The best key safes: some of the most helpful home gadgets for safe, reliable home access
Whether you’re leaving a spare set for the dog walker or want a safety net in the event you lose your own, a key safe can be a great addition to any household. We round up some of the best.
Having a spare key at hand is hardly a new concept, but where people might have left them under the doormat or inside a flower pot in the past, these days we’re more security conscious. This might explain key safes’ boom in popularity, and in recent years, more people are investing in lock boxes than ever before.
Your thoughts might go straight to holiday accommodation and temporary rentals, but many people are now opting to store their own personal set of keys in a safe. They can be a great option if you want to leave keys to be picked up by a babysitter or dog walker, or perhaps you or a relative has a regular carer that needs access, or you might just be forgetful.
Either way, if you’re looking for a secure way to store your keys, we’ve picked out 10 of the best key safes on the market. We’ve also put together a helpful buyer's guide to further assist your next home security purchase.
The best key safes at a glance:
- Best set-up process: Master Lock Key Safe
- Best for key security: Defender Wall Mounted Key Safe
- Best for visibility: Master Lock Light Up Dial Key Safe
- Best for ease of use: CDC DIGI Combination Key Lock Box
- Best for space: Master Lock Extra Large Key Safe
- Best for reliability: Defender Wall Mounted Key Safe
- Best push-button option: Defender Mini Combination Outdoor Key Safe
- Best for long-term use: Yale Combination Key Safe Box
The best key safes
Best set-up process: Master Lock Key Safe
Simple to secure and use
This easy-to-install and simple-to-use wall-mounted key safe is suitable for indoor or outdoor use, making it a great solution for both personal and business use.
The four-digit resettable combination lock allows you to choose whichever memorable number you want – and change it as often as you like.
Best for key security: Defender Wall Mounted Key Safe
Made from steel for durability
Defender has really focused on security with this key safe box, which features a zinc alloy cast body and a heavy-duty steel locking mechanism.
This key safe should be able to withstand being hammered, sawed or pried open, giving you the reassurance that your keys can’t be accessed unless you want them to.
Best for visibility: Master Lock Light Up Dial Key Safe
Featuring a handy illuminated dial
If you are looking to install a key safe somewhere that doesn’t get much light or are likely to use it frequently at night, this Master Lock model is the one for you.
Its dials are illuminated, meaning you can enter your four-digit combination even in the dark. A weatherproof outer cover keeps it safe while not in use.
Best for ease of use: CDC DIGI Combination Key Lock Box
Really user friendly
This simple-to-use key safe has been designed to be used by people of all ages and abilities, making it great for elderly parents or other people who don’t always gel with new gadgets.
Its large capacity holds up to five keys, so it’s suitable for most uses, including car keys or multiple sets of keys.
Best for space: Master Lock Extra Large Key Safe
A generously sized key safe
A key safe is not just for a spare house key, and if you want to store car keys, multiple sets, fobs or anything else you might need in a pinch, this extra-large option is a great choice.
It’s suitable for indoor or outdoor use and is made from durable materials, and features a shutter door to protect the four-digit combination dial from the elements.
Best for reliability: Defender Wall Mounted Key Safe
With extra weatherproof cover
Lovers of neatness and order will enjoy the hanging hook inside this safe box, which keeps your keys secured so they can’t fall out as the door comes open.
The 7mm push buttons have been designed for easy and comfortable use, making it ideal for anyone with large hands or reduced dexterity.
Best push-button option: Defender Mini Combination Outdoor Key Safe
Resettable combination code
This wall-mounted safe box is a great option if you only need to store small keys; it holds up to four standard-sized keys and takes up very little space. With push-button operated combination lock.
It’s a small and discreet option that holds up to four medium-sized keys – which should cover almost any house key, making it a great option to securely store a spare key for when you get caught out.
Best for long-term use: Yale Combination Key Safe Box
Weatherproof materials keep their colour
This key safe has a considered design that might not be your first criterion when it comes to a key safe, but this Yale model is surprisingly attractive.
It’s also secure and robust and designed to live outside and withstand the weather without fading or tarnishing. It also features a handy hook to hang your keys on
Key safe buyer’s guide
Keys can be hard to remember, and everyone knows that gut-wrenching feeling when you arrive back at your front door after a long day and realise you’ve left them on the other side. In this situation, and many similar to it, a key safe would help save the day.
