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What Does Steel Gauge Mean?

Everything You Need to Know About Gauge of Steel

The rating for steel gauge may seem backward: the smaller the number, the thicker the steel. 7 gauge steel, for example, is much thicker than 12 gauge steel. And the thickness makes a difference—the thicker the steel, the stronger it is. That’s why safes that aren’t at least 12 gauge steel or thicker cannot be UL-listed as Residential Security Containers (RSC). UL, or Underwriter’s Laboratories, is a third-party company that verifies claims companies make for their products. Being UL-listed is an important distinction for both safe locks and safe bodies.  

The Benefits of a Thicker Steel Gauge

Thicker steel obviously improves the safe’s security level. It’s more difficult to cut through, and it makes the safe heavier and harder to tip over and pry open. Thicker steel also improves the safe’s fire protection rating.  

How Thick Is The Gauage of Steel?

Each gauge of steel represents a specific thickness. The different thicknesses may seem so close to one another that it wouldn’t matter, but each step up in thickness represents a big difference when it comes to safe security and fire protection.

  • 7-gauge steel: 3/16” thick
  • 8-gauge steel: 11/64” thick
  • 9-gauge steel: 5/32” thick
  • 10-gauge steel: 9/64” thick
  • 12-gauge steel: 7/64” thick
  • 14-gauge steel: 5/64” thick

So, remember, when you’re comparing safes, the smaller the steel gauge, the thicker the steel.

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