Security Mailboxes

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Security mailboxes are a sound choice in any number of circumstances. You'll learn, if you don't know already, that they're larger than conventional mailboxes. The reason for this is the USPS specification on the size of mail slots. These must be large enough for the mail carrier to easily deliver standard mail envelopes and magazines without needing a key. At the same time, the slot can't be large enough for a hand to slip through.

Both wall-mount and post-mount models of security mailboxes are readily available, and all work on the same principle. The panel the homeowner unlocks can be located on the side, front, or back of the mailbox. Most locking mailboxes are rectangular in shape because of the nine-inch requirement for the mail slot. The oversized version of the conventional post-mounted mailbox that first springs to mind is large enough, however, to accommodate locking and security features.

Are you wondering if you have to surrender form for function if you opt for a locking mailbox? The answer is no. You will, though, need to crank up the creative lobe of your brain. Security mailboxes are designed with function rather than beauty in mind. Your best bet might be to build a security mailbox into a stone, brick, or wooden column. Another thought is to design a superstructure around it, like a small doghouse, for example, or pigeon cote.

Options for Security Mailboxes

Certainly the mailbox material makes a big difference. The thickness of the steel--and you do want steel in a locking mailbox--is one of the important considerations. From 16-gauge to 10-gauge steel or stainless steel is most common for super duty locking mailboxes. You want welded seams rather than riveted, and pin-tumbler locks keyed individually. Quality pays off.


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