If you think you can install your safe yourself to save on installation costs and to keep your project about as private as possible, then you must be contemplating doing it all by yourself. But as it turns out lifting and carrying a safe is not easy due to its weight. Is it possible to carry a safe all by yourself?
How to move a safe? You can move around a safe using the straps around the box. Doing so, you can put it on a trolley. A three-wheeled trolley will be of much help to carry the safe upstairs. When the safe is out of its box, use suction pads to handle it properly. Be careful and wear a waistband to alleviate pain on your back. And lastly, ask for help.
Carrying and lifting a safe yourself depends on many factors. First, some cheap safes are easy to handle. Bigger fire resistant safes are not so heavy but have a great volume which makes it difficult just to handle. Smaller good quality professional safes are so heavy that you need special tools to lift them. So what are best practices to lift a safe in your DIY project?
How to carry a safe
First, you need to check how much your safe weighs. I have detailed many safes weights in this detailed post. If you only plan to buy a light safe on the cheap side, you won’t have to worry about how to carry it. Chances are you’re not here to read about that either. To be clear, the straps around the box will provide sufficient help to handle the safe. Wait till the last minute to open the box, when you won’t need the straps anymore.
On bigger safes, for example, fire-resistant ones that weigh between 80 to 250 lbs, the same techniques can be applied. We usually are two people to do the work. We put the safe (still inside its box) on a trolley using its straps. You can put additional straps on the box if not provided from the factory, or if the straps are not sufficient.
With small to medium-sized (and weight) safes, a trolley is usually enough to transport them even upstairs or downstairs. A second person is preferred or even required to help to move the trolley though. A three-wheeled trolley is a must for the stairs if you can get one.
So you have successfully brought your safe close to its final location, now what? Sometimes, you will only secure the safe to the floor. In that case, no need to worry anymore. But if you plan to install the safe on a furniture or a shelf, you still need to lift it up there.
While it is still possible to lift the safe using its straps, you will find it difficult to open the box on the shelf, take the safe out in those conditions, extract cut straps, opened box etc. in a tight space.
What I do is I open the box on the floor and take everything out. I am careful with booklets, guaranty papers, and especially in the case of regular lock safes, spare keys stored somewhere. We shouldn’t throw those keys away by any means and sometimes they are hidden in crumpled paper. Once the safe out, I put two (or preferably 4) heavy-duty suction cups on the walls of the safe with 1 or 2 on top. These will be serious handles with which you will be able to lift the safe properly without hurting your back. It will also be easier to potion the safe on the shelf according to your needs.
How to move a 500 pound safe
A 500-pound safe is still possible to move without the help of professionals. You’d better be three strong people to do the job. The main differences with those previous lighter safes are that now you will need a three-wheeled heavy-duty trolley. Alternatively, if you don’t have to go upstairs or downstairs, a movers dolly will be helpful as it rolls easily and it is strong enough. You can add additional moving straps around the box. Or even adjustable moving straps with handles can be really helpful as you will be much stronger if you can use your strength properly as opposed to bent down. One last thing that is really useful is shoulder dolly moving straps. Imagine the safe still on the trolley. You can use those straps to lift it up or even to help move the trolley.
How to move a large safe
If you need to move a larger safe, maybe a 1000 pound safe, bear in mind some tips that can be helpful:
- Empty the safe: remove anything that can remain inside, including any additional shelves, boxes, etc. Every pound out will be moved separately and your task will be easier.
- Remove the door: this is very important and in most cases is not as difficult as it may seem. You will spend a couple of minutes disassembling the door but those minutes will be gained later. The door in itself is sometimes half the weight of the safe. Moving the door separately will definitely divide the weight and the difficulty in half. Even if the remaining parts will not be light, you are halfway done.
- You will have to protect the safe and its door with cardboard or a blanket to protect them. And then, as we previously said, put straps around each part to hold them and carry them on the trolley individually.
How to move a gun safe downstairs or upstairs
The problem with moving a heavy safe downstairs or upstairs is that we do not have room to move around the safe to carry it. That is why usually only one person can work properly and it is not enough. Others try to help but often only encourage their mate… It can be dangerous as someone can easily get hurt in those circumstances.
The idea is to secure the safe to the trolley as we don’t want it to slide sideways. One person pushes the trolley up and remains behind. The only way to work efficiently and pull the trolley up is to put adjustable moving straps with handles under the safe (or trolley). Like that, one more person can work and this time pull the safe up the stairs. We once were three with an additional man pulling with shoulders moving straps. That with a proper three-wheeled trolley, and it is possible to carry a gun safe upstairs or downstairs.
Always bear in mind that the stairs must be strong enough to sustain the weight of the safe, the trolley and 2 to 3 additional people… Sometimes stairs to cellars are old and weak.
Tools to lift a safe
Here is a list of tools I use to move a safe:
- a trolley: This is a must-have. Prefer a three-wheeled trolley if you move a heavy safe in the stairs;
- straps: additional moving straps that you put around the safe are really helpful;
- suction cups: they are handles to help you lift a big boxy and smooth object;
- rolling plate: can replace a trolley to go distances without steps;
- aluminum or steel lifting platform. Can be useful to lift a safe to a shelf. I do not use that can of platform often though.
- adjustable moving straps with handles: you put the straps under the safe and you have the handles to hold. Useful.
- shoulder dolly moving straps: same thing but this time you carry the safe with your shoulder with minimum effort to your back. This is preferred. I have used these many times with great comfort.
I have detailed all the tools I recommend if you plan to install a safe yourself. You will save time and money by checking my recommended product page.
The first principle: do not get hurt. Do not hesitate to ask for help. But with the right tools and a bit of preparation, moving a safe is really doable. 2 to 3 people are preferred as everything will be more enjoyable and less dangerous. Do not hesitate to buy the right tools as you will be able to work easier and safer. Do not forget that a back pain is long and difficult to cure…
Ask for professional help after 1000 pound.