Category: Jewelry Safes

Burglar Rated Safes

Burglary ratings are a mix of manufacturer standards and Underwriters Laboratory burglar ratings. This is a general guideline that compares safes versus the content value. We recommend contacting your insurance underwriter prior to making a purchase so that you know the right rated safe to purchase for the amount of valuables you are looking to protect.

These ratings and content values are guidelines only:


 Burglar Rating With Burglar Alarm              NO Burglar Alarm      
B-Rate UP TO $10,000    UP TO $5,000
B/C Rate UP TO $20,000    UP TO $10,000
UL RSC UP TO $30,000    UP TO $15,000
C-Rate UP TO $50,000    UP TO $25,000
UL TL-15 UP TO $200,000    UP TO $100,000
UL TL-30 UP TO $375,000    UP TO $195,000
UL TL-30X6 UP TO $500,000    UP TO $275,000
UL TRTL-30X6 UP TO $1,000,000+    UP TO $500,000+


Question: What are these ratings?

Answer: These ratings are based on years of conversations with insurance company underwriters who set the maximum insurable limits for safes for their companies. We have spoken with Lloyds of London, Chubb Insurance, and Jewelers Mutual who insures 75% of all jewelry stores in the United States.

These are guidelines intended to help you decide which burglar rating is best for you. Safe manufacturers do not guarantee these amounts, however, we are sharing them with you to help you make an informed safe buying decision.

Burglary & Gun Safes:

California Department of Justice Construction Standard  (CDOJ)  (This is NOT a TRUE burglar rating.  It is a minimum construction standard)

Regulatory Gun Safe Standards DOJ regulatory standards require a gun safe to meet ALL of the following requirements:

  1. Shall be able to fully contain firearms and provide for their secure storage.
  2. Shall have a locking system consisting of at minimum a mechanical or electronic combination lock.  The mechanical or electronic combination lock utilized by the safe shall have at least 10,000 possible combinations consisting of a minimum three numbers, letters, or symbols.  The lock shall be protected by a case-hardened (Rc 60+) drill-resistant steel plate, or drill-resistant material of equivalent strength.
  3. Boltwork shall consist of a minimum of three steel locking bolts of at least ½ inch thickness that intrude from the door of the safe into the body of the safe or from the body of the safe into the door of the safe, which are operated by a separate handle and secured by the lock.
  4. Shall be capable of repeated use.  The exterior walls shall be constructed of a minimum 12-gauge thick steel for a single-walled safe, or the sum of the steel walls shall add up to at least .100 inches for safes with two walls.  Doors shall be constructed of a minimum of two layers of 12-gauge steel, or one layer of 7-gauge steel compound construction.
  5. Door hinges shall be protected to prevent the removal of the door.  Protective features include, but are not limited to: hinges not exposed to the outside, interlocking door designs, dead bars, jeweler’s lugs and active or inactive locking bolts.

or ALL of the following requirements:

  1. Is listed as an Underwriters Laboratories Residential Security Container;
  2. Is able to fully contain firearms;
  3. Provides for the secure storage of firearms.

Burglary Classification Residential Security Container (RSC) signifies a combination or keylocked unit designed to offer protection against entry by common mechanical tools. Performance tests are conducted against the entire unit. The basic standard used to investigate in this category is UL 1037, “Antitheft Alarms and Devices.

  1. An Anti-theft device, as defined by Paragraph 1.3, shall resist at least 5 minutes of attack that would defeat its purpose.
  2. Any disassembly of the protected property required to make it removable, is to be included in the 5 minutes of attack test.
  3. The tools used in the test are to include hammers, chisels, adjustable wrenches, pry bars, punches and screwdrivers. The hammers are not to exceed 3 pounds in head weight, and no tool is to exceed 18 inches in length.
  4. The product under test is to be mounted securely in its intended position, and the attack is to be carried out by one operator.

Burglar Safes:

Burglar safes are usually made of solid steel plate or a combination of solid steel and composite fill material such as concrete. These safes are divided into categories based on the level of protection delivered and the testing endured. Here we will discuss only seven classes:  B-Rate, U.L. RSC Rating,  B/C Rate, C-Rate, U.L. TL-15, U.L. TL-30 and TL-30 X6.

