Last updated: August 17, 2021

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We'll be talking today about digital safes, a product that looks like it's from the movies, but fits nicely in your living room, bedroom or office.

With the level of technology we have today, markets have been transformed, with the demand for practicality and comfort dividing attention with the various services offered. In security, it is no different. Digital safes, in this situation, are a success story, uniting protection and practicality through technology.

Continue reading this text and you will see that we can help you to choose the best safe for you and your assets. We have listed the best models, the different types on the market and some criteria to take into account when buying.




Summary

  • Having an idea of what you want to store and where you want to position the safe is essential for choosing the ideal model.
  • There are digital safes that combine electronic opening mechanisms with a key lock.
  • The price range between the models of digital safe is high.

The Best Digital Safe: Our Picks

Buying and rating guide for digital safe

Security of your assets is a delicate matter. There is a lot to lose, so every choice must be well calculated. Therefore, in this Buying Guide we have provided you with valuable information to help you think about the ideal digital safe.

mão abrindo cofre digital

A digital safe can be instrumental in protecting some of your most valuable possessions. (Source: katalinks/ 123RF.com)

What is a digital safe?

In a basic definition, safes are tamper-proof storage compartments protected by a security system, a lock, which can be opened by the holder of its key, password or secret.

Money, documents, electronic equipment, works of art, jewellery, family objects, in short, all types of valuable goods can be protected inside this product.

This is because the safe combines an impenetrable lead, steel or concrete coating with a complex lock, preventing both burglary and robbery.

In a last resort, it can delay a forced opening or deliver a theft action, buying time for police response, among other security protocols.

The functionality of the product as it is today, however, is the result of centuries of development. Ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece and Rome already hid their chests, locked by keys and padlocks.

Did you know that it was only in the 19th century that the concept of the strongbox emerged? The first models were impenetrable and only opened with the right combination, a numerical password, entered by a roulette wheel marked from 0 to 99.

The digital safe, on the other hand, is a product of the late 20th century, more precisely of the automation developed during the Second World War, generating electronic safes, in fact.

The term digital appeared together with computers, when numeric keyboards coupled with microprocessors took the place of the roulette wheels on the doors of the safes.

Thus, only by typing the correct combination of numbers - the password - the processor triggers the opening of the lock, instead of each number of the sequence corresponding to a "mini-key", as in the mechanical models.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the digital safe?

Apart from minimal structural changes, the only distinction of the digital safe to the mechanical one is its security system, its lock. So, its advantages and disadvantages also relate to this aspect.

To begin with, the protection it offers. With the numeric keypad, it is much more difficult to leave "clues" about the correct sequence, as long as the numbers are typed in privacy or with the keyboard view obstructed.

In the same logic, it makes it virtually impossible to "break" the code in an analogue way, like film thieves and their stethoscopes in mechanical safes, to give an example.

Imagem mostra um homem arrombando uma fechadura de uma porta de madeira.

The electronic system prevents old-fashioned, "time-honoured" break-ins. (Source: Anete Lusina from Pexels/ Canva)

Then there is the practicality of technology. The digital safe opens very quickly, which is very useful for offices, for example, and their demand to access and store documents quickly.

Jewellery, money, equipment, in short, everything that is valuable, but of regular use, is better served by the digital safe. The speed of opening is also very convenient for emergencies.

Finally, there is also the facility to change the password in case of loss, forgetfulness or unfeasibility of the previous password.

The counterpoint, however, is the fact that it uses energy. This makes its maintenance a little more annoying, being necessary to keep an eye on the battery levels.

Its installation is also a little more impaired, due to the structural adaptations necessary for its energy consumption, although most models are powered by batteries.

There is also the possibility of the security system being "hacked", since it contains a processor, like all computers. However, if you are not the owner of a multinational corporation or a high-ranking public figure, you are unlikely to be the target of such an "attack".

Advantages
  • Quick opening and secure keying
  • Easy recovery/ password creation
  • "Anti-burst
Disadvantages
  • More restricted installation
  • More difficult maintenance/ battery backup
  • SSusceptible to "hackers"

Safe with LED or LCD display?

Within the digital safes market niche, there are some variations, almost all in relation to its opening mechanism and mainly in its interaction with the user.

