Purchasing a safe can be a big investment, but how do you know you're getting the right safe for your needs? Safe burglary ratings can be very confusing.
Safe burglary ratings range from: none, B-rated, C-rated, E-rated, RSC I, RSC II, TL-15, and TL-30, with TLX6 being the highest commonly available rating. Only RSC I and above ratings are independently tested and verified by a third-party testing facility.
What do those burglary ratings mean? Let's break down the common safe burglary ratings so you know what they are, and you can make a safe purchase with the confidence of understanding the level of security you are buying.
Table of Safe Burglary Ratings
Is It a Certified Rating?
Summary of Rating
Recommended for Values Up To
Keep honest people honest
1/4" steel sides, 1/2" Door
1/2" thick sides, 1" thick door
Similar Features to a TL-15
Withstands 5 Minute Attack from Hand Tools
Withstand 10 Minute Attack by 2 people, Wider Variety of Tools
Withstand 15 Minute Attack from Wider Variety of Tools
Withstand 30 Minute Attack from Wider Variety of Tools
TL-30 on All Sides
There are a couple systems for safe ratings (at least in the United States). One is developed by insurance companies, and mainly focuses on safe construction, and the other by Underwriters Laboratories (UL Safe Ratings), which offer test performance ratings.
Safes With No Burglary Ratings
Safes with no burglar rating are commonly classified as home safes or simply fire safes. They vary wildly in construction, some even have plastic casing or very thin (18-22 gauge) steel. These safes are intended to protect documents from fire and to keep out kids or house services. Basically, they keep honest people honest. They should not be used to protect anything of true value.
A B-rated safe is a safe constructed with a safe body at least ¼-inch thick steel (total), and a door at least ½-inch thick. A B-rated safe is not a certified burglary rating. It is a construction requirement.
If it has a lock on it (even a padlock!), and meets the material thicknesses specified, it is B-rated.
There's no testing associated with this rating, and only these bare minimums are required. This are commonly designed for home and business use.
A B-rated safe is not necessarily a 'weak' safe. Look for features such as the number of active/inactive bolts in the door, the diameter of the bolts, thickness of the steel and re-locker mechanisms; all of which are anti-burglary measures.
If you are storing small valuables, a B-rated safe can provide sufficient protection.
B-rated safes are recommended for content up to $10-15,000
A C-rated safe is one which is constructed of steel at least ½-inch thick, with a door of at least 1 inch thick, and a lock. A C-rated safe is not a certified burglary rating. It is a construction requirement.
But a C-Rated safe with a hard plate and re-locking device can be a formidable opponent against a burglary attempt, and can safely store small or large valuables.
C-rated safes can be used to store content up to $20-25,000.
E-rated safes must have a steel door of at least 1.5" thick and walls of at least 1" thick. A E-rated safe is not a certified burglary rating. It is a construction requirement. A safe with this rating generally has similar construction features as a TL-15 rated safe (see below), but it hasn't gone through product testing.
Though they have similar construction features, because they lack an official rating, we recommend valuable less than $35,000 be stored in them.
What is a RSC Burglary Rated Safe?
RSC stands for “Residential Security Containers.” You can view RSC rated safes on our safe website.
This safe rating changed in 2018 to now have 3 levels of testing which determine whether the safe can be rated RSC I, RSC II, or RSC III.
Most often, safes with this rating are what you think of when referring to a 'gun safe'. These are product tested by expert safe technicians who have access to the blueprints and the safe itself, which they can disassemble, to see how it works.
From there, knowing far more than a typical thief would, they attempt to access the safe. The safe is then given its RSC rating primarily based on how long it takes to get into the safe. This time duration is a bit misleading; only time in which a tool is in contact with the safe is counted, so the actual process can take far longer.