What is a TL-15 Safe?

What is a TL-15 Safe?


TL-15 safes are certified by Underwriters Laboratory to withstand a tool attack for 15 minutes on the door or front face. These safes are specifically designed to secure high-value items from burglars, protecting businesses from smash-and-grab robberies.

What is the Underwriters Laboratory?

In 1894 Underwriters Laboratory (UL) was founded to promote safe living and working environments by establishing dependable safety ratings for products. It is an independent third-party testing agency that is respected around the world. 

The UL Conducted its first test on March 24, 1894, when it tested non-combustible insulation. It was nearly 30 years later (in 1923) when it first began testing safes for burglary resistance. Today, UL has five commercial burglary ratings. These ratings indicate the safe’s security level (listed from least to most secure):

What does TL-15 Stand For?

TL stands for ‘Tool Latency.’ The TL-15 rating indicates that the safe’s door and front panel withstood a tool attack by UL’s engineers for 15 minutes. In order for the engineers to be successful, they must either:

  1. Open the Door
  2. Create a 6-inch Square Hole in the Safe’s Door

If the engineers are unable to achieve either of these two goals, the safe is awarded a TL-15 rating. We cover how the test works and how the test is timed in more detail in the section titled ‘TL-15 Safe Performance Testing Requirements & Procedures’ below. 

Commercial safe installed in an office.

How Does the Underwriters Laboratory Testing Work?

In order for a safe to even be tested by UL engineers, it must meet strict construction requirements.

TL-15 Safe Construction Requirements

  • All TL-15 safes must have a UL listed lock that meets one of the following criteria: A combination lock that is classified Group 2M, Group 1 or Group 1R or a type 1 electronic lock.
  • All TL-15 Safes must weigh a minimum of 750 pounds or include anchoring instruction for one of the following ways:
    • Within a larger safe
    • To concrete blocks
    • On the premises where the safe will be used, such as bolting to a concrete floor or wall
  • All TL-15 safe walls must be made of material equivalent to at least 1-inch open hearth steel with a minimum tensile strength of 50,000 P.S.I.
  • All TL-15 safe walls must be fastened in a manner equivalent to a continuous ¼-inch penetration weld of open hearth steel with a minimum tensile strength of 50,000 P.S.I.
  • One hole ¼-inch or less, to accommodate electrical conductors arranged to have no direct view of the door or locking mechanism.

TL-15 Safe Performance Testing Requirements & Procedures

Prior to the test, the UL’s engineer testing team is provided with the full blueprints of the safe. Additionally, the team fully disassembles the safe prior to testing. This allows them to identify any weak points or potential flaws. 

Throughout the test, engineers use a combination of electronic and manual tools to gain access to the inside of the safe. These tools can include: 

  • Common Hand Tools
  • Picking Tools (such as a pick ax)
  • Mechanical or Portable Electronic Tools (such as drills and power saws)
  • Sledgehammers
  • Grinders (such as angle grinders)

The time limit for a TL-15 rated safe is 15 minutes. However, this time can be deceiving. When the test is being conducted, the clock is only running while engineers are actively working on the safe. 

If the team pauses to change tools, reassess their plan of attack, or simply take a water break — the time stops. In reality, a ‘15 minute test’ can often take several hours to complete. 

commercial safe

Why Get a TL-15 Safe?

According to the Council on Criminal Justice, theft and robberies in major cities throughout the United States increased by roughly 20%. The losses businesses have suffered have caused businesses nationwide to close up shop. 

Major retail brands have threatened to start closing their brick-and-mortar locations. And, while some small business owners have ramped up security, other owners have chosen to shutter their doors. According to a report from November 2022, A business owner in Northeast Portland, Oregon, shuttered her store for good, citing rampant crime, theft and 15 break-ins in the last year and a half.”

Locally, we have also seen a huge spike in crime throughout the greater Seattle area. In January of 2022, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that “Seattle businesses frustrated, angry about escalating crime.” By October 2022 nothing had changed. In fact, public safety leaders began turning to businesses themselves to seek solutions. 

All the while, businesses have been facing break-ins and major losses — not to mention the threats to personal safety. For a staggering number of business owners the working environment has become so untenable they have closed up shop.

In some instances, business owners have chosen to relocate to neighborhoods outside of Seattle where they hope to find less crime. Major employers, like Amazon, have moved employees outside of the city limits. 

TL-15 Safes Protect Against Smash-and-Grab Robberies

In the case of drugs and lawlessness on city sidewalks, business owners are at the mercy of state officials. But in the case of smash-and-grab robberies, businesses can take extra precautions to reduce the chance of break-ins and limit loss in the event of a break-in. 

Smash-and-grab robberies are on the rise. In November of 2022, Fox 13 reported several break-ins in the Madrona neighborhood. The report cited:

…security camera footage shows a white van used to repeatedly smash through the doors of their respective stores, before men in dark clothing raid the register and steal high-priced items. 

