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In this day and age, you almost have to lock up your belongings. Regardless of where you keep them, the risk of a thief coming along and trying to steal your goods is at an all-time high. Whether it’s a tool shed in your back yard or a bicycle on the street, you need to secure them with the best padlock if you want to protect what’s yours.
And to help ensure that you choose only the best, we’ve compiled a list of exactly that. We reviewed and ranked 10 top brands and models that pull out all the stops in keeping your property locked up tightly.
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Stanley walked away as the best padlock overall. Their Shrouded Hardened Steel is a breeze to use and is a mammoth of a padlock. It is virtually indestructible thanks to its tough body and shackle.
The second-best for security goes to Desired Tools’ 4-Digit Combination Lock. It’s difficult to penetrate and only you know the way to open it. This is an excellent option for tool sheds and the like thanks to its all-weather construction.
Whatever your needs may be, we’ve likely got just the padlock for you. Be sure to stick around for our buyer’s guide that immediately follows the reviews. It will help to ensure that you choose the right padlock for your needs.
Stanley delivers a durable, solid, and well-crafted padlock. The Shrouded Hardened Steel is one of the most robust models we’ve ever come across.
This thing is built like a tank and has an internal security system that rivals Fort Knox. It uses a 6-pin cylinder that can’t be picked by thieves.
But the real selling-point is its hardened steel body. It is virtually indestructible, with plating that can’t be drilled into. Throw it out of a high-rise window or run over it with a truck – this padlock is going to keep on ticking.
At over 2 pounds, it’s a thick, heavy piece of hardware. And yet it’s a cinch to open as long as you have the key. It’s a little costly, sure. But you can’t put a price on your valuables. For the best in protection, Stanley has you covered.
With the proper key, opening up the Shrouded Hardened Steel padlock is a piece of cake. The shackle doesn’t stick or get stuck in the process. It is a bit heavy, so factor its 2-pound weight into your daily tasks before you buy.
If you need to secure your belongings outdoors, this is the lock for you. Desired Tools delivers a solid contender that sports an all-weather body that’s great for sheds, barns, and more.
This combination lock isn’t your traditional wheel-based padlock. It is rectangular, with four horizontal spin dials on its right side. With over 10,000 unique combination possibilities, the chances of someone guessing your code is slim to none.
And while the all-weather construction makes this a great fit for outdoor use, many people use them indoors, as well. From school lockers to office use, Desired Tools’ padlock is as versatile as they come.
Plus, you can get this model in different colors. If you’re needing to buy padlocks for a small team, this one makes a great choice.
Spinning the dials feels really secure, with each turn giving you great feedback. There’s no guessing if you’ve chosen the correct number here. As far as combination locks go, Desired Tools delivers the easiest to use.
Another key-based lock, Kwikset’s SmartKey uses some tough materials that will deter most thieves. In fact, those who try to drill or cut their way past the lock will likely be met with defeat. This is because Kwikset used hardened molybdenum in the shackle’s construction.
With a physical hardness of 5.5, this durable metal will withstand most attacks with ease. For convenient security, this is definitely the lock to go with. Since it’s a SmartKey, you can have the padlock rekeyed. This means you can make it compatible with your home’s SmartKey system, should you have one.
For added security, this model is pick-resistant. Combined with its hardened molybdenum shackle, lock-pickers won’t know what to do with themselves.
If you refit this lock with your home’s SmartKey, you’ll find this to be one of easiest locks you’ll ever own. It is a bit on the narrow side, though. So first ensure that it will accommodate your locking needs before you buy.
ORIA gives you two locks for the price of one. We found these combination locks to be highly-versatile. They offer great security for a variety of applications.
Setting your own code is easy and straightforward, with over 10,000 unique combinations to choose from. The possibility of someone guessing your code is highly unlikely.
ORIA used zinc alloy in the construction of these locks. Security is solid while the locks are lightweight. We like that you can use these both indoors and out. They’re not quite as sturdy as some premium models we reviewed, but they are stout enough to deter theft.
The big draw here is that you can set your own combination to gain entry. The numbers aren’t as smooth as we’d like, but they get the job done nonetheless.
