The Best Smart Safes

If you’re searching for a way to keep your firearms and valuables secure, check out our top smart safes.

Catherine McNally
Mar 04, 2024
Icon Time To Read9 min read

There comes a time in every parent’s life when hiding things in drawers and on shelves just doesn’t work anymore. If your baby is making moves and grabbing onto furniture, it’s time to get a gun safe that can keep your firearms locked up and out of reach.

Best safe features comparison
Product name
Primary locking mechanism
Interior dimensions
Learn more
Liberty HDX-250 Smart Vault*

Fingerprint scanner

3.75 x 9.75 x 11 in.

Hornady RAPiD Safe 2600KP

RFID

7 x 7.7 x 2.2 in.

VAULTEK VT 20i

Fingerprint scanner

11x 5.75 x 2 in.

Barska Biometric Rifle Safe AX11652

Fingerprint scanner

9.7x 7.63 x 52 in.

Data effective 08/22/2023. Offers subject to change.

*Currently not sold by the manufacturer on Amazon

Even if your “baby” has flown the nest already, a smart safe box is a worthwhile investment. There are just some valuables—like passports, family jewelry, birth certificates, and more—that most of us feel uncomfortable leaving in a filing cabinet. Advancements in biometric tech (fingerprint scanning) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) safes mean you’ll still have quick access to these items when you need it. Not to mention they’ll be safe from prying eyes, natural disasters, theft, or worse.

If it seems like everything is becoming “smart” these days, you’re not wrong. You’ll find futuristic tech in thermostats, door locks, and even light bulbs, Safes are no exception, and we took a close look at biometric scanners, RFID scanners, sizes, and other features to decide which smart vaults will keep your possessions secret and secure.

Who makes the best biometric safe?

The Liberty HDX-250 Smart Vault Safe slides into first place, all thanks to its impressive “FBI-certified” biometric fingerprint scanning technology.

Best overall: Liberty 9G HDX-250 Smart Vault

Features

  • Access: Finger swipe (up to 15 fingerprints)
  • Construction: 14-gauge steel door
  • Extras: Reinforced anti-pry latch
  • Interior size: 3.75 x 9.75 x 11 in.; fits roughly one handgun plus magazines and accessories
  • Noise: Mechanical noise when safe opens
  • Weight: 15.5 lbs.

What we like

Size

The HDX series comes in three sizes: the Liberty HDX-150 gun safe, the mid-sized Liberty HDX-250, and the larger Liberty HDX-350. We prefer the HDX-250 because it’s the perfect balance between size and price. It’s large enough for a handgun and some magazines or passports, jewelry, and other important documents, and only costs a little more than the HDX-150.

Responsive manufacturer

Let’s face it—with enough time, tools, and muscle, almost any safe can be busted open. But Liberty stands apart because it actively addresses security issues found in its safes.

One reviewer outlined security vulnerabilities they had found in the Liberty HDX-250 biometric gun safe, as well as the updates the company added to its new design to remove those flaws.1 Color us impressed.

What we don't like

Difficulty closing the door

We noticed the door sometimes needs a forceful push to get it to shut and lock. This may not be an issue if your safe is mounted, but it could cause the safe to slip around if it’s not.

Best RFID gun safe: Hornady RAPiD Safe 2600KP

Features

  • Access: RFID wristband, fob, or sticker
  • Construction: 14-gauge steel with 2 hardened internal locking lugs
  • Extras: 1,500-lb. rated security cable and pre-drilled mounting holes; fits in most glove boxes
  • Interior size: 7 x 7.7 x 2.2 in.; fits most compact and subcompact guns
  • Noise: Noisy keypad access, silent RFID access, mechanical noise when safe opens
  • Weight: 8 lbs.

What we like

Multiple access options

Some people like key fobs; some like wristbands. And others prefer stickers. (Yes, stickers.) If one of these choices tickles your fancy, this RFID gun safe has you covered.

It also comes with a backup key or PIN access in case you lose your RFID accessory or it stops working.

Reliability

If your gun safe needs a name, we think “Old Reliable” is fitting for the 2600KP. While some reviewers reported issues getting other fingerprint safes to open every time, most said Hornady’s RFID technology was easy to program and use consistently.

What we don't like

Troublesome RFID stickers

If a sticker is more your style, watch out for a few limitations. A thick phone case or wallet could prevent the RFID sensors from detecting the sticker and opening your safe.

