Burglar Ratings Explained

A safe, as defined by Webster’s dictionary is, “a container for keeping articles (as valuables) safe”. By that definition even a fishing tackle box could be considered a safe, but I certainly would not trust a tackle box to secure my valuables.

Not all safes are created equal. It is important to understand what kind of security a safe offers to avoid a false sense of security.

The burglar rating or classification of a safe indicates the degree of protection that a safe will provide its contents in the case of attempted burglary. Safes are classified using two different methods: Construction Ratings and Test Performance Ratings.

Construction classification is determined by the material specifications of the safe. To receive a performance rating, the safe must both be built to a construction specification and be independently tested via attempted break-in by a 3rd party to make sure it meets the performance standard and thus, becomes certified.

UL Test Performance Rating builds upon the construction standard and takes it to the next level.

Construction Ratings:

  • Standard established by the insurance industry
  • Standard which outlines materials and thickness

UL (Underwriters Laboratory) Test Performance Ratings:

  • Industry standard completely independent of manufacturer testing
  • Indicate a minimum standard of performance during testing
  • Testing performed by seasoned UL technicians who are, effectively, professional safecrackers
  • Net attack time only includes “tools on the safe” time – time spent thinking, switching tools, or any other work disruption is not counted

UL Test Performance Ratings

UL RSC Level I

The UL Residential Security Container (RSC) Level I rating is applied to safes that withstood an attack with the following conditions:

  • 5-minute net attack
  • 1 UL safe technician
  • Tool set is typical household tools

UL RSC Level II

The UL RSC (residential security container) Level II rating is applied to safes that withstood an attack with the following conditions:

  • 10-minute net attack
  • 2 UL safe technicians
  • Tool set is much more powerful and robust including picks, high-speed carbide drills and pressure applying devices

UL TL-15

The UL TL-15 (tool resistant) rating is the initial entry in commercial grade class protection and indicates the safe successfully resisted entry (opening the door or making a six square inch opening entirely through the door or front face) with the following conditions:

  • 15-minute net attack
  • 2 UL safe technicians
  • RSC Level II tool set

UL TL-30

The UL TL-30 (tool resistant) rating has all the same capabilities as the TL-15 with the added protection of 15 minutes of additional net attack time, for a total of 30 minutes.

UL TRTL-30

The UL TRTL-30 (torch resistant and tool resistant) rated safe has all the same capabilities as the TL-30 with the added protection against oxy-fuel and gas-cutting or welding torches.

UL TRTL-60

The UL TRTL-60 (torch resistant and tool resistant) rated safe has all the same capabilities as the TL-60 with an additional 30 minutes of net attack time, for a total of 60 minutes.

UL TXTL-60

The UL TXTL-60 (torch, tools, and explosive resistant) rated safe offers all the capabilities of the TRTL-60 with the additional protection against explosives.

X6

When x6 is added to the end of a TL or TRTL rating, i.e. TL-15×6 or TL-30×6, the x6 indicates that the safe passed the designated test on all six sides.

Take Note

A ‘better than UL’ safe is not a rating. It is merely a manufacturer’s opinion. Don’t tempt fate with anything other than safes that are UL-listed, backed by an organization that is the gold standard in unbiased product testing and standards.

Construction Ratings

  • B-Rate
    Door with steel less than 1 inch thick, body with steel less than 1/2 inch thick
  • C-Rate
    Door with steel at least 1 inch thick, body with steel at least 1/2 inch thick
  • E-Rate
    Door with steel at least 1-1/2 inch thick, body with steel at least 1 inch thick
  • ER-Rate
    Safe or chest bearing the UL label TL-15 Burglary
  • F-Rate
    Safe or chest bearing the UL label TL-15 Burglary
  • G-Rate / H-Rate
    Safe or chest bearing the UL label TRTL-30 Burglary
  • G-Rate / I-Rate
    Safe or chest bearing one of the following UL labels TRTL-60 Burglary or TXTL-60 Burglary

Choose Your Security Level

Want to learn more?  Check out our Burglar and Fire Protection page.