How to change the batteries in a safe? A complete illustrated guide.

Digital safes are really practical. You don’t have to use a key. But on the other hand, you have to check the batteries and make sure they are ok. If you don’t, you take the risk that your safe won’t open when you need to.

How long will the batteries last and how to change them? It will depend on the type of lock, the frequency of usage, and the temperature of the room. For a classic digital safe in a climate-controlled room, batteries will last easily 5 years. If your lock is motorized, only less than 3, especially if you use your safe every day, in such case, they might last only 1 year. Batteries are accessible from outside of the safe, and the code is not lost when you remove them.

There are many types of safes. Each is often different from the other ones. Read on to learn the characteristics of many brands and types of safes, what differs, what to choose in terms of batteries, and what to do when batteries are dead. You can check our recommended product guide for the best battery choice.

How long do batteries last in a safe?

Well, you know the answer: it depends. It depends on the frequency of usage and on the type of lock.

1) If you turn the knob.If you have an electronic lock and you have to turn the knob, then each operation requires less energy. When access is authorized, only an electric impulsion is given that engages the bolt. Think of some kind of clutch. You, when operating the knob, provide the energy necessary to open the door by sliding the bolts. This is the types of safes where the batteries last the longest.

If you have an irregular use of your safe, the batteries can last several years (more than five).
If you operate the safe once a day, the batteries might last up to 5 years.
See below: always use good quality batteries.

2) If the lock is motorized. In that case, you dial your secret code and you have nothing else to do. You hear a small motor noise: the safe itself has a small electric motor that operates the bolts. All you have to do is open the door itself. Typically, those are lower-quality safes because only light bolts are easily operated by a motor on batteries.

When you are finished with your safe, you close the door and press a button that usually says “close” and you hear the motor of the lock once again operating the bolts. It then requires twice the electrical energy.

Of course, this requires a lot more energy than a regular electronic safe. If you use your safe once in a while, your batteries can last a couple of years. If you need your safe on a daily basis, after one year you may need to change your batteries.

3) If the safe is not in a climate-controlled room. If the room is too cold or too hot, the batteries will not last as long, especially if the temperature varies a lot. Too cold, and you might not get enough energy to operate the safe especially if it has been sitting there for a long time and if the lock is motorized (see above). If it is too hot, the batteries might leak and corrode the contact. In which case, changing the batteries will not be sufficient, you will likely have to clean the contacts in the batteries compartment.
Once again, temperature variations will make the batteries wear far quicker.

How to change batteries in a safe?

On most safes, there is a light indicating that the batteries are low. You shouldn’t use your safe too long after that light turns on. Many people disregard that warning and regret it. I think that it is better to be safe than sorry and replace the batteries as soon as the battery low led turns on.

If the safe still can be opened, it is better to change the batteries with the door open, and to check the codes with the door open as well.

1) How to change the batteries in a Sentry Safe

  • remove the screw located at the bottom front of the keypad using a Phillips head screwdriver,
  • rotate the keypad clockwise and remove it to reveal the battery drawer,
  • remove batteries and replace them with new AA alkaline batteries,
  • use only new alkaline batteries. Do not use not-alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries, or mix new and old batteries,
  • reattach the keypad and rotate it counterclockwise to lock it,
  • reinsert the screw underneath the keypad using a Phillips head screwdriver.

2) How to change the batteries in a direct drive Liberty Safe

  • The tab has to be in the 12 o’clock position,
  • Using your finger, pull the tab out and turn the outer black plastic ring counterclockwise a short position. The tab will remain pulled out,
  • Pull the entire black ring away from the safe,
  • Do NOT try to remove the black ring from the lock: this would break it!
  • looking from the top, you will see the battery. Just pull it out, but be careful not to pinch or stretch the wires,
  • remove the connector from the old battery and install the new battery,
  • replace with a recommended 9v Duracell brand alkaline battery,
  • once the new battery is installed, put it back in its opening in the lock.
  • when finished, put the ring back in and turn it clockwise until the tab snaps back in.

3) How to change the batteries in a standard one-battery Liberty Safe

  • simply pull forward on the little lip at the base of the battery drawer,
  • pull the battery drawer out of the bottom of the keypad base,
  • replace with a recommended 9v Duracell brand alkaline battery,
  • there are two different size openings for the two terminals of the battery: you can’t invert them,
  • reinsert the drawer,
  • the lock emits a sound to indicate that it is powered up and ready to work again,
  • it is always recommended that batteries change and code checks are always performed with the door open,
  • no operating codes, and no programming information are lost since it is all stored in non-volatile memory.

