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SentrySafe Extra Large Fingerprint Safe
Gadget Reviews

SentrySafe Extra Large Fingerprint Safe

A touch of useful biometric tech brings this homeowner safe into the modern age.

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Seems like everything these days is adopting smart home enhancements, including the good ol’ fashioned lock safe. For something fortified like SentrySafe’s SFW123BSC Extra Large Fingerprint Safe, extra protections like this are actually nice when you also get a little bit of intelligence with that peace of mind. Because your private valuables should be treated as such: private.

Most home safes are very straightforward in design: a steel box that’s heavy and made to resist the harsh elements of circumstance, often certified to survive catastrophes such as house fires (UL Classified up to 1 hour at 1700°F) or damaging floods (ETL verified in 8 inches of water for 24 hrs.). The SFW123BSC fits those perquisites in a 17.8″ x 16.3″ x 19.3″ chassis with a 1.23 cu. inch (33.6 cu. liter) of capacity.

Petty burglars probably won’t be going very far in case of theft since the SFW123BSC weighs approximately 91.9 pounds with optional permanent fixture bolt-down points. It’s also advertised to be pry-resistant with the lock mechanism incorporating four large 1-inch bolts just inside the door.

The interior itself offers plenty of space with an adjustable layout thanks to a removable shelf that can placed in nine different positions. The door itself doesn’t eat up precious room from the main compartment either, and includes a top tray for small items, a deep door pocket, and a key rack for added functionality. The safe also includes LED lighting that turns on automatically when the door opens, which is really a nice courtesy you may not consider or appreciate until you notice it.

Instead of a traditional combination dial, the SFW123BSC is equipped with a multipurpose number pad with biometric fingerprint scanner. It’s digital and the safe can be unlocked either way for convenience, though it requires four Alkaline batteries in order to work beforehand. The basic setup is simple enough and you can create a primary five-digit code after getting acquainted, and even a secondary code if the safe is shared — great if your trusted associate want their numbers to memorize. It’s fairly easily to program and allows more cautious owners to change codes whenever the need arises, or even disable digital entry completely with an included key.

Annoyingly enough, the fingerprint scanner of the SFW123BSC does have a small problem, most notably the included instructions in the box. They didn’t exactly correlate to our model (or, in fact, to any specific model) and this constitutes a real blunder on SentrySafe’s part. For their part, they acknowledge the error and the proper owner’s manual can be found on their website. Who knows, maybe having the wrong instructions was a ruse to throw off would-be thieves? I kid, I kid…

Fortunately, the fingerprint scanner did work as intended following setup, and involves brushing any finger across the sensor about 6-8 times before the calibration takes. The process will beep for each correct registration and finally a green indicator light will blink three times and three consecutive beeps when confirmed. Overall, the fingerprint sensor is a one-touch feature that works great when operational, and is indeed easier than having to key in a code just as long as you don’t sloppily slide your finger over the sensor.

Either way, the SFW123BSC is better served for smaller possessions or documents, basically non-perishable items that you know are important but don’t want others to have easy access to. I stored away a hard drive, my tax forms, and some whiskey (because most of my friends like to freely partake without asking) and nobody could get through its defenses.

It should also be known that the SFW123BSC is airtight with insulation and recommended by SentrySafe to open the safe once a month to avoid moisture accumulation. This is considered normal and must be done to ward off mildew buildup, if left unchecked otherwise. Thankfully, a desiccant bag is included as a drying agent—So don’t throw that seemingly random bag away, it has a real purpose.

The SentrySafe SFW123BSC Extra Large Fingerprint Safe is an earnest product that combines tried and true protection with a bit of useful tech thrown in for good measure. It offers solid protection against many homeowners’ anticipated nightmares without sacrificing its usefulness or practicality. Overall, it’s not a bad option if you’re looking to upgrade your home security with the latest tech flourishes, and if the worst happens…hey, at least you get a lifetime warranty with it.

About the Author: Herman Exum