Reviewed by David Savage
When we think of home security, most of us probably think about burglar alarms and security cameras. Home security is so much more than that. Home Security will also encompass better locks, smoke alarms, secure internet routers, computer security settings, and lots more including a safe. A home safe is perfect for securing small valuable items such as jewellery and laptops and all our important documents such as passports, birth certificates and wills.
Our personal information can be worth a fortune in the wrong hands. Whether that is paper documents or digital files, a safe is a worthwhile investment. You can get everything from basic safes to high end fireproof safes. For the purpose of this review I received a Yale Value Laptop Safe.
Yale are a world-renowned security company, probably mostly known for their door locks. They have been making locks for over 175 years and are found in over 125 countries around the world. They are definitely a name that you can rely on. They now make a lot more than locks with their range of products now including smart locks, intruder alarms, safes, security cameras as well as their different types of locks, window hinges and padlocks.
The Yale Value Laptop Safe is a relatively inexpensive safe. It has been designed to fit a 14.5” laptop (my 15” Dell laptop fits in if I put it in at an angle, it will then lay flat on the floor of the safe). It has a steel constructed body measuring 20H x 43W x 35D cm (externally) and is finished in black. It features solid steel internal hinges as well as two solid steel 15mm locking bolts that retract when the correct code has been entered (or the key used) and the handle is turned. It has an electronic lock and is operated with a digital keypad. The keypad has 10,000 possible combinations, using a 3-8 digit programmable code (requires 4x AA batteries) and it can also be opened via the supplied backup key (two keys are supplied) if you forget the code or the keypad runs out of battery power.
It is recommended that all home safes are securely fixed to the floor or wall and the Yale Value Laptop Safe comes with pre-drilled holes with fixing bolts included. You will need to drill holes into the floor or wall to secure it. It is very DIY friendly and I have secured mine to the floor. If you can, do not place a safe in the bedroom or kitchen as these are the rooms that burglars will check first.
The safe comes with a fabric carpet so that any valuables placed within it are not damaged or scratched by the securing bolts in the base of the safe.
Once the safe has been secured to the floor or wall, the digital keypad needs 4x AA batteries installing and then has to be programmed with your own code. Setting the code is very easy to do and can be between 3 and 8 digits. It does come with two keys, but take a note of the safe serial number as replacement keys can only be obtained with this number.
Operating the safe is very simple. Just input your code and press the key button. There is a time lock feature on the safe which comes into operation after 3 incorrect code entries where you will then be locked out for 20 seconds. After 6 incorrect entries you will be locked out for 6 minutes.
Internally, the safe is quite spacious – it has a capacity of 23 litres (19H x 42W x 30D cm). It can house my laptop, tablet, USB sticks and portable hard drive along with various important documents up to A4 size. It is not a fireproof safe, so if you are storing cash, documents, hard drive backups and flash drives then I would recommend using a fireproof wallet to put these items in within the safe.
Overall, it is a very strong and robust safe suitable for securing important files, documents and a laptop. It is the basic value version of the safe so is not fireproof and does not have an audible alarm (Yale do a version of this safe with a 130db alarm) but does keep everything secure.
For insurance reasons, if you are wanting to keep a large amount of cash or expensive jewellery inside this probably won’t be the right safe as it has no insurance rating. But for securing everyday valuable items like your laptop or passport and small amounts of cash, it is perfect. If you want a certified laptop safe that is insurance rated for cash and other valuables you will be looking at one at least 3 times the cost (rated for £2,000 and valuables £20,000).
So before you purchase a safe, there are some things that you need to consider:
- Size of Safe – make a list of what you want to store in it and where you are going to put it, that should make it easier to decide what size safe you need.
- Cash Rating – safes comes with various cash ratings, or none at all. You need to decide what you are storing and for what reason. If storing cash and jewellery your insurance company may require you install a safe with a cash rating of a certain level. Check your insurance policy, but these safes generally need to be professional installed.
- Entry Method – do you want a key lock or digital code entry? If you can’t remember pin codes then you might need one with a key lock, if you are always losing keys a pin entry one might suit you better. Or better still, get one with both.
- Fireproof or Not – not all safes are fireproof. Again it depends one what you are storing and for what reason, you need to make a decision on whether you go for a value safe or a better fireproof one (they generally offer 30 to 60 minutes of fire protection).
For my uses, the Yale Value Laptop Safe is perfect for what I need it for. It secures my laptop and other electronic equipment that I use all the time as well as important documents that I need to keep on hand. If you do need something better, then Yale also offer premium, certified and fireproof safes.
For a basic value safe it performs very well and the price is very reasonable.
For more information or to buy, visit www.yalestore.co.uk.