When it comes to home security, it doesn’t just mean securing the windows and doors with better locks or adding security lighting and alarms. It also means securing your valuables whilst inside the house and valuables isn’t just expensive equipment or jewellery. We all have passports, birth certificates and other valuable pieces of identity documents in our homes that could be worth quite a bit of money in the wrong hands. We also store a lot of data on our laptops, from personal photos to work documents. So keeping all these documents secure, whether paper or digital, is a must and the best way to do that at home is with a safe.
There are lots of security products and companies around and Yale are probably the most well-known for making locks and padlocks to secure property and buildings, their products are available in over 125 countries. Yale have been making locks for 175 years! 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.
For this review I received a Yale Value Laptop Safe.
The Yale Value Laptop Safe is a relatively inexpensive safe with a steel constructed body designed to fit laptops with up to a 14.5” screen (my Dell laptop with a 15” screen does fit in if I put it in at an angle and then it lays flat). It measures 20H x 43W x 35D cm (externally) and is finished in black. It is operated with a digital keypad that has 10,000 possible combinations, using a 3-8 digit programmable code (requires 4x AA batteries, supplied) and it can also be opened via the supplied backup key if you forget the code or the keypad runs out of battery power.
The Yale Value Laptop Safe seems well made and sturdy and doesn’t take up too much room in the bottom of a wardrobe or cupboard (although it is good practice not to have a safe in the bedroom or kitchen as these are the rooms burglars will usually check for one). It can be floor or wall mounted (or both), the fittings are included, it is very DIY friendly and easy to secure (I personally have it bolted to the floor). There is a fabric “carpet” that is supplied to go inside on the base to protect your belongings (especially as the inside base with have the bolt heads).
Once the safe has been situated and securely fixed to the wall or floor, you need to set up the digital combination for the keypad. 4x AA batteries are required for the keypad to work. On first use, the code needs to be programmed and this is very easy to do. The code can be between 3 and 8 digits (this gives a possible 10,000 combinations). The safe also comes with backup keys, so DO NOT lock these in the safe as they will be required if the batteries for the keypad run out or you forgot the code. 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.
The Yale safe 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. The LED light indicators are used as follows: Green to open, red for error and low battery warning.
It is quite spacious inside (23l – 19H x 42W x 30D cm) and does fit my laptop as well as A4 documents and various other pieces. It is not a fireproof safe, so if 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, this is a very good safe. It feels strong and sturdy, has plenty of room and the keypad works well. 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.
If you are looking for a safe to hold a large amount of cash or jewellery then this won’t be the safe for you as it has no insurance rating, but for securing your laptop, passports and other documents then it does a fine job. 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 enough for my needs. It secures the things I need very well and the price of the safe is very good. If you do need something better, then Yale also offer premium, certified and fireproof safes.
For a basic value safe it performs very well.