by Robert Fox
With regards to the SentrySafe SFW123DSB , there is a fair bit to discuss.
Generally priced at around $150, what you get when you purchase this safe is one solid steel exterior fire and moisture resistant safe measuring 17.8 by 16.3 by 19.3 inches on the outside (H x W x D) and 13.8 by 12.6 by 11.9 on the inside and weighing in at 101 pounds.
The SentrySafe SFW123DSB, in terms of keeping things organized, is designed to be adjustable and has plenty of space. The above dimensions are exact, so if you're not sure, you may want to measure whatever it is you plan to put into the safe before assuming it will fit.
Some customers have complained about this, but the dimensions are given by the manufacturer.
Style wise, the SentrySafe SFW123DSB is … well, what can we say, its a safe. It isn't ugly on the exterior, and gives the sense of protection a safe should. With the exception of the logo on the top right, the SentrySafe is pure practicality.
The safe has a space inside which is divided by a shelf, but it also has a rack on the inside of the door for keys and such, as well as a couple of pockets.
SentrySafe puts a huge emphasis on this safe being meant to protect your belongings from both fire and water damage.
As SentrySafe shows in some of their promotional videos, tragic fires that occur are one of the main reasons to get yourself one of these safes, because, when all is said and done, the SentrySafe SFW123DSB will be possibly one of the only items in a person's home that can survive the destruction caused by a fire.
As with fire damage, water damage is something that SentrySafe SFW123DSB can withstand as well. If your basement floods, and you come home to find your safe submerged in water, there is a good chance everything inside it will be ok. That said, if the safe is underwater too long, water can eventually breach the safe.
This safe is heavy and very awkward to lug around, to the point where most thieves would have difficulty picking it up and carrying it away with them. If they did, it would probably be accompanied with a lot of grunting and swearing.
In fact, many customers have mentioned that just carrying it around their home is a major pain, and you will probably find that it isn't something you'll want to relocate very often once you find a place for it.
It is easier to lift and move while still in its box than it is when you're holding the safe by itself, so you might want to hang on to its box just in case.
That said, the safe does come with a bolt down kit, so once you've bolted it to your floor, its not going anywhere. Some owners of this safe have mentioned that the safe can be awkwardly rolled or pushed along, so this is another reason to use the bolt down kit.
If a thief can't lift the safe, either because its bolted down, or because its too heavy and unwieldy, then their remaining option is to attack the safe with something like a crowbar or try to crack the combination lock. One more thing that this SentrySafe SFW123DSB really excels at is resisting brute force attacks.
As mentioned at the outset, it has a pry-resistent hinge bar, and 1 inch live locking steel bolts to keep thieves out. We have seen many instances where this safe has actually been attacked, and it has stood up remarkably well - we've never heard of a situation where someone has broken into this safe using brute force.
Up next, we have the combination lock. There is one combination which is set by SentrySafe, and you'll find it on the back of the manual. You, the user, cannot change the combo yourself. This isn't like other products where you can "reset" the code.
You have one combination, so you'll need to know what it is. The chances of a thief getting past the combination lock means that the thief in question will need to be safe cracker.
Here is a picture of this safe after it was attacked by a thief with a crowbar. They didn't get in.
So far, we've mentioned everything that is positive about the SentrySafe SFW123DSB, but now its time to talk about some of the issues customers have encountered with it.
First, we should talk about condensation. Some customers have brought this up, and it is worth mentioning, because it is definitely a consideration when buying this safe if you want to use it to protect valuable items that are also somewhat fragile.
Because of the insulation used to make this safe fire resistant, there seems to be an issue with condensation inside of the safe, making it questionable as to whether you should be putting in your expensive watches, your microfiche, or anything that is overly sensitive to moisture.
There are a few workarounds for this problem that other customers have suggested, such as silica crystals or salt. SentrySafe suggest airtight containers for extra sensitive items.
This information hasn't stopped customers from rating it highly, but it does seem to scare off some people, as SentrySafe absolves themselves of damages to products you choose to put inside the safe.
We should also mention that some customers have had second thoughts due to the dial and the handle on the front of the safe being made of plastic, and therefore less secure.
While there's no arguing that that thick plastic parts do not compare with steel in terms of toughness, we could remind the buyer that this is not a $2000 safe, this is a $150 dollar safe, and you get what you pay for.
Besides, even if a thief were able to bash in the combo lock or destroy the handle, they still won't have gotten inside the safe itself.
This is a great safe, for the price. The cons are very much outweighed by the pros of having a safe like this, and we feel that if you have valuables you want protected, this SentrySafe SFW123DSB is an excellent option.
Watch this video of the SentrySafe SFW123CS review, which is almost identical to the SFW123DSB .
About Robert Fox
Rob Fox is a former hydro worker who used to teach self defence in Miami for 10 years. He's currently enjoying his retirement, playing cribbage and golf with his buddies, locksmithing and home security in his spare time. Rob is an avid reader, and has even written a few books on the subject of self defence.