Steelwater Gun Safe Reviews

Are you looking for a Steelwater gun safe? Well, look no further. This article aims to help you find the best Steelwater safe for the money.

Through a bunch of research and asking folks I know, I’ve come up with a list of pretty good Steelwater safes. I’ve analyzed the pros and cons of each safe. I’ve also made sure to include a good range of sizes and configuration to give you a diversity of choice. As an extra bonus, I’ve reviewed two Steelwater home safes too!

Take a read!

Comparison Table

Steelwater 16 Gun
Steelwater 20 Gun - Steelwater Heavy Duty
Steelwater 39 Gun - 1 Hour Fire Rated Safe
Steelwater 20 Gun - 60 Minute Economy Safe
Steelwater 22 Gun - 1 Hour Fire Rated Safe

Best Steelwater Long Gun Safe Reviews

Advance note: most Steelwater Long Gun Safes have Standard, Heavy, or Extreme duty variants, all of which I’ve included the specs for when relevant. Click here to learn more about what those variants mean.

Steelwater 16 Gun Safe Review

Steelwater 16 Gun Safe

The Steelwater 16 Gun Safe is a very popular, highly rated safe that’ll fit quite a few long guns.

As I mentioned earlier, it comes in two versions: STANDARD DUTY and HEAVY DUTYBoth versions have the same size, locking mechanism, and fire rating. Oh, and they look basically the same from the outside. They only differ slightly in the steel they use and weight.

Let’s let some owners speak for themselves though. I’m going to copy/paste a few comments that folks in one of my gun enthusiast Facebook groups have made. These are guys who know their stuff… let’s hear what they have to say.

EMP protected lock was the selling point for me. At first I saw the specs and really liked the Steelwater 16. Then I saw electronic keypad lock and went hell no, not getting this. I’m a proud prepper. Don’t want to get locked out of my safe when SHTF. But then I noticed there was EMP protection and the backup key. Good balance for me, can get my guns quickly when life’s normal, and an still get them when SHTF.

— Ray from Tulsa, OK

My brother’s a locksmith, got him to look at mine. The locking bolts are top-notch, he says. Got 10 of them, they’re an inch and a half thick, nobody’s gonna screw with that. He also pointed out the body’s lined with steel hard plate, love to see someone drill through that stuff, they’ll be doing it to kingdom come.

— Thomas from Clarion, PA

Lol, you’re asking about the Steelwater 16? Got 9 of my most precious babies in there. Ain’t really a 16 gun safe, if you got scopes on your guns you’re not going to be able to put 16 in. But otherwise everything’s good. Still using the original cloth lining it came with, also using the complimentary dehumidifier. That was a nice touch.  

— Jody from Perote, AL

Pros (both versions)
  • Strong steel body for both standard and heavy duty versions
  • Great fire protection compared with other brands
  • EMP proof electronic lock that has key backup
  • California DOJ approved
  • Free dehumidifier
Cons (both versions)
  • May not actually fit 16 guns
Steelwater 16 Gun Safe STANDARD DUTY (AMEGS592216-BLK) Specifications
  • Inner dimensions: 56” H x 20” W x 14” D
  • Capacity: 9.07 cubic ft, Up to 16 guns, 8-10 guns on average
  • Outer dimensions: 53” H x 22” W x 10” D
  • Construction: 14 gauge steel
  • Weight: 305 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Electronic keypad lock with 1 backup double-bitted key. EMP Proof.
  • Fire Resistance: Fire rated for 60 mins at 1875 deg F.
Steelwater 16 Gun Safe HEAVY DUTY (AMSW592216-BLK) Specifications
  • Inner dimensions: 56” H x 20” W x 14” D
  • Capacity: 9.07 cubic ft, Up to 16 guns, 8-10 guns on average
  • Outer dimensions: 53” H x 22” W x 10” D
  • Construction: 12 gauge steel
  • Weight: 351 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Electronic keypad lock with 1 backup double-bitted key. EMP Proof.
  • Fire Resistance: Fire rated for 60 mins at 1875 deg F.

Steelwater 20 Gun Safe Review

Steelwater 20 Gun Safe

The Steelwater 20 gun safe is the Steelwater 16’s big brother. It also has a standard duty and heavy duty versions, you can look below for details. 

