What is the best fireproof document bag?
In the event of a fire in the home, it is critical to quickly find and retrieve your family’s important documents and belongings, such as birth certificates, social security cards, deeds, titles, jewelry or computer backup drives. However, it’s not always possible to safely get to those items.
Fireproof document bags utilize fireproof materials, usually fiberglass, to ensure your critical documents and sentimental items are protected and retrievable after a fire. Before buying, consider what you need to be protected, the size of the bag or internal compartments for organization. You may want a fireproof document bag with redundant closures, like the Moko Fireproof Money and Document Bag.
What to know before you buy a fireproof document bag
Storing paper vs. metal
Typically, paper items stored in fireproof document bags cannot be or are extraordinarily difficult to obtain or replace, such as tax filings, business licenses or passports. Fireproof document bags keep flames from reaching and destroying these paper documents. Bags that keep internal temperatures below 350 degrees prevent the stored papers from becoming compromised by outside temperatures.
Some bags can protect precious metal items, like jewelry or computer hard drives. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a fire in the home at eye level can burn up to 600 degrees, with temperatures as high as 1,100 degrees at its peak. At those temperatures, the heat can quickly destroy most metals. However, some fireproof document bags can maintain an interior temperature around 100 degrees, even when exterior temperatures soar over 1,800 degrees. This prevents metal inside from becoming compromised by external heat.
Envelope: Fireproof document bags of this type are slightly larger than an envelope and similar in appearance to a bank deposit bag. Though small in size, envelope bags are perfect for currency, jewelry or a handful of folded documents.
Folder: Usually slightly larger than the typical 8.5 by 11-inch piece of paper, these fireproof document bags hold paper and folders. Typically, the bags are large enough to accommodate between 100-500 sheets of paper and can be used to protect a portfolio or resume.
Expandable organizer: These are the largest fireproof document bags available. Bags of this size look similar to expandable file organizers, with multiple slots to aid in document organization. Expect the bags to hold between 300-500 sheets of paper and may include handles on the sides to make it easier to carry when full.
Most fireproof document bags come in black or white. Black bags are helpful for discreet storage and are harder to spot when tucked into a drawer or closet. White bags are brighter and easier to find quickly, which can be helpful in emergencies. Depending on how you plan to use your fireproof document bag, keep in mind what color will most benefit you and your family.
What to look for in a quality fireproof document bag
Materials and construction
Fireproof document bags are created by combining layers of fire retardant silicone-covered fiberglass. Most quality bags have at least two to three layers and have a designated heat resistance between 1,800-2,000 degrees.
Most fireproof document bags are also water-resistant to prevent damage from the water used during the extinguishing process. However, if you’re worried about moisture compromising your items, check to ensure the bag you’re buying is labeled waterproof and not merely water-resistant.
Many expandable organizer-sized fireproof document bags provide compartments to help organize belongings, such as small sleeves for credit cards. Some larger models also have compartments for tablets, laptops and other mobile devices.
Most fireproof document bags use fireproof zippers or velcro closures. Some bags have multiple closures to ensure the safety of the items inside.
How much you can expect to spend on a fireproof document bag
The price of a fireproof document bag can vary greatly depending on the size, internal organizers and other features. Expect to spend $10-$60.
Fireproof document bag FAQ
Will my fireproof document bag hold legal documents?
A. Most legal paperwork is 8.5 inches by 14-inches and will not fit in all fireproof document bags. Before buying, make sure your fireproof document bag has the room to accommodate all paperwork and items you plan to store.
Will a fireproof document bag protect receipts printed on thermal paper?
A. No. Instead, make a photocopy or take a picture of the receipt and store that in the bag.
Should I keep jewelry in a fireproof document bag or a safe deposit box?
A. Where you store your jewelry depends on how often you intend to wear it. If the jewelry is an heirloom or only worn on special occasions, a safe deposit box might be your best option. If you plan to wear the jewelry often, a fireproof document bag is a convenient option, though it can be a target for theft during a robbery. Make sure to hide your fireproof document bag if you plan to keep it in your home.
What’s the best fireproof document bag to buy?
Top fireproof document bag
What you need to know: Able to handle extreme heat and is water-resistant with durable zipper and hook loop closures. Great for storing essential documents and valuables.
What you’ll love: This option is affordable and rated to withstand up to 1,800 degrees.
What you should consider: It initially has a strong chemical smell, but it goes away over time.
Where to buy: Amazon
Top fireproof document bag for the money
What you need to know: This is a compact bag that is perfect for storing and protecting currency.
What you’ll love: This low-priced fireproof document bag is both fire and water-resistant. Silicone-coating on the exterior allows for safe handling without gloves.
What you should consider: Small size means it doesn’t hold letter-sized documents without folding, and it is rated to withstand temperatures up to 1,292 degrees.
Where to buy: Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Deep pockets allow for plenty of storage, and it’s briefcase-like build makes it great for safely transporting documents.
What you’ll love: This fireproof document bag has room to store laptops and large books. It is rated to withstand temperatures up to 2,000 degrees.
What you should consider: Unlike some other bags, it doesn’t fold flat, making storage more challenging.
Where to buy: Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Gerrad Frei writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.