more detailed information, it is best to ask the discounter directly.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a wall safe?

For private use, a wall safe is a very safe choice. While the walled safe has many advantages, there are also some disadvantages. These are shown in the following table:

Advantages

Saves space, because in the wall
Is additionally protected by the wall
Easy to hide
Generally very good burglary protection

Disadvantages

Installation associated with effort and costs
Partially not possible in rented apartments
Hard to take with you when moving

Since a wall safe is very secure for private use, but first needs a hole in the wall for installation, it is more suitable for homeowners. However, this can be a sensible purchase for the future.

What are the alternatives to a wall safe?

In addition to the wall safe, there are also freestanding safes that are not walled in but only screwed in. Especially in private use, these safes are sometimes not as secure as a wall safe, but they are not as complicated to install. Here are to be mentioned:

Furniture safes: are mostly smaller safes that can be screwed into furniture. Screwed into the cabinet they are also relatively well camouflaged. Such safes are often found in hotel rooms.
Document safes: Mostly freestanding safes to protect important documents. Large companies resort to fireproof filing cabinets. For private use, the smaller versions are usually sufficient.
Weapons cabinets: If you have to deal with firearms in any way, they must be kept particularly safe so that no unauthorised persons or minors have access. In most countries this is also a legal requirement. Gun cabinets can be bolted to the rear wall and floor.
Key safes: Own to store several important keys safely. Usually found in larger companies. For private use, important keys such as the key to the gun safe or car keys can be stored here.

Tip: If you have a freestanding safe, there is a risk that you will simply take it with you. A safe screwed into the cabinet can sometimes be easily broken out. This form of theft is the usual form with safes. To prevent this, the safe should either be heavy enough or you should use a wall safe.

How do I install a wall safe?

Here you have the choice of either installing the wall safe yourself or having it installed. Many dealers provide installation instructions or make them available online. Instructions for installing the wall safe yourself can be found on

safe-safe-guide.com

It is more convenient to have the wall safe installed by an expert

Generally it is more practical to plan the wall safe before the walls are actually raised. A subsequent installation is possible, but it should be noted that most interior walls are “only” 24cm thick. Since a wall safe must be cast with 10cm reinforced concrete for correct anchoring, there is actually hardly any space left for the safe.

Decision: What kind of wall safe is right for me?

To find the right safe for you, you should always ask yourself what you want to store in the wall safe. If it concerns things like your passport or other documents, a small, not too expensive safe might be enough. For expensive jewellery, you may want to spend a little more money on security.

Once you know what items you want to keep safe, the choice of size, security and price of the built-in safe is much easier.

The type of lock mechanism is also important when deciding on the right wall safe. Here, in addition to security elements, individual advantages of use also come into play.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different lock types?

In the following part we want to introduce you to the advantages and disadvantages of the different locks for safes. Basically, we distinguish between locks with a key and those that are opened by a numerical code.

The double-bit lock

This is the “classic” lock with key. As standard, a wall safe is delivered with this lock with two keys. If another one is required, it can be requested from the dealer.

Advantages

You don’t have to remember a PIN code
The wall safe does not require batteries
Keys can also be stored safely (key safe)
In the event of theft, it may be easier to trace who did it
Lock is maintenance-free and safes with this lock are usually cheaper

Disadvantages

Key can be lost
Key can be stolen
Burglars may search the apartment intensively for keys
Key can be easily assigned to the safe due to its length

It is generally advisable not to carry the safe key on your normal key ring.

The electronic combination lock

This type of lock is a convenient alternative, as the wall safe is opened by entering a PIN code. The power supply is usually provided by batteries.

Even though wall safes with this type of locking are slightly more expensive, this does not mean that they are more secure. The higher price only refers to the more elaborate type of lock.

Advantages

Individual opening codes can be assigned to authorized persons
The code can be modified at will
The lock of the wall safe can be programmed with different software

Disadvantages

If the battery is empty, the wall safe does not open and must be opened by emergency opening
Wear and tear on the keyboard can give clues to the code
If all PINs are forgotten, only the emergency opening

In addition to the electronic combination lock, there is now also an electronic version using fingerprint. Here you scan your fingerprint and open the safe with it.

Advantages

You don’t have to memorize a code or watch for a key
Different fingers can be programmed

Disadvantages

The technology for wall safes is not yet too mature
 Smearing or other flaws on the scanner can cause the finger not to be recognized and the safe not to open

The mechanical combination lock

Here the safe is opened by entering a numerical code using a 3 or 4-disc lock. With a 3-disc lock, three two-digit numbers must be entered as a code on the setting disc. With a 4-disc lock there are four.

