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Are Steelcase File Cabinets Fireproof?

Are Steelcase File Cabinets Fireproof?

Fire causes damage and loss of belongings or properties. Damage can be costly especially when important paper documents such as legal documents and property deals are destroyed.

Whether you’re working in the office or at home, filing cabinets are essential. They offer additional storage and help organize large quantities of documents such as business records, medical records, or financial paperwork.

Despite this, many people are still questioning whether filing cabinets are fireproof or not. Most file cabinets are not fire-resistant which means they offer no protection from the effects of fire.

Luckily, Steelcase file cabinets are fireproof to protect important documents in case of a fire. These fireproof filing cabinets offer more protection compared to ordinary filing cabinets.

Unfortunately, Steelcase is not currently making fireproof cabinets. On a positive note, there are other fantastic brands manufacturing fireproof cabinets that we mention below.

Are Steelcase File Cabinets Fireproof?

a filing cabinet next to a table in the office

Not all Steelcase file cabinets are fireproof, but there are various fireproof options to choose from.

The fireproof filing cabinets that are manufactured by Steelcase are heavy-duty and made with high-quality materials to ensure durability and longevity. Moreover, Steelcase file cabinets can be customized according to your needs by adding rails, bars, and more!

Note that most filing cabinets are made from steel, a poor conductor of heat and non-combustible material. This means that any paperwork stored inside could quickly burn in case of a fire.

What Makes a File Cabinet Fireproof?

Fireproof filing cabinets are fireproof because they contain encapsulated chambers that are filled with vermiculite—a lightweight and water-absorbent clay material. 

a fireproof filing cabinet

In case of a fire, the vermiculite melts and turns into steam. This helps absorb the heat while keeping the documents inside the filing cabinets cool.

It also contains a layer of fire-resistant insulation in between the cabinet walls. The fireproof insulation will help in slowing the rate at which the temperature rises inside the cabinet, which means there will still be enough time to extinguish the fire before the filing cabinets become too hot.

Do Ordinary Metal Filing Cabinets Burn?

Yes, compared to fireproof filing cabinets, ordinary metal filing cabinets burn more easily because of the lack of fire-resistant layers. 

We know that metals are excellent thermal conductors, this means they can transfer heat to the papers inside quickly, which can fuel the fire.

How Do I Tell if My File Cabinet is Fireproof?

When it comes to the outside appearance of a fireproof file cabinet, it doesn’t have much difference from that of an ordinary file cabinet.

However, you may notice that the fireproof filing cabinets are heavier and often made of higher-quality materials. These metal file cabinets are made of thick reinforced steel.

What You Need to Know About Fireproof Filing Cabinets

Just by looking at it, there is not much difference between a standard and a fireproof filing cabinet. If you want to take a closer look, here are the key differences you might want to consider.

Increased Security

filing cabinets with safe locking

Fireproof filing cabinets are heavy-duty and offer a great level of security compared to ordinary or standard filing cabinets. Because of its fire-resistant layer, it’s more difficult to puncture the body of a fireproof filing cabinet.

Filing cabinets also have impressive locking options such as electronic locks, high-security key locks, and standard key locks.

Style and Design

When choosing a fireproof filing cabinet, you can choose between vertical and lateral file cabinets.

Vertical filing cabinets are most commonly used. They have pull-out drawers and files are usually identified and labeled by tabs. Vertical systems are easy to use and work best when you want to keep your documents in alphabetical order.

vertical vs lateral file cabinet

On the other hand, in lateral filing cabinets, the documents are organized horizontally. They don’t necessarily need drawers, documents can be in an open shelving system.

If you want a space-efficient filing cabinet, the lateral filing cabinet will be your best bet.


The first thing you will notice in fireproof filing cabinets is they tend to weigh more than ordinary filing cabinets. Due to its heavyweight, it would be difficult to move it around.

The good thing is, that thieves would be unable to carry the cabinet or get past the secured lock despite using power tools.


This is a feature to keep in mind when you’re looking for quality filing cabinets.

If there is a sprinkler system in your office or at your home, it will be triggered during a fire. Firefighters will also use high-power hoses to put out the fire.

You may have saved the documents inside, but the papers will be destroyed due to water damage.

Quality Fireproof Cabinets

Currently, Steelcase does not manufacture fireproof filing cabinets. However, here are some highly-rated alternatives to check out:

1. FireKing Patriot 2P1825

When it comes to fireproof filing cabinets, FireKing is another well-known brand. They use dry insulation instead of wet insulation for better protection.

The FireKing Patriot 2P1825 is a two-drawer filing cabinet and is one of their most popular units. Most fireproof cabinets are bulky and massive, however, this looks just like an ordinary filing cabinet but comes with extraordinary features.

It can withstand a 1700͒ -degree F fire and can protect your documents for a minimum of one hour. Additionally, it comes with a 10-year warranty.

2. Phoenix Lateral Fireproof File Cabinet

The Phoneix Lateral provides superior protection for your documents from water, fire, smoke damage, and impact.

Just like fire, water can also damage your files, that’s why it’s important to purchase a water-resistant filing cabinet to prevent water damage caused by sprinklers or fire hose sprays.

One of the advantages of Phoenix filing cabinets is that you can choose from three widths and three colors. The sizes available are 31” wide, 38” wide, and 44” wide. Available colors are putty, black, and gray.

Phoenix Lateral 31 inch 4-Drawer Fireproof File Cabinet with Lock, Water Seal, Black

A Black Phoenix File Cabinet

What we like about Phoenix is they have a free After-a-Fire replacement deal to guarantee that your filing cabinet will be replaced without additional charge in case of a fire. Fire can ruin the insulation of your filing cabinet even if it looks perfectly fine.

3. FireKing Turtle Fireproof File Cabinet

The FireKing Turtle protects your documents from explosion and fire. You can choose between a two-drawer or a four-drawer cabinet. Each filing drawer is legal-sized and compatible with hanging folders without additional frames needed.

It has a UL 1-hour Class 350 rating which means if the cabinet is exposed to 1700͔͒ -degrees F temperature, the internal temperature of the filing cabinet will not exceed 350͒ -degrees F.

The FireKing Turtle can survive a 30 feet fall without compromising its integrity.

Additionally, FireKing’s filing cabinets come with a 2-year limited warranty with an after-fire guarantee or a free replacement after a fire.

Is it Worth it to Invest in a Fireproof Filing Cabinet?

FireKing Patriot 2P1825-CBL One-Hour Fireproof Vertical Filing Cabinet

There’s no surprise that fireproof filing cabinets are more expensive compared to ordinary metal filing cabinets.

Purchasing a fireproof filing cabinet is the wise thing to do when you’re storing important documents and valuables in your workspace, whether it’s at home or in the office. 

Nowadays, we live in a digital world and more offices are turning paperless. Most companies use cloud storage to keep more important documents and files safe and accessible. While essential documents are kept in filing cabinets.

Another factor to consider when choosing a fireproof filing cabinet is water resistance. This will help prevent water damage when sprinklers are triggered during a fire. This will not only prevent your paper documents from burning but also keep your documents dry and safe inside.


When it comes to storing important documents in metal cabinets, the first thing you should consider is the security and protection the cabinet can offer in case of fire or natural calamities such as floods.

Thankfully, fireproof filing cabinets are now available. These cabinets are designed to increase safety to protect valuables and documents for up to 120 minutes. Some filing cabinets are also designed to prevent water damage.

If you have sensitive and important paperwork, be sure to store it in a fireproof filing cabinet to assure you in case of a disaster!