B-Rate Safes (Also U.L. RSC, Residential Security Containers):

B-Rate is a catch all safe industry rating for essentially any box with a lock on it. The safe industry had an unwritten standard of ¼ inch body, ½ inch door. Today, many safe companies use 1/8″ steel in the body. Some will make both 1/8″ and 1/4″ steel bodies.  The 1/4″ costs more. As steel prices (and shipping costs) increased manufacturers tried many things to reduce their costs. No tests are given to provide this rating. When buying a B-rate safe, look at things such as lock work, hard plates, and relockers.

U.L. Residential Security Container rating (RSC) – This UL rating is based on testing conducted for a net working time of five minutes, on all sides, with a range of tools. Underwriters Lab conducts the test and provides certification to the safe manufacturers.  See U.L. TL-15 and TL-30 descriptions below for “net working time” description.

B/C-Rate Safes

This is a catch all rating for safes with at least a 1/4″ steel body, 1/2 inch door PLUS additional 10 or 12 guage metal layers where composite fire resistant material is also deployed. No tests are given to provide this rating. Look at the lock work, relockers and other features when making your decision.

C-Rate Safes

This is defined as a ½ inch thick steel box with a 1-inch thick door and a lock. As before, NO tests are given to provide this rating. Look at the lock work, relockers and other features when making your decision.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) High Security Burglar Ratings


Safes given a U.L. TL-15 rating have all passed standardized tests defined in UL Standard 687 using the same tools and usually the same group of testing engineers.Construction Requirements

  • U.L. listed Group II, 1 or 1R combination lock.  In addition, these safes may be provided with UL Listed High Security electronic locks which MUST be rated “Type 1”.
  • 750 lbs. minimum or comes with instructions for anchoring in a larger safe, concrete blocks or on the premises where used.
  • Body walls of material equivalent to at least 1″ open hearth steel with 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.
  • One hole 1/4″ or less, to accommodate electrical conductors arranged to have no direct view of the door or locking mechanism.


Net Working Time Definition:

The label means that the safe successfully resisted entry (i.e. opening the door or making a 6″ square opening entirely through the door or front face) for a NET working time of 15 minutes using “…common hand tools, drills, punches hammers, and pressure applying devices.” Net working time means simply “when the tool comes off the safe the clock stops”. There are over fifty different types of attacks that can be used to gain entrance into the safe. Usually they will try only 2 or 3 based on what they know about the product, and they know a lot.

Common Misunderstanding of UL Ratings:

The NET working time of 5 minutes for the RSC Burglar Rating, 15 minutes for the TL-15 and 30 minutes for the TL-30 are often thought to be the amount of time it takes to break into a safe.  This is FALSE. Our safe crackers who are legally breaking into safes for our customers, have the knowledge, correct tools and plenty of time can often take from 1 hour to 8 hours to break into a safe legally.  It all depends on the skill of the safe cracker, how much information he has about the safe construction and even some “luck”.  Any safe can be broken in to.  The higher the UL Burglar Rating, the more time it takes to break into the safe.


Construction requirements are identical to the TL-15 above. Tests are essentially the same as the TL-15 tests except for the net working time. Testors are allowed 30 minutes and a few more tools (abrasive cutting wheels and power saws) to help them gain entrance. The label signifies the testors were unable to open the door or make a 6″ square opening entirely through the door or front face within 30 minutes. Keep in mind these engineers have the manufacturing blue prints and can disassemble the safe being tested before the test begins to see how it works. They know their stuff. TL-30 x 6 – The TL-30 (30-minute) test is conducted on all six (6) sides of the safe.

5 Things To Consider Before You Buy a Safe

Finding the perfect safe can be a difficult task. For over 30 years our goal at Original Safes has been to answer our customers questions in an honest and straight forward way that cuts through all of the hyperbole of rating systems and technical specifications.

Do Your Research Before You Buy a Safe

If you’ve been doing some research you’ll find that most safes sold today are nothing more than a thin metal box. Upon further research you will see that there is more to a safe than you might have originally thought. Search for “Jewelry Safes” on Google and you will find literally hundreds of safe companies that consider themselves “authorities”  in the industry. Many companies proclaim to have expert knowledge about safes and vaults. But they don’t even have a brick and mortar store and only sell online.  They want tell you what you all you are supposed to know about purchasing a safe and offer their “expert opinion” but in actuality have no real world experience in the safe business and are merely online retailers vying for your business.  Look long enough and you’ll begin to see that there is often conflicting data on specifications and recommendations.

Why Is Original Safe Superior To Other Companies?

