There are lots of portable safes available in 2023, but they aren’t all the same. We’ve tested the six best travel safe boxes currently available, and we recorded our findings!
We wanted to know how the best travel safes on the market compare when they are scratched, exposed to the sun, or tampered with using a knife. It made us very aware of the importance of everyday safety, especially when traveling! We put these portable safes through the wringer and pushed them to their absolute limit.
From stress and durability tests to vigorously attacking the travel safes with knives, we made sure that our testing process was as aggressive as possible.
We are Sabrina Schieder and Maria Molina, two young travelers and students that faced the difficulties of traveling alone and not feeling safe with our stuff. Together, we have done a deep analysis of what a portable safe has to be able to offer depending on what you need. Our testing revealed what we believe the best travel safe on the market is. Here’s a quick look at our findings.
We tested the six best travel safes to their absolute limit. What we found was that the single best travel safe in terms of value for money and protection was the AquaVault FlexSafe. It simply stands out, although there were some safes in a close second place such as the Life Pod travel safe, the Safe Go, or the Pacsafe.
Our winners for…
Here you will find the winners of each test and the reason why we choose each of them.
|Best for portability and comfort||FlexSafe|
|Best instructions and locking method||FlexSafe|
|Best impact resistance||FlexSafe|
|Best travel safe||FlexSafe|
|Best beach safe||FlexSafe|
|Best safe for college students||PacSafe|
|Best for at home||LifePod|
|Best for hospital and care homes||SafeGo/FlexSafe|
|Best dial combination safe||LifePod|
|Best low-budget choice||AmazonBasics|
HOW WE TESTED the 6 best portable safes!
We got our hands on the best travel safe boxes currently available in 2023. It’s easy to read some reviews and hope for the best, but we wanted to get hands-on and dive deep when looking for imperfections and flaws. The structural integrity of each travel safe had to be tested, and its overall durability was essential.
What follows are our findings. Using our extensive testing, we determined the best use cases for each travel safe, where they fail, and which is best suited to each user. Having the real products in front of you when testing them is simply the best way to ensure that you get the facts and not the press release fluff that criminals will never bother reading!
- First Impressions of the Portable Safes
- Features of The Product
- Ease of Use When Setting Up a Portable Safe
- What Actually Fits In a Portable Safe?
- How Well Will a Portable Safe Fit in Your Suitcase?
- How breakable is it? Does it protect the products inside if they fall?
- How Secure Is It from Thieves?
- High-Temperature Resistance
1. First Impressions of the Portable Safes
We wanted to show these portable safes from a realistic point of view. We wanted to know what these safes look like without the need for professionally taken catalog images, how much they really weigh compared to the manufacturer’s weight data, the measurements, and whether there are any unusual features not mentioned by the makers of these travel safes.
2. Features of The Products
In the following table, you will be able to quickly see the main features and characteristics of each travel safe as provided by the brands themselves. However, we’ve also added details about what we found when actually using the safes.
Fixed objects with cable
Earbud/charging cable access port
Durable-water resistant construction
|PacSafe||360° wire eXomesh® technology|
Capacity of 5L
Stainless steel locking cable 11 cm
900D Polyester twisted (main material), brushed polyester laminated with EVA(lining)
|Safe Go||ABS plastic|
Dual-locking system of both a key and a 3-digit combination lock
Handle – tethering steel cable
Choice of colors (green, black, white, rose, blue, gold)
Water, Salt, and Sand Resistant
Nickel-plated zinc alloy
|Life Pod||Secure built-in lock system, unique master code|
Touch activated keypad
Lightweight and rugged (meets TSA guidelines)
Powered by a 9V alkaline battery*
Micro-USB unit to power it in case of a dead battery
Included accessories: nylon tether lanyard, manual keys, crate foam, and steel security cable
Superior strength for impact-resistance
Good and fast customer service
Anti-pry steel case
Zinc alloy combi-lock
Steel cable with a proven load capacity of 771 kg
US Department of Justice safety approved
Interior foam padding
Comes with a bag with blotting balls to preserve moisture inside
Side mesh storage pockets
Padded carry handle
RFID card security
Invested in by Daymond John from Shark Tank
Videos for instructions as well
Re-Programmable 3 Digit Combination Lock
5 layers of protection
3. Ease of Use When Setting Up a Portable Safe
One of our main criteria when testing the best travel-safe boxes of 2023 was how easy they were to use. Each one does come with instructions on how to use them, but how easy are those instructions to follow? As you’ll be able to see from the following table, some of the instructions were a lot harder to follow than others!