Advantages

No key is needed and no batteries
The code can be changed as often as required using the conversion key, if the code is known
No imprint on the dial like a keyboard

Disadvantages

Numeric code may become known to unauthorized persons under certain circumstances
Setting the exact code may require some tact, especially if the code is to be changed
Here, too, code can be forgotten – then all that remains is to drill out

Even though it is often conveyed in films, high-quality mechanical combination locks cannot be cracked by “listening in”.

The electronic combination lock with emergency key

This variant offers a compromise between the lock types. A PIN code can be entered via the keypad and a key for a double-bit lock can also be used. The advantages of the two types complement each other, while some of the disadvantages are mutually exclusive.

Advantages

Opening code can be used conveniently and changed at will
If the electronics fail in any way, keys can be used
Often not directly visible that there is also a key

Disadvantages

Key can still be stolen and/or code can be revealed unintentionally
One of these two things is enough to put valuables in potential danger

Even though this variant is a practical interim solution, wall safes with this type of lock are often more expensive. In addition, care must be taken not only to ensure that the code does not become known to unauthorised persons, but also that the key is stored properly.

Purchase criteria: With these factors you can compare and evaluate wall safes

In the following we will show you some criteria by which you can determine the optimal wall safe for your purposes. As already mentioned above, your final decision depends very much on what you want to keep protected.

In general, it is helpful to know the following points before you buy:

  • Security levels
  • Type of lock
  • Fire resistance
  • Price-Security-Ratio
  • Size
  • Suitable wall available in the house
  • Spare key included

These points will be dealt with in more detail below.

Security levels

The various security levels for safes are regulated by defined standards. In the meantime, these standards are the European standard EN-1143-1 and EN-14450. The old standard according to VDMA 24992 (Class A and Class B) no longer correspond to the state of the art and are therefore no longer officially approved.

In general, the higher the security level of the wall safe, the longer it takes to break the safe open in any way

The approximate time required for each security level to break open is measured in so-called RU (resistant units) so that an exact duration cannot be determined.

If particularly valuable items are to be stored in the wall safe, you should consider choosing a relatively high security level. This not only indicates the extent to which unauthorised opening is made more difficult, but also the degree to which your valuables are insured. The higher the security level, the higher the refund after a break-in.

In the following you will find a description of the security levels according to EN-1143-1 (test standard) and EN-14450 (burglary protection standard)

As far as insurance is concerned, a distinction still needs to be made as to whether the wall safe is used for private or commercial purposes. This also has an effect on the insured sum. For an exact value, it is recommended to consult with the respective insurance company.

Safes according to the old VDMA 24992 standard are usually no longer automatically insured. Here too, you should consult with us before buying.

Type of lock

The different types of locks are discussed in detail in the decision section above. Basically, it is important to ask yourself which type of lock suits you best. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Do you like laying things around and not finding them so easily? Then an electronic combination lock might be practical.
  • Do you have to memorize so many PINs and codes that you don’t even know which one actually belongs to what? Then a classic safe with a double-bit lock might be a good choice.
  • You don’t necessarily trust technology but you don’t want to watch out for a key either? A safe with a mechanical combination lock would be an idea.
  • You can’t really decide which type of lock is the right one? Then maybe a combination of electronic and key lock would be the right version.

Fire resistance

The fire resistance of a safe describes how long it can withstand the effect of very high heat without the contents being damaged. This becomes particularly important if the wall safe contains important documents made of paper or, for example, a form of data carrier.

Wall safes are usually equipped with light fire protection. However, this simply means that flames do not come into direct contact with the contents. Wall safes are therefore less suitable for flammable objects. If enormous heat poses an acute danger to the contents of the safe, an alternative should be used and the fire protection classes should be observed.

  • Depending on the fire protection class, the resistance to fire can last from 30 minutes to 120 minutes
  • For filing cabinets, a “P” behind the certification marks the protection for paper, the marking “DIS” the protection for data media.

Fire resistance goes hand in hand with safety against extinguishing water, so there is no need to worry too much. For more information on fire protection, please refer to VdS guidelines 0691, 3134-1 and 2333 and ECB-S recommendations.

Price-Security-Ratio

In general, the rate also applies to wall safes: the more money is spent, the more you get back, in this case security. This does not mean that the cheaper versions are not safe. Depending on what is to be stored, a small and inexpensive wall safe can already provide good service.

