9 Best Biometric Safes | February 2017
- good for storing important documents
- quick access fingerprint scanner
- not fire- or water-proof
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- great value at its reasonable price
- will last for years
- only offers four-digit combinations
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- made with laser cut precision
- narrow design fits in small spaces
- inside padding could be updated
|Brand||Viking Security Safe|
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
- concealed door hinges
- two padded and removable shelves
- black epoxy painted finish
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- can store up to 30 fingerprints
- includes handy user manual
- solid steel locking bolts
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- good for commercial use
- runs on 4 aa batteries
- black textured military finish
|Brand||Viking Security Safe|
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
- spring-loaded door opens easily
- dual low battery warnings
- compact size makes it easy to move
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
- pre-drilled anchor points
- includes two backup keys
- inside offers lots of depth
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
- responsive led lighting
- mirco-usb rechargeable battery
- 16-gauge carbon steel construction
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
Give Thieves The Finger
Biometrics is a pretty broad term; it can refer to any means by which a person's biological markers or behaviors betray their identity. It can include anything from your fingerprints to your footprints, from your iris to the physical ticks that tell your poker opponents that you're bluffing (though technically, your opponent would have to be a computer for the data recorded to be considered biometric).
It wasn't long ago that these kinds of devices existed purely in the realm of science fiction, but our digital technologies have come so far in such a relatively short period of time that we now have biometric scanning to unlock our cell phones and computers.
For a safe, there could be no more secure method of ensuring the protection of the precious contents within. Even without biometric protections, the weight of a safe, the thickness of its metals, and the security of its locking mechanisms and seals make it a perfect place to store whatever you don't want stolen.
A biometric safe adds a crucial layer of protection, however, by requiring the presence of your fingerprint to unlock its door. It does so not by taking an image of your fingerprint that could be hacked and recreated by a professional safe-cracker. Instead, it picks up on a given number of unique traits in your fingerprint that make it unlike any other, and then immediately translates that information into a binary code, the presence of which unlocks the safe like a combination.
Now, you might well worry that an intruder could simply cut off your finger and use it to gain access to your safe, but it turns out that the scanners that safe manufacturers employ are activated–woken up, if you will–by the small amounts of electrical charge running through your fingertips. It's the same electrical charge that Scientologists measure during an audit, and it's always there (unless the finger in question is disembodied).
Furthermore, if a safe's sensor utilizes an optical radio frequency for its pattern recognition, these penetrate past layers of dead tissue until they reach a living layer. That way, if you have dry, chapped hands and fingers, your safe will still unlock, but if there's no live tissue to speak of (the disembodied finger) the safe stays shut. Pretty gruesome, right?
Safety In Numbers
When choosing among the safes on our list, you'll notice that the majority of the options we present operate in much the same way. The biometric scanners are almost all uniform, even though there are a few other styles of scanner on the market.
The safes on our list all employ the most secure forms of scanning technology, and they all have thick, heavy metal walls and doors designed to keep your stuff safe from saws and pry bars. The differences among them, then, the aspects upon which you're going to make your decision, are primarily their sizes and their additional locking options.
A few of these safes rely solely on their biometric scanners to open their doors. You simply lay your finger on the scanner and the door unlocks. Others have additional security measures, like digital combination locks with keypads of varying number quantities. If you don't think you're going to need quick access to your safe (like you would to access a gun in the event of an emergency or home invasion, for example), that extra layer of security is probably a good idea.
As far as the size question goes, you're going to have to take a look at all the important documents and items you wish to protect, and figure out how many cubic feet you'll need to store them. Bigger safes tend to be more expensive, but you can't rightly put a price on this level of security.
Finally, there's an additional question of access. The safes on this list can store different numbers of fingerprints depending on which model you pick up. Sometimes, this makes for a nice fail-safe if you have a cut on the finger you'd normally use for recognition. By simply programming in a backup finger, you can enter your safe with ease. This also means you can program your safe to open when touched by a spouse or anyone else to whom you might want to give access, as long as the safe can store the data.
Forgotten Dreams Rekindled
While it's true that biometric scanning has only recently jumped off the science fiction page and into our lives, human beings have long used their fingerprints and hand prints as a means of identifying themselves.
Archeologists have discovered fingerprints on pottery, seals, and clay tablets from ancient Babylonia, as well as on clay Babylonian legal documents into which the parties would depress their thumbprints as a signature. Ancient Egypt, Greece, and China all have similar historical findings.
In the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave in southern France in 1994, three speleologists discovered what are widely considered to be the oldest cave paintings known to man. The cave is the subject of a beautiful documentary by Werner Herzog entitled Cave of Forgotten Dreams, and in it, one of the archeologists and art historians explains the presence of a peculiar marking at the cave entrance and elsehwere throughout the cave.
As she walks Herzog through the space, she points out what look like little red smudges covering one rock by the cave entrance, and appearing next to a large number of the paintings, as well. Upon close inspection, we see that these are actually hand prints, a kind of signature left by the artist some 32,000 years ago.
Many millennia later, at the turn of the 20th century CE, Juan Vucetich, an Argentinian police officer, began to use fingerprints as a means of identifying criminals who had been present at the scene of a crime. His work, along with several published theories that informed him along the way, would go on to create the fingerprinting technologies that still dominate the landscape of forensic science, and which are the primary drivers behind biometric technology.