Gun safe vs cabinet – Which one Provides Ultimate Safety

Guns and ammunition are dangerous and you should do everything possible to protect them. What type of safe do you prefer to keep your guns in? Gun safes or cabinets? While some may argue that a gun safe is more secure than a cabinet, many others believe the opposite.

Many homeowners think that a gun safe or vault is the best place for storing a firearm. Gun safes and gun cabinets are very similar, except for the fact that gun safes are smaller and have less room. A gun safe is usually for a home that contains guns and a gun cabinet is for a business that is storing firearms. They both have the same amount of space, and the same amount of safety features, so there really isn’t a huge difference between the two. However, gun cabinets are usually made of wood or steel and can be more expensive to build than a gun safe.

So which is better? I’ll tell you both the benefits and disadvantages of both options.

Gun Safes: What You Need to Know

Gun safes are specifically engineered to store firearms. They are made of durable steel and fire-proof materials. Thus, they become resilient to breaking.

Many prefer them as a go-to gun-storing option for their secretive construction. Some gun-safe models have under-desk safes, which are incredibly difficult to spot.

A 12-gauge steel is used to manufacture an entry-level gun safe, making them quite impossible to cut through. Gun safes are heavy, ranging between 300 – 800 lbs.

Key Features:

  • Advanced lock mechanism
  • Excellent fire rating
  • Super durable, made of 12-gauge, 14-gauge thick steel
  • Features locking bolts, hinges
  • 30 – 200 minutes of fire rating

Gun Cabinets: What You Need to Know

The gun cabinet is the younger brother of the gun safe. This is smaller and less bulky than its elder brother.

Providing basic protection from break-ins is the prime responsibility of gun cabinets. In fact, gun cabinets are an excellent option to keep firearms away from kids, teens, or other intruders.

The steel thickness of gun cabinets is lower than the gun safes, which is 18-gauge. They use advanced locking mechanisms like biometrics, electrical codes, or dial locks.

Key Features:

  • A glass door provides easier access to your firearms
  • Adds an aesthetic visual appearance
  • Affordable price making it suitable for people with a tight budget
  • Lightweight construction for convenient mobility and relocation
  • Individuals can make custom-built gun cabinets as per their preference

Gun Safe vs. Cabinet: A Comparison of Safety

Both gun safes and cabinets are designed to provide ultimate safety to firearms, guns, and other papers. For this reason, they have different built-in safety features.

Gun Safes vs Gun Cabinets: Comparison Table

Feature Gun Safes Gun Cabinets
Security Higher Lower
Accessibility Lower Higher
Cost More Expensive More Affordable
Locking Mechanism Advanced (Biometric, digital, key) Simple (Keyed, steel)
Fire Protection Yes (Some models are fireproof) No
Aesthetics Less Visible, Sleek More Visible, Decorative
Weight Heavier Lighter

Let’s look at the comparison of gun safe vs. cabinet safety.

Steel Thickness

The thickness of the steel is a crucial feature when buying a protection mechanism for your firearms and important belongings.

Manufacturers use 12-gauge, 14-gauge, or higher-thickness steel to make their gun safes. As a result, gun safes are incredibly difficult to cut through or break. The thumb rule is thicker steel is more secure. Generally, 14-gauge steel is the standard thickness of gun safes.

On the other hand, most gun safes are built with 18-gauge steel. Thus, thieves can easily smash down the bodies. Guns safes are extremely cheaper due to their lower steel thickness.

Locking Mechanism

The protection system’s safety significantly relies on its locking mechanism. It is the first thing intruders try to break to access your safe contents.

Gun-safe locking mechanisms differ from model to model. It can be high-end biometric locks, unbranded locks, low-quality and cheaper locks, fingerprint locks, etc. They have locking bolts on the inner sides. Additionally, hinges are available in external or internal areas. All these features confirm utmost safety.

While most gun cabinets feature a basic key lock or a barrel key locking system, making them affordable. Also, sliding bars are available in them that retract from the cabinet door’s top and bottom into the frame. Intruders can open the door using small tools.

Fire Rating

The length of withstanding gunfire by a protection mechanism before breaking is known as fire rating.

Gun safes come with different fire ratings from 30 minutes to 200 minutes. Moreover, some models don’t have a fire rating. It would always be best to choose a gun safe with a high fire rating, depending on your budget.

In comparison, gun cabinets are not resistant to gun firing. Fire rating is an expensive feature, and the price will be higher if this is equipped with gun cabinets. So, incorporating this feature in gun cabinets is impossible.

Choosing the Right Option

Factors to consider

When choosing between a gun safe and a gun cabinet, it is important to consider factors such as security needs, accessibility, and budget. Consider the value of the firearms being stored, the potential risks and hazards, and the intended use of the firearms when making a decision.


For those who place a high value on security and fire protection, a gun safe is the recommended option. For those who prioritize accessibility and affordability, a gun cabinet may be a better choice. Ultimately, the best option will depend on individual needs and preferences.

When Do You Need a Gun Safe?

If you are looking for a storage option offering extreme protection to your valuables and firearms, buy a gun safe.

The reason is that gun safes have thicker steel walls and significant fire ratings, preventing unauthorized access.

When Do You Need a Cabinet?