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You could have a friend visiting while you’re out at work, or you could need to let a dog walker in or have a limited amount of keys for a big family. There are all manner of reasons to use a key safe, but if you’re considering buying one, then how do you choose between the thousands available?
Well, the right style of key safe is dependent on your needs, so we’ve made this buyer’s guide to help you find out what these are and the key safe best suited to you. Here we will help you figure out the pros and cons of different styles of safes and assist you in purchasing your next piece of home security equipment.
What is a key safe, and how does it work?
So what actually is a key safe? A key safe is a secure container designed to hold keys and keep them safe, so multiple people can use the same set, and also so you don’t lose them. The safe usually comes with a combination lock or digital keypad that only the owner can tailor and then share with other people they wish to have access to the properties’ keys.
Most key safes ask for a four-digit code to be inputted, which means there are over 10,000 different security codes that you can make.
Why use a key safe?
You might be perfectly alright carrying your key around in your pocket, but once you hear the advantages of a key safe, this might change. They are used for lots of different reasons, with the main two being security and ease of access to your house/property.
And, because key safes are useful for storing keys outside, they have become popular for holiday rentals where the homeowner is not in the area to hand over/pick up the keys.
They also make certain tasks a lot easier in personal properties, such as leaving a key out for family members, plumbers, a dog walker, or a house sitter. Basically, it is the new, safer version of leaving your key out under the flowerpot or the doormat.
How to choose the best key safe for your needs
If you’re unsure about which key safe is going to be best for you, then consider factors such as the size, material, and locking mechanism you want to have. Once you know these, it will make buying a key safe easier as you’ll be able to filter through the hundreds available on the market.
In terms of size, you should consider how many keys you will be wanting to put in at once and if the key safe you choose will allow this. On the material side, there are three main options; plastic, steel, and aluminium. They should all offer you good protection, but metals are typically more secure than their plastic counterparts.
Then on to the locking mechanism, where you should consider whether you prefer a combination lock or a digital keypad. Combination locks are more straightforward to use and require no batteries, while digital keypads can offer more advanced features, like time-limited access codes.
Where to install your key safe to maximize security
When installing a key safe, it's important to choose a location that is hidden from view and not easily accessible. Consider installing it in a discreet location such as a fence, wall, or outdoors on an object like a shed or bin house. Avoid installing it in plain sight or near an entry point where it could be easily spotted.
Another factor to consider is the installation process. Some key safes require drilling and mounting, while others can be placed using adhesive strips. Check the surface you want to place the key safe on and make sure you have the equipment to mount it.
Here are some best practices and top security tips to keep in mind when using a key safe:
- Choose a secure location to install the key safe.
- Choose a strong and secure code that is not easily guessable.
- Change the code frequently to prevent unauthorised access.
- Regularly check the key safe for signs of tampering or attempted access.
- Consider using a cover or concealing the key safe to make it less visible.
- Keep the key safe clean and dry to prolong its life.
How to set up and change the code of your key safe
Now you’ve brought the key safe, the next obvious step is to set it up. You will need to punch a code in, whether that’s digitally or manually. Usually, it’s simple, and you just have to follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific key safe model.
Some key safes may require physical keys to open the container before setting up the code. If you want to change the code (especially useful for homeowners who are renting out their holiday property), you will probably have to access the internal locking mechanism. You’ll then have to enter the existing code and set a new one.
How to make your key safe last long
Once you have your key safe up and running, let's keep it that way. There are some good practices to maintain your safe so it can continue to guard your keys. Make sure it is clean and dry whilst also avoiding cleaning the safe with harsh chemicals or abrasive materials. Instead, use a soft cloth or sponge and mild soap to wipe it down.
Regularly check the locking mechanism to make sure it's working properly. Extreme temperatures or exposure to sunlight could cause the material to degrade over time, so this is something to keep an eye on. Consider investing in a weather-resistant key safe if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions.
Want to read more Household product round-ups? Check out our list of the best video doorbells, the best smart bulbs, and the best WiFi extenders, to help you turn your home into a fully-fledged smart home.
Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.
Hannah Lewis-Marshall is a writer and editor with more than ten years of experience working on product round-ups and shopping guides. She's committed to helping you make smarter purchases, from one-off big buys to everyday essentials.