Some of the travel safes that we tested were very difficult to open, and for some, we had to watch YouTube videos to work them out. The FlexSafe proved to be the top-ranking travel safe when it comes to ease of use.
|MasterLock||Good Availability of languages|
Unclear instructions, difficult to find steps, no helpful pictures, really bad
It is very difficult to insert the combination because the wheels are very stiff
|PacSafe||Unclear instructions (it does not say that you have to press the lock to open the safe)|
The locking procedure is very complicated, with many steps to do in order to lock the portable safe (you have to drag a silver bead into the metal-reinforced locking device before you can actually lock the padlock).
We had to watch a video to understand properly where the silver bead is, and how to close this safe
|Safe Go||Really easy to open and to set up|
Instructions are only in English but come with helpful pictures
You lock the safe either with a 3 digit number or with keys (there are two available)
|Life Pod||Battery (9v alkaline battery) is not included|
Instructions are clear but the whole procedure is quite complicated and you have to read a lot
Finding the opening for the battery can be misleading, almost took the whole thing out
QR code for the video
Instructions are great. Without watching a video it would be hard
Low availability of language instructions (currently only in English)
2 keys are available for if the battery dies
|AmazonBasics||7 languages used in the instructions|
Smooth to turn the 3-digit wheels
Really easy to set up and understand
|FlexSafe||Incredibly easy to use, with lots of clear instructions|
Even a kid can set it up and open it as long as they know the password (see video)
Instructions are available in 7 languages
4. What Actually Fits In a Portable Safe?
It’s important that you get the travel safe box that will fit your most valuable possessions. Some of the safes that we tested are really only suitable for smaller items like jewelry, and may not even be large enough for a good-sized smartphone. Others will be able to easily fit a laptop or a large tablet.
Knowing what you’re going to be storing away is important to understand before you decide on the best travel safe for you.
WHAT FITS IN IT
That’s why we next checked the capacity of each travel safe. We wanted to know if the following would fit inside each product:
- Car keys
There were some surprising results. Some of the travel safes that we tested looked as if they wouldn’t hold much, only to find that they had much more capacity than expected.
|MasterLock||A few of small items will fit in but not all of them|
A wallet+passport will make it difficult to lock the device
|PacSafe||Big capacity for every kind of item|
A small laptop will fit in as well as a passport, wallet, watch, earphones, phone, car keys, etc
Depending on how many items you store, it can get more difficult to close and lock
|Safe Go||Really spacious|
Small items will fit it such as a passport, wallet, watch, earphones, phone, car keys, and even some small clothes
|Life Pod||No really big items will fit in the small capacity|
It won’t lock perfectly with more than 3-4 items
Perfect for one wallet, a phone, keys, and a gun alone
Really good for jewelry as well because of the sponges
|AmazonBasics||Limited space, so it’s good for a gun or jewelry, but not really suitable for long or tall items||6|
|FlexSafe||More space than it looks|
Two passports, a wallet, watch, car keys, earphones, etc, will all fit easily
It locks perfectly and will fit all the basics you need
5. How Well Will a Portable Safe Fit in Your Suitcase?
Luggage space is always at a premium when traveling. Making sure that the best portable safes were tested for traveler comfort and the convenience of packing them in luggage was something we were very interested in. The results weren’t as cut and dry as we assumed!
