“ Manufacturer: Micromark / Type: Digital safe „
I originally bought two of these safes as an answer to sibling argument. When younger my boys were constantly accusing each other of coming into bedrooms and taking "stuff" - resulting in quarrels which completely drove me up the wall as I tried to mediate. A solution appeared in the shape of these safes; I bought them one each for Christmas one year and magically the fights stopped.
When I was a child I felt a strong need to have a place which was secret and my own - I think my boys enjoyed the feeling of being able to lock private things away from prying eyes ... and to this day I have never told them that I possess a set of keys that let me into both safes if necessary! Ten years later the Micromark safe still seems to be popular and sold in many stores. They boys still use their safes even though they are now in their late teens and twenties; the safes still operate as well as the day they were bought.
~~ Description ~~
The safe itself is not huge, measuring 25cm by 35cm and being 25cm deep. It is heavy to carry around at 9.5kg, but not too heavy to move. It is recommended that the user attaches the safe to a wall or floor, using the large bolts and pre-drilled holes in the back and bottom of the safe, but I have never done this as they do not contain anything very valuable.
My safe is a cream colour, but they are also available in grey and black. The paint is very tough and has a slightly raised feel to it. Nearly the entire front is taken up with the thick door, which has the opening device attached to it.
The opening device consists of a keypad on the right, with 3 different coloured lights above. The keypad has the numbers 1 to 0 with an A and a B key as well. To the left is the turning handle which opens the safe when the correct key is entered - and in the middle is a plain plate. This plate can be prised off easily with fingernails, to reveal the keyhole beneath. Using the master key in this keyhole enables the keypad to be over-ridden at any time.
On the inside of the door is a sliding black plate with large ridges for purchase. Sliding this plate out reveals the battery compartment.
Inside the safe the space is H24.6, W34.6, D19.2cm. The space is empty of shelves or divisions, but has a felt floor covering to prevent slippage. The space is big enough to store a number of documents or small boxes.
~~ Operation ~~
To operate the digital combination lock you must insert the AA batteries which are supplied. The safe comes with a factory pre-set code but you can input your own code very easily by opening the door, pressing the RESET button and entering your own 8 digit code, followed by either the A or the B button.
To open the safe you enter your code. If it is correct the green light will show and the buzzer will bleep. The green light will then flash for 5 seconds and you must open the door within this time before it automatically locks again.
If the wrong code is entered the yellow light will flash and the buzzer will bleep 3 times as a warning.
The red and green lights on the safe indicate that the batteries need replacing - when both red and green lights show it is necessary to change the batteries to prevent the code from being lost from the memory.
All of this sounds quite scary - but I have always been totally relaxed about the codes as I have the secret access keys hidden away in my bedroom. These two keys are supplied with the safe and by clicking off the small plastic cover next to the key pad, the safe can easily be opened with the key. Neither of my boys have ever forgotten their code and I have never told them that key access is possible - it is a reassuring thought that I can open the safe if I need to, but I think they prefer to think of themselves as being the only person with the secret code.
~~ Burglar proof? ~~
The safe is made from toughened steel which is 2mm thick in the body and 3mm thick on the doors. If I had bolted the safe to the wall I am sure it would be enough to put off the casual opportunist thief, but I have always regarded these safes more as toys than real security items.
I am sure that most professional burglars would not find access any problem at all - and I have always felt that putting any valuables inside would be a mistake. It would be a clear signal to burglars that I had something valuable to steal and I'm sure it wouldn't take them long to get inside the safe. If I had something of real value to hide away I would spend a lot more on a different type of security and make sure that it was hidden away somewhere less obvious.
In addition the safes are not fireproof, so any ideas that I may have had about putting the deeds to the house or my will inside were quickly discarded.
~~ Recommended? ~~
I would recommend these safes, but really only as toys. The boys were so excited to get these as presents and have used them continuously for years. I feel that they were good value and they have lasted really well.
Micromark offer a key replacement service so that the safe is never permanently locked. In addition the safe is guaranteed for 2 years.
I bought my safe for £30 at the time. Argos currently sell the safe for £45 but they are frequently in the sales at anything from £35 to £39.