In this article: We'll review a variety of safes and lockboxes for your car, broken down by type, style and more. We'll walk through designs we particularly like, things to look for in a car safe or lockbox and provide our top pick options on the market today.
A car safe or lockbox can be an invaluable addition to your car, truck, boat, or motorcycle. A safe offers you a place to keep spare keys, extra cash, medications, and other items that you don’t want to carry with you that are targets for thieves. A car lockbox is a great way to prevent items like radar detectors and dash cameras from being stolen, but they also make a convenient place to keep digital media storage devices and other car audio electronics and give you peace of mind knowing that your valuables will be right where you left them, no matter what a thief tries.
Not all car safes are built to a high standard though. Some offer little more than casual protection which is not much better than putting things in the glove box or center console. A car safe needs to be constructed from robust materials, have a lock that is secure and tamper-resistant, and be able to mount to the vehicle so that a thief can’t simply walk off with the safe.
These days, there are lots of different options for adding the security of a lock box to your vehicle. Some solutions are universal designs, meant to install in practically any vehicle while other safes are designed to work with specific applications. We got in touch with some of the best car security experts in the business to find out about the best safes and lockboxes. Then, we went to the manufacturers to get the important details you need in order to make the best decision for your security.
Here Are Our Best Car Safes and Lockboxes
Key Factors to Consider Before Buying a Car Safe
Before we show you the best car safes on the market, we want to discuss some of the features that you should consider when buying a safe for your car. The first thing you need to decide is how much room you will actually need. Small items like keys and an I.D. card don’t require much space, but if you are stashing an iPod or a bulky dash cam, you will need more space. If you are planning on having a place to lock up your firearm in the car, you will need to look at boxes that meet strict regulations too. You also want to consider where the lock box will be installed in the vehicle. While many models may have ready-to-install options, the majority of vehicles will require a custom installation in order to secure them to a sturdy part of the vehicle.
One of the biggest signs of an inadequate safe design is a thin-gauge metal that can easily be cut or penetrated. A safe made out of thin metal is totally useless. A thicker steel case is more expensive and heavier but is also significantly more difficult to cut without destroying the contents of the safe. Steel is measured in gauges, similar to speaker wire. Larger gauge metal is indicated by a numerically lower number. Ideally, a safe will have steel ranging from 16 gauge to 10 gauge. Many safes meant for automotive use are made from 18 gauge steel. These are fine for locking up small items that you can replace, but it shouldn’t be considered durable enough to withstand a dedicated thief.
Most car safes use a standard swing and latch type lock that prevents the door from opening. This type of lock is susceptible to failure when using a pry bar, particularly on safes with thin gauge metal doors. More secure safes will use a barrel key, biometrics such as fingerprints, or other methods of locking and unlocking the safe easily. A high-quality lock is a sign of a quality safe, and vice-versa.
Best Vehicle Specific & Drop-In Car Safes
Drop-in safes are designed to work with specific makes and models, but can be used in custom applications with a little ingenuity.
Tuffy Security Products
Tuffy Security Products Quick Review
Tuffy has been manufacturing accessories for trucks for many, many years. They offer a line of custom-built safes for Ford, Chevy/GMC, Jeep, Dodge RAM, and Suzuki vehicles. The solutions include safes that mount into the factory center console, under the front or rear seats, and complete custom center console assemblies to replace the factory parts as well.
One of our favorite products is the underseat safe designed for the 2011-2018 Ford Expedition. The box can fit under any seat that has at least 4.5 inches of clearance and is bolted to the floor using the seat frame bolts.
The safe is made from 16 gauge steel and uses an advanced 10 tumbler bitted lock. The internal locking mechanism is completely sealed and uses a pin-type latch that is reinforced with a ⅛ inch steel plate. The underseat safe has a weather seal to prevent moisture from seeping in and ruining your valuables.
Even if this safe won’t fit under your seat, there are many ways to install this in the trunk provided there is enough room for the sliding door to open. The side rails use ball bearing sliders for smooth operation and the case features ribbing to further strengthen the design.
Underseat safes are some of the most secure designs because a thief will typically need to dismantle the seat track to get the safe out of the vehicle, a task that can take a significant amount of time and will likely raise suspicion from passers-by. This safe is a good way to protect your valuables and provides an excellent solution to adding a safe that is out of the way but still easily accessible when needed.