HOW IT FIT IN YOUR SUITCASE
|MasterLock||Fits in a suitcase/bag, and is easy to carry|
It fits perfectly with not much space needed
A bit weighty/heavy
|PacSafe||Very easy to pack|
A bit big so it will take up some space in the suitcase
|Safe Go||It takes up too much space|
This is really big, even if not too heavy
You will need to remove items from your suitcase to fit it
|Life Pod||It is very heavy|
It will add relevant kg to your luggage and you will also have to remove items to fit them in
It’s not overly large but it is not very easy to pack
|AmazonBasics||This is very heavy and it will make a significant difference to your luggage weight|
Not easy to pack at all
Super easy to fit in the suitcase
You will barely notice it is there
6. How breakable is it? Does it protect the products inside if they fall?
A key feature of any portable travel safe is how well it protects your belongings. Not just from criminals, but from the damage that can often occur while traveling or in transit. We wanted to know how well our important possessions would be protected if they were dropped if our more fragile possessions would stay intact, and overall just how durable the best travel safes really are.
|MasterLock||Items inside will resist some high impact but eventually, this personal safe will open up||5|
|PacSafe||Whatever you put inside this bag, will break immediately|
It is simply not resistant to high impacts
|Safe Go||Rigid material and high-impact protection|
It scratches a little but no real damage
Anything inside will be secure
|Life Pod||It did not scratch at all|
Items inside were perfect even after the safe was dropped
|AmazonBasics||This will keep your belongings safe but it will eventually open||7|
|FlexSafe||High impact protection|
We dropped it from different heights and it always protected the items inside
7. How Secure Is It from Thieves?
For this test, we wanted to simulate how a potential thief might try to get to the items inside the travel safe. We used a knife and a pair of scissors to try and open each safe. Our main concern was how easy it would be for a thief to get into the travel safes even if they lack professional tools.
Obviously, the point of a travel safe is to make sure that nobody can walk away with your essentials. You want to relax, and you don’t want to spend your vacation worrying about your security! Here’s what we found.
|MasterLock||Easy to scratch on the cover and also on the inside|
Not too hard to open it with a knife or other similar item
You can completely stick a knife inside
Scissors won’t do anything to the cable
|PacSafe||Won’t resist a knife attack|
Easy to break into and get the items with a regular kitchen knife
Scissors and nails won’t do any damage
|Safe Go||Impossible to open with a knife|
Scissors do not cut the cable
With heavy impact, it will open
|Life Pod||The knife went right inside the safe box|
It would be difficult to remove any object but you can easily reach inside with a knife and damage whatever is stored inside
|AmazonBasics||The knife easily went inside the safe box|
It would be very difficult to remove anything but you can easily reach in and damage the stored possessions with a knife
Hard to break into
Tried to open it and we didn’t make it
If you tried to break in over a longer period you will be able to
Very hard to break the 5 layers and get inside
8. High-Temperature Resistance
While not every vacation takes place in a hot climate, it’s one of the more common options. That’s why we tested each of the top travel safes for exposure to the sun. How we performed this test was to leave the travel safes out in the harsh glare of the sun for 30-minutes.
Then, we touched them to see how hot they had become.
|MasterLock||This gets extremely hot||4|
|PacSafe||This personal safe gets very hot in the sun||5|
|Safe Go||This keeps your stored belongings at a good temperature so they won’t get overly hot||2|
|Life Pod||It really keeps the items at a natural temperature so your phone (for example) won’t get hot||3|
|AmazonBasics||We couldn’t touch this at all after it had been in the sun for 30-minutes||6|
|FlexSafe||Keeps things at a stable temperature so that whatever is stored inside remains protected from the heat||1|
Our winners for…
Everybody needs something different from portable travel safe. Some people will prioritize a safe that’s sturdy enough to protect possessions from falls, while others will focus on their ability to stay cool in hot climates. We created a table with our quick breakdown of the facts so that you can invest in the travel safe box that perfectly suits your needs.
Best for portability and comfort:
FlexSafe – Only 280 grams.
Best instructions and locking method:
FlexSafe – Plenty of clear instructions and easy to set up.
Best impact resistance:
FlexSafe – We did a drop test with glass inside and it was perfect.
Best travel safe:
FlexSafe – Lightweight, convenient, and easy to pack.
Best beach safe:
FlexSafe – Easy to hide, discrete, the perfect size for small items, easy to attach to a chair or a beach umbrella.
Best safe for college students:
PacSafe – Great for size, this safe will easily fit a laptop.