Here’s what two guys I know through FB have to say about this…

You know the story of goldilocks, where she’s saying how the porridge is just right? Reminds me of this safe because I think it’s ‘just right’. Budget and size, it’s right in the middle… not that much more expensive than the 16, cheaper than the 22. It was perfect size for my collection (it’s up to a lucky 13 right now). Still a heavy hunk of steel. Good workmanship. 9V battery for the lock’s still OK, been 2 years. The chrome hinges are a bit chipped though.

Steelwater 20 Gun Safe

— Ted from Hopewell, VA

Well thankfully my house hasn’t caught on fire… gonna knock on wood here… so obviously can’t say anything about the fire rating. I’ll trust it’s good. But got the Steelwater 20 a couple weeks back and I have to say the people at Steelwater were top-notch. Guy named Keith, I think he was in South Carolina, called me after I ordered. Asked me how I wanted to do shipping. He told me I should have some movers ready when the truck came. Walked me through everything, updated over email after. Swell guy.

— Joe from Murphy, TX

Pros
  • Strong steel body for both standard and heavy duty versions
  • Great fire protection compared with other brands
  • EMP proof electronic lock that has key backup
  • Good balance between size and price
  • California DOJ approved
  • Free dehumidifier
Cons
  • Note that fire rating for Heavy Duty is slightly lower than Standard Duty
Steelwater 20 Gun Safe STANDARD DUTY Specifications
  • Inner dimensions: 55.5″ H x 25″ W x 12.625″ D
  • Capacity: 11.8 Cubic Ft, Up to 20 guns, average capacity 12-16 guns
  • Outer dimensions: 59″ H x 28″ W x 18″ D
  • Construction: 14 gauge steel
  • Weight: 373 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Electronic keypad lock with 1 backup double-bitted backup key. EMP Proof.
  • Fire Resistance: Fire rated for 60 mins at 1875 deg F.
Steelwater 20 Gun Safe HEAVY DUTY Specifications
  • Inner dimensions: 55.75″ H x 25.25″ W x 12.625″ D
  • Capacity: 10.28 cubic ft, Up to 20 guns, average capacity 12-16 guns
  • Outer dimensions: 59″ H x 28″ W x 18″ D
  • Construction: 12 gauge steel
  • Weight: 425 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Electronic keypad lock with 1 backup double-bitted key. EMP Proof.
  • Fire Resistance: Fire rated for 60 mins at 1875 deg F.

Steelwater 22 Gun Safe Review

Here’s Howard’s testimonial:As I mention in my more general review of the best gun safes, my friend Howard has the Extreme Duty variant of the Steelwater 22.

Hope your readers find my story useful, always happy to share. I’m out in Southern California so wildfires are a big worry. Plus I have neighbors who have open-pit barbecues all the time and, honestly, are airheads. I spent a lot of time and money on my long gun collection, so it’s something I want to protect in case I’m not able to drive everything out before a fire. It’s not just money though. I have a few pieces that I can’t buy in California anymore since they tightened the regs on assault weapons.

Anyways, I went with the fireproof Steelwater 22 Gun Safe because one of my cousins had one. Mine came in an 18-wheeler. They’ll actually call you once you buy the thing on Amazon and coordinate the logistics. Real friendly and professional. It’s a huge safe that you pay good money for, so makes sense. When the 18-wheeler got to my house, they lowered the safe down for me.  I had a friend’s pallet jack on standby to then move it into my garage. Had friend help me.

The thing’s big and hulking. The steel feels really strong, so is the combo lock. There’s actually power plugs and USB ports in the safe too. I bought a dehumidifier and plugged that in to keep my guns from rusting. Fortunately I haven’t gone through a fire yet, but this Steelwater safe looks like it can survive anything.

He didn’t mention it in the message above, but I followed up with Howard and he said that he has 15 guns in his Steelwater 22, which isn’t too surprising. That’s within the average of 14-18 guns that Steelwater mentions for this safe. Howard says those 15 guns of his are a pretty snug fit.

Unfortunately I don’t know anyone who has a Heavy Duty variant of the Steelwater 22, but from my research it seems pretty similar to the Extreme Duty Steelwater 22 variant. There are two notable differences though: the fire rating for the heavy duty is for half as long (60 mins v. 120 mins), but the heavy duty has a slightly larger capacity.