So you may be thinking why is Original Safe superior to other companies lists and opinions?  For over 3 decades we have been providing our customers with some of the best security products in the industry. Original Safes provide service to most of the safe manufacturers in the U.S. and have extensive real world experience when it comes to safes.  Many customers come to us confused by all of the conflicting information that they have been told about safes and vaults.  Some safe manufacturers will say “that some protection is better than nothing at all” and will try and sell you a cheap safe that can be easily pried open or doesn’t adequately protect your valuables in a fire. In our opinion this is a lazy and dishonest approach and we don’t treat our customers this way merely in order to make a sale. When you stop to consider the reasons to invest in a safe, it really boils down to one critical issue: The contents you wish to protect are usually some of the most important and valuable items you own. It is our responsibility as experts in the safe & vault industry to cut through the rhetoric and misinformation that the internet is filled with and provide you with accurate data so that you can make an informed purchasing decision.

Top 5 Considerations Before Buying a Safe

  1. What size safe should I buy?
    The answer is simple, one that is bigger that you think you need ! The most common thing we’ve heard from thousands of customers we have had through the years is that they did not buy a safe that was big enough and wish they went up a size or two. Pause and consider the value of the contents you’ll be putting in the safe in future years. Bigger is Better when it comes to buying a safe!
  2. What is safe security rating is right for the valuables I need to protect?
    These are the industry guidelines for content value and various levels of security that safes provide. These values are often used for insurance underwriting purposes and are a good guideline for different levels of protection.

    • RSC Up to $5,000 content value- passed a 5 minute attack test,  If this safe had a TL rating it would be a TL-5 , Note, RSC ratings can by applied to low end safes that are easily pried open up to very secure safes that could pass higher rating test but the manufacturers don’t go to the expense of testing them.
    • B-Rated Up to $10,000 content value – 1/2 inch plate door & 1/4 inch body
    • C Rated Up to $30,000 content value 1 inch protection on door & up to 1/2 inch on body
    • U.L. TL-15 Up to $200,000 content value- A TL-15 Rating means the safe door can successfully resist entry for a net assault time of 15 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinders, drills or pressure devices.
    • U.L. TL-30 Up to $375,000 content value -TL-30 means the safe door can pass the same test for 30 minutes. Note that this does NOT include attacks on the sides or top.
    • U.L. TL-30X6 Up to $500,000 to $ 1,000,000 content value-  U L 30 minute attack on all 6 sides of safe
    • U.L. TRTL-30X6 $1,000,000 and up content value- U L 30 minute torch / tool attack on all 6 sides of safe
  3. Should I buy a hidden safe or wall safe?
    Wall safes and concealed or hidden safes are typically not a good place to store your high value items .  By design a wall safe is attached to studs in the wall and could be cut or pried out of the wall by burglars.  Quite often the only fire protection that they provide is limited to the sheetrock in the wall.  As for concealment, 99% of jewelry burglars are going to look for a hidden safe or wall safe and once found they don’t take very long to penetrate.
  4. What fire rating should I look for in a safe?
    Your safes fire rating should be a top consideration. We recommend purchasing at least a 1 hour fire rated safe. Safes with less than an hour fire rating will not provide adequate protection to survive a typical residential or business fire. Why spend thousands on a safe that won’t protect your guns, jewelry, cash or other valuables during a fire? If you are on a limited budget we recommend buying a safe with the highest fire rating you can afford.We recommend looking for a safe with a CERTIFIED  fire rating of 1 hour or greater. If you are thinking of placing any important documents or delicate items in a gun safe consider adding greater protection by investing in a small U.L. rated or U.S. made certified fire box you can place inside of your safe to protect your paperwork and more delicate items.Don’t overlook the fire seal on the door,  Inexpensive big box retailers sell safes that don’t even have fire seals on the door but a fire seal is an important part of a good fire rating.  One important thing the fire seal will do is prevent moisture from entering the safe on a day to day basis. It also helps keep rust and corrosion off of your guns or other valuables.  During a fire the fire seal expands to seal out fire and smoke and preventwater from entering the safe in the course of extinguishing a fire.
  5. Should I buy a Floor Safe?
    Floor safes offer great security if installed in the floor surrounded by concrete but often don’t provide much fire protection. Floor safes offer great protection for valuables due to the body of the safe being encased in concrete on all five sides.  The reason they lack a fire rating is due to the door being exposed with no fire board to dissipate the heat from an intense blaze.  Quite often this leads to the contents being destroyed in a short period of time.