Peter Piper Picked a Padlock

How to choose the right padlock for your application

We live in the age of the consumer. Never before have we had so much choice! At Next Day Locks, we’re proud to offer you a huge selection of locking products from some of the most trusted brands in the business. But we also know that too much choice can lead to confusion. We hope to quell some of this confusion with our series of product range blog posts. Today we’re going to try and demystify one of our best selling and most versatile products; the humble padlock.

The wide variety of padlocks on the market can make choosing the right one for your application quite a challenge.

Open or Closed Shackle?

The “shackle” of a padlock is the U-shaped piece of metal that clips into the padlock body. When a padlock is referred to as “open shackle”, it simply means the whole shackle is accessible. For many people, an open shackle padlock is the first that comes to mind, as they are commonly used for low security applications such as luggage and lockers. The clear downside to open shackle padlocks is they are high susceptible to bolt cutter attack. As such, we would only recommend that you use open shackle padlocks for low security items or for applications where only an open shackle padlock will fit.

Closed shackle padlocks take many shapes and forms but they all protect the shackle in some way, minimising the amount of shackle exposed to attack. A traditional closed shackle padlock looks similar to and open shackle padlock with the addition of a built in shroud to shield the shackle. Other padlock types that allow minimal access to the shackle include discus and sliding shackle padlocks. We recommend you use closed shackle, discus and sliding shackle padlocks for all your higher security applications such as gates, shutters and sheds.

For ultimate shackle protection, look no further than a concealed shackle padlock. Available in round or rectangular shapes, these weather resistant padlocks conceal the shackle from attack within a high security casing. They are often designed to suit a particular hasp, so make sure you buy them as a set to maintain the desired security level.

Long or Standard Shackle?

Open shackle padlocks are often sold with a variety of shackle lengths. In general, the longer the shackle, the more susceptible the lock is to saw or bolt cutter attack. As such, we would recommend that you use long shackle padlocks only in the instances where they are required. Such instances would include where the shackle needs to pass through multiple hasps or fittings or when the two fittings are spaced too far apart.

Keyed or Combination?

Padlocks are generally operated by a keyed or combination mechanism. The latter is popular for its convenience, as it eliminates the need to carry keys. Combination padlocks are less secure because people can observe you putting the code in or try to work through the combinations in order. That said, they remain a popular choice for use on applications such as lockers and cupboards.

Key operated padlocks are available as keyed alike or keyed to differ. If a padlock is marked as keyed alike, this means that all padlocks in that set are operated from a single key pattern. This makes them a popular choice for offices or sites as a manager only needs one key to operate multiple locks however does make them less secure.

Keyed to differ padlocks are operated by their own key and this key should not operate any other locks (bearing in mind that there is a finite number of key combinations available). This makes them a popular choice for domestic applications.

If you need a padlock to fit into a masterkey system then a Euro cylinder padlock might be what you’re after. These padlocks are supplied without a locking mechanism and require you to purchase a half Euro cylinder separately. This makes them the ideal choice for businesses where a master key system is desired. Essentially, a master key system gives you the best of both a keyed alike system and a keyed to differ system; each cylinder operates from its own unique key pattern, so key holders can only open the locks they are given access to. A master key is also provided which allows the holder to unlock the full set of cylinders, making this a popular choice for businesses and other commercial properties.

Is that it?

No! As we’re fond of saying, a locking system is only as strong as its weakest link. For padlocks, this means you have to think about what you’re securing. A heavy duty padlock is useless when securing a light duty hasp & staple. We stock a range of padlock accessories including locking bars, hasps, staples, chains and cables. Again, let the likelihood of theft or attack on your application and the value of the items being secured determine the robustness required of your padlock accessory.

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