When it comes to protecting guns and valuables, everyone wants the best security their money can buy. But with all of the options available on the market, it’s easy for potential safe buyers to get overwhelmed or swindled into buying worthless cheap gun safes that offer no protection whatsoever. In the world of small safes, there’s a large selection of options for buyers with budget in mind, though not all safes are created equal. With a list price of under USD$1000, the following safes provide competitive protection against prying and cracking without costing a fortune.
Choice 1: Liberty Centurion Safes ($600-$1000)
Liberty safes have a reputation like no other, as they are best known for their demonstration videos that show just how tough their safes are. Liberty develops several lines of safes for different applications, with products ranging from entry level cheap gun safes that cost as little as $600 to safes that cost approximately USD$5000 and provide legendary protection against all forms of intrusion and theft. Their entry level safes, known as the “Centurion” models, are a superior choice considering that they outperform almost every safe in their price range.
The Centurion entry safes are available in three different designs known as “Explorer”, “Voyager” and “Deluxe”. Each of these safes are resistant to temperatures up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, with the more expensive Deluxe being able to withstand the heat of a house fire for over an hour. The multi-layer fire protection padding also ensures that the valuables inside the safe are undamaged.
All centurion safes are built with 12-gauge steel and have 1 inch thick locking bolts that make prying almost impossible. The durable black textured finish is resistant to minor scratches and scuffs, meaning the safes will look new for years. The most budget efficient choice among the Centurion safes is the Explorer, as it provides the renowned security of a liberty safe while still remaining compact and wallet-friendly. All liberty safes are available in a variety of sizes, but the “Explorer 12” ($600, 12 guns, 350 pounds) and “Explorer 17” ($800, 18 guns, 400 pounds) are excellent options for novice gun collectors who want the famed quality of a Liberty safe without all of the bells and whistles.
The Explorer safes can withstand a 1200 degrees Fahrenheit fire for approximately half an hour, which is a considerable amount of time when compared to other low-budget safes. All liberty safes are UL (Underwriters Laboratories) approved, meaning that they offer exceptional protection against even the most skilled safe-crackers. The lowest security entry-level Centurion can take 10 minutes or more to pry into; that’s incredible when compared to leading competitors.
Choice 2: Stack-On 8-Gun Security Safe with Combination Lock ($320)
A bit on the smaller side, the Stack on 8-gun safe is a great choice for the buyer with very few guns and a very low budget. Stack-on is a respected brand and is endorsed by individuals such as Willie Robertson, the CEO of Duck Commander. This line of safes is approved by the California DOJ (Department Of Justice) as having met their standards for security and safety. The safe door and body are drill resistant, while the lock can be configured with a 3 number access code. The lock is reinforced by a steel plate to avoid tampering and forced opening. The locking end of the safe is protected by three 1″ thick locking bolts that secure the door in three places instead of one. The safe can hold up to 8 rifles or shotguns up to 52″ in length. A removable shelf is also included to for ammo and small firearms. Economical, compact and secure, this Stack-On safe is worth more than its price and is sure to outperform the competition. Fastening hardware is also included so that the safe can be bolted down to prevent tipping and theft. Although there are safes that are more resistant to prying and have greater storage space, it’s difficult to beat the value to price ratio on this safe.
Choice 3: Sentry Safe HDC11E Home Defense Center ($449.00)
If size is a major concern, one of the most compact options is the Sentry Safe HDC11E Home Defense Center. This 1-2 gun standing safe is able to store 1 long gun of up to 46″ and one small to medium sized handgun in its patent pending “Pistol stand”. The innovative “Barrel Containment System” keeps shotguns and tactical weapons safely in place. This safe stands at a little over 4 and-a-half feet tall and weighs little more than 110 pounds. Sentry is a gun safe manufacturer with over 80 years of experience in developing some of the worlds’ leading security solutions, and this small safe is no exception. Electronically locked with a programmable keypad, this securely bolted box doesn’t pry open without a fight. The bolts are located at the corners of the safe, and much like other similarly sized safes, they are 1″ thick. Due to the compact nature of this safe, it also comes with two different bolt-down kits. One is a standard bolt-down kit for drilling the safe securely into the floor, while the other is designed for mounting the safe in a corner of a room for added security.
The Home Defense Center also comes with a discreetly designed under-the-floor compartment for added storage. The interior shelving is fully adjustable to accommodate various rifle and handgun sizes. Even though the Home Defense Center is slightly more expensive than larger safes, though its still a relatively cheap option for storing guns and other valuables.
What to avoid:
It’s advised to steer clear of any cabinet company that decides to develop a line of gun safes. Most often these safes are sold for very low prices and offer mediocre protection at best. Under stress tests, some of these safes have been pried open in less than 10 seconds, making them practically worthless as gun safes. Often times these safes also use weaker gauge steel and build thinner doors and do not use thick bolts in their door locks.
With the great diversity in cheap gun safes available today, solutions exist for every kind of customer. Available in almost any size, these different makes and models can accommodate just about any need and still leave buyers with money to spare. Even though these safes are our personal top picks there are many in their league that offers comparable qualities at similar prices. Depending on personal needs, interests and security expectations, prices can vary, though brands such as those mentioned above will never sacrifice security, safety or quality.