Friday, March 12, 2010

Review: Cannon Safe EX20 (sold exclusively by CostCo)

Recently, CostCo had a $779 gun safe onsale for $200 off, with free curbside delivery. Fire rating is 30 minutes, UL and Residential Security Container listed (a must have), Type 1 electronic lock (made by S&G), weighs 420 pounds, and is 60"H x 28" W x 21" D. It also includes a power passthrough, so you have power inside the safe for a humidifier, lighting, or whatever.

It was identified as a Cannon EX20 14-gun safe, a model that appears to be exclusive to CostCo, as Cannon Safe's website had no such model. On inspection and based on the sticker on the door,  I'm guessing this is an older model Patriot safe, with corners cut for CostCo. On the door there is a sticker that lists it as a "Series P1".

Delivery arrangement was easy. CostCo emails you to let you know the order was sent to fulfillment, and Cannon them emails you to arrange delivery. It took a couple of weeks.

Cannon makes it crystal clear this is *curbside* delivery only, but the driver didn't even blink when I asked him to put it under my carport in the backyard (I have an RV gate and its concrete the entire way).

The exterior is flat black, with a glossy knockdown splatter over it, like the common texture on drywall, and was made in Mexico according to the sticker on the back.

The power passthrough (cable included, but its just a regular computer power cable) is in the back.

The interior is *very* basic, I'd even say its the absolute minimum possible. The interior walls are drywall (which provides the 30 minute fire protection) covered by very thin fabric, and the shelves and dividers are 3/8" pressboard.

I took the shelves out so I could add some rope lighting along the inside edge and it was obvious that construction was the most basic available.

The safe has 4 holes in the bottom for drilling into the floor, but one of the holes in mine is offset between the hole drilled in the drywall bottom and the actual hole in the safe that it'd be a pain to tighten a bolt into it. It was a pain to unbolt the safe from the pallet. Typical of the low-end "quality" of the safe.

The safe holds a decent amount of guns, and I'm pleased at the price I paid.

Overall impressions are you get what you pay for. If you're looking for a safe that is reasonably priced (close to cheap, IMHO) and does an acceptable job as a theft deterent, this isn't a bad choice.

As a side note on lighting...I bought a 12' LED rope lighting strand at Christmas for $8, and hot glued it into the safe around the inside edge every 8-10", which left plenty of slack to plug it into the internal outlet. It works FANTASTICALLY and really lights up the safe. Totally worth the minor glue gun burns!

Update: After several months, the hot glue holding the LED lights in lost its grip and I found the lights lying in bottom. I re-glued using GOOP glue (available at any hardware store) and its working like a champ...I also found that the largest of my plastic woodworking clamps (like these: Just Clamps) work great for securing the drying glue.

Next up is to figure out some automated on/off switch...


  1. Thanks for the review I had recently bought the Winchester safe Costco has for sale but was thinking of returning it to buy this one but now I am not sure I want to go through the hassle. About the only 2 things I see I like more about the cannon is the nice long gun cut outs which the Winchester lacks and the fact its made in Mexico and not China, not that Mexico is much better but at least they don't practice going to war with us weekly. Anyway Thanks Again, and nice site.

  2. Great review! I'm planning on ordering it next week. Could you let us know what kind of lights you put up inside the safe? One thing I like about the safe is the lifetime warranty which is hard to find at this price.

  3. Any rope light kit should work fine, its all basically the same. Should run less than $20 for a 12' kit; I got mine onsale for $9 I think.

    I ran it along both sides and the top along the seam, and had plenty of slack left...I could easily have run it along the bottom, too. Just hot glue the rope light every 8-10" into the corner with a big glob of glue and wait a few seconds for it to cool before moving on.

    Works great!

  4. can someone tell me the interior measurements? my husband think we are getting this for his guns... but i'm pretty sure my jewelry will fit inside just fine. I just need to order trays

  5. did you wire a switch to the door so that the light's come on only when the door is swung open??

  6. Exterior Dimensions: 60” H x 28" W x 21" D includes handle and lock
    Interior Dimensions: 58 1/2" H x 26 1/2" W x 17 5/8" D

  7. I bought this safe from Costco a year it's about $400 cheaper...NUTS. But bottom line is I don't have any of the abnormalities reported in this review. My EX20 works fine and mine did not have a made in Mexico sticker on it...and you still get the Cannon Warranty which is the best Safe Warranty in home safes.

  8. use a 5$ motion detector from walmart to activate lights... worked great on mine.