Pros
  • Extremely strong construction… either 12 or 9 gauge steel (you rarely find 9 gauge for any civilian safes)
  • Exceptional fire rating for a gun safe (1-2 hrs at 1875˚F)
  • Combo lock doesn’t need batteries
  • California DOJ Approved
  • Large capacity
Cons
  • Combination lock may take a bit longer to open than an electronic lock
  • In high demand, so might need to wait for restocking sometimes
Steelwater 22 Gun Safe HEAVY DUTY (AMLD593024-blk) Specifications
  • Inner dimensions: 55.5″ H x 27″ W x 17.75″ D
  • Capacity: 15.39 Cubic Ft. 22 guns max, average 14-18
  • Outer dimensions: 59″ H x 30″ W x 24″ D
  • Construction: 12 gauge steel
  • Weight: 555 lbs for heavy duty
  • Locking mechanism: Combination lock
  • Fire Resistance: Fire rated for 60 mins at 1875 deg F.
Steelwater 22 Gun Safe EXTREME DUTY (AMHD593024-blk) Specifications
  • Inner dimensions: 54.25″ H x 26″ W x 17″ D
  • Capacity: 13.88 Cubic Ft. 22 guns max, average 14-18
  • Outer dimensions: 59″ H x 30″ W x 24″ D
  • Construction: 9 gauge steel
  • Weight: 772 lbs for extreme duty
  • Locking mechanism: Combination lock
  • Fire Resistance: Fire rated for 120 mins at 1875 deg F.

Best Steelwater Home Safe Reviews

Looking for great fireproof home safes? Steelwater makes these too.

Here’s two of them that I’ve heard good things about. They’re basically brothers… one is tall and slimme (AMSWD-500), the other is shorter and wider (AMSD-360).

Steelwater AMSWD-500 2-Hour Fireproof Home and Document Safe Review

Steelwater AMSWD-500 Fireproof Home Document Safe

The Steelwater AMSWD-500 is a very well made safe. It’s meant to keep documents, cash, electronics, or just about any other valuable item you have in your home.

At 115 pounds, this safe isn’t something a thief will be able to dash off with. It’s much higher grade — both in construction and fireproofing — than many other home safes out there. Many who’ve bought this safe also report experiencing great customer service from Steelwater.

Looking for a strong, reliable Steelwater home safe for your valuables? The AMSWD-500 is a good bet.

Steelwater AMSWD-500 Specifications
  • Inner Dimensions: 15″ H x 9.375″ W x 12.125″ D
  • Capacity: 0.99 cubic ft
  • Outer Dimensions: 19.25″ H x 13.75″ W x 16.75″ D
  • Construction: Solid steel (2 layers)
  • Weight: 115 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Combination lock with mandatory key
  • Fire resistance: Fire Rated for 120 mins at 1850°F
Pros
  • Strong dual-layer steel construction
  • Combination lock doesn’t need battery and is highly reliable
  • Excellent fire rating
Cons
  • Need to use BOTH key and combo lock to open the safe
  • Made in South Korea

Steelwater AMSWD-360 2-Hour Fireproof Home and Document Safe Review

Steelwater AMSWD-360 Fireproof Home Safe Review

If you need something that’s wider (e.x. for stacking larger documents), then you should consider the Steelwater AMSWD-360.

The AMSWD-360 is also quite strong and well-crafted. With a 2-hour fire rating, it’s one of the top fireproof home safes on the market. You honestly can’t find too many home safes with a 2 hour fire rating, so the AMSWD-360 is a rare gem.

Steelwater AMSWD-360 Specifications
  • Inner Dimensions: 9.25″ H x 15″ W x 12.125″ D
  • Capacity: 0.99 cubic feet
  • Outer Dimensions: 13.75″ H x 19.25″ W x 16.75″ D
  • Construction: Solid Steel (2 layers)
  • Weight: 115 lbs
  • Locking mechanism: Combination lock with mandatory key
  • Fire resistance: Fire Rated for 120 mins at 1850°F
Pros
  • Strong dual-layer steel construction
  • Reliable combination lock, no need for battery
  • Exceptional fire rating
Cons
  • Need to use BOTH key and combo lock to open the safe
  • Made in South Korea

About Steelwater

Steelwater is an American safe brand based in Augusta, South Carolina. They’re most well known for their long gun safes. They also make home safes. Many of Steelwater’s safes, including gun safes, are fireproof.

