Shopping for a Gun Safe: Important Buying Factors
When shopping for the best nightstand gun safe, there are a few important buying factors to take into consideration. These factors can help you determine which is the perfect model for your needs and makes it easier to figure out which gun vault you ought to buy. Below, we’ve listed the most important factors we use when buying any type of gun security box/handgun safe:
Gun safes can vary quite a bit in both exterior and interior dimensions. Before you buy, make sure to double-check whether the safe is large enough to house your firearms. Also consider whether you want to store additional belongings and/or ammo in the safe, as this means you may need to size up to a larger model. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure the gun vault fits on the surface where you intend to place it!
Do you want a safe with a classic lock or a fancy biometric lock? These days, most gun vaults on the market have been upgraded with biometric features, meaning you can open them with the swipe of your fingerprint. The advantage of a biometric gun safe is that your guns are better protected against unauthorized access. For example, a safe with a keypad code can be opened by anyone with the code. However, a fingerprint scanner only allows access to gun owners whose metrics have been uploaded to the system. This means your kids and/or other prying eyes can’t just steal the code or try to crack it. That said, biometric safes can also be a bit pricier than basic, non-biometric ones. However, we’d still recommend choosing biometric if you have the option, as the convenience and extra security are worth the extra few dollars.
Always choose a gun safe that comes with a backup key. Whether it’s a keypad model or a biometric fingerprint scanner: you may at some point need to access it the old-fashioned way. For example, when your safe runs out of batteries and you can no longer use the scanner. Just make sure to hide the backup key in a secure location, as this could compromise the safe if you just leave it lying around.
If you plan to place the safe on a nightstand or bedside counter, make sure the surface can support the weight of the safe. There are some ultralight gun safes on the market that weigh just 1 lb, but also heavy-duty options that can weigh up to 30 lbs. The weight of the safe also impacts how easy it is to move. So, if you plan on moving it around (for example, taking it with you to your summer cabin, etc.), consider its weight before buying.
Always double-check the quality of the safe’s material. Though most gun vaults feature solid steel construction, the quality of the steel used can differ. How to check that a gun safe is the right kind of steel? Simple: the thicker the steel, the more durable and pry-resistant. In this case, pay attention to the gauge steel description. The gauge of the steel indicates the thickness. The lower the gauge, the thicker the sheets of steel used. Yes, that may sound a bit contradictive, but in this case, a lower gauge steel number is better than higher gauge steel. For example, a gun vault with a 10-gauge steel construction features thicker walls than an 18-gauge steel vault. Though the difference may only be minor, every extra millimeter of steel thickness can make a difference to the vault’s durability and tamper-resistance.
Another tip: also double-check the materials used for the door and locking system. Whilst some manufacturers will mention a 10-gauge steel construction, this may only apply to certain parts of the vault. We’ve heard complaints from gun owners that though the safe’s body was solid, the locking system and bolts were made of flimsy alloys: which is not what you want.
We are not saying you should only buy gun safes from established brands, but we do recommend it if you want to buy with confidence. Various high-quality brands on the market are known for their excellent attention to detail, reliability, and durability. For example, GunVault. When you buy from an unknown, second-rate brand, you risk getting a low-grade vault that doesn’t meet the requirements. By purchasing from an established brand in the vault, you at least have the peace of mind that the product should live up to expectation.
Plus, many first-class US0-based brands, like GunVault, offer a warranty or guarantee on their products, which means they are covered against defects for an extended period. Yes, buying from a brand can be a bit pricier than buying from a budget-friendly yet unknown manufacturer, but for the extra peace of mind and level of service, we think that money is well spent.