I needed to buy a safe to lock up some of my expensive medication that had been stolen in the past. I set out to find a digital safe because I didn’t always have my keys with me, and I am very bad at remembering combinations and which way to turn the dial. There aren’t many cheaper/smaller safes now that aren’t digital. Some even have a credit card type system! I browsed around, glanced over reviews, and eventually found the Bunker Hill Security 0.71 Cu. Ft. safe at Harbor Freight for a little under $50 with a 20% off coupon that Harbor Freight usually puts on their website. This was the cheapest digital safe with the most amount of space that I could find. After installing it in my room, and putting my pills and some other belongings in it, I started to wonder why my pills were still going missing a week later. After reading reviews in depth and watching Youtube videos, I found out that this safe was not actually safe.
Straight out of the box, the Bunker Hill safe feels sturdy with very thick steel; not something easily opened. It turns out, the mechanism inside is so poorly designed that it is very easy to bounce the locking pin down and open the safe with the correct timing. I was able to open the safe by hitting the top of it a few times, trying to get the timing correct. It was that easy. I found a review on Harbor Freights website with information on how to secure this better.
This is a definite “do-it-yourself safe”. The bolt gate and locking pin solenoid are adjustable, and I don’t know why they don’t adjust this correctly out of the factory. First, with the door open and locking bolts still in the open position, remove the back panel of the door with the 4 screws in the corner. To secure this safe better, you need to loosen the screws and move the part labeled ‘A‘ further to the left until it is either barely touching the locking pin or is very close to the locking pin. The screws labeled ‘B‘ need to be loosened and the entire solenoid assembly needs to be moved up until it is just almost touching the part labeled ‘A‘. With each movement of both parts, check to see if the pin is still able to move freely by locking it and unlocking it. If it won’t pull down or go back up, it needs to be readjusted. Do not close the door until you are 100% sure the locking pin moves up and down with your pin number entry. The other vulnerability to this safe is the pin number reset button. It is very easy to put a long stick into one of the bolt holes on the back of the safe and press the button, allowing anyone to change the pin number and open the safe with their newly created pin. Simply remove the button from the side and tape it inside the cover on the back of the door.
After these modifications, I could no longer do the bounce/bump trick, and you can no longer change the pin from the outside of the safe. For even more security, I recommend bolting this into a floor or wall so the safe cannot move at all and the bolt holes are not accessible. Straight out of the box, the solenoid/locking pin and bolt gate are spaced so far apart that it is very easy to see why it’s so easy to get into. I am eventually going to get around to removing the solenoid/locking pin assembly and checking whether or not the spring can be replaced with one that is harder to compress, making the locking pin far less bouncy. It seems almost every digital safe uses this same mechanism, or somewhat similar of a mechanism, so this may work on a variety of safes.