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Is it best to buy a new or a reconditioned second hand safe?

Posted: Wednesday, 20 November 2013 @ 14:03

BDB’s guide to buying new or pre-loved!

Buying a new safe is a big decision and not one to be taken lightly (literally). There are so many different types of safes for different types of use that research is essential. But where do you stand on new or old? Are there any benefits to buying a reconditioned second hand safe over a new one?

We think so…

As safe engineers for many years, we have seen many changes in the way safes are designed and manufactured. Coming soon will be our history of safe manufacture and how it has changed over the decades. For now though, here’s our thoughts on modern versus reconditioned.

There are unfortunately many downsides to the popular modern imported safes. Great Britain was the world’s leading safe and vault manufacturer, with companies like Chubb, Tann, Milners, Chatwood and Ratner. These have since folded and disappeared off the market with only Chubb Safes remaining. Almost all safes are now imported from all over the world from countries like Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, India and China.
As professional award-winning safe engineers one of our jobs is to open locked safes with minimal damage to the safe, leaving it in good working order and without loss of integrity to the unit. We have plenty of experience, and have spent countless hours trying to do the very thing that your safe should be designed to stop happening – breaking in!

Safes we wouldn’t bother with!

If you buy a lightweight safe from a DIY store for around £50 you can expect to find a lightweight steel plate construction which a good tin opener can get into! It will have an electronic lock with a simple override key, and we wouldn’t be confident in the time it would take an attacker to break into it.

In fact, here’s how we would break in:

1. Pick the override key lock: The override key on these cheap safes are a simple camlock and are very easy to pick.
2. Hit the safe! Yes that’s right, no technical skills required. A small solenoid pin is the only thing stopping the handle from turning. Hit the front of the door, bounce it off the floor on its side at the same time as turning the handle. This will be sufficient enough to bounce the solenoid pin and allow the handle to turn.
3. Reset the code. There is a small red button on the inside edge of the hinge side of the lock. Just drill a small hole 4 mm in diameter, then insert a small rod to push the button and reset the code.
4. Remove the front panel: The will create a large hole in the front panel allowing you to insert a wire and push the solenoid pin down and then open the safe.
In all four of the above options you don’t need any special tools but once you are into the safe the replacement parts are not available or cost effective to buy to repair your safe. As the modern safes move up the range you will find better and heavier safes with higher quality locking options.

New or reconditioned?

So do you buy new or reconditioned? Or do you buy modern or traditional? Our view as professional safe engineers is that the more traditional safe will be heavier, have a thicker body and door construction, with better locking options and boltwork and will last without service for many, many years.

New V Old

New: A modern Eurograde 0 with an overnight cash rating of £6000.

• External size: 620 x 440 x 460mm (HWD).
• Internal size: 500 x 320 x 395mm (HWD).
• Weight: 91KG.
• Price: £600.00.

Old: A reconditioned Chubb Safes Leamington MKII with an overnight cash rating of £6000.

• External size: 630 x 530 x 450mm (HWD).
• Internal size: 460 x 360 x 370mm (HWD).
• Weight: 308KG.
• Price: £500.00.

The refurbished Chubb Leamington is heavier and better made, and if refurbished to the correct standard will look as new and last for many years. One person can carry the 91KG modern safe, it would take a few more to move the 308KG Leamington. All safes need to be installed and fitted to AiS standards.

If you’re looking to buy a reconditioned safe, you can check out reconditioned safes.

Where to buy a reconditioned safe? – BDB Lock and Safe

We specialise in reconditioned safes and work to the British Standard’s number BS 7582.1992 code of practice. We ensure that all our reconditioned safes comply with this code of practice, which gives you the peace of mind when buying from us. We change all the key locks and supply with new keys, the combination locks are fully serviced and reset. All internal boltwork is cleaned and lubricated, and all the relocking devices are checked to ensure they are free running and operating to the highest standard. We also spray paint them inside and out, so that they look like new, as well as feel and work like it.