How to Break into a Home Safe in 5 Seconds (or less)

For years, I thought about getting home safe. We don't have much in the way of valuables in our house, our most valuable items are electronics and those don't serve a purpose locked inside a metal box.

I did like the idea of putting our important documents in a safe place but with everything stored digitally, there are very few truly hard-to-replace important documents.

So eventually I abandoned the idea. We don't have a safe in our house.

That said, if we did, it would've surprised us to learn that those store-bought safes, the ones from office supply stores, are pretty much worthless.

Check this out:

If you can't watch the video, Mr. Locksmith opens a SafeSentry safe in two seconds with no signs of entry.

The basic gist is that there's a nickel solenoid that prevents the handle from turning and pulling back the bolts on the door. I'm not a safe expert so my explanation is my interpretation of what he's explaining in the video… but I do know how solenoids work. Solenoids create a magnetic field when you apply a current and with the rare earth magnet, we're applying a magnetic field directly and disengaging the lock.

Want one of the magnets? You can buy them anywhere online. They're Neodymium Rare Earth Magnets (though not actually “rare,” they're as common as nickel, the ferromagnetic metal being taken advantage of in the safe itself). They're also cheap, just Google it. πŸ™‚

As they say, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

In this case, that link is beatable in 2 seconds with a magnet and a sock.

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools, everything I use) is Empower Personal Dashboard, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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8 years ago

Wow! I think these still have some merit for fire protection though.

8 years ago

Yes, we were told to just leave the safe unlocked since they are so easy to get into, but they are very good in case of fire.

I’m with Paul. The only reason I’ve ever considered a safe is simply to protect important documents in case of fire. I definitely didn’t realize how easy they are to break into, but luckily that wouldn’t be the main purpose for me.

8 years ago

Oh wow! I wonder when we start seeing this method used in movies to rob safes?

Mel @ brokeGIRLrich
8 years ago

My parents have always kept all the important documents in a small lock box in my dad’s home office. I always thought that was a little odd since a thief could just grab the whole box and then take their time figuring out how to open it once they were away from the house.

8 years ago

Great video. Like the other commenters, I am interested in the fireproof aspect. It would be interesting to see a video on whether they really are fireproof.

8 years ago

Lots of comments about fire proof safes.. If you are getting one to store paper documents, make sure any safe you get is also water proof, or at the very least, water resistant. If your house catches on fire, what’s going to happen? The fire department is going to pump a whole bunch of water on it. If that water gets into your safe, your paper documents may have survived the fire, only to be destroyed by water.

8 years ago

Now I’m thinking perhaps the purpose of having a safe is for it to be a distraction. Keep lesser valuables inside the safe and hope thieves don’t look under the mattress πŸ™‚

I wonder if safe deposit box sales went up after this clip hit the internet? They are still your best bet if you’ve got something *very* valuable you need to keep safe.

The best option for your home safe is to have it located somewhere a thief would never look. They can’t break into it if they can’t find it! πŸ™‚

Thanks for sharing this info, Jim.

8 years ago

With negative interest rates seemingly the Fed’s next magical trick that doesn’t work, I’ve been thinking of a safe as a place to keep currency rather than paying the bank a fee to hold it for me. I guess that’s not such a good idea. Back to the drawing board.

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