Safes & Security Containers/TL-30 Safe Brand Comparsions


QUESTION: Out of these TL-30 safes which is the HARDEST to break into!
a) pry and drill resistant
b) grind and cut resistant
c) hole punching resistant and fire and boroscope resistant

1) ISM Bullion TL-30
2) Diebold TL-30 (which 1? cashguad, masterguad  or mosler?
3) Hamilton Safe TL-30
4) Mutual Safe Tl-30
5) Original TL-30
6) Chubb safe (which safe equivalent).
7) John Tann (which safe equivalent).
8) AmSec TL-30

Please rank if you can!!! Best overall safe , value pick and weakest safe out of the TL-30s on try his list. Try to put them from 1 to 8 in order if you can )


I'm not sure what you are asking???   Are you looking for my opinion of whic safe is the best, and which one would I recommend???    Sorry but it isn't as easy as making a matrix or spreadsheet up and assigning each safe a value based on the criteria that you've specified as you have left out a lot of variables.    For instance aer you interested in plate safes ONLY or also composite???

To start with "standard" TL-30 safes are NOT rated for fire resistance - this is a separate test, and the safe is issued a separate label based on its compliance.   For instance AMSEC's AMVault TL-30 also has a 2 hour fire/heat resistance label.

second item, UL and/or other testing agencies test the safes using "STANDARD" hand tools available from local hardware stores.   They are NOT rated for any type of resistance for a Boroscope or any type of optics.

Third item - TL-30 rated safes are ONLY tested on the doors.   While the bodies still have to meet basic requirements for thickness or composition (material), the sides are not subject to testing.    If you are worried about the sides being vulnerable, then you need to look into the X6 safes.

As far as comparing the ability of any TL-30 door to resist attacks and rating it against any other safes ability, again becomes a sort of "apples and oranges" comparison.   Every manufacturer has their own idea of what the best protection is.   For instance glass vs hardplate.   With drill resistive hard plate, in some cases it can take over an hour to drill a single hole, where as with glass, you can usually have a hole into the lock in minutes, though you would also then have a relocking device (somewhere in the door), which is now active and also requires defeating.

Basically all that the TL-30 rating indicates is that the safe MUST be able to withstand 30 minutes of continuous attack with various tools and NOT open up.    Every test gets its own 30 minutes.   So prying gets a 30 minute test, Drilling gets a 30 minute test, hammering gets a 30 minute test, Gringing gets its own 30 minute test.   Torching and cutting with fire is NOT one of the applicable tests for these safes.

if it lasts 30 minutes without opening it passes.    If it lasts 3 hours without opening, it still only gets the TL-30 label.

so if the criteria that you are asking me to rate the safes on is the TL-30 standard, then they are all equal.

That brings the comparison down to WHICH one do I "LIKE" best!   Sorry, I'll give you MY opinions, but I'm NOT going to rank them 1-8 for you.    If YOU are planning on buying a safe, then YOU need to decide which one is best for you.

The older ISM's and Chubb's are probably the best safes on your list, though newer ones not so much.   Followed by the Tann safes.

Mosler's are ALL obsolete, so while there are still some good ones out their, overall they aren't on my list.   The Diebold Cashgards and Hamiltons are comparable, though I think they are both a bit wimpy, followed by the AMSEC AMVAULT series.
The older Mutual's were better than current models, and I would rate the Original's last.   Main problem with the original's is quality control.   while they more than meet the TL-30 requirements - I see a lot of little problems with them from lock installation/alignment to the overall installation of the bolt work.

Again, an important part of buying an older or used safe also has to do with the availablity of replacement parts.   AMSEC probably tops the list, having most parts available for safes back to the 60's.    Most of the other manufacturers only keep parts available for maybe the last 10 years.   Any of the imported safes (ISM, Chubb, Tann, Mutual, Original, etc.) may not have parts available, even for the newer models.   Service, repairs AND parts should be a real concern when spending several grand for a safe - this is usually a long term investment.

I know this isn't the little spreadsheet that you were opening for, but as I mentioned there are too many variables which you aren't taking into consideration.

Hope this helps though.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: 1) I forgot to mention securifort TL-30..what do you think about it! Can you chime in on the securifort safe.

2) is there any "other" safe brand and model you would recommend....

3) Out of the "NEW" TL-30 safes which do you recommend for being tough to "pry" open.

also can you mentioned the older ism models and / or chubb models which you reccommend....


The Securifort safes would be right in the same area as the AMSEC safes, though as these are an imported safe, I would rate them lower due to the unavailability of any repair parts.   Securifort has a great production line of products.

It appears that you are looking to purchase a safe - if so, you need to speak to a salesman.   I'm a service technician - I fix and repair the safes when you have broken them or they aren't working.   I come up with the solutions to the problems that you present the salesmen.

while I understand that you are looking for an "education" on the safes, possibly for purchasing one, you are going about it the wrong way.   Comparing safes the way you are trying to, would be like me asking for a comparison of you and your cousins.    While everyone of you would be similar in construction, everyone of you would also have differences - even though you are related.

As you are in New York, I would recommend that you contact one of the larger safe companies in your area to discuss various safes with one of their sales men.

Some of the companies in your area would include:
Empire Safe Company     212-226-2255
Acme Safe Company       212-686-0668
Wilson Safe Company     800-836-2332

Any one of these will be able to answer your questions further.

Safes & Security Containers

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate. NOTE: I also answer safe related questions in the Locksmith and Antique Safe Categories sections.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes".

Safecrackers International National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 - Listed in AllExperts top 50 experts. All Experts categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

©2017 All rights reserved.