If you are on a budget, I recommend buying a gun cabinet. This protection mechanism is cheaper for several reasons, such as thinner steel construction, standard locks, zero fire rating, etc.

That is why gun cabinets are cheaper. These are a good choice for basic protection.

Gun Safe: Safety and Security

Gun safes have some unique safety and security features that are discussed below.

Innovative Locking System

Gun safes are equipped with innovative locking systems on the outside. The lock types vary based on the gun-safe model. Most gun safes have biometric locks. This lock type is efficient as nobody can open the safe without your biometrics.

Even some models notify the smartphone when someone tries to break or tamper with the lock.

Thicker Steel Construction

Breaking or cutting the gun-safe walls and doors is a common plan for intruders or burglars. Keeping this point in mind, gun-safe manufacturers build gun safes with thicker 12-gauge or 14-gauge steel. Thus, they become impossible to cut or break. However, most gun safes have 14-gauge thicker steel walls and doors.

Significant Fire Rating

Maximum gun safes are designed with a significant fire rating. This feature is a great way to know how safe your gun is. The low-end gun safe has a fire rating of 3- minutes. On the other hand, some higher models have 200+ minutes of fire rating.

Locking Bolts and Hinges

Locking bolts and hinges are common in gun safes. The bolts are designed in the door’s interiors. These bolts retract securely when the door is opened and return when the door is locked.

While hinges are placed at the exterior or interior sides of the gun safes. Avoid buying a safe gun with external hinges, as they can be easily chiseled to open the door. Buying a gun safe with internal hinges is always the safest option.

Gun Cabinet: Security and Accessibility

Gun cabinets provide a basic level of protection. They are not a good choice against power tool attacks or attacks lasting more than 5 minutes. Find the security and accessibility features of gun cabinets.

Steel Thickness

Steel thickness is lower in gun cabinets. The majority of the gun cabinets are built using 18-gauge steel. Gun cabinets are not thicker than this. This way, the sides and door of the cabinets can easily be crushed by intruders or burglars.

Fire Rating

Gun cabinets come with zero fire rating. You will barely find a fire cabinet having a fire rating. Adding a fire rating feature will greatly increase the price of gun cabinets.

Locking Mechanism

You will find either a barrel lock or a traditional lock in the gun cabinets. Since gun cabinets are low in price, they don’t have a locking mechanism similar to a gun safe. A sliding bar is another common locking system used in gun cabinets.

Why Would You Want a Gun Safe or Cabinet?

Whether you own a safe or cabinet, storing your firearms out of kids’ hands or burglars is vital.

Here are a few crucial reasons you want a safe gun or cabinet.

Protects Your Firearms from Burglars or Theft

Most probably, this is the prime reason for buying a gun safe or cabinets. Several cases exist in which intruders or burglars steal firearms from homes and use them to fulfill their purposes and different criminal activities.

A firearm is a valuable investment, and providing protection is vital.

In this case, a gun safe is the best option. It has many innovative features like high fire rating, thicker steel construction, biometrics, etc.

Some gun safes are unbreakable, and burglars or thieves fail to steal anything from them.

Keeps the Firearms away from Kids’ Reach

Hundreds of thousands of kids are killed yearly because of poorly stored firearms.

If you have kids in your home, keeping firearms away from their reach is the most important thing for your kid’s safety. A gun cabinet is the best thing to do so at an affordable price.

You can prohibit easy access to your gun or other firearms by storing them in the cabinet.

Quick Access to the Firearms

An emergency can appear any time when you need firearms quickly. Don’t think hiding your gun somewhere in the house and reaching it is easy.

Gun safes ensure easy access to your firearm. You can only access a gun safe using a passcode or fingerprints. Also, the safe can be placed wherever you want. It is proven that accessing gun safes is faster during an emergency.

Where Can You Buy Them?

Different models and designs of gun safes or cabinets are available in the local market. Also, you can buy them from online stores like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc.

How Do You Keep Them Clean?

Unfortunately, many users need to pay more attention to gun safe or cabinet maintenance. Cleaning the interior and exterior of the gun safe is crucial to keep the firearms in the best condition.

Find the below tips to keep guns safe or cabinets clean.

  • Exterior Dusting: Get a soft and clean cloth and wipe off the exterior of your gun safe at least once a month. Avoid using chemicals with the cloth; it can damage the exterior.
  • Interior Cleaning: Clean every nook and cranny a minimum of once a month. You can prepare a mixture of warm water and mild soap. Then soak a soft cloth in it and clean the interior.
  • Bolts and Hinges Maintenance: Lubricate the hinges and bolts with oil. Thus, the gun safe will not jam or stick.
  • Lock Maintenance: The lock is one of the crucial parts of a gun safe. Service the locks once a year. Even if the locks work perfectly, don’t hesitate to consider servicing them.
  • Setting a Dehumidifier: Since gun safes or cabinets remain closed most of the time, humidity can build up inside them. Humidity can damage your firearms or guns. In such a situation, install a dehumidifier to prevent mold growth.


In conclusion, I hope that this article has been informative. I think that it is important that we all understand that the differences between gun safes and cabinets can sometimes seem a little confusing. It’s important to understand that gun safes aren’t the only option for storing firearms. Gun cabinets are very useful when it comes to storing firearms in the home because they allow you to keep your guns safe and organized while also protecting your family from potential accidents.

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