I think the Mesa Safe MBF1512C is the best mid-security home safe under $500 available today.
As a leader in the safe industry since 1981, the Mesa Safe Company takes pride in providing safes of high strength and quality.
In this review of the Mesa Safe MBF1512C, I’ll look at how secure it is, how easy it is to use, warranty, frequently asked questions and what alternatives are available.
|Security Rating:||No UL Listing|
|Fire Rating:||2 Hour U.L. Fire Rating|
|Ext. Dimensions:||20″H x 17.25″W x 18.75″D|
|Int. Dimensions:||16.5″H x 14.25″W x 12.5″D|
|Capacity:||1.7 Cubic Feet (shipping weight 170 lbs)|
How secure is it?
The MBF1512C is constructed from all steel and weighs a total of 139 pounds (without anything in it). This would require more than one person to carry.
The door is made from 4.5 inch reinforced solid steel and the remaining body from 1.75-inch steel. It has 3 solid steel, 1.5 inch, locking bolts and deadbolts.
The interior of the safe features a fully upholstered shelf, walls, and door panel using fire-resistant material.
The MBF1512C is factory tested to withstand impact from a two-story fall without cracking or opening and includes a drill resistant hard plate and punch-activated re-locking system.
The MBF1512C has a 2 Hour U.L. Classified Fire Rating by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
This means this safe has been tested and can withstand up to two hours of being on fire with the outside temperature reaching a maximum of 1830°F/998°C, while maintaining inside temperature below 350°C/177°F.
All in all, the Mesa Safe MBF1512C is a mid-security home safe. It’s not a home safe for expensive valuables in high risk areas. But for lower risk areas, more modest valued items, it should offer more than enough protection.
Here's a video putting the Mesa Safe to the test. While it isn't the MBF1512C in the video, but rather the MBF1512E model, the construction and level of protection is the same. This video shows just how much value for money you get with this home safe.
Is it easy to use?
The locking mechanism on the MBF1512C model is an old-fashioned mechanical combination lock.
The dial is metal and the motion is solid and smooth, opening easily.
This is more often than not, more reliable then the digital locks where batteries can die and digital chips can fail.
The mechanical lock on this safe is simple and reliable for the most part.
It can be a bit confusing to use at first as the number selection must be exact for the safe to open.
It is fine once you get the hang of it.
Sometimes during transit, the tumbler can shift and make the lock a bit temperamental.
This commonly happens to safes that are of similar weight during transit. You can always get a locksmith to realign the tumblers.
Another disadvantage is that there is no way to change the combination as it is factory set. However, a locksmith would be able to reset the combo if you really wanted.
Aside from that, the safe is near perfect.
The MBF1512C is mountable. Mounting is a pretty simple and straightforward process. It comes with four factory pre-drilled anchor holes and anchoring kit.
Simply follow the instructions in the operating manual.
Doing this will make it even more difficult to move and carry away, further improving the degree of security offered by this safe.
Does it include warranty?
The Mesa Safe MBF1512C comes with a Limited Lifetime warranty.
This means that if you are the original owner of a Mesa MBF Series Gun or Cabinet Safe that is damaged due to theft or fire, the Mesa Safe Company will replace the safe with absolutely no product cost to you.
You must provide the Mesa Safe Company with a properly filled police and/or fire department report within 30 days of the incident.
The Mesa Safe Company will also guarantee your Mesa Brand lock free from defects for a period of one year from original purchase date on manufacture defects only.
Click here for more information.
Is the handle made from plastic?
No. The handle is also made of solid steel. Well-built, strong and very heavy safe.
Can the mechanical lock be replaced with a high security digital lock?
The Mesa Safe MBF1512 is available in both combination and electronic locks! If you prefer an electronic lock over a combination lock, take a look at the MBF1512E.
The “C” at the end of the model number indicates that it is a combination lock and the “E” indicates that it is an electronic lock.
If you’re after a safe that offers protection against both fire and burglary, the Mesa MBF1512C is a great choice.
It is perfect for most home and domestic needs, and investing in one will probably be the cheapest home content insurance you'll ever pay.
Alternatives to the Mesa Safe MBF1512C
If the Mesa Safe MBF1512C is not exactly what you’re looking for, then there are a number of other safes which might be more suitable…
Looking for something cheaper?
The SentrySafe SFW205CWB Fireproof Safe and Waterproof Safe with Dial Combination has a steel outer shell and heat shield, which provides reliable protection.
It is slightly larger than the MBF1512C and MBF1512E, but not by much.
The biggest benefit of the SFW205CWB is the independently verified protection against fire and flood for up to 1 hour.
It also features a combination lock that is reliable and easy to use, pry-resistant hinge bar, 6 large, 1-inch bolts and is made from steel to help protect against theft.
A slight design flaw of the SFW205CWB is that it doesn’t come with any factory pre-drilled holes, yet they’ve included anchoring hardware; so bolting down requires drilling two holes in the designated spots inside the safe first.
This isn’t something that’s easy to do, and unless appropriate water tight sealant is used, it will compromise the safe’s water protection.
While certainly not as secure as the Mesa MBF Series, the SentrySafe SFW205CWB is a great budget priced, mid to low end home safe, that is well suited for low risk areas.
For more information, check out my review of the SentrySafe SFW205CWB to learn more about it.
Looking for something more secure?
The Mesa Safe MTLE1814 is one of Mesa’s high-end safes. This safe is capable of withstanding several attacks from all sorts of tools such as power saws, drills, and sledgehammers. Furthermore, it also performs well under fire.
If you are looking for a safe that can protect your valuables from fire for a while, then you would be pleased to know that the Mesa Safe MTLE1814 has a two-hour, 350F factory fire rating. The safe has been tested under extreme temperatures. Unfortunately, the Mesa Safe MTLE1814 does not come with any features that protect it from water.
The Mesa Safe MTLE1814 comes with a U.L. Listed burglary protection (15 min). Its lock is equipped with a U.L. listed Group II key changeable combination. It is protected by a massive hard plate that is drill-shattering, along with two spring-loaded relocking devices. This ensures that the burglar cannot break through the lock easily.
The Mesa Safe MTLE1814 is a TL safe that comes with the ability to withstand fire and even severe attacks from sophisticated burglars. It does a great job of protecting your valuables. The upside of this safe is that it is made using high-end materials; the downside is that it does not have protection against water.
If none of these options are quite right for you, try my simple 7 step guide that guarantees to find the right safe for you and your home!
Alternatively, check out my article reviewing the 10 best home safes.