College Student Buying Guide: Safes

As much as we’d like to trust everyone around us, having a layer of material protection in a college dorm, apartment, fraternity, or sorority is extremely important. Purchasing a safe should be one of the top three purchases when moving to college.

When determining the best safe for a dorm room, it’s important to purchase a safe dependent on the space where you can best conceal the safe itself. In addition, it’s important to purchase one based on the security features of a key vs. digital lock, as well as fireproofing and waterproofing.

In the list below, we’ve listed our top three safes to buy for college.

Should I get a Safe for My Dorm?

If there are items kept in your dorm room that would cause concern for others possessing (e.g. social security card), then yes, you should purchase a safe. In addition, if there are sentimental items that you want to keep secure, it’s important to have the ability to do so.

What Items Should you Put in Your College Dorm Safe

This is your spot to keep important items such as your social security card, passport, excess money, or anything you find valuable in your life. You should always apply one rule when figuring out what to put in your safe: would someone be inclined to take this item from you for any reason, or would you be upset if the item was taken? If so, you’ll want to put it away in your safe.

Where Should you Keep your Safe in Your College Dorm

Out of sight, out of mind; this is the number one rule to apply when finding a place to store your safe. Since it’s not necessarily feasible to buy a heavy, bolted/permanent safe for your dorm, it’s best to tuck it away somewhere. Our recommendations would either be in an under-bed container, in the back of an armoire, or in the back of a closet covered by clothes.

What Features Should you Look for When Buying a Safe for a Dorm

There are several items that you should pay attention to when deciding to buy a safe:

  • Fireproof and Waterproof: In the case of a fire or flood, do you want to be sure that your items are protected? The majority of high-end safes have some kind of guarantee on their ability to block out fires or water for a certain period of time. The more expensive the safe, usually the longer it will withstand. Cheaper safes usually don’t offer this option.
  • Size: Do you want to go with a lightweight safe that is small and can be tucked away? When going with a small safe, you can hide it better, but it also poses the risk of being picked up and taken. On the other hand, you can opt for a larger safe that is more difficult to move, but it will likely draw more attention than you want. Be sure to also think about how much you actually need to store in your safe.
  • Accessibility: Do you want the ability to open the safe with a physical key or have a digital keypad? Having a key is convenient, however it requires the need to be cognizant of where you set your keys for the safe. On the other hand, digital keypads can provide more security, but assuming you will easily be able to remember your code. Remember when purchasing a safe with a digital keypad, use very trusted, name brand batteries. The last thing you want is for your keypad to die and you struggle to get your safe door open. Don’t worry too much though, most safes with digital keypads have backup keys to open the safe, should you not be able to get in.

What are the Best Safes to buy for College?

1. SentrySafe H0100 Fireproof Waterproof Box

First on the list, as well as our best recomemndation, is the SentrySafe H0100 Fireproof Waterproof box. This is a great option to store in small places due to the extremely small size of the box. The dimensions are 14.3″ wide, 13″ deep, and 6.1″ tall. The safe is also lightweight at 17 pounds, making it portable. In addition, the safe can be purchased for less than $40, making it the most affordable option. The only downfall of the safe is that it requires a key to open, therefore you need to be careful on where you choose to store the key to the safe.


  • Fireproof up to 1/2 hour at 1500 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Waterproof for up to 72 hours
  • Small size and lightweight, allowing storage in many places
  • Extremely affordable


  • Requires a key to open, therefore can be less secure if your key is laying around
  • Due to the small size, very few items can be stored within the safe (good for social security cards, passports, etc.)

2. AmazonBasics Steel, Security Safe Lock Box

Amazon has their own brand of a safe and it’s a great option. The safe is a good size and affordable, but it poses problems as it is not fireproof or waterproof. The safe measures 13.8″ wide, 9.8″ deep, and 9.5″ tall. Similar to the SentrySafe H0100, the safe is 17 pounds, making it portable if needed. If you’re not worried about your items being protected from fire or floods, this is your best option.


  • Secured with a keypad, no need for a physical key
  • Affordable
  • Small size and lightweight, allowing storage in many places
  • Heavy duty steel construction


  • Due to affordability of a digital keypad and size, the safe is not fireproof or waterproof
  • Due to the small size, very few items can be stored within the safe (good for social security cards, passports, etc.)

3. SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof/Waterproof Safe

Our recommendation, if money isn’t a problem, is the SentrySafe SFW123GDC. This safe is the largest, but also the most expensive. The safe features a keypad, allowing you to set your own password without the need of a key. The safe measures at 16.3″ wide, 19.3″ deep, and 17.8″ tall. The safe is on the heavier side and weighs 87 pounds, so you likely won’t see a random person trying to carry it out of your room.


  • Fireproof up to 1 hour at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Waterproof for up to 24 hours at 8 inches
  • Can withstand falls up to 15 feet during a fire and stay closed
  • Secured with a keypad, no need for a physical key


  • Large size may require more space than other safes
  • More expensive than other options
  • May attract unwanted attention from others if not able to be hidden

Head back and check out our other recommended college products