By April 22, 2010 15 Comments

Bunker Hill Safe From Harbor Freight Tools Review

Keeping your loved ones safe sometimes means holding down a steady job and saving money. Sometimes that means learning to defend yourself effectively and legally. Sometimes that means staying out of sketchy areas, or keeping your temper in check behind the wheel of a car.

Sometimes keeping your loved ones safe means protecting them from themselves.

If you have knives, firearms, ammunition, or other potentially dangerous items in the home, you need to do the responsible thing and lock them up.

The model 91006 electronic digital safe made by Bunker Hill and imported by Harbor Freight is an inexpensive way to keep curious fingers away from your belongings.

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Exterior

The safe is 22-3/4″ high, 14″ wide, and 13″ deep. It’s very possible to hide this safe in a cabinet, closet, or large piece of furniture.

The safe’s walls are made of 9 gauge steel, and the door is made out of thicker 5 gauge steel.

The safe weighs about 80 pounds empty according to Harbor Freight Tools. I was able to carry the safe around without any problem, so I’d say it’s probably closer to 60. Either that or my workouts are really paying off.

If you choose, you can mount four wheels (included) to the bottom of the safe. They don’t swivel, so you can only really push the safe in one direction. Fine adjustment of the safe’s position is best done by picking it up. I recommend removing the wheels and anchoring the safe to the floor once you have it where you want it.

Operation

This safe is a little weird to open. There’s a keypad, and you key in your combination. Then you have to turn the bolt dial, which is a big plastic knob to the left of the keypad. THEN you have to open the safe door handle, like you would on any ordinary safe.

The keypad and bolt release dial feel very cheap. There is a thin plastic membrane in front of the keys, and I don’t think it would hold up to heavy use.

Locking the safe back up is also a little weird. On a normal safe, you shut the door and turn the door handle. That’s it. On this safe, you have to shut the door, turn the door handle, and then turn the black plastic bolt knob. If you don’t do this last part, you can turn the safe door handle and open the safe again. Make sure you practice this a few times so you don’t accidentally leave your safe unlocked when you think that it’s secured.

One thing I don’t like about this safe is the emergency entry system. Every safe I’ve seen with an electric entry has a manual backup. If the batteries to your keypad die, there is usually a way to open the safe via a key. The Harbor Freight safe is no exception. The thing I don’t like about it, though, is that the lock is a Tubular pin tumbler lock. While resistant to typical picking techniques, they can be brute forced via other methods.

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The safe’s backup lock is behind this plastic panel. I would have preferred a different kind of lock.

Interior

The interior of the safe is very plain, but that’s what I expected. There is a misshapen felt square that doesn’t really cover the bottom of the safe. The felt is to cover the bolt holes that allow you to bolt the safe to the floor. The safe’s interior edges are a little rough but not sharp enough to cut you.

One steel shelf is included, and it’s a LOT more sturdy than I expected. I keep my ammunition in this safe, and that stuff gets heavy.

The safe’s keypad is powered by four C batteries, which are included. Keeping with the budget nature of this safe, the battery door is held shut by packing tape. WTF?? Oh well, it does the job I guess:

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Conclusion

This safe is not going to keep out a hardened thief. The walls are too thin, and the safe is too light. If they don’t defeat the safe in your home, they could just throw it on a hand cart. I highly recommend bolting the safe to the floor.

What this safe is good for is for locking up a handgun, ammunition, private documents (like your birth certificate or social security card), etc when there are youngsters about or if someone is going to watch your house for you.

This is not my primary (or even secondary) safe, but I bought it because I wanted to secure my ammunition, and to keep it separate from my firearms. I bought it on sale ($99 down from $139) and then used a 20% off coupon to bring the price to $80 before tax. Not bad. I would like this safe a lot less at full price.

If you’re a firearms owner, you owe it to yourself — and your family — to lock up your stuff. This rolling safe from Harbor Freight might do the trick for you.

Recommended – conditionally

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Posted in: guns, preparedness, review

15 Comments on "Bunker Hill Safe From Harbor Freight Tools Review"

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  1. John says:

    Or they could just open it with a potato (search on how to open a safe with a potato). The solenoid is mounted vertically at the bottom and is a weak one with a short throw. A good tap to the top of the plastic housing causes the solenoid to bounce unlocking allowing you to unlock the safe. I don’t know if it’s possible to mount the solenoid with rubber washers to isolate it keep it from bouncing or if it could be replaced with a stronger solenoid and spring but anyone who can watch a youtube video can open this safe in less time then it takes to enter in the code.

    All the Bunker Hill safes use the same locking mechanism and it may be that just some have solenoids weak enough or maladjusted enough to be so easily compromised. There are two screws to adjust the stop that the plunger hits. If you can get into your safe with just a bump, try adjusting this stop.

    Mounting it in a location that makes it difficult to tap the top of the control console helps. Safes certainly should be bolted down.

  2. Mr. Bill says:

    Maybe if a Locksmith chimed in on a way to Boost or improve the performance of the lock(s) on this, maybe it can do a better job.