In this case, there are models with LCD displays and, more recently, with LED lights. The first is like a small screen, similar to that of a calculator, while the second is a series of small bright points.

Although different, the two have the same function: to inform the user of information related to typing, as well as the status of the safe itself. In other words, it tells the user whether the password is correct or not, whether the door is open, locked or closed, among other things, depending on the model.

When there is no display, many shops and manufacturers usually refer to the model as electronic, rather than digital.

What is biometrics and Multi-Lock?

There are models that have more than one opening mechanism, to increase protection or prevent possible discharges of the battery or failures in the electrical network.

The so-called Multi-Lock digital safes count, in its majority, with a keyboard for digital password and a lock of the lock type, that is, that opens with a key. The keys, in this case, are more like a reserve opening, even.

When, however, these safes have a biometric system, the fingerprint reader, the security is in fact reinforced, since it is one of the most secure systems available in the market.

Imagem mostra uma mão segurando um relógio, entre uma coleção de outros nove relógios.

Objects of great value, such as a collection of watches, are well safe in Multi-Lock safes. (Source: Hugo Filipe/ Pexels)

Built-in or undercover safe? Which one to choose?

If there's one problem with the concept of safes, it's that while it stores and protects your possessions, it also draws attention to them by the mere presence of, well, a safe.

Because of this, almost everyone hides their safes, either inside cupboards, drawers, behind the wall... Thinking about this demand, manufacturers started to produce models designed to be hidden: the built-in safes and the disguised ones.

They are models that have the same functionality and, in the case of the digital ones, with the same security systems. The difference is that they have an adapted design. In the case of the built-in ones, they are adapted to stay within the structure of walls and even furniture.

In the case of the disguised ones, the safes take the form of banal and everyday objects, with a false bottom or façade. The most commonly found on the market are:

  • Clock
  • Wall socket
  • Bed/Couch
  • Book
  • Shelf
  • Floor

In the table below, we list the main differences between a built-in and a disguised safe.

Embedded Disguised
Discretion Medium High
Vulnerability Low Medium/High, depending on the object by which it is disguised
Practicality Low: requires installation and specialised personnel High

Buying Criteria: Factors when choosing your ideal model of digital safe

We have listed below some aspects and characteristics of the product so that they can serve as criteria when choosing your ideal model of digital safe.

We will then detail each of these criteria, to give you all the tools you need to make the best choice available to you.

What it stores

Knowing what object - or objects - will be stored is decisive when choosing your safe. Not only because of the minimum size that the model needs to have, so that everything fits in the best way, but to define the level of security.

The greater the value added to an asset, whether financial or sentimental, the greater is its demand for protection by the safes.

In the digital safe, this means a coating of more resistant and thicker material, greater technology in the opening mechanism and even more locks.

Location of the safe

The place where the safe will be is also a piece of information which can help you a lot at the time of purchase. Firstly, to get right the maximum size of your model, its dimensions, as well as the purchase of any piece of furniture.

Then, to choose the most suitable type of digital safe. For a company office, for example, a large and simple model for storing important documents, or even one built into a drawer for employees' personal belongings.

In a living room, it is possible to hide from sight the disguised models as clocks and other banal objects, or even the classic embedded behind a picture - although this is no longer a hiding place for anybody.

Spare key and Multi-Lock

Pay attention to the locks of the models: they are another important criterion to guide your choice, as they deal with both the practicality and the functionality of the product.

Prefer, for example, models with a spare key, which may come in handy in case the battery runs out. Multi-Lock digital safes, which combine electronic passwords with opening by key or biometrics, also come out ahead, by increasing the efficiency of the security system.

 Imagem mostra num plano detalhe um molho de chaves sob um superfície lisa.

Most digital safes have emergency keys. (Source: George Becker from Pexels/ Canva)

Weight and additional protection

Another aspect to think about are the additional protections that the models can offer, after all, too much security in these cases is never too much.

Note, therefore, the weight of the models. The heavier they are, the harder they are to be moved or carried, and the greater their protection, which compensates for their more complicated installation.

Additional protections, such as resistance to fire, punctures, bullets, among others, are also highly recommended.

(Featured image source: stevepb/ Pixabay)

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