How Big of a Safe Do I Need? | Northwest Safe

How Big of a Safe Do I Need?


The size of a gun safe is traditionally determined by how many long guns a safe can hold. For instance, a Centurion 36 Liberty safe can hold up to 36 long guns such as rifles (without scopes) and shotguns. (Learn more about the actual size of safes.*)

The size of gun safe you need is determined by how many guns and other valuables you wish to store in your safe. The more you need to store, the bigger the safe you need. 

The simplest way to determine how big of a safe you need is to collect all the things you want to secure and measure them. However, we’ve found that this tactic leaves most gun owners dissatisfied. That’s why as a rule of thumb when buying a safe, we recommend buying at least one size bigger than you think you need. 

Even if you currently plan to only store guns in your gun safe, over time more customers have found they want to also store other items. Giving yourself some room to ‘grow,’ makes for a better long-term investment.

stuff to store in safe

Buying a Small Safe is the Most Common Regret 

We’ve yet to encounter someone who regrets buying a gun safe to store their firearm collection. But what we have encountered more times than we can count are safe owners who wish they’d bought a bigger safe.

Why? Because typically gun collections keep growing. The same is true of your valuables and essential documents.  

Purchasing a safe allows you to protect all of these items from both theft and damage, such as fire damage. But, it can only do so if your safe is big enough to hold them.

FAQs When Considering How Big of a Safe You Need

long guns in safe

Can I Increase the Capacity of My Safe?

No. The square footage of your safe is not adjustable. In order to increase the size of your safe, you would need to buy a new safe. 

That being said, there are ways to maximize the square footage available to you. One such way is with Rile Rods. This gun safe storage solution can help you store up to 50% more long guns than traditional gun racks.

Can I Install My Safe in the Garage?

Yes, you most definitely can store your safe in the garage. In fact, this is a common request. Our professional gun safe delivery and installation team frequently installs safes in garages. 

This request is made for a variety of reasons, including lack of space in your home and ease of access. However, when we install a safe in a garage, there are certain protocols we recommend in order to keep your safe functioning properly and protect your valuables. These include leveling your safe and outfitting it with dehumidifiers. Learn more about the steps we recommend for installing a gun safe in your garage.

I Bought too Small of a Safe, Now What? 

Many individuals who discover they bought too small will level up and buy a bigger safe. This can be a good option, as it allows you to instantly increase your storage. 

Alternatively, simply buying a bigger safe might not be the best thing to suit your needs. For instance, if you’ve accumulated a large number of important documents that need to be securely stored, investing in a FireKing cabinet may be a better decision. 

You may also have found that you’ve developed a large collection of valuables, like jewelry. In cases such as this, you may want to look at our collection of home safes and jewelry safes. The interior of these safes tend to offer more shelving options, better suited for such items. 

*How Many Guns Can a Safe Really Hold?

The number assigned to a safe indicates how many cutouts there are for gun barrels. It does not take into account stocks, optics or accessories. To accommodate this many guns, the safe would need to be configured so the entire lower portion was dedicated to rifle racks. Traditionally, customers want to use half of the lower portion for shelf space to hold other items, meaning that the rifle space is reduced by at least half. The net result is that a 36-file safe often only holds 10-12 average size rifles.

Is a Bigger Safe More Fire Resistant?

The fire rating of a safe is not determined by the size. It is awarded by the safe manufacturer. And, not all fire ratings are equal. 

Some safe manufacturers (like those providing Costco safes) simply assign ratings without doing any testing. American manufacturers, like Liberty Safe, do extensive testing and offer complete transparency.

Shop Gun Safes

My Electronic Lock Won’t Open

How to Minimize Moisture in Your Safe

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.