It is important to find out in advance what trusted manufacturers and well-known brands of wall safes are, as their products are most likely to be officially certified. That way you get the most security for your money.

What price is really “appropriate” for the level of security is ultimately at your own discretion.

This short video can illustrate once again that investing more money can be a good idea.

Size

The size of wall safes is generally more limited than that of other safes. This is simply because it is walled into the wall. Rarely do walls in a private household give the opportunity to install a large wall safe, especially if it is to be installed later.

As a rule, wall safes vary in size between those that are large enough for some jewelry or money and those in which some file folders fit. If you want to store larger things, a freestanding safe is an alternative, as they can be much larger.

Suitable wall available in the house

In addition to the appropriate thickness of the wall, its load-bearing capacity must be taken into account. The wall must have at least a certain degree of load-bearing capacity in order for installation to be possible. Installation in a brick wall is possible in most cases with wall safes. A mere anchoring of a free-standing safe would not be possible with bricks.

If the wall safe is installed afterwards, unfortunately many interior walls are not suitable for it, because they are simply not thick enough). An installation in an outside wall of a house is not advisable, because there can be problems with the statics and the safe would lead cold inside.

Since the thickness of wall safes varies between 120mm and 580mm, but many interior walls are only 240mm thick, obstacles may occur. Often only walls near a fireplace, the roof truss or a staircase are thick enough for installation.

So when it comes to the question of where which wall safe can be installed, it is advisable to go through the house for possible walls with an expert. Ideally, the installation of a wall safe should be planned before the house is built.

Spare key included

Here it is only a matter of checking at the time of delivery whether a spare key is supplied for emergencies. This is not always the case, especially with large online retailers. If nothing more specific is given, please feel free to browse the comments on the website.

Trivia: interesting facts about wall safes

What is the best way to disguise or hide my wall safe?

A built-in wall safe is basically the most suitable type of safe for camouflage or hiding. You are the only one who knows about the safe, so nobody will even think that your most valuable possessions are stored somewhere.

Even though hiding behind a picture is certainly very popular (especially in movies), you should rather choose another form of camouflage.

It is much better to hide the wall safe behind a piece of furniture

Behind a cabinet e.g. with a sliding rear wall. Thus the safe is optimally camouflaged and also difficult to access. For the sliding rear wall, it is best to speak to a local carpenter (but do not necessarily mention the reason for the conversion).

There are wall safes that look like an electrical outlet from the front (see products above) and thus deceive one or the other person.

Can any safe be cracked?

Basically, it must be said here, unfortunately: Yes.

There is no safe in the world that is impossible to crap. However, safes make a break-in extremely unlikely, since a successful theft is only associated with considerable effort and therefore also danger

For private use, however, wall safes are just about the safest option. In most burglaries in which safes play a role, they are not broken into on the spot, but simply taken along. This is very difficult to achieve with a wall safe, for example.

Of course the burglars could beat him out of the wall with heavy tools. But this takes a long time and at the latest with the big noise the neighbours should suspect something.

So anyone who does not want to buy a freestanding safe weighing 200 kilograms will find a wall safe a good choice for burglary protection.

I have lost the code or the key, what can I do?

If the key is lost, you can usually use the spare key, which you should store very safely.

However, if this is also lost, there are several possibilities to open the wall safe anyway:

  • Contact the manufacturer/seller: You may find a solution to your problem here, although there is no guarantee of this. This depends on the respective manufacturer.
  • Request an expert for a professional opening: The expert can open the vault for you without doing too much damage. Special tools have been developed for this purpose. By the way, experts can also open electronic locks in case you forget the code.
  • Opening the safe with your own force: is generally not advisable. Unless the wall safe meets very low security standards anyway, you won’t get very far here either. Then you have no choice but to choose one of the other options.

Can I install a wall safe in my rental apartment?

In general this is rather not possible. In the best case the landlord has already installed a wall safe. If you have the explicit wish for a built-in safe, you should discuss this directly with the landlord.

Can I also install a wall safe in the floor?

There are also safes that are let into the ground, these are then, as you can imagine, called floor safes. In most cases, they are also smaller and sometimes more expensive than a wall safe.

Floor safes, similar to wall safes, offer good protection against theft, as they cannot simply be carried away. However, their installation is as complex as that of a wall safe. They can also be well camouflaged, e.g. by means of a carpet or piece of furniture.

Since safes built into the floor are smaller in many cases, they are more suitable for valuables such as jewelry or cash. For more information about floor safes, it is best to contact the manufacturer or dealer directly.