- Excellent sizes for concealing most car electronics, keys, wallets, and other valuables out of sight
- Under seat models make quick removal of the safe practically impossible
- Customer service at Tuffy is fast, responsive, and provides you just what you need
- Some might not offer enough depth in the drawer for bulky items
- Does not carry CA DOJ approval required for concealed carry laws
Console Vault In-Car Vaults
Console Vault Quick Review
Console Vault has been building the highest-quality safes for cars and trucks since 2002. So they know what they are doing. The company offers custom-built, direct-fit safes for more than two dozen makes and hundreds of models. They even build safes for use with Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
We particularly love the drop-in console safe design used for the 2009-14 Ford F150 but they make it for other vehicles as well. Console Vault builds full-length console safes that replace the factory units or drop-in units. They also make under seat and behind seat storage options that are as well built as a bank vault. Console vault uses 12 gauge heavy-duty cold-rolled steel to build these safes. Thieves will need a lot more than just the average tools to break into this vault, and that’s if they even find it.
Rather than stick customers with whatever the newest lock design might be, Console Vault offers four options that include a barrel key, a keyless three-code combination, a four code combination, and the newest Elite four digit lock that has enhanced safety features to prevent drilling, prying, pounding, and any other attempts to bypass the lock.
Nearly all of the designs by Console Vault are vehicle-specific, but there are always ways that you can modify your vehicle to take advantage of these products. If nothing the company has will work for you, they are open to product requests from customers and are constantly expanding their line of safes to meet the needs of customers.
- These are among the finest-quality car safes in the world and are backed by a lifetime warranty
- The available options for different types of locks gives you the style best-suited for your needs
- The vehicle-specific nature of each safe makes it difficult to custom-install in other vehicles
- Not available from third-party sellers
Best Trunk Safes for Car
It is kind of funny to remember that the term “trunk” as a part of a car originated with actual trunks that were strapped to the back of a car on a rack back in the Brass Era. Those trunks didn’t offer much in the way of security unlike these options that provide law enforcement-level security in the trunk of your car.
- Universal trunk safe
- XL size measures 42” W x 15.25” D x 10” H
- Three-way lock with key, keypad, and RFID
- 16 gauge alloy steel construction
- Five case hardened locking lugs
- Includes 1500 lb security cable backup
- Includes wiring for lock function
- Spring-assist door
- Weighs 66 lbs
- CA DOJ certified
- One year warranty
Hornady RAPiD Trunk Safe Quick Review
Leave it to one of the world’s best firearms accessories manufacturers to introduce a police-style locker for your civilian vehicle. Designed to store Armalite rifles and shotguns, these trunk vaults offer tons of storage space for anything you want locked down. The safe is available in two sizes with up to a 10 inch height, so storing bulky items like professional digital cameras or drones won’t be a problem. And of course, this is the best way to store firearms when you are on the road.
These safes feature a unique three-way locking system that combines a traditional barrel key design with a digital four-number keypad and the latest RFID technology for instant, touchless access and unparalleled security. RFID allows the owner to have a key tag or wearable tag that will instantly unlock the safe for fumble-free access.
The safes are constructed from 16 gauge alloy steel with hardened points at the hinges and anti-pry shields to prevent the door from being pried open. The trunk safe uses five roll pin latches that are case-hardened to prevent cutting or sawing. The safe is designed to bolt in place and can be mounted horizontally or vertically using the included bolts. It also includes a steel cable backup that has a working load in excess of 1,500 lbs. The lock includes wiring for constant vehicle power and includes a battery backup to avoid a lockout if the car battery discharges.
- Ideal solution for an out-of-sight safe that has the space for larger objects
- Three-way lock offers the ultimate in convenience and quick access
- Takes up a significant amount of space in the trunk, limiting options for subwoofer boxes and amplifiers
- Some customers had issues with the lock placement being inconvenient to operate when installed correctly
- Universal trunk safe design
- 13 gauge steel body, 8 gauge door
- Eight locking lugs
- Digital keypad entry with backup physical key
- Hydraulic rams for opening and closing the door easily
- Integrated side handles for moving safe
- Weighs 66 lbs
- 43” W x 13” D x 7” H
- Lifetime warranty
SnapSafe Trunk Safe II Quick Review
SnapSafe has made a name building high-quality modular safe designs, so we were pretty excited to check out the Trunk Safe II. The safe is well-built, heavy-duty, and offers excellent protection for valuables you need to store in the trunk of your car.
SnapSafe uses 13 gauge steel to construct the body of the safe and doubles-down with an impressive 8 gauge steel door. The door locks with a total of eight case hardened locking lugs that will make it almost impossible to pry the door open. The top-opening door has a gas strut to take the weight of the door and make it simple to grab your gear and go.
The Trunk Safe II uses an electronic keypad that uses a code anywhere from three to eight digits. A back-up physical key is provided in case the battery on the lock dies. The safe is intended to lay flat and won’t operate correctly if installed vertically. The safe is designed for permanent mounting using pre-drilled holes in the bottom of the safe.