Best for at home:
LifePod – This is the travel safe that’s most similar to a regular safe, so it’s very secure and can be used just as well at home as when traveling.
Best for hospital and care homes:
SafeGo/FlexSafe – Both of these options are easy to set up and simple to lock and open. They’re both great portable safes for the elderly, kids, nurses, etc.
SafeGo – This is a good-looking safe that looks like a bag and is cute for kids, cool, and useful.
Best dial combination safe:
LifePod – The touch and digital lock with battery integrated and code make this easy to open and close, even if you’re in a rush.
Best low-budget choice:
AmazonBasics – At $23.80, this is a hard price to beat.
FlexSafe – With an 8.875 average between all the products and 8 ranked features, the FlexSafe is simply the best combination of price and value out of all of the travel safes we tested.
Our personal winner is…
The AquaVault FlexSafe is the clear winner when comparing the best travel safes of 2023. It has the best price for value, it’s easy to use, and straightforward to set up. It can also be easily attached to secure objects. It stands out in all of the tests that we put these safes through.
It may not have come out top in every category, but overall the FlexSafe is our top choice if you’re looking for a secure, reliable, and durable travel safe.
But don’t forget, none of these items are indestructible
As well-designed as all of these safes are, it’s important to remember that they aren’t bank vaults. They are portable devices that offer an extra level of security when you’re traveling. A fixed-site safe or even a locker may be more secure.
Before you buy travel safely, think about the kinds of items you will be storing. This will affect the cost, the size of the safe, and how convenient it will be to move.
How many times can I change the portable safe password?
It’s a feature of all of the portable safes listed here that you can change the password or passcode as many times as you need to. This is on purpose because it’s advised that you change your access details regularly. If too many people know how to get into your safe, then your belongings will not be secure.
Each portable safe product will have its own instructions on how to change the access code. However, even with the safes that are more complicated to use, the instructions on changing the code are generally very easy to understand.
How often should I change my password?
You need to change the passwords for your email and online accounts regularly, and your portable safe is no different. While it’s a good idea to change the password for your safety at least every three months, there are situations where you will need to change it more regularly than that.
If too many people already know your safe’s password or code, then that’s a good time to change it. If someone ever parts company with you and they know how to get into your safe, then that too is a good time to change the details.
What happens if I forget my password?
You have a few options available if you forget how to get into your travel safe. The easiest way is to simply reset the password/code. There will be instructions available with each of the travel safes that we tested.
Some travel safes will encourage you to set up a security question and a recovery email address when you first set your password or passcode. This makes it much easier to reset your password if you forget it.
Is this TSA approved?
Every portable safe that we have tested here is officially approved by the Transportation Security Agency (TSA). That means you will not have any issues getting through airport security with your portable safe. However, it’s important to know that just because your belongings are locked away, they may still get searched for contraband.
How long will my portable safe be working?
This largely depends on how often you use it and how you use it. Some of the portable safes that we reviewed, such as the MasterLock or AmazonBasics safe, will break fairly easily. Others, such as the SafeGo, Flexsafe, and LifeGuard, are much more durable and will last many years.
Don’t overlook the fact that some safes, like the PacSafe, will certainly work for a long time, but that your possessions may not be as protected inside.
Should you have a portable safe at home?
Generally, you shouldn’t rely on a portable safe for your home. While there are advantages to using a portable safe rather than a home safe, the fact is that portable safes are designed to be used on the go.
If you do use a portable safe at home, then you do get the option to change its location as and when you please. That’s a lot harder with a traditional safe. In most cases though, a travel safe is best used when moving around.
If you do decide to use a travel safe at home, then choose one of the bigger options like the LifePod. This is the closest a portable safe comes to a traditional safe.
Any inconveniences flying with a portable safe?
Most people will have no problems flying with a portable safe. All of those safes listed and tested by us have been TSA-approved, so you will have no issues taking them aboard a plane.
However, the TSA of customs will open your safe if they have cause to do so. Most safes can’t be scanned by an x-ray machine, so there’s a chance that you’ll get a call for a bag check. If the TSA or customs official is unable to open the safe, then you may need to be present for them to do so.
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Last Updated on March 7, 2023 by Emily Scott