The Good: Solid construction, Easy-to-use, Good protection.
The Bad: Not fireproof, Thinner than I thought it would be
The Basics: A very cool safe, the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe is somewhat less secure on the outside, but pretty incredible for its basic security.
With my impending move to Michigan, I have been eagerly preparing. The house my wife and I were looking at was pretty insecure. I know this because when my wife and I wanted to go look at it, we were able to enter pretty much by shaking the door. Given that I have many valuables, I was not so keen on having a place that lacked such fundamental security. So, I was incredibly pleased when my wife said she was cool with us making a safe as our first joint purchase for our new place. When I asked her what type of safe she'd prefer, fireproof or biometric, she gleefully chirped "biometric! biometric!" So, after a little bit of research, I picked us up the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe.
First off, we opted against the Barska Biometric Safe with Keypad because between the biometrics and the back-up, the keypad seemed both redundant and an incredible weakness in the overall security of the safe. The Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe has only the fingerprint scanner and the emergency key panel. We chose the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe because of the brand's reputation for security and the lack of spotwelded seams. That makes it far less vulnerable. Unfortunately, what we didn't bank on were the holes in the bottom and back. While these holes are essential for mounting the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe, they represent serious vulnerabilities until the safe is mounted. In other words, the "optional" mounting that Barska advertises for the safe is anything but optional.
Outside the biometric access (which is a fancy way of saying it employs a fingerprint scanner to give the user access), one of the key selling points of the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe was the size of the safe. I've been very tired of my important documents being rolled into the strongbox my wife brought with her to the relationship. The Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe has external dimensions of 15 1/4" deep by 16 1/2" wide by 7 3/4" tall. The Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe is powdercoated with a black matte finish and it has a slight texture to the outside. Inside, the safe measures 12 1/2" deep (the front door is 1 1/2" thick!) by 16 1/4" wide by 6 3/4" tall. The safe comes with a pad that protects items in the safe from getting scratched on the metal. This is sold on the idea that it will protect one's firearms from scratching.
The Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe is easily mounted on the bottom and back using bolts that come with the safe. The directions are very clear and once one has the safe mounted flat and flush against the back, I recommend filling the other four holes in with screws for additional security. Properly mounted, the safe is virtually unmovable. On its own, the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe is still fairly heavy at thirty pounds, but if one does not mount it, it can still be taken away fairly easily.
Setting up the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe is remarkably easy. Despite what Amazon claimed when I ordered our Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe, it did come with batteries. The battery panel, sensibly, is inside the safe in the door. This enhances the security of the biometric safe. Setting up the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe is very easy, though it did not go quite as the directions claimed. After hitting the "wake" button on the front, press down the setup button on the inside of the door and press your finger right onto the scanner. The scanner goes red and one is supposed to wait until there are two beeps, which indicates that your prints have taken. Mine did not do that. So, I waited and nothing happened. On a lark, I hit the wake-up button and pressed my finger to the scanner and the door unlocked as it was supposed to. Set up thusly, I discovered that the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe actually opens with any fingerprint. This dismayed me, so I tried the setup a second time. It was only after I started attempting setup the second time that I noticed in very fine print on only one of the three sets of directions that if setup is unsuccessful, when the two beeps are heard during setup the lights on the side of the scanner will flash red. Under those circumstances, any fingerprint will open the safe.
On the second attempt, the setup worked just fine. When it is properly setup, simply hit the button on the right of the scanner and press the registered digit on scanner. When the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe recognizes your fingerprint, two green lights to the left of the scanner will blink green and the bolts slide back. If the fingerprint is not recognized, the lights on the front panel blink red and nothing happens.
It's that simple. Outside the lack of fire protection, the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe is a great, secure way to protect valuables. With only four AA batteries required to power it and having to only use the power to open and close the safe, the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe is a comparatively affordable, secure way to keep people out of your valuables. I know that with the new place my wife and I are getting, I feel much more secure for having the Barska AX11224 Biometric Safe.
For other home safety or security devices, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Kidde 2 3/4lb. fire extinguisher
Kidde Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detector
Kidde Carbon Monoxide Detector
For other home and garden product reviews, be sure to check out my Home and Garden Review Index Page!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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