If your kids need a lock for any reason, get them Master Lock’s Word Combination Padlock. This fun model lets you choose your own word to unlock it.
It’s a unique concept that works well. And, it makes a great brain exercise for people both young and old. The security is quite solid, too. Thanks to a hardened steel shackle, thieves will think twice before attempting to mess with this one.
On top of that, Master Lock made this model shim-proof. You’re getting the best in security at an affordable price.
There are some concerns with this unit, though. There are only so many letters to choose from, making guesses easier than if the lock had the full alphabet at your disposal. Now, that being said, this lock is best geared toward the younger crowd.
Used in the right setting for which it was intended, this should make a fine lock. Just don’t expect to use it for your most prized possessions.
Spinning the letter dials is pretty straightforward. But it can get a little annoying trying to line each letter up, as they have to be exact.
Master Lock makes the list again. This entry is another unique take on an old favorite. As its name implies, you get to choose your own 4-digit combination. This makes a great unit for those who like ever-changing security measures in place.
A key comes with the lock, which is necessary to change the combination. Once you’ve set your desired code, you won’t have to use the key until you need to change codes.
Thanks to a hardened steel shackle, security is pretty solid throughout. The casing isn’t quite as tough, however, and seems to be made of aluminum.
Opening the lock once you’ve lined up your combination is a bit of a pain at first. But once you get the hang of the nuances involved, it becomes quite easy. The positioning of the number dials make this one a bear to use at night.
ABUS’s Diskus Padlock offers some of the most secure locking you can find. This model is built solid and is very durable.
The problem lies in its user-friendliness. It can be a pain to get open, as its tumblers all have to line up perfectly. This is a great deterrent for thieves, but when you have to fight getting the key to line up just right, it’s problematic. Especially if you’re in a hurry.
Now, in the right setting, you can’t beat it. It’s as tough as they come. As long as you know its limitations, it should serve you well.
Key struggles aside, you’re also going to be limited on what you can use this to lock up. It doesn’t have a very big gap, so be sure it will accommodate your needs before buying.
We’re getting technical now. Master Lock’s Bluetooth Padlock is the next step in padlock progression. Instead of using an archaic key or having to memorize an impossible combination, this lock lets you simply use your smartphone to get inside! Just a gentle tap on your screen unlocks this one.
All levity aside, this concept works surprisingly well. It requires you to download an app, but after getting it set up, it works like a charm. And since your phone has to be synced up via Bluetooth, you’re getting that much more security.
This lock is only suitable for indoor use. It has too many delicate internal components that won’t hold up in outdoor conditions. Rain or snow would fry it in a second. You also need to be sure to charge it up on occasion, as it needs power to function.
Those who are familiar with smartphones and downloading apps will have no troubles with the Bluetooth Padlock. But those who struggle with techy gadgets will likely want to steer clear.
Well-priced, built tough, and easy to use. What more could you want in a padlock? ABUS pleasantly surprised us with their “Titalium” lock. No, that’s not a typo. Titalium is their special aluminum alloy. It provides excellent protection while remaining lightweight.
Adding to the padlock’s security is a nano coating on the hardened steel shackle. This makes it much more difficult for thieves to try to cut through. And thanks to a 6-pin cylinder, lock-picking is out of the question.
We were blown away by how light this thing actually was. Just looking at it, you would think it weighs a pound or two. Nope, it’s less than 9 ounces. The great thing is that this lock is just as solid as a heavier model.
Combine all that with a really affordable price and you’ve got yourself a worthy contender to protect your belongings.
Entry is smooth and effortless. The shackle doesn’t get hung up in the process, making this a great lock for those in a hurry. But be cautious before you buy. This lock can be shimmed open if the ‘right’ thief comes along and knows what they’re doing.
We’re going old-school now. This is your traditional dial combination padlock that’s been around since the 1930s. These are most popular in school locker use.
This no-frills unit comes with a preset combination. It uses 3 digits to unlock, with numbers used between 0 and 39. Combined with its hardened steel shackle, you’ve got an excellent, budget-friendly way to lock up your belongings.
It’s tough, well-made, and works in a pinch for just about anything you need to secure. And it has great clearance, making it highly-versatile for a variety of uses.