    With the economy giving people more time than money, any improvements like adding a better lock MIGHT make this safe a bit harder to Crack but I myself wouldn’t know where to start.

    Thanks!

    Mr. Bill <

  3. Jeff Swanson says:

    can i replace the lock in this model

  4. Mr. Bill says:

    I guess that’s the question I should just have come out and asked Jeff; a better lock might help reassure both potential customers and owners.

    I had to comment on the Youtube video because if I had a safe that could open that easy, I would return it.

  5. DrFaulken says:

    Hey Jeff, I don’t know if people can change the lock or not. Based on my limited locksmithing knowledge I think you should be able to. It’s just a typical Tubular pin tumbler lock.

    However, the bigger concern is the solenoid issue, which could lead to an inadvertent opening.

    Mr. Bill, do you own one of these safes? After John’s post in 2010 I researched the “potato trick” and tried it on my safe. I got lucky (?) and had a secure one.

  6. Mr. Bill says:

    Although I would HATE to come home to find I had been robbed by a potato, I will admit that we do own one of these.

    With our economy the way it is right now, a little extra precaution makes sense, especially if Things continue to go down hill.

    Some folks might say this isn’t that great of a safe and if we had more money to buy a better one we might have but we don’t so we didn’t.

    If the feedback on this safe is at all accurate, people seem to sleeping better knowing they at least did something for protection instead of doing nothing at all.

    <

  7. Scott says:

    Hey, I am a locksmith and these are nice cute little safes but the key lock is just way too easy to pick. That little turd son of mine just used a paperclip and was able to pick all four safes that I had purchased. I tried to find instructions on how to change out the lock but a wielded plate makes this all most impossible. I wanted to put in a barrel lock and beef the security a bit. Bunker Hill Safes technical support has no instructions to change out the lock. If a thief could not pick this lock, he had better find more honest work.

  8. DrFaulken says:

    Thanks for the post, Scott. If you could post a video with a successful pick that would be really helpful. I wonder if there are any alternative safes in the same price range.

  9. Murray says:

    Jeesh. All the blasted whining over a $49 safe? That’s what they sell them for when clearing/sale boys. You want better, get prepared to spend a few bucks more. I have three of these safes and am quite satisfied with them; they do what they are intended to do. I have two of their wee ones as well for pistols/ammo in the back of the SUV. They were $29 as I recall. And they do the job they are intended for as far as I am concerned. Last but not least I have a GUN SAFE. It weighs about a ton and I defy anyone to get into it without some serious effort. THAT is where I keep my handguns. The others I use for storing my ammo only. As for the front panel; yes it is prone to crunching to pieces and I am trying to get replacements now. They also make one with a rather sturdy combo lock faceplate in rubber that WAS lasting until I opened the door tonight after it sat around for a while…. plop. The faceplate fell off. Glue? I gotta call them.

    You want to keep your guns safe? It takes effort. I would lock gun and ammo seperately first off and then I would put a lock on the action. DO NOT USE A TRIGGER LOCK. Any 7 year old can open those with a bobby pin in less than a minute. I keep my guns in lockable cases individually as well and they have a padlock on them. The only gun that is not locked up is the one that’s on me. Or the one that’s been taken off just before bed and put in a Gunsafe combo safe. And I am beside it and it is unloaded with the magazine nearby.

    There is a fine line between safe and secure and you need to know what you are doing before making a decision and that decision needs to include the level of security you desire. We also have a jewelery store safe (still at the back of the store) that we inherited when we rented the store. It weighs a ton and even it can be picked by a pro.

    Methinks three or four levels of lockup is pretty good against the wee ones; the best protection is teaching them about guns as soon as they are old enough to understand. My son began shooting at about 11 and we have been shooting together for 7 years now. He “gets it”.

  10. Harold Rogers says:

    I have this safe Bunker Hill safe from Harbor-freight tools it is GREAT to
    store ammunition in importan papers also

  11. Dallas Burns says:

    I have missplaced my key for the safe and the battery is dead. Can I purchase another key?
    My safe is a:
    Bunker Hill Safe
    Finger Print Digital safe
    Item number when I purchased was 96866

  12. Carl Cataldo says:

    I Have A Model 91006. I Need Lock & Keys, I Lost My Keys. Does Anyone No How To Contact Them. Please Help If You Can.

    Thank You.

    Carl

    • john says:

      HFT CUST SERVICE ( NOT SW ASIA)
      805-388-1000

      I HAVE BEEN TRYing to select a descent gunsafe to store in a locked hall closet Would you recommend this ??

  13. DrFaulken says:

    Hi there! We have completely outgrown this safe and it now only houses two pistols and some magazines. I would say it’s okay if you don’t have any long guns or just plan on storing a few things inside.

  14. Tom Mars says:

    Dont these Bunker Hill safes (now)have a barrel lock? (key looks like a hallow casing with teeth on the periphery?)

    Im not a locksmith, but Im sure such a barrel lock can be picked (but I would imagine it would take more than a paper clip?)

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