These aggressive smash-and-grab robberies have continued, with the West Seattle Blog reporting additional break-ins in December 2022.  

A commercial safe, like a TL-15, allows business owners a secure space to store cash and other valuable items to limit loss. Placing these items in a TL-15 safe makes the classic smash-and-grab robbery (which often takes place in a matter of moments). 

Discover additional tips about how to reduce the chance of break-ins. 

delivering a commercial safe

Who Benefits from a Commercial TL-15 Safe?

TL-15 safes are designed for both businesses and homeowners who have high-value items they want to protect. These items could include:

  • Cash
  • Jewelry
  • Pharmaceutical Drugs
  • Cannabis
  • Precious Metals
  • Proprietary Documentation
  • High-Value Collectables
  • High-End Electronics
  • Proprietary Software

Generally speaking, businesses that benefit the most from a TL-15 safe include:

  • Jewelry Stores
  • Cannabis Dispensaries
  • Pawn Shops
  • Banks & Credit Unions
  • Tech Companies
  • Grocery Stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Law Offices
  • Car Dealerships 
  • Government Agencies

What is the Weight of a TL-15 Safe?

In order to receive a TL-15 rating, a safe must weigh at least 750 pounds or have the ability to be anchored in one of the three ways listed in the section “TL-15 Safe Construction Requirements.”

Among the selection of TL-15 safes that we carry and recommend at NW Safe, the weights range from 710 pounds with an American Security AmVault TL-15 CE1814 all the way to an American Security AmVault TL-15 CE7236 that weights 3,880 pounds. 

Do You Have TL-15 Safes for Sale?

Yes. We sell a large selection of TL-15 safes, which are in stock and available for delivery by our professional delivery and installation team. Our selection of safes with a TL-15 rating are exclusively built by American Security (aka AMSEC). 

These American-made safes feature 2-hour fire ratings and are available in several different sizes and configurations.

Top TL-15 Safes

Do You Sell ISM Protector TL-15 Safe?

Yes. We sell ISM Protector TL-15 commercial safes. We are one of the few US retailers approved to import and sell ISM safes from Israel. ISM is the industry leader in ultra-secure commercial safes. 

Can You Get a Lightweight TL-15 Safe?

When it comes to safes, you get what you pay for. That being said, we recognize that not every space accommodates a commercial-rated TL-15 safe. 

TL-15 Safe Alternatives (Lighter-Weight Security Safes)

What to Consider When Shopping for a Commercial Safe?

There are a wide variety of places to buy a safe. In the Seattle area, there are dozens of places to buy a safe. Near Spokane, there are more than 10 different shops selling gun safes — some of which also sell commercial safes. That being said, we recommend you consider the following things when choosing where to purchase your commercial safe:

Does the shop offer full-service delivery and installation? 

A staggering selection of retailers that sell safes only offer curbside delivery. Most commercial safes weigh more than 1,000 pounds and/or require special installation in order to provide the TL-15 level of safety. 

Moving such heavy safes without the proper tools and expertise can be dangerous — to both the individuals moving the safe and the property. At NW Safe our experienced delivery and installation team offers a white glove service that includes installing your safe and providing a detailed orientation about how the safe works.

For businesses located outside of our service area, we’ve developed strong relationships with qualified delivery and installation crews that provide NW Safe-quality delivery and installation. This allows businesses and individuals to access our large supply of commercial safes and take advantage of our manufacturer relationships to secure high-quality security safes.

Does NW Safe have TL-15 safes in stock?

Supply chain issues have continued to hamper all industries and make it difficult to get products. At NW Safe, we have maintained strong relationships with the top safe manufacturers, thanks to our top-rated customer service. This has helped ensure we receive a steady supply of commercial safes and gun safes. 

Additionally, our professional delivery and installation team almost always delivers safes directly from either our Enumclaw or Spokane locations. However, if you’re located anywhere in the U.S we can ship the safe to one of our affiliates in your area and get your safe installed. When you purchase a safe from NW Safe, it’s typically one we have in stock and ready to deliver. 

Additional Tips:

Commercial Burglary Prevention Tips for Retail Businesses

Extensive damage and theft can cost business owners thousands of dollars. While there's no store, home or safe that's completely burglar-proof, there are steps you can take to make your business more secure.

Does My Business Need a Commercial Safe?

While the security needs of businesses can range widely, one thing’s consistent — you don’t want your cash, valuables, and important documents falling into the wrong hands.TL and TRTL commercial safes provide businesses the maximum in security and protection for their assets.

Best Business Safes for Jewelry Stores

How safe are your physical assets? Get the highest level of protection with a TL and TLTR — an essential security precaution for businesses like jewelry stores.

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