What should I consider when choosing a padlock?

Choosing the right padlock for your needs is much more than picking up something that looks good. Here are some things to think about before making your purchase.

How valuable are the items you’re securing?

If they’re valuable, chances are thieves or intruders will try harder to take them, so spend the money on a high-security padlock . Think of it as an insurance payment you only have to make once. If they’re not so valuable, it’s likely thieves won’t try as hard to steal them, so a lower-grade padlock will be okay.

Consider the environment

For general outdoor padlock use, a standard padlock with hardened shackle provides better security. The shackle may discolour over time but the corrosion is external and will not impact the locking mechanism.

If the padlock will be used for an extended period by the sea, on a boat, underwater or in other extreme environments, a weatherproof padlock will stand up better to the elements.

What padlock accessories do you have?

It’s important to ensure the surrounding structures and components match the security rating of the padlock. A high-security padlock, for instance, will be undermined by a flimsy chain or hasp, and a reinforced hasp is useless if the doorframe will splinter under pressure.

Does the padlock look right for the job?

Size alone is not a reliable indicator when it comes to padlock effectiveness, but using a flimsy 40mm padlock with a chunky hasp, or vice versa, isn’t suitable. Do you need special keying options? If you have a lot of padlocks to manage, consider ‘master keying’, ‘keyed alike’ or “restricted key” options . Master keying is a two-key system where a group of locks can be opened by a single master key but each lock in the group also has a unique key. Keyed alike refers to a group of padlocks that can all be opened with the same key and as the name suggests restricted keys are particular to the owner and proof of identity is needed to obtain a copy.

If a lot of people need to operate a padlock, a combination padlock may be a good choice as it avoids having to issue a large number of keys. Keep in mind, however, that combination padlocks are only suitable for low-level security applications.