REVIEW – The Quick Shelf Safe, sold by the Home Security Superstore, is a wooden shelf with an RFID activated locking mechanism which grants access to a small hidden storage area within the shelf useful for hiding valuables, important documents, or firearms. The shelf, priced a bit high at $233.97, is well-built, stealthy, and useful, but it does have a few design shortcomings.
What is it?
The Quick Safe Shelf is a wooden shelf about 19″ long, 6.5″ wide and 1.75″ deep. To the uninformed, the shelf looks like a normal wall decoration, but with the use of pre-programmed RFID keys and a hidden battery-powered locking mechanism, the shelf opens up to reveal a small storage area. When the shelf is closed, one assumes the bottom portion, which contains the hidden storage area, is made of solid wood.
The Quick Shelf Safe arrives in a sturdy box featuring a picture of a family enjoying a happy moment while comforted by the knowledge that they’re able to safely store their valuables and firearm right out in the open with no one the wiser.
What’s in the box?
- The Quick Safe Shelf
- Four RFID keys
- One key fob
- One small round tab
- Two key cards
- External battery pack
- Mounting screws
- Instruction manual
Design and features
The shelf itself is pretty unassuming. For my review, I chose the unfinished version of the shelf. The shelf is also available in Walnut, Black, and Grey. The seller includes a small removable sticker to indicate where on the shelf the RFID key needs to be placed in order to activate the locking mechanism.
The internal locking mechanism is powered by four AA batteries, which are included. In the eventuality that the internal batteries fail, an external battery pack is included to power the unit and unlock the shelf in order to replace the internal batteries.
Two plastic anchors and four mounting screws are included for mounting your Quick Shelf to the wall.
Four RFID keys are supplied to unlock your shelf. There are two credit card sized plastic keys, one small round plastic tab, and one key fob. Any of these keys will open the RFID-enabled lock.
The key fob is the most convenient to use and it looks like a typical car alarm fob.
To unlock the shelf, simply pass any of the keys across the top of the shelf near where the internal RFID reader is located, indicated on my shelf by a removable sticker.
A small blue LED will flash and a loud electronic unlocking tone will play. I question the logic of the loud tone unlocking though. If this is being marketed as a stealthy way to store my firearm and if in some scenario I am retrieving my firearm in the middle of the night to, let’s say fend off a home invader, wouldn’t I want my shelf to open as quietly as possible? Unfortunately, there’s no option available to disable the sound.
After the locking mechanism disengages, the shelf opens slightly. I was a bit disappointed here because, again, I’m imagining some scenario where I would need quick access to a hidden firearm, like say zombies are crawling in through my windows and are about to overtake my old blind cat, Chino. In this case, I would want my Quick Shelf Safe to “quickly” pop open and give me access to my firearm so I can dispatch said zombies and rescue my kitty. Unfortunately for Chino, the few extra seconds I will need to open the shelf after it unlocks may spell his doom.
The problem is this little spring-loaded piston. It’s too small and not under enough tension to push the shelf open quickly. A few seconds after unlocking the shelf, the locking mechanism will automatically reengage if you haven’t opened it fully. So the piston serves only to push the shelf open just enough so the locking mechanism doesn’t reengage. The housing for the piston also holds the pin that the locking mechanism latch bolt engages to keep the shelf locked and secure.
The interior of the shelf is spacious enough to store a moderately sized firearm along with some smaller valuables or cash. The locking mechanism itself takes up a good portion of the storage space, so larger items need to be placed to the right of the mechanism. There’s a patterned rubber mat that lies loose on the inside the shelf.
The mat is spongy rubber and seems to be there to keep your items from sliding around, but it isn’t secured to the bottom of the shelf at all, so the mat itself slides around. A few drops of hot glue on the corners could’ve fixed this easily.
Despite the unsecured mat, craftsmanship of the shelf is impressive and the internal adjustable brackets are firmly attached. Adjusting these brackets allow you to set how far down you want the shelf to open when unlocked. There are two pre-drilled holes in the back of the shelf for mounting.
The internal battery pack, locking mechanism, and RFID reader are attached to the inner top of the shelf. When a RFID key is place over the reader, the locking mechanism retracts a small latch bolt away from the holding pin and the shelf unlocks. As I mentioned before, after a few seconds, the latch bolt automatically extends so the shelf can be closed and locked.
The battery compartment is held closed with a small Phillips-head screw. I had to use a very short full-sized Phillips-head screwdriver to open the compartment because of the tight confines of the shelf interior. The included batteries are said to be good for 3000 activations. If the batteries do fail for some reason, the external battery pack will save you from having to take a hatchet to your expensive new shelf.
Two red and black power wires extend from the battery compartment to a small hole on the bottom of the shelf.
The wires are hotglued to hole and on the other side of the shelf you can see that they are attached to a small power port. The external battery pack (batteries not included) plugs into this port to provide power to locking mechanism allowing you to open the shelf. I’d advise keeping this battery pack and one of the RFID cards in a safe place, other than the Quick Safe Shelf obviously.
The overall aesthetics of the shelf are pleasing and not so ornate that they would draw attention.
The woodworking craftsmanship is good quality for a mass produced item. All of the gaps, seams, and corners are tight and the hinges work as they should.
I test mounted the shelf in my garage since I plan on painting it and mounting it in my apartment later on. I used the supplied plastic anchors and four mounting screws. I drove two mounting screws through the pre-drilled holes into the anchors and used the two extra screws to add support by driving them through the back of the shelf as well.
Once mounted, the shelf functioned as advertised, but even with all four screws properly positioned, the shelf did not feel 100% sturdy hanging empty on the wall. When I engaged the lock and pulled the shelf down to open, I could see the bottom edge of the shelf pushing back against the wall as the lower half opened. The more times I opened the shelf, the less sturdy it felt. I worry about the weight bearing capability of this shelf being secured into a wall with four screws on such a narrow plane. If I do install this in my apartment, I plan on adding two L-shaped brackets to the top of the shelf to add support.
Because of the lack of stability after mounting the shelf, I do question the safety of using this shelf to store firearms. It became clear to me that if someone did suspect this shelf contained valuables or a firearm, they could simple rip it off the wall and break it open. Due to this security hole, I take issue with naming this item a “safe” and advertising it primarily as a way to store firearms. Gun safes are usually very secure, and utilize many different means for thwarting access to their contents. If firearms are secured in this shelf, the owner should most definitely employ other means of gun safety and security.
What I like
- Nice appearance of a normal shelf
- Shelf hardware and wood craftsmanship are of good quality
- Cool way to hide valuables
What needs to be improved
- Shelf does not spring open after unlocking, has to be opened by hand after unlocked
- Loud electronic sound during unlocking sequence
- Does not feel sturdy on wall while opening
- Shouldn’t be referred to as a safe since it isn’t 100% secure
Quick Shelf Safe, sold by the Home Security Superstore, is an interesting way to secure some valuables and possibly a firearm. The shelf is a bit expensive for what it is, and it shouldn’t be referred to, or thought of, as a safe in the traditional sense since it can easily be pulled off of a wall and broken into. Also, since it isn’t as secure as a true gun safe, any firearms stored in this shelf should have additional trigger locks or other security. It does works well as a place to hide non-lethal items that you wouldn’t want people to find. Additionally, I do have some concerns about the weight-bearing sturdiness of the shelf once mounted on the wall using the included hardware.