An electronic safe is one that uses an electronic locking mechanism rather than a purely mechanical one. An electronic safe is quicker and more convenient to open than a regular mechanical one. It offers both security and convenience. There are basically two types of locking mechanisms that are available on an electronic safe – electronic keypad and biometric.
An electronic keypad locking mechanism presents the user with a familiar electronic “pin” pad for entering the combination to the safe. The user simply enters the combination on this “pin” pad, in much the same way as when using a debit card or ATM machine. The safe will only open in response to a valid combination being entered. Multiple pin numbers can be specified, enabling you to grant access to the safe to more than one person.
The second type of electronic safe, the biometric safe, uses a fingerprint scanner as the locking mechanism for the safe. To open the safe, the user simply places their index finger on the scanner, which uses a laser to scan the fingerprint, granting access if the fingerprint is a match. The fingerprint scanner works on the same principle as bar-code scanners commonly used in grocery stores. Multiple users can be granted access to the safe simply by placing the scanner in “enrolment mode” and scanning their fingerprints. Biometric safes are the most secure type of safe available today, because the person requiring access must be physically present to scan their fingerprint – it is not possible for a discovered pin or combination number to be used to open the safe.
Another factor to consider when choosing an electronic safe is what will be stored in the safe. If you only need to store documents and jewellery, then a standard safe will suffice. If you need to store and protect electronic media such as backup tapes, CDs or DVDs, then a special media safe is required. If you need to store rifles or shotguns, then you will need a special gun safe, mainly due to interior space requirements.
You will also need to determine the type and amount of security you would like the safe to provide. This can be determined from the various ratings that are assigned by safe manufacturers. First is the security rating of the safe, which tells how difficult it is to “break into” the safe. Second is the fire rating of the safe. There are two major standards used for the fire rating of an electronic safe – One, the 350 degree F rating, is designed for documents. The other, the 125 degree F rating, is for computer and electronic media. Both of these ratings, specified in number of hours, give the amount of time that the safe can withstand a 1700 degree F fire without the temperature inside rising above the specified amount – 350 degrees F for documents and 125 degrees F for electronic media. An electronic safe designed for media storage also provides protection from high humidity, dust, and electromagnetic fields, and electrostatic discharge.
One last factor to consider when choosing an electronic safe is the amount and arrangement of storage that you require. This will determine the overall size and shape of the safe. Make sure to choose a safe that offers a bit more room for storage than you actually need, so you’re not faced with replacing when you need to store a few more items.
As you can see, there are a number of considerations to be made when choosing an electronic safe. Keeping all of these factors in mind help in choosing a safe that is right for your needs.