4) How to change the batteries in a dual battery keypad Liberty Safe

  • grab the keypad with your thumbs on the top and your fingers on the bottom and pull gently with your thumbs,
  • support the keypad so the wires aren’t stressed on the inside,
  • there are two 9v batteries, change the left one first,
  • the keypad will actually work on one battery,
  • put the new battery in, matching the male and female connectors,
  • replace the second battery,
  • support the battery connections so you don’t stress anything in the keypad,
  • coil the cable up on the top of the battery, so that when we put it back in, we don’t pinch the cable with the spring clips,
  • match the spring clips up with the holes,
  • snap your keypad back on the base

5) How to change the batteries in a Champion Gun Safe

Champion Gun Safes are usually equipped with LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf electronic locks. Read above as it is the same procedure as in a direct drive Liberty Safe.

6) How to change the batteries in a Winchester Safe

  1. LG lock battery

To replace your lock battery: first, locate the screw underneath the keypad and remove the cover. Disconnect the old battery and replace it with a new one. Fully insert the new battery until it is no longer exposed. Put the screw to reattach the cover. Now that the battery is installed, you may use your code to access your safe.

2. SG lock battery

To replace your lock battery is even simpler than LG locks. With your finger, just slide a small door underneath the keypad that will reveal the battery. Then proceed as with the LG lock battery.

7) How to change the batteries in a Cannon Safe

How to change the battery on an American eagle Cannon safe? When the battery starts to go dead in the electronic keypad, it makes a beeping noise right after you have entered your code when you use your safe. The replacement battery is 9v standard. As always choose a good quality battery. To gain access to the battery compartment, you have to pull the keypad upwards firmly and pull it away as a whole from the safe door itself. Now you can replace the battery. To reinstall the keypad, ligne it up and push it down, snap it back to its place. You are good for another 2 to 3 years.

7) How to change the batteries in a Browning Gun Safe

8) How to change the batteries in a Bighorn Safe

9) How to change the batteries in a Stack-on Safe

What kind of batteries should I use?

Of course, you should always use the best batteries, especially if you use your safe every day and if the door is motorized.

Usually, when delivered a safe is equipped with cheap batteries in order to lower costs. If you are comfortable with that, you can use them until they are depleted. Then you can change them with better ones.

Safes don’t use lithium batteries in general, whether rechargeable or not.

Batteries are Alkaline AAA type. You should always choose premium alkaline, the ones designed to use for photography or any demanding devices. They will last longer, will be less prone to leaking, and withstand a better temperature range.

How to open an electronic safe when the batteries are dead?

You should have kept your notice elsewhere than in the safe!

Alright, enough teasing.

Digital safes are designed not to erase or lose information such as codes when the batteries are depleted. Your usual code will function when the batteries are replaced.

With that out of the way, batteries are almost always accessible from outside the safe. Engineers don’t have lost their common sense. There is a plastic cover somewhere (see above) to remove and change the usually 4 batteries. That cover is held in place by a small screw or mounting clips. It is that easy. Choose the batteries properly, good quality ones, and you are good to go, as simple as that.

But what if they aren’t? Yes, some safes have their batteries inside, but something has been thought out to replace them. Yes, it will be a bit harder:

  • there is a small wire provided with the safe. You plug it in a small hole on the door (a hole that you haven’t noticed yet). This is why the notice and the wire shouldn’t be inside the safe. If lost, you are out of luck because they will be hard to find. If the brand is known and reputable, you might be able to get the notice as a download pdf on the internet, and the wire as a part in your hardware store. Basically, you connect a battery to the small wire, plug the wire in the door, and have enough energy to open the door and replace the main batteries. This is a bit cumbersome, but it works.
  • there are two small copper contacts on the door. Two circles of different diameters. It is usually for a 9-volt battery that you present on those contacts. 9v batteries have their poles on top with different diameters. It is idiot-proof: there is only one way to make contact with the battery. Again, it will provide enough energy to open the door of the safe and change the main batteries. They are usually of a different type than the 9v that is to say you may likely have bought that 9v for this one and only use. But anyway, your safe is opened.
  • there is a key provided as an emergency way of opening the safe. If your key is not stored with the notice inside the safe (I am sorry, this is becoming a running gag) then there is a cover to remove under which you can insert the key and open the safe. Again, replace the main batteries inside.

In conclusion, this is not that difficult. The code will not be lost. It will only last a couple of minutes. Provided that your replacement batteries are of good quality, you are good for years.

My recommended products

This is the all-around safe that I recommend, the Sentry Safe SFW123GDC. It has a great size and is fireproof and waterproof. It is a great value for money, you can check its current price on Amazon. Four 1-inch bolts help secure the door; the lock comes with a digital keypad. You can upgrade it with many accessories: check them in my article here.


I have been passionate about locks and safes for so long; it is a family speciality since 1898. I hope I can share with you all the simple tips that can make the difference for your security. And that you'll buy the right products for your needs.

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