- Padlocks can be classified based on the length of their shackle, lock material, keying mechanism, keyring preference, etc.
- Guarded heavy-duty padlocks are high-security padlocks that cannot be pried upon easily.
- Smart padlocks are innovative padlocks that can be accessed using a smartphone, a biometric sensor, a keypad, or voice commands.
Padlocks have long been a significant part of our home security. Padlocks may be used to protect practically anything, from a teen’s private journal to warehouses, gym lockers to jewelry safes. In fact, in the age of deadbolts, there are a few applications where only a padlock can fit. Padlocks are chosen by many due to their portability and ease of carrying.
What interests me the most about padlocks is the range of styles available. There is a padlock for whatever function you can think of. There are so many different types of padlocks that it can become difficult for a potential buyer to decide on which one to buy. If you are here, you may be one of them.
In this article, I shall elaborate on various types of padlocks and their features. There are various grounds on which padlocks have been classified. We shall discuss them one by one.
Locking Mechanism Of A Padlock
The barrel and the pins are the two components in charge of locking and unlocking a padlock. The barrel is the chamber linked to the keyhole where you insert the key. Pins are small metal cylinders that slide into the deadbolt barrel and hold it locked until a key moves them out of the way. The keyway and locking mechanism typically comprises 3 to 7 tiny, spring-loaded pins.
The key of the padlock is aligned with the length of the pins inside the lock. When the key is inserted, it keeps the pins out of the way so that the barrel can move freely without obstruction when it is rotated. Once the pins are released, the shackle is released too. Some padlocks include shackles that spring out when the lock is opened, while you must manually open others.
Different Types Of Padlocks
Padlocks were invented 400 years ago, and they have been advancing ever since. Today, there are a variety of padlocks available in the market. Padlocks can be differentiated on the basis of the length of their shackles, features, material, keying mechanism, and keying preferences.
In this section of the article, we shall discuss various kinds of padlocks under several classifications.
Types Of Padlocks Based On Their Shackles
Let’s begin with the most critical component of a padlock, i.e., the shackle. The shackle is a crucial component from a security point of view, as if an intruder is able to break through the shackle, they can easily intrude into your space. This is why the material of the shackle of a padlock is more resistant than the lock body.
On the basis of shackles, padlocks can be classified into the following types.
It is a lock with a lock body or pad at the bottom and a U-shaped shackle that goes through the door latch. This is the most traditional type of padlock and the most common padlock that you must have seen. These padlocks work great for the safety of spaces that do not demand very high security.
Long Shackled Padlocks
Long shackled padlocks are very similar to standard padlocks but their shackles are long. These padlocks secure the latches where the touching point is far from each other for a standard padlock to hold.
These padlocks are not very secure as longer shackles mean more ease and risk of cutting them through. Hence, padlocks with long shackles must only be used on latches where they are required.
Straight Shackled Padlocks
Straight shackled padlocks are modern paddocks that have a unique design. The shackle of a straight shackled lock is short, straight, and placed differently than many other padlocks. It is very challenging to cut through the shackle of these locks.
These locks are mostly used on roller shutter doors of garages and warehouses as they are highly secure. However, you may secure many other doors other than roller shutters using the straight shackle padlock.
A disc lock is basically a unique padlock that is shaped like a circular disc. Like standard padlocks, these locks also use a pin and tumbler locking mechanism. It features a shorter, rounded, closed shackle at the top that’s integrated into its circular body. It won’t be incorrect to say that disc locks are advanced types of padlocks. The design of the lock makes it a secured lock for protecting your belongings.
The best part about a disc lock is that the shackle of the disc lock is small to be exposed, making it hard to cut using a saw as compared to standard open shackle padlocks. The higher security of these locks makes them perfect locks for storage facilities and two-wheeler vehicles.
Guarded locks are unique padlocks that can be found similar to disc locks. These locks have a solid metal guard on the shackles that conceal a large part of the shackle and protect it against any break-ins.
Since only the top part of the shackle is exposed, these locks are hard to break in and are considered high-security locks. Most guarded locks are made up of hardened steel, making them extra secure.
Types Of Padlocks Based On Their Features
Innovations in padlocks have led to many features in padlocks. Nowadays, you can choose padlocks that are heavy-duty, rekeyable, weather-resistant, etc.
Let us learn about some types of padlocks based on their features.
Heavy-duty padlocks are the largest and most resilient padlocks on the market. Made up of hardened steel, which is extremely resistant to drilling and grinding assaults, the shackles of these locks are often thick and guarded.
These locks are often put on warehouses and other places where high security is absolutely required.
Breakaway Shackle Padlocks
Breakaway locks are unique types of locks that have a shackle that breaks when struck with a hammer or any similar heavy object. These locks are often installed in places where emergency removal of locks is required. Securing fire hoses is the most common application of breakaway locks.
Weather Resistant Padlocks
Weather-resistant padlocks, as the name suggests, are padlocks that are not affected by changes in weather. They are often required to be installed in places where the surroundings are very humid and the lock corrodes easily.
Weatherproof padlocks come in two varieties. Standard weatherproof padlocks are suitable for general outdoor use, and marine padlocks are 100% corrosion-proof and are perfect for extremely humid environments and extended outdoor usage.
Rekeyable locks are locks that can be altered in a way that the lock key changes. To do so, the lock cylinder is removed, and the arrangement and lengths of the pins are altered.
Once the padlock is rekeyed, the old key no longer unlocks it, as the lock can only be locked and unlocked using the new key that corresponds to the new pins. These locks are perfect for situations where the keys of a padlock are lost or stolen. To learn how to rekey a lock, you may refer to one of the articles I wrote in the past.
