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How to Choose Suitable Padlocks

With so many brands and designs of padlocks available on the market today finding the right fit can be tricky. We've put this document together to run through the key choices that need to be made.

  1. Insurance Compliance
  2. What size do you need?
  3. Security Levels
  4. Internal vs External
  5. Locking mechanisms
  6. Key Profiles
  7. Reliability vs Cost

Insurance Compliance

CEN Approved Logo

You may be required by insurance companies to purchase C.E.N graded padlocks. C.E.N is a rating system for higher security padlocks to conform to and comes in a range of grades which are indicated on the individual products. CEN 1 - 6 is available. Although this rating is not a test done by an independent testing body it gives an indication of the strength of the padlock through the specification of the padlock.

What size of padlock do you need?

Padlocks tend to be measured by body size (width), the larger the body, the thicker the shackle, and greater the horizontal and vertical clearance will be.

Squire Stronghold Padlocks

Above you can see the Squire Stronghold Range that goes from a 50mm body to an 80mm. The Squire SS/50 has a 10mm shackle and the larger SS80 has a 15mm shackle so these are some of the biggest and strongest padlocks on the market.

The size of padlock you need depends solely on what it's locking to. The most important measurement on any padlock is the shackle thickness. The shackle is the 'U' shaped bar that locks the padlock in place. You need to measure the eyelet the shackle will lock through to make sure it's the correct size. The other measurements you need to check are the vertical and horizontal clearance, these are the distances underneath the shackle and need to be greater than the thickness of the material you are locking through. There are however ranges like the ABUS T64 series which start at 20mm and go all the way up to 60mm with long shackle versions so there is always a padlock available to suit your needs.

ABUS 64Ti Padlock Series

What is the padlock for? What security level do you need?

You need to decide what the padlock is used for and how likely it is to be attacked. Is it locking an expensive Motorbike or bicycle? Is it for a communal gate or store where you have lots of people using it? Is it school or leisure centre lockers? There would be little point fitting a £20 padlock to a £15000 motorbike as it will be easy pickings for thieves but at the same time if you have a very high security padlock and a weak chain then that will be the target. It is important to make sure that all the locking points are equally secure so you dont have a weak point.

Where is it being used? Is it internal or external?

Most padlocks come with basic water resistance and can be used outside but as most brass bodied padlocks have hardened steel shackles they will rust and corrode over time. ABUS have designed a new NanoProtect shackle which is a hardened steel shackle with a waterproof coating so their standard brass padlocks are more suitable for external use.

If the padlock is used on trucks and trailers then you will want to look at the ABUS 83 Extreme range as these are water-resistant with protective plastic covers. The idea here is to stop mud, dirt and grit getting into the padlocks keyway and jamming it up.

If you live on the coast or expect intense weather conditions then you will need stainless steel padlocks, we have a range of marine grade padlocks online. the best on the market is the ABUS submariner which is completely rust proof and has been used on the North Sea Wind farms for years.

What locking mechanism do you need? Key or Combination?

Key locking padlocks are the standard type of padlock and are available keyed to differ, keyed alike or masterkeyed. Keyed to differ means every padlock can have a different key. Keyed alike or 'one key fits all' padlocks are designed to reduce the keys needed to open multiple padlocks and are supplied with 1 generic key to work all the padlocks. Masterkeyed padlocks are available for areas where you have supervisors or managers needing to open all the locks with 1 key but still have individual keys for the employees. Masterkeyed suites can be made to suit your needs so if you have specific requirements please contact our sales team and we can help.

Combination padlocks are perfect for areas where you have multiple users and don't want to issue keys. Easy to change combinations means you can stop people using the padlock at anytime. The highest security combination is the ABUS 190/60 range, unfortunately these are not rated so not suitable for insurance needs.

What key profile do you require?

If you require a high security padlock and your insurance company have asked for a CEN grade 4, 5 or 6 padlock then you will need to get a padlock from our high security range. Unfortunately you can not get a CEN rated combination padlock so you will have to use a key.

This can be problematic if there are multiple users of the padlock as there will be multiple keys in circulation. The way to control this is to get a restricted profile key section. This means that on specific key sections The Lock Shop Warehouse is the only company legally allow to supply the locks and keys. Therefore you know that you are the only person with that specific key. Furthermore, it allows you to sign a restriction form, meaning only registered signatories can authorize duplicate keys.

The versatile ABUS 83 range of padlocks are all available with the Pfaffenhain restricted key profile keyed alike or masterkeyed. This means you can control the duplication of keys as we are the only locksmith in the country legally allow to cut our known section of ABUS Pfaffenhain.

What level reliability/cost do you require?

There are some padlocks on the market we class as 'Budget' padlocks. They are made by Tri-Circle. These locks are the lowest security and cheapest we sell. The reason they are so cheap is they are imported from China and the quality of brass is not the same level as that used in the ABUS range. Tri-Circle padlocks are designed as a disposable range of padlocks and are perfect for locking small boxes ( cases, or lockers) but are not suitable for external use or to lock away valuable items.

The most reliable and best made padlock range we offer is ABUS. There entire range is designed with longevity in mind and we very rarely hear of a fault that is due to the manufacture. The price of these padlocks is higher than the Tri-Circle brand but, like with many things you pay for what you get, and although the ABUS has a higher price if you want a padlock that will last ABUS is the brand to choose.