Steelwater safes have one big and unique advantage. It’s pretty easy to find replacement parts for Steelwater safes, because their mechanical components haven’t changed too much over the years. Steelwater also happens to manufacture these parts on a constant basis. Therefore, if anything happens to your Steelwater safe, you have a high likelihood of being able to fix it. You wouldn’t need to buy another safe. This is the reason why many gun owners I know decided to buy Steelwater safes.

Steelwater’s basic long gun safe lineup is pretty simple. They offer 16-gun, 20-gun, and 22-gun safe sizes as their main products. There are other sizes, but these are the most common ones and I’ll focus on them for this article.

Within each size, there are two variants. For the 16 and 20 gun sizes, there are “standard duty” and “heavy duty” variants. For the 22-gun safe, there’s a “heavy duty” and “extreme duty” variant.

Pro tip: get a safe that’s bigger than you think you need

As with any gun safe, the advertised capacities on Steelwater safes represent the recommended maximum amount you can hold.

The actual number of firearms you can put in your Steelwater safe is going to depend on what guns are in your own collection.

A good rule of thumb is to buy a bigger safe than you think you need.

If you have 20 guns, it’s probably better to buy the “22 gun safe”, for example. It might seem weird, but it’ll save you money and pain in the long term. Y

ou don’t want to get a safe only to find it too small, because then you might have to waste time/money either returning the safe or getting a second one. Besides, even if a safe fits the guns you have today, who knows what guns you might have tomorrow?

What’s the difference between standard duty v. heavy duty v. extreme duty?

Well, the names are pretty accurate. In order of least to most strong, it’s standard, heavy, and then extreme duty.

Granted, Steelwater’s standard duty safes are already REALLY strong, with a minimum of 14 gauge steel and fire resistance. However, the heavy duties usually go up to 12 gauge, and then the extreme duty gets to 9 gauge.

Different variants of the same safe have the same exterior sizing. For example, the standard and heavy duty Steelwater 16-gun safes have the same size and look on the outside. However, the interior is where things are different. The walls of the heavy and extreme duty variants are thicker. Note that thicker walls mean slightly less internal volume. Thicker walls also mean heavier weight.

As you might guess, the stronger the safe, the more it’ll cost. Therefore, standard duty variants are least expensive, whereas heavy and extreme duty variants get increasingly more expensive. It all depends on how much is in your budget v. how much risk you’re willing to tolerate.

Steelwater Safe FAQs

How are Steelwater safes delivered?

The LARGER Steelwater safes (the 16, 20, and 22 gun safes included) are all specially delivered by tractor trailer. This means that you need to have enough room for an 18 wheeler to park and unload near where you live. If you live in a place that isn’t accessible by tractor trailer (ex. An island only accessible by ferry), that might also be a problem.

The truck driver will help offload the safe, but you are usually responsible for moving the safe into your own house. Depending on the size of the safe, you’ll want to get more people and special equipment (like a pallet jack).

The good thing is that Steelwater calls you in advance to arrange everything. They’ll guide you through the whole process and check in with you, since they don’t want to waste money shipping a safe to someone who can’t accept it.

For the SMALLER steelwater safes (the two home safes mentioned above), things are a bit different. Those will get delivered by UPS parcel. They’ll get shipped on top of a pallet so that they won’t get bumped around hard in transport though. Steelwater also calls you and coordinates shipping.

What’s the warranty on Steelwater safes?

Steelwater gives all of its safes a lifetime fire and and burglary warranty. You need to ANCHOR your safe to the floor in order to be eligible for the warranty though. To read more details on their website, click here.

Where are Steelwater safes made?

While they’re designed in the US, most of Steelwater’s safes are imported. There are a few that are imported from China, but most of the inputs are actually made in South Korea. Given South Korea’s an actual American ally, their products are usually decently high quality. So while the safes are imported, the workmanship definitely isn’t shoddy.

How is customer service for Steelwater safes?

From all the reports I’ve heard, Steelwater has one of the better customer service operations out there. They’re really organized when it comes to shipping. They are also pretty responsive if you ask them questions or ask about spare parts. If things are broken, they’re usually pretty friendly about giving repair advice.

Their customer support page is located here. 

You can call Steelwater at: 866-278-8022