When shopping for a safe, you should take into consideration whether or not the product is UL certified. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a global company that tests a wide range of products to ensure both safety and quality. UL creates and maintains testing standards for over 19,000 product categories. In addition to home and office safes, their standards catalog includes items like vacuum cleaners, fire extinguishers, holiday lights, and TVs.
UL and their unwavering standards go all the way back to 1893, when founder William Henry Merrill, Jr started an electrical testing laboratory. In addition to Merrill, UL started out with just two other employees. Today, UL has offices all around the world.
When consumers buy a UL certified product, they are purchasing an item they know they can trust. Behind every UL rating is rigorous testing that is pertinent to the product's function and design. All of UL's ratings are clearly defined, so consumers know what to expect from each and every product. A UL certification is the hallmark of high quality and dependability.
UL Certification for Safes
Since the early 1920s, UL has been setting standards for the security and loss prevention industry. UL tests and rates safes in the areas of burglary protection, fire resistance, and impact. Whenever practical, this testing is carried out in a UL laboratory. Some safes are too large and too heavy to ship and must be tested on-site. UL's burglary protection staff has traveled all over the world to conduct their testing.
During UL testing, burglary attacks are conducted by a two-person crew. The crew uses a variety of tools to attempt to pry open or cut into the safe. The burglary attacks are carried out with devices such as hand tools, torches, and even nitroglycerin. The crews attempt to create an opening large enough to access and pull out objects that are inside the safe. This opening can range from 2 square inches to 6 square inches. During burglary protection testing, the crew also attempts to remove bolts, and destroy and disengage the locking mechanism.
UL's ratings for burglary protection take into account the tools used and the length of time needed to gain access inside of the safe. For example, a safe with a Class TRTL-15x6 rating should resist a hand tool and torch attack for a minimum of 15 minutes. A safe with this rating is often found in jewelry stores. A safe with a TRTL-30x6 rating should withstand the same attack for at least 30 minutes. A TRTL-30x6 safe is commonly used to protect important documents and store money. UL's highest burglary attack rating, TXTL60, should withstand a 60 minute attack that includes the use of 8 ounces of nitroglycerin.
UL's fire resistance ratings take into consideration both the length of fire exposure and the types of contents that can be protected.
Safes are exposed to fire and assigned a rating that correlates to the length of time they withstand the fire. The minimum UL fire rating is 30 minutes, while the maximum fire rating is four hours.
When it comes to protecting contents in the safe, a Class 350 safe will protect paper documents. A Class 150 safe can be expected to protect magnetic tape and photographic film, while a Class 125 is suitable for floppy disks.
In real life, fires will weaken a structure including its walls and floors. UL's impact test is meant to simulate a safe falling several stories during a fire. First, the safe is placed in a furnace and heated to a designated temperature. Then, the safe is dropped from a certain height. After the drop, any papers inside of the safe must still be readable.
A Safe is Only as Good as its Lock
Today, many people prefer to purchase safes that have electronic locks. Mechanical locks can be unwieldy to use, and for some people, require both hands to open. And keys can easily be lost or misplaced, giving electronic locks a clear advantage.
Just like the safe itself, an electronic lock undergoes extensive testing to earn its own UL rating. The general construction of the lock, including internal wiring and electronic components, is assessed. The lock is tested for its resistance to unauthorized opening. Compromise and interference tests, including a mechanical attack, are conducted. A UL rated electronic lock is also tested for its ability to withstand environmental stressors like rain, humidity, dust, and temperature.
Most inexpensive safes that are sold in "Big Box" stores have electronic locks that are not UL certified. There is nothing secure about an electronic lock that doesn't have a UL certification. Without a UL rated lock, a safe is nothing more than a metal storage container.
Consumers should not be fooled by vague terms like "secure" and "dependable." These terms mean whatever the manufacturer wants them to mean. A safe is only as good as its lock. All UL rated electronic locks are backed by thorough testing and uphold a defined set of international standards.
The Rolland Difference
At Rolland Safe and Lock Company, we're one of the few companies that manufacture their own safes. That means we control the entire process, from concept to design to manufacturing. Our company-owned factory is right here in North America, in Saltillo, Mexico.
Whether it's cash, priceless heirlooms or sensitive documents, if it's worth protecting, it's worth protecting right. Our safes have design feature like concealed hinges, UL tested locks, and anchor holes. At Rolland, we only produce and sell UL rated safes. UL's extensive testing means you get a safe that actually does its job—protecting its contents from theft, fire, and impact.
Rolland's history in the security business goes back over 100 years. We're leaders in our field. There's a Rolland safe for every size, use, and budget. One of our specialists would be happy to help you select the right safe for your home or business needs. Please contact us to learn more.