If you run into this issue, you could place the sticker on the outside of your case instead, but the logo may make it obvious that it’s the key to your safe. And you’ll risk additional wear and tear on the edges of the sticker.

Limited space for larger handguns and items

Most handguns with four-inch barrels or revolvers with two-inch barrels will fit like a charm inside this gun safe. Anything larger, and you may want to upgrade to the Hornady 2700KP.

There’s also limited space for other valuables. Need to keep documents safe? Better fold them to fit them in the 2600KP. Small pieces of jewelry or passports and social security cards might fit, but we think your money will be better spent on a larger biometric safe if that’s what you want to keep secure.

Best biometric pistol safe: VAULTEK VT 20i

Features

  • Access: Fingerprint (up to 20 fingerprints)
  • Construction: 16-gauge carbon steel construction
  • Extras:  Integration with VAULTEK Smart App; fits in most glove boxes
  • Interior size: 11 x 5.75 x 2 in.; fits a Smith & Wesson 686 revolver or 2 Glock 19s, plus many other combinations of handguns with magazines and accessories
  • Noise: Beeps when opened; silent mode available in app
  • Weight: 5 lbs.

What we like

Extra app functionality

The VAULTEK VT 20i was the only gun safe we found that came paired with a free app. Once you add your safe to your account, you can remotely monitor the battery levels, track usage history and tamper alerts, unlock the safe, and turn off the sound.

We will say the app isn’t perfect—the Bluetooth connection can be sketchy. But overall, it provides an extra level of monitoring that can help ease some anxieties you might have while not at home.

Rechargeable battery pack

The included lithium-ion battery promises four to six months of life, and you can monitor it closely on the app. When the power levels start to drop, just plug the battery in and recharge it—no more running to the store to pick up new batteries.

What we don't like

Unreliable fingerprint scanner

We like to joke that technology is amazing—until it isn’t. Case in point: the VT 20i’s fingerprint reader can take several tries to get a clear scan. Luckily, the keypad provides quick backup access if you’re in a rush and can’t get a good read on your fingertips.

A possible workaround: add multiple scans of your index finger, or scan all of your fingertips on both hands. The VT 20i allows you to store up to 20 fingerprints, so that’s two hands’ worth of IDs for both you and one other person you trust.

Price

The VT 20i runs on the pricey side, at least in terms of smaller gun safes. For about $100 less, you can safely stash your handgun in the Hornady or a similar handgun safe.

Best for long guns: Barska Biometric Rifle Safe AX11652

Features

  • Access: Fingerprint (up to 120 fingerprints)
  • Construction: 2 mm.-thick steel construction (about 12 gauge) and 3 pry-proof steel deadbolts
  • Extras:  Tamper-proof inner edges
  • Interior size: 9.7 x 7.63 x 52 in.; fits up to 4 long rifles (without scopes) plus handguns, ammunition, and accessories on the top shelf
  • Noise: Beeps when fingerprint scanner is in use and when opened; silent mode available
  • Weight: 66 lbs.

What we like

Emergency battery pack

If you hear the cringe-worthy sound of all your electronics shutting off at once thanks to a power outage, don’t worry, because Barska has your back. This biometric safe comes with an emergency battery pack you can hook up to the fingerprint scanner, so you’ll still have access.

Multiple fingerprint scans

Scan away to your heart’s content: this biometric gun safe can store up to 120 unique IDs.

Our tip? Scan each finger on each hand in multiple ways (diagonally, to the side, high on the scanner, low on the scanner, etc.) so you can reliably open your safe in a flash. Then repeat the process with anyone else you trust with access.

What we don't like

No padding inside

We have to admit the interior leaves a little to be desired. Aside from a foam rack that allows you to stack your firearms, the inside of this gun safe has no padding, just bare steel walls.

That being said, it’s possible and fairly inexpensive to jury-rig some padding with extra carpet or foam you might have on hand.

Size

If we had three wishes, one of them would be that the Barska Biometric Rifle Safe was just a tiny bit bigger. Its smaller size means you’ll have to diagonally store tactical weapons like an AR-15 or anything with optics attached, which also means you won’t fit four firearms inside.

Recap

  • The Liberty 9G HDX-250 Smart Vault has room for your valuables and a handgun, plus the biometric scanning tech is pretty reliable.
  • The Hornady RAPiD Safe 2600KP unlocks with a variety of reliable RFID access options and can travel with you in your glove box.
  • The VAULTEK VT 20i comes with a feature-loaded app for monitoring battery levels, tamper logs, and more while you’re away, but the fingerprint scanner has issues.
  • The Barska Biometric Rifle Safe AX11652 stores up to 120 fingerprints so you can gain quick access to your long guns, though the interior leaves a little to be desired with no padding and limited space.

