Seven steps for selecting a high-security padlock
October 21, 2014
Magnificent Seven steps for selecting a high-security padlock
Choose the right high-security padlock by thinking like the thief who’ll use brute force to smash it and its fittings to get at your valuables. He’ll apply considerable amounts of force to cut, break or drill through it – or simply tear it and its hasp away from the door or gate it’s protecting.
That means the best thief-proof padlock must be:
• resistant to cutting
• resistant to twisting
• tough to drill
• part of an overall security solution. The world’s strongest padlock is of no use whatsoever if it’s fastened to the world’s weakest door using inadequate fittings.
Things to look for
1. Build quality: Properly-engineered locks are best. Look for models with parts machined to very accurate tolerances and locking mechanisms incorporating ball bearings. Proper engineering to accurate tolerances using the best materials makes locks more resistant to attack. Raised shoulders around the shackle help to conceal it. Make sure it’s fitted the right way round, if the shoulders are at only one side of the shackle.
2. Shackle: The best option is to choose a lock with just a small amount of the shackle visible, so there is no space for the cutters to be applied. Pick the right hasp and staple (the parts that fit permanently to the door) and the shackle can be completely hidden.
3. What metals? Padlocks are made using primarily brass and steel, but look also for weather-resistant coatings like zinc, chrome or plastic, and reinforced construction methods.
4. Hardened, stainless, or both?: You’ll notice the words ‘hardened’ and ‘stainless’ on good quality locks. Both words refer to the steel they’re made from. ‘Hardened’ describes processes during manufacture, involving carefully-controlled heating and cooling stages. The result is steel that’s harder to cut or break. ‘Stainless’ is about what’s in the steel to make it resistant to rusting.
5. What about keys?: Choose a lock offering the largest-possible number of key variations. The more there are, the less likely it is that a key can be copied. Some also offer keys that can’t be copied at all, with replacements available only from the manufacturer after you’ve proved you have a right to buy them.
6. Third-party approvals: You’re not going to be able to test a padlock before buying it – but there’s no need to. Independent testing bodies have done the hard work already. Look out for the following approvals:
Sold Secure: Standard owned by the Master Locksmiths’ Association. Respected by the Home Office, Police and insurance industry. Liaises with police to keep abreast of new techniques used by thieves.
Kite Mark: Oldest quality mark. Owned by the British Standards Institute. Used internationally. Recognised as a benchmark for the very best.
7. After you’ve bought it
No padlock is a ‘fit and forget for ever’ product. Manufacturers go to great lengths to make quality locks, but none last indefinitely. Be prepared to replace them over time, but extend their lives with a little lubrication. It works wonders in enhancing corrosion protection for a metal device that living permanently outdoors!