- Top-opening lid offers better access than front-opening designs
- Impressive steel gauge thickness and locking mechanism
- Hydraulic ram is inadequate for regular use
- Digital key lock is not drill-resistant
- Lack of bumpers allow door to rattle when driving
Best Portable Safes
Sometimes you need something a little more portable. All you really need is a secure way to lock up valuables so they are more difficult to steal. If this sounds like you, a portable safe is a good option for short-term solutions, but these should not be used for storing firearms or expensive items in the car long-term.
- Portable vault for storing small items
- Stainless steel construction
- Key lock with two keys included
- Includes a braided steel security cable
- 12” W x 8.875” D x 2.75” H
- Weighs 5.9 lbs
The Club LB400 XL Quick Review
We all remember the Club from the steering wheel locking device that has prevented thousands of vehicle thefts over the years. The Clube LB400XL vault is designed to hold sunglasses, credit cards, keys, and other small items to prevent theft. The storage box uses a heavy-duty cable to physically attach the vault to your car or truck.
The vault is made from stainless steel that is difficult to drill and provides excellent protection from prying. A braided steel cable secures the vault to the bottom of your seat, the inside of your trunk, or any other location that makes sense for you. A standard tumbler lock and keys secures the vault and prevents theft.
The portability of this vault makes it an ideal pick for people who are on the road a lot since you can keep your valuables locked up when in or out of your vehicle. The cable makes it possible to lock the vault to a bed frame or another fixed object so that housekeeping staff or thieves can’t just walk off with your valuables.
- Excellent portable option when a fixed safe isn’t useful
- Provides better protection against theft than a glove box, center console, or trunk
- The height is a little short for bulky items
- Cable is susceptible to cutting with bolt cutters or a cut-off saw
- Portable storage case
- Alloy steel construction
- Key lock with two included keys
- 11.5” W x 7.5” D x 2.5” H
- Includes braided steel security cable
- CA DOJ certified
- Weighs 3.96 lbs
AmazonBasics Portable Security Case XXL Quick Review
If you are looking for a budget-friendly way to add a little extra security to your car (or life), this case from Amazon Basics might fit the bill. It is designed to hold small items like keys, credit cards, jewelry, or sunglasses to prevent smash-and-grab thefts.
The case is made from alloy steel which is very difficult to drill or pry due to its hardness. The case includes a braided steel cable so you can mount it to the seats in your car or any other secure spot. The small size makes this ideal for people who are in and out of hotels, airports, or other locations where small items can easily be lost or taken.
A simple key-lock secures the case from opening, but isn’t pry-resistant or drill-resistant. Similar to other portable cases, the included safety cable won’t last long against a set of bolt cutters. We think this is a great solution for travelers and people who simply want to avoid the most common smash-and-grab thefts. It is sturdy enough to keep children out while being large enough to hold the things you need handy. This isn’t a permanent solution to storage and we wouldn’t recommend using this for concealed weapons or highly-valuable property other than transporting these items from one location to another where they will be properly stored.
- The case is a convenient way to prevent common thefts from vehicles
- One of the most affordable options around for added security
- Lock mechanism won’t handle prying for long before failing
- Tumbler intrudes into the case, effectively limiting the size of objects that will fit
- Fits standard 2” receiver hitches
- Four-digit dial keypad
- Uses cadmium nickel pins to lock into hitch
- Holds keys, cash, and up to two credit cards
HitchSafe Vault Quick Review
This is an interesting idea that is perfect for people who need a place to stash small items like keys while away from their truck. The Hitch Lock mounts to your unused trailer hitch, and uses locking side pins to install into the receiver directly to the hitch. It creates a little cubby hole perfect for stashing stuff in a less-obvious location.
The Hitch Safe uses an alloy combination lock similar to the type used for realtor keys and a dust cover that makes this hide-a-hole less obvious to would-be thieves. It is well-made and installs in a matter of seconds, giving you peace of mind that your keys, cards, or other small items are safe while you are away.
- This is a way better solution than the old magnetic boxes for holding keys and small items
- Probably not the first place thieves will look and very difficult to remove without the combination
- Doesn’t offer much room for larger items
- Can become stuck in the hitch when not used for long periods of time
- Can’t use this lock while your hitch is already in use for a trailer
Adding locking vault storage to your car or truck is a great way to prevent your valuable items from getting carried off by thieves. Numerous reports recently have shown that property crimes like mash-and-grab thefts are on the rise in more than 180 cities in the U.S. Whether you are a concealed carry permit holder that needs a secure storage spot when you can’t carry, or a car audio junkie that needs to lock up expensive electronics, or just a cautious person, adding the security of a safe or lockbox is simple. All of the products we looked at today are high-quality, durable, and intended to prevent your things from getting stolen. So, if you are still stashing the face plate to your Kenwood receiver under your seat, or if you are worried that someone will steal your brand-new radar detector, these storage options might give you the solution you need.