Burglary Safe Ratings GGuide
Burglary Safe Ratings Guide
Ultimate Guide To Burglary Safe Ratings

So you have decided to invest in a safe …. Great decision!

If you keep or intend to keep valuables and money at home, a safe is a must.  However, it takes some thought and consideration when deciding on what type of safe will suit your needs best.  Initially, it can get confusing, but understanding what levels of protection are available is the first step in finding the right safe for you.


Types of Safe Rating Methods

Safes are rated according to the degree of protection that they provide in case of burglary or fire. They are classified using a combination of two different methods:

1. Construction ratings.  These ratings were established by the insurance industry to set a standard that will indicate the degree of protection a safe will provide against an attempted burglary attack.  These ratings are based on the material specifications of the safe. The ratings range from B-rate to C-rate.

2. Performance Ratings.  These ratings are more stringent because safes that receive performance ratings have to be built to a construction specification plus be independently tested through a laboratory controlled break-in or fire to ensure that they meet standards.  

The gold standard for these test performance ratings was established by Underwriters Laboratories, more commonly known as UL.  UL was established as a non-profit testing organization and has been testing products, as well as setting standards for safety since 1894.

There is a wide range of UL ratings used, but the most common are U.L. RSC burglary rating, U.L. TL-15, TL-30 and TL30x6.

The Ratings Explained


B-Rating. This is a construction rating that was established by the insurance industry.  A B-rated safe has these specifications: a 3/16" to 1/4" thick steel body with a 1/2" thick steel door. The steel thickness is a combined total, including insulating materials.

These safes are typically used as cash management safes, depository safes or lock boxes.

C-Rating. A C-rated safe offers better protection than a B-rated one and will have these specifications: a 1/2" thick steel body with a 1" thick steel door.  Again, the thickness is a combined total with the insulating materials.

Though providing a higher protection, these safes are likewise commonly used as  cash management safes and depository safes.

For the next safe ratings, let us define some common terms. “Net Working Time” will often be used.  It is a UL term referring to the testing time spent trying to break into a safe using tools ranging from common hand tools such as hammers, chisels, saws or carbide-tip drills to more sophisticated equipment like diamond grinding wheels or high speed drills with pressure applying devices.

Another term to define is Entry.  Under U.L. definition, it is opening the door or making a 6 square inch opening entirely through the door or front face

U.L. RSC (Residential Security Container).  Safes with this rating are combination-locked and are able to successfully resist entry for a net working time of 5 minutes using a wide variety of household tools such as standard pry/crow bar, a drill with a 1/2 HP motor, hammer, chisel, etc. against the door.

Safes have these following construction specifications:
    -  Door materials will have an equivalent to at least 3/16″ open hearth steel and
    -  Body walls, at least 12 gauge open hearth steel.

Who uses them? U.L. RSC rated safes are ideal for homes that do not require security from professional burglars using high powered tools.

U.L. TL-15. Safes with this rating are combination-locked (uses a Group 2M, 1, 1R combination lock or Type 1 electronic lock)  and are designed to successfully resist entry for a net working time of 15 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinding points, carbide drills and pressure applying devices or mechanisms.  Safes that pass this rating also resist an additional 8 minutes working time on the body.

U.L. TL-15 safes come with the following construction requirements:

    -  Should weigh a minimum of 750 lbs. or comes with instructions for anchoring in a larger safe, concrete blocks or on the premises where used.

    -  Body walls are constructed of materials with strength equivalent to at least 1" open hearth steel that has a minimum tensile strength of 50,000 P.S.I.

    -  Walls fastened in a manner equivalent to continuous 1/4" penetration weld of open hearth steel with minimum tensile strength of 50,000 P.S.I.

    -  Should have 1(one)  hole 1/4" or less that would accommodate electrical conductors situated in a way that it has no direct view of the door or locking mechanism.

Who uses them? TL-15 rated safes are commonly purchased by jewelers, collectors and those looking to protect-high value items.

U.L. TL-15x6

As opposed to U.L. TL-15 rated safes, this rating is given to safes that are able to resist entry for a net working time of 15 minutes when attacked with tools that include high speed drills that utilize tungsten carbide drill bits, grinders, abrasive wheels, power saws, hole saws, pry bars, wedge and sledge hammer. Safes with this rating are also able to resist an additional 15 minutes net working time on each side of the body - all six sides (thus the X6)

Who uses them? Jewelers, collectors, and people looking to protect high-value items usually choose safes with these rating.

UL TRTL-15X6.  Safes with this rating are able to successfully resist entry for a net working time of 15 minutes using high powered tools.  To distinguish them from the U.L. TL-15X6, cutting torches are also used to crack the safe when tested.  It also includes an additional 15 minutes of net working time on each side of the body (all six sides).

Who uses them? These are purchased by Jewelers, Collectors, and anyone that is looking to protect high-value items.

U.L. TL-30.  Safes with this rating are combination locked (uses a Group 2M, 1, 1R combination lock or Type 1 electronic lock) and are designed to resist entry for a networking time of 30 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinding points, carbide drills and pressure applying devices or mechanisms, abrasive cutting wheels and power saws. It also includes an additional 8 minutes working time on the body.

Who uses them? Jewelers, collectors, and people looking to protect high-value items usually choose safes with these rating.

U.L. TL-30x6. Safes with this rating are able to resist entry for a net working time of 30 minutes using a wide array of high powered tools against the door. In addition, it can resist another 30 minutes of net working time on all six sides of the body.

Who uses them? Jewelers, collectors, and people looking to protect high-value items usually choose safes with these rating.

UL TRTL-30.  Safes with this rating are able to resist entry for a net working time of 30 minutes using a variety of high powered tools AND cutting torches against the door. It is also able to resist an additional 8 minutes of net working time on the body.

Who uses them? Jewelers, collectors, and people looking to protect high-value items usually choose safes with these rating.

UL TRTL-30X6 Safes with this rating are able to resist entry for a net working time of 30 minutes using a variety of high powered tools AND cutting torches against the door. It is also able to resist an additional 30 minutes of net working time on all six sides of the body.

Who uses them? Jewelers, collectors, and people looking to protect high-value items usually choose safes with these rating.

Guideline on Safes and Content Value

Below is a guideline that list the type of safes and content value.  Bear in mind that this is just a guideline.  It is important to speak to your insurance broker before purchasing a safe. He may be able to give additional recommendations on the type of safe that would ultimately reduce the insurance premium you need to pay even if it means purchasing the more expensive option.

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 714-528-3984, or reach out to us through the website here .

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