Types Of Padlocks Based On Keying Mechanism
Gone are those days when a physical key was the only means to use a padlock. Today, we have padlocks that allow keyless entry. Here are a few types of padlocks based on the keying mechanism.
Keyed padlocks are the basic padlocks that lock and unlock using a flat tool that is cut according to the length and arrangement of the pins in the lock cylinder. When the key is inserted into the keyway that is attached to the lock cylinder, the pins are displaced, making way for the lock cylinder to rotate. When the key is rotated, the lock cylinder rotates, and the lock is unlocked through spring action.
Though keyed locks are considered quite secure, handing keys may be inconvenient for some users. If you lose a key, you need to get a replacement key to avoid picking the padlock.
A combination padlock is a type of padlock that uses a series of symbols, typically numerals, to unlock the lock. Hence, combination locks, unlike traditional padlocks, do not require keys. The sequence or the code is entered by rotating the disk. To learn more about how to open a combination padlock, click here.
Combination padlocks come in varieties of 3, 4, or more digit combination codes. These locks are often used as gym locks and safe locks.
A smart padlock is an electromechanical lock that works locks and unlocks upon getting a prompt. The prompt can come from a registered mobile device, an electronic keypad, a biometric sensor, or an access card. These locks are referred to as smart locks because they combine home security with modern technology to provide users with easier access and increased security against attackers. Smart locks may also monitor access and deliver notifications in response to certain circumstances.
Types Of Padlocks Based On Keying Preferences
These days padlocks come with keying preferences to choose from. You can choose whether one key opens all your locks or specific keys.
Padlocks can be distinguished as follows based on your keying preference,
Keyed Different Padlocks
Keyed different padlocks mean a group of two or more padlocks that open using different keys. This is because each lock has a different cylinder with pins arranged in a unique manner requiring the key grooves to be cut differently. This is how most traditional locks work.
When your padlocks are keyed differently, different locks will require different keys to open. For example, if the front door and garage door at your home are keyed differently, you would require two keys to unlock them.
Keyed Alike Padlocks
Keyed-alike locks mean that a group of two or more locks can be opened using the same key. This keying system reduces the number of keys needed to be carried by a user. For example, if the back door lock and window lock of your house are keyed alike, then you can unlock both locks using the same key.
It’s ideal for individuals who do not prefer carrying a bunch of keys or find them difficult to manage. Having your locks keyed alike is very helpful if you want to access all your door locks with a single key.
In most cases, the prerequisite to key the locks alike is that all the locks in the group should be of the same brand. For example, you can key all your Schlage locks alike, but you cannot key a Schlage lock with a Kwikset lock the same. Locks can be keyed alike by rekeying them.
Master Keyed Padlocks
Master keyed padlocks are a group of keyed different padlocks with one master key that can open all the padlocks in the group. The specific keys that come with the padlocks can only unlock one padlock, but a master key can open all of the padlocks in the set.
Master keyed padlocks give the users the convenience of accessing all the padlocks with one key yet allow them to have access control.
Types Of Padlocks Based On Material
The material of your padlock is another very significant aspect of your lock as it directly impacts the security of your padlock. Here are a few materials that are used to manufacture padlocks.
Due to their exceptional ability to resist corrosion and rust, copper and brass are frequently used materials for locks. Aside from that, copper and brass offer a unique look for lock handles and ornamental elements.
Aluminum is usually used in light security padlocks. The aluminum bodies can be anodized in different colors and hence are used in the color coding of lock systems.
Because of its outstanding durability and corrosion resistance, stainless steel is the most popular material for manufacturing padlocks. Stainless steel’s luster never fades, and the alloy is available in a number of grades to suit a variety of locks.
Hardened steel is a medium or high carbon steel that has been given a heat, quenching, and tempering treatment. Hardened steel is a very strong alloy to make heavy-duty and high-security padlocks.
Titanium is also an extremely durable metal that resists corrosion and is lightweight compared to stainless steel. Titanium is used in high-security padlocks.
Plastic padlocks are light security locks that can be used in areas where break-ins are not expected.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Is it possible to cut a guarded padlock to bypass it?
Answer – A guarded padlock is quite challenging to cut through as compared to other locks due to its shape and structure, so you will not be able to cut it using a hacksaw. However, you may use an angle grinder to cut the shackle of a guarded padlock that is not heavy-duty.
Q2. Are guarded padlocks more secure than disc padlocks?
Answer – Since the shackles of both guarded padlocks and disc locks are concealed, these locks are quite secure. But a guarded padlock is often made of hardened steel, making it a high-security lock as compared to a disc lock.
This does not imply that these locks are totally impossible to get through. The amount of difficulty or ease would, however, vary from lock to lock. Heavy-duty locks may be more difficult to hack than others.
Q3. Are master keyed and keyed-alike padlocks the same?
Answer – With master keyed padlocks, the individual keys will only open one lock, but there is a separate master key that can open all the locks in a group. With keyed alike locks, every key in a group will open every lock. Master keyed locks, unlike keyed-alike locks, allow user control over access to their space.
Padlocks may be traditional locks, but they can never truly replace our lives, as mostly all of us own at least one padlock. They are great locks to secure our belongings as they come in various types. You can choose one as per your need and preference.
The article is an elaborate guide on various kinds of padlocks. I hope you found the information useful. Follow this space to learn more about padlocks and home security in general. Write to me with any queries. I’ll be happy to help.