Rated 5 out of 5Â by 1
Rated 5 out of 5Â by Safer Best value out there
This safe has more interior room, more solid construction, and a better feature set than anything else in this price range. Full steel construction, UL fire rating, and 4 latching bolts are unheard of for less than $400. I researched a lot of "safes" in this price range before choosing this one and I was not disappointed.
Be aware, though, that this safe is HEAVY for its size. It's about the size of a nightstand, but weighs over 200 lbs, so if you have to haul it up/down stairs or over any sort of distance, plan ahead. The packaging is a little weak considering what is inside (1/2" styrofoam on all sides and 2" styrofoam on the front), so when I got mine, the box looked like it had been through a war, but there was no problem with the safe itself. They really should ship these with thicker styrofoam, thicker cardboard and on a small pallet to prevent some of the handling problems associated with such a heavy item.
Once unpacked, the keypad was ridiculously easy to program and enter new codes. Plan ahead, though, because long pauses in the programming sequence will cause it to time out and force you to start over. If you pause for more than about 3 seconds during any part of the programming, it will time out. The date format on the display is really confusing, as it goes year, month, day and then puts the day of the week as a numerical format in the corner. Much of that is unnecessary, and I won't spend any time looking at it, but it could be handy for someone looking through the logs to see who opened the safe and when.
Although it seems daunting, just follow the instruction manual to the letter and you will be fine. I tested all the emergency opening techniques and found them to be easy and functional. One word of advice, though, is that when changing the codes, you should follow the manual and change them with the door open, so if you screw up, you aren't locked out. The manual does say this, by the way, but I figured that it's worth repeating.
One gripe I have is the drawer in the top of the safe is really, really cheap. I would think that a safe of this quality would have a better drawer, but this one is flimsy and does not have the solid feel that the rest of the unit has. The shelf, too, has a lot of play in it (3/8" or so - side to side), but it is adjustable for height, so there has to be some leeway there... On the plus side, the drawer does have a keyed lock (albeit a cheap one) that allows one user to keep a separate storage area from the "general population" of users. Another gripe, though, is that the drawer can't really be used without removing it (easy, because of the loose fit), as is is inset so far (to clear the door) that, fully opened, you still have a hard time seeing what is in it. Although there's really no way around that particular issue, I would suggest to Mesa that the drawer would be better placed on the bottom, rather than the top. At least that way, one can use the drawer without having to remove it.
One very important thing to note is that, due to the thickness of the door, it has to be opened about 150 degrees to allow the drawer to be fully opened, so that may affect the placement of the unit. If you don't want the drawer, you can remove it and take advantage of the additional storage area, as well as the ability to put the safe against the wall on the hinge (right) side.
Overall, this safe is solidly constructed, heavy, has great specs, and doesn't cost a fortune. Sure, there are better ones out there, but you'll pay twice or three times the cash for the same interior space. This is, hands down, the best value out there when considering specs, ratings, interior space, and overall construction. I would definitely buy another one, should the need arise.
September 5, 2012