Get a better padlock!

  • $10 – Laminated Abus padlock
  • $35 – Abus rekeyable padlock for Sargent, Schlage, Kwikset, Weiser, Masterlock or Corbin keys, keyed to your key for free
  • $45 – Abus rekeyable padlock with shackle guard, keyed to your key for free
  • Abus Diskus $11-30

Many people like cheap $5 padlocks.  They are great for low security applications like locking up a change of clothing at the gym (without your wallet or $800 phone).  Once you consider locking up your $800 Iphone, your credit cards, your ID, etc you can see where I am going with this: sometimes you ought to use a better lock than the cheapest one you can find.  If you are protecting anything of value your lock should be at least as good as everybody else’s.  Think about the value of what it is meant to protect before deciding the budget for your padlock.

There are many options for your padlock.  To lock up a garden shed full of old paint cans you may want an inexpensive combination lock.  If you ever forget that combination though you have to either go get some boltcutters or pay somebody else to come remove the padlock.  You may as well have purchased a rekeyable lock at the outset because it would save you money.  The benefits of such a lock are that you can use the same key for your front door’s deadbolt to unlock your padlock.  Not only that but if you or somebody else did cut the lock for some reason you can replace just the shackle inexpensively.  If you move to a new house or you rekey your house you can have the padlock rekeyed to match or even masterkeyed so that your housekey will open it but another key such as your gardener’s key will also open the same lock (but not your house’s locks).

Here is a padlock with a hardened shackle masterkeyed to the housekey with a separate gardener’s key.

For a little more money you can get a rekeyable padlock with a shrouded steel shackle.  This makes it really hard to get a boltcutter around the shackle.  The shroud doesn’t leave any room for anything but the hasp.  Somebody would have to use something loud or bright like an angle grinder, sledgehammer, or cutting torch to remove such a lock and they couldn’t do it without attracting attention.

If you are looking for a lock for a public storage facility and don’t want to use your house key to open it, consider getting an Abus Diskus padlock.  Like the shrouded steel rekeyable locks the Diskus line is very difficult to remove with boltcutters or an angle grinder (take it from me!)  They are also fairly difficult to pick.  There are lots of imported knock-off disc locks but they pale in comparison and are far easier to silently remove with lockpicks.

The best padlock in the world is of course only as good as the hasp or chain it is mounted on though.  Don’t skimp and get the cheapest hasp you can.  I have seen hasps that were attached to the wall with Philips woodscrews that were exposed meaning somebody wanting to get past the locked door would only have to unscrew two screws.  The hasp is frequently the cheapest part of the whole security setup.

A good hasp when locked by a padlock should not have screw heads exposed.  It should be installed into solid material and not rotten wood.  It must be appropriate for its location meaning it can be installed on 90 degree corners or flat surfaces and can have single or double hinges.  I am a fan of Abus hasps.  They retail for between $10 and $25 or $80 for their iron hasp and are very solidly made. They come with nuts and bolts so that they can be securely fastened instead of just wood screws.

Chain or cable is another possibility.  Both can usually be broken easily with boltcutters procured from Harbor Freight.  That is, unless your chain is made from a hardened alloy like the Abus 10KS chain.

A padlock can be a very inexpensive way to secure your property.  Just think about what you are securing and how much it is worth to you.  $100 goes a long way when buying a padlock and a hasp, and the return you get for paying a little more goes a very long way when you consider the benefits of a $20 padlock versus a $5 one.