Best Safes for Home and Office in Australia

CMI Homeguard Security Safe
CMI Homeguard Security Safe

The best safes in Australia for the home or office

The best safes in Australia for the home or office based on my locksmithing experience are CMI, Chubb, Guardall and Ardel.

CMI Safe Co

CMI safes was established in Sydney in 1946 and is an Australian family operated and owned company.  CMI has a full range of safes to choose from and can generally be bought either online such as Ebay or from many locksmith shops.  My personal choice for safes is the CMI Homeguard range as they provide good security and I've very rarely had a problem with faults.

You can find a good deal on CMI safes here on eBay 


Chubb has over the years been broken up into several different companies and as far as I can establish Gunnabo Australia is the importer of Chubb Safes. They have a good range of quality safes to choose from and can be purchased online from Ebay or from some  websites specialising in safes. Some locksmiths have a display of Chubb safes as well.  I personally like their commercial safe range which includes the Omni - Burglary and  Fire Resistant Safe and the Oxly - Burglary and  Fire Resistant Safe range.

 Guardall Safes

 Guardall safes have a good range of safes to choose from and are well built providing great security. Many years ago I had the pleasure of opening one of their small business security safes and it took about 2 hrs which involved drilling and dealing with a well designed re-locker to access the lock. From that day onward Guardall had won me over as a good quality security safe.  You can't go wrong with their Small Business Security Safes which includes the BGF100, BGF400, BGF500 and BGF800.

 Ardel Safe Co

Ardel Safe Co is a small Australian owned company located in Sydney's northwest and has a nice range of small and medium security safes. A lot of Sydney mobile locksmiths use Ardel Safe Co as Ardel supports mobile locksmiths by offering an equal trade price list. Some other suppliers don't offer the same trade price or won't sell to mobile locksmiths because they don't have a showroom. Having dealt with Ardel in the past, I can recommend the Interceptor 1750, Interceptor 2070, Interceptor 3690, Interceptor C250 and Interceptor C350.

A guide to buying the right safe

There are many different types of safes to choose from in Australia, so before choosing a safe, you need to decide if you want to protect the contents from theft or fire or both?  Prices for safes range from $50 for a dirt cheap and nasty, to over $20,000 for the ultimate bankers safe.

A good security and fire resistant safe starts from around $550 and spirals upwards from there. The larger the safe, the bigger the price tag and same goes for the level of security. A good way to tell how secure a safe is by checking the recommended insurable cash rating provided by the manufacturer. A good quality safe starts with a insurable cash rating of around $10,000.

The best security safe for your home or office is a safe that has concrete filled walls and a thick 8-10mm steel plate casing.

I recommend a combination lock or digital lock for the convenience of not having to carry or hide a key. If I had to choose between digital keypad and a combination dial, I would choose the digital because they are very simple to operate and changing the combination is relatively easy. A combination requires a change key and if a mistake is made during the combo change, it can be difficult to resolve. Many safe owners call a locksmith to change the combination on a combination safe lock.  As for a key safe lock, you will need to have it rekeyed by a locksmith as new key blanks will be required.

One of the best safes to have in your home or office is a safe that's bolted down. Too many times I have seen safes just sitting on the floor without being secured. Too many times I have seen people bring their safe to a locksmith shop to have their safe opened. If you can walk into a locksmith shop with your safe then a thief can walk out of your house or office with your safe.
CMI Miniguard Security and Fire Resistant Safe
CMI Miniguard Security and Fire Resistant Safe

This CMI Miniguard is a great small to medium size fireproof safe for your home.

Find a bargain CMI Miniguard Safe here on eBay

Fire Resistant Safes

Having a fire resistant safe doesn't mean it is theft proof. It only means that the content is protected against fire for up to a certain amount of time which is around 30 minutes to 2 hours.  These safes usually offer some security but they are primarily designed for protection against fire.  Fire resistant safes can be somewhat lighter than security safes, therefore if it's not bolted down, a thief can probably carry it out the door, never to be seen again. Fire safes usually have a metal case and are filled with fire retardant materials within the wall of the safe.

