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If you buy online, don't forget to consider shipping costs, although free shipping might be available.

For a wider selection, and possibly more knowledgeable sales help, you can go to a store that specializes in safes.

Here are some of the ways they evaluate them: Fire resistance Fire is the No. The National Fire Protection Association says that during an average lifetime, there's a one in four chance of experiencing a household fire large enough to warrant calling the fire department.

1 concern of most buyers, according to Greg Bonsib, director of brand management at Sentry Safe, a major manufacturer in Rochester, N. UL and Intertek rate fire-resistant safes in terms of what type of material they'll protect and how long they'll protect it.

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A simple way to determine how large a safe you might need is to pile up everything you plan to put in it and measure.Larger safes cost more, and accessories like drawers and shelves can add to the bill.Where to buy one You can find home safes at such retailers as Home Depot, Lowe's, and Sears, as well as online at Amazon.com, among other sites.Your basement could be better from a fire-protection standpoint; there's usually less down there to burn, Soos says.But if your home is located in a flood-prone area, the safe might be at greater risk in the basement.

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