Acquiring wealth, precious items and possessions is usually a challenging and testing task for many people. It usually involves long hours of hard work and determination to secure them and losing them easily would be a major disappointment.
Many people employ different tactics to make sure that their valuable possessions are well secured and out of prying eyes. Such methods range from traditional stuffing of valuable items under the bed to sophisticated deposit safes, all with different levels of success.
With advancements in technology, methods of storing valuable items have also evolved. The different types of technologies have been integrated into securing valuable items, none more so like in the construction of safes.
A safe refers to a fortified, lockable box that is used for storing objects that are perceived to be of significant value, or that are deemed precious by the owner.
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The following are the different types of safes that are commonly used:
Biometrics is a scientific technique that is used to distinguish people based on certain characteristics that are unique to each individual. Biometric safes employ the technique by acquiring the unique features and characteristics of the owner of the safe, then using them to differentiate him/her from intruders.
The most common method employed is the use of fingerprints. Biometric scanners acquire the owner’s fingerprints and use them as the default key. Each time the safe is required to be opened, the owner’s hand has to be present. This has led to biometric safes acquiring the coin name ‘fingerprint safes’.
Biometric safes are considered among the most secure safes as there is very little chance of fingerprints from different people marching.
Biometric safes allow for secondary authorization procedures. They are equipped with a memory that can hold several fingerprint profiles. This means that you can authorize people that you desire to have access to the safe and lock out the rest.
The advantage of a biometric safe when granting secondary access is that, you as the administrator must be present whenever a secondary person is granted authorization. This means that although a second person may have access to the safe, they cannot give authorization to another person without your knowledge.
With advancements in technology, biometrics has also evolved. Biometric scanners have introduced new features or parts of the body that can be scanned to provide additional security features. Such scanners include:
- Iris scanners
- Face recognition
- Palm veins scanners
- Palm print scanners
- Hand print scanners
- DNA scanners
- Retina scanners &
- Voice recognition devices.
The main shortcoming of biometric safes is that without the scanned body part, you would be unable to access your property. Loss of an arm or burning of a finger may render you unable to open the safe.
Combination safes use combination locks that require a string/sequence of numbers or symbols for the lock to open. The lock is composed of an external rotating dial that is connected to an internal system of discs and cams.
The cams and discs are inscribed with a set of numerals which directly engage a locking mechanism which may be either a mechanical or an electrical keypad. Combination locks do not have a key and require a person to remember the combination code anytime they desire to open the safe.
The main advantage of a combination lock is that the code is only known to the owner of the lock. Unless they give the code to another person, intruders are unlikely to open the locks. Complex combination locks require numerous codes to open and they easily repulse guessers.
Their main disadvantage is that they require time to be opened. Entering the codes takes time and if you were in danger and required to retrieve your gun from the safe, it might take you some time.
Digital safes use an electronic digital code to open the safe. On the safe is a keypad that allows you to input a pre-recorded digital numerical combination. If the correct digital code is entered, the safe opens. The digital lock basically has one correct code but some locks allow the administrator to give several authorized users different unique codes that they can use to open the safe.
Digital safes are easier to use than traditional mechanical locks that you have to turn to select the numerals that you wish to choose. Due to the ease of entering the codes on the keypad, digital safes are easy to access and may come in handy during emergencies.
The only shortcoming of digital locks is the possibility of the person forgetting the password. This is remedied by the fact that they come with an easy way for the administrator to reset the password if they forget it.
Electronic safes work on a network of keys. An electronic safe allows for the integration of different locking and unlocking mechanisms. An electronic safe can be opened using a single key or a combination of different keys ranging from passwords to smart cards to fingerprints and voice recognition devices.
Electronic safes are the safest safes available as they can be modified to use any type of locking mechanism possible. This means that you can find an electronic safe that only requires you to input a digital code to open or another electronic safe that requires you to insert a smart card, and then input a digital code, then present your hand for fingerprint scanning and lastly require you to speak for voice recognition!
The complexity of an electronic safe majorly depends on the security measures required by a person. Security features on an electronic safe can be unlimited.
Keypad safes are safes that have an exposed keypad that allows one to input a code of numerals. If the right code is inputted, the safe opens. Keypad safes are very secure as the owner of the safe has to input the code at all times to open the safe. Combinations ranging from four digits and more are very hard to guess making the safes very secure.
The only shortcoming of keypad safes is the unlikely incident where the owner of the safe forgets the combination.
Another shortcoming which may arise is a situation where you are given a ‘shut out’ if the wrong password is inputted several times. In the event that you had an emergency, you may find yourself in a peculiar position where your property locks you out.
Some keypad safes provide for a time delay where the owner of the safe sets interval with which the safe can be opened. For example, they can set a time delay of one hour where the safe cannot be opened for 60 minutes after closing it.
In other instances, an opening window can be set where the safe can only be opened at a particular time or day.
The following are crucial factors that one should consider before buying a safe with a processor based lock:
- Ensure that the safe has a non-volatile memory. This ensures that even if the power to the lock is interrupted, the lock does not revert to factory settings.
- Make sure that the memory board of the safe is stored inside the safe and not outside the safe. An intruder can easily access the memory board and interfere with it if it is stored on the outside.
- Be very careful when buying a safe with a ‘key bypass’. Although the ‘key bypass’ is important should you forget the password or have difficulty accessing the safe, they also make the safe easy to open using conventional pick tools.
Factors to consider when choosing the type of safe you want to buy:
- Size: safes come in different shapes and sizes. The type of safe to acquire will largely depend on what you intend to store. A small digital safe is good for storing jewelry while a large combination safe comes in handy in a bank.
- Construction quality: a safe is built to secure precious commodities. You should choose the constructing material and quality of your safe depending on the worth of the commodities that you are planning to store. A solid steel safe is a worthy investment for a person looking to store highly valuable jewelry and cash.
- Locking Mechanism: different locking mechanisms differ in fortitude and ability to keep out intruders. Different situations require different security mechanisms. A bank vault will require an electronic locking system while a gun safe at home will do with a keypad locking system.
- Fire resistance: different safes have different fire retardation properties. Some safes can retard flames for hours while others will not last for more than 45 minutes. The ability of safes to withstand fire majorly depends on construction quality which is reflected in the cost of the safe.
- Cost: the cost of acquiring a safe will be directly affected by the quality of the safe and its size. Although obtaining the best quality safe is recommended, sometimes the cost can be prohibitive.