Security Safes

Security safes are designed to prevent theft of your valuables. They vary from minimum security to virtually impossible to open. Security safes are not called theft proof as this indicates that the safe cannot be broken in to, but if given an unlimited amount of time someone would most likely be able to break in to any security safe. Instead the terminology used is theft resistant and safe cash ratings would be determined on how long it would take to break in to.  Small security safes offer the lowest security as they usually have less security features, such as a thick case, extra locking bolts and relockers.

Larger security safes offer the best security as these safes generally have a 10mm think steel plate and are re-enforced with concrete. The safe doors usually have anti tamper relockers and when activated, they instantly slide behind the locking bolts to further secure the door. At this point, you will most likely need to call a locksmith to open the safe. Relockers are not reversible without some kind of drilling.
Inside of a old safe door with relocker
Inside of a old safe door with relocker

Sorry it's not the clearest, but in the photo above you can just make out the relocker cable running up the side, along the top and back down the middle of the safe door. If the cable is cut, it will release the bolt pin (located middle bottle) and block the locking bolt from opening, located at the bottom of the photo.

Fire and Security Safes

Many quality security safes have a fire rating by default. Quality security safes are usually encased in concrete as this provides good security, therefore a good quality fire and security safe would normally fall into the same category as a high security safe.

Computer and Micro Film Safes

Computer and Micro Film Safes are dedicated safes for sensitive material and usually offer protection against fire, smoke and humidity. These safe focus on fire protection, therefore don't usually provide high security.

General tips and good advice on safes and installation

Where possible always bolt the safe down onto a concrete floor with 10 or 12mm dynobolts, engaging at least 50mm or more of the dynobolt into the concrete. If you are placing the safe over carpet, remember to use a carpet punch tool to punch a hole through the carpet before drilling the holes.

If there is no concrete, then bolt into the floor using thick coach screws. Make sure they are screwed into the joists and not just the floor boards. You can also use one bolt and bolt through completely and coach screw the other in.

Out of sight is out of mind. If the safe can't be found then there will be no attempt to break in. Hide the safe as well as possible. Just by placing a cardboard box over the safe is enough to disguise it. Place a something on top of the box like shoes to further disguise the safe.

If the safe is a cheap or small safe, then install the safe with the locking side of the door is closest to the wall. This helps prevent the use of leverage tools like a crowbar or pinch bar.

In-floor safes are usually very secure and offer good fire resistance but keep in mind if you do have a big fire, then there is a good chance the safe will fill up with water when the firefighters extinguish the fire, possibly destroying any electronics or important papers.

Digital locks are easy and convenient but change the batteries on the first sign of it giving any trouble or if it is making a different sound. Most batteries are located on the outside of the door and can be replaced. Some digital safes have a terminal pad for a 9 volt battery which you just hold the battery on and enter the code. If there is just an override key/lock to override the electronic keypad then you have a cheap safe and probably don't know where the keys are. Good quality safe don't have an override key. If a somebody says a safe is good because it had a key override, then they are just after a sale or don't know what they are talking about.

Just as a precaution, always change digital codes on your safe with the door open and check it two to three times before shutting and locking the door. If something has gone wrong then the lock usually reverts back to the previous code.

If you have bought a locked safe at auction or have just moved into a old house and found an in-floor safe, you may instantly wonder if something of value is inside the safe. Chances are from my experience there will be absolutely nothing of any value. I honestly can't recall opening a safe for a customer and hitting the jackpot. Safes that I have opened with valuables inside, the customer had already known there was something inside of value. I'm not saying it doesn't happened, I'm sure it does, but going by law of averages, chances are you will be out of pocket with having to pay for the locksmith to open it.
Low Cost & Low Security Safe
Low Cost & Low Security Safe
I don't recommend buying a safe from Bunnings or Officeworks as I don't consider these safes to of high security. All the safes I've opened from these shops have been easy to open. However if you are only wanting to store a small amount of cash or valuables then there is no point spending big money on a high security safe if the contents is less than the total price of the safe and installation.

If you have experienced first hand your safe being broken in to and would like to share your photo, please contact me via my contact page.

If you have found this article helpful, please give me a like on Facebook. Thank you.

Leave a Reply