Best water and fire resistant safes

You’ll notice our top picks for biometric safes aren’t listed as water or fire resistant.

While searching for the best smart safes, we noticed that those also rated for water or fire resistance received poor reviews—or cost thousands of dollars. So we weeded them out of the final list of high-quality picks.

But if you are searching for a high-quality, durable safe to protect important documents and valuable from a fire, flood, or even theft, we think these safes are better equipped to do the trick.

Best overall—SentrySafe Fire-Resistant & Water-Resistant Safe

Features

  • Fire-resistance: UL-classified for 1 hr. in up to 1,700°F
  • Water-resistance: ETL-verified in up to 8 in. for up to 24 hrs.
  • Lock type:  Digital combination
  • Weight: 86.6 lbs.
  • Interior size: 11.9 x 12.6 x 13.9 in.
  • View on Amazon

Best budget pick—First Alert 2037F Water & Fire Protector Chest

Features

  • Fire-resistance: UL-classified for 30 mins in up to 1,550°F
  • Water-resistance: Waterproof safe seal allows chest to float during a flood
  • Lock type:  Key
  • Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Interior size: 8.58 x 13.23 x 2.91 in.
  • View on Amazon

Good but pricey—Mesa Safe MBF1512C

Features

  • Fire-resistance: UL-classified up to 2 hrs in 350°F
  • Water-resistance: None
  • Lock type:  Combination
  • Weight: 140 lbs.
  • Interior size: 12.5 x 14.25 x 16.5 in.
  • View on Amazon

What to look for when searching for an RFID or biometric safe

Reliable access

You’re locking your valuables away for safety, but you don’t want to deal with a finicky fingerprint scanner when you need them.

When looking at biometric or RFID safes, try to get a feel for how reliable the fingerprint scanner or RFID reader is by testing it in person or reading what reviewers have to say. All the safes we chose here tested well for reliability, but you may still run into issues in some cases. After all, technology isn’t perfect 100% of the time.

Some problems, like a dirty scanner, are easy to fix. If you choose a biometric safe, be sure to clean the fingerprint reader often with a Q-tip. Cuts, sweaty fingers, and dirt can cause fingerprint reader issues. One easy way to get around this is by scanning all 10 of your fingers—and if your safe has room for more IDs, scan them in multiple positions. That way, if your index finger or other preferred fingertip doesn’t work, you have nine backups ready to go.

Similarly, dying batteries can cause issues, so swap old ones out with new ones—and stick with the recommendations made by the manufacturer.

Size

Are you looking for a biometric pistol safe, or do you need something larger for long guns, documents, jewelry, or other valuables?

Regardless, check out the interior dimensions of each safe to get a better idea of what items can fit inside. Some handgun-safe manufacturers even offer life-size printouts of safe interiors on their websites, so you can place items on the printout to see what fits.

Keep in mind: safes look bigger on the outside, so you might have less interior space than you think. It pays to check the dimensions.

Construction

A steel safe is all well and good, but the truth is, not all steel safes are made equal. Keep an eye out for the gauge of steel—the lower the number, the heavier duty it is. That means a 10-gauge steel safe is sturdier than a 14-gauge steel safe. You’ll see we’ve recommended some 14-gauge steel safes with high-tech features, but for the highest possible security overall, we recommend no thinner than 10-gauge steel, or around 2.5 mm. thick.

However, even 10-gauge steel can be cut with the right tools, and you’ll be paying close to a thousand dollars or more for safes with even sturdier construction. Since small safes are more prone to simply being carried off rather than cracked open right in your home, you may be able to sacrifice a bit of sturdiness for a lower price. (And be sure to mount your safe to a wall or the floor to prevent it from being removed.)

It’s also important to do your research: are there any videos or articles about your model of safe being hacked or broken into? If so, has the manufacturer responded by updating the design or materials?

If your biometric gun safe keeps your home defense handgun secure, you may also be interested in our reviews of the best home security systems that can provide another layer of protection.

Sources

Catherine McNally
Written by
Catherine McNally
Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel guides to stories on Medium. She’s been online since AOL CDs were a thing and is an unapologetic PC gamer. She believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, and writes reviews and guides to help everyone stay connected. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

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