The downside is that it can be defeated without the code if you know what you’re doing and have plenty of uninterrupted time.
Hitting on your numbers can be a test of patience. If you’ve never used one of these padlocks, give yourself plenty of time to learn.
Now that you know what padlocks are the best, it’s time to go into a bit more detail. In the following sections, we’ll discuss some important factors that you want to look for when choosing the best padlock for your needs.
You might think that any model will fit the bill as long as it secures your belongings. But you’ll be much better served by selecting the right tool for the job. You wouldn’t use a sledgehammer to hang up a picture frame. Nor would you use a tack hammer to drive in a fence post. The same principle holds true for padlocks.
So with that in mind, let’s talk about a few categories that will help you make the best buying decision when it comes time to secure your property.
Like we mentioned at the outset, it’s important that you choose the properly-sized padlock for the job. Just because you buy the biggest, beefiest model doesn’t mean it’s going to provide you with the best protection.
More often than not, the best security comes with the more money you spend. If you want the best, be prepared to shell out a few extra bucks. If you’re having trouble justifying this, just think: how much are your valuables worth to you?
It’s also going to be beneficial if the padlock is easy for you to pack around. If you’re picking up a couple of bags of groceries on your bicycle, it wouldn’t be very helpful to your cause by having to lug around a huge, cumbersome padlock.
Or with your laptop bag and work. It would be pretty silly to lock it up with a big, hulking lock that weighs more than the laptop.
Bottom line: don’t go overboard on size just because you want the best protection. Simply spend a little bit more and get the right-sized lock for your needs.
This often comes down to convenience. Take schooling, for example. Are you usually in a mad dash between classes to make it to your locker and your next class on time? In this instance, you would be wise to avoid a combination lock. Go with a quick and easy key lock to save valuable time.
Obviously, this applies for all walks of life and not just schooling. Choose something that’s easy for you. Do you have trouble remembering numbers? Then a combination lock is out. A key lock is right up your alley.
Do you have trouble keeping track of things like keys? Then the reverse is true for you. Go with a combination lock to avoid the risk of losing your only way into your locked up goods.
There are many different shapes of locks. From discus to shutter to hidden shackle, it’s vital that you choose the best lock for the job. If you’re parking your bicycle on the street, you probably don’t want to use a discus lock to secure it.
The shackles aren’t very long on these types of padlocks, making it tough to get them on the chain properly. You might get the lock jammed and stuck in place. Plan out your locking needs carefully to ensure you don’t run into potential mishaps.
This one can be tricky. Many padlock manufacturers put a security rating on their packaging. But these ratings don’t always coalesce with other brands. For example, LockMaker Joe might rate his lock with a security level of 10.
But LockMaker Bob rates his lock with a security level of 5. In reality, it’s possible that LockMaker Bob’s lock is more secure than LockMaker Joe’s. You see, there isn’t actually an industry standard for security level ratings.
It’s best to ignore these ‘ratings’ and go with a model that carries a respectable price tag. You often get what you pay for, and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to padlocks.
Now, that being said, the one rating you can trust is the Sold Secure rating. If a lock is worth its salt, it will carry this type of rating. A Sold Secure rating of Gold is going to be the best. From there, they go down to Silver, and then Bronze.
So in short, ignore the manufacturers’ number ratings and look to see if they have a Sold Secure rating instead.
The better the outside casing is, the better the padlock’s internal locking mechanism will be protected. You want the casing to be made of material that’s going to be difficult for thieves to penetrate.
Many locks are made of brass. And while they sure do look nice and shiny, they are easy to drill into. This is because brass is a softer metal. However, if a brass lock has an armor casing around it, you should be in pretty good shape.
The same goes with alloy steel and hardened steel. These metals are very stout and extremely resilient. Thieves will have a hard time getting into locks made with either material.
A lot of the time, an outdoor lock is an ordinary ‘indoor’ lock with a plastic jacket. The purpose of this is to protect the lock’s internal components from the elements.
But if you want to ensure your lock isn’t going to rust, pick one that is made with brass, stainless steel, and/or phosphor bronze. These metals won’t deteriorate, giving you a lot more life out of your lock.