Disc Lock vs Padlock: What Are The Similarities and Differences?

Key Takeaway

  • Padlocks are the conventional pin and tumbler locks with U-shaped shackles, whereas disc locks are circular locks with closed shackles.
  • Disc locks are difficult to break into as compared to standard padlocks, hence are usually used to secure storage facilities.
  • It is not possible to open disc locks using a hacksaw as the shackles are concealed.

Gone are those days when you could just pick any lock and go off to work or vacation. The crime rates in the US are rising every year, which makes it essential for users to get in-depth knowledge about various locks to choose the one that secures their space and belongings the best. 

While there are many types of deadbolts and smart locks that claim to protect your space, not everyone prefers an in-built lock. And when it comes to portable locks, all that most of us know of are padlocks. No doubt padlocks are great locks, especially if they are heavy-duty locks, but they carry a reputation for not being highly secure. But did you know that there are some types of padlocks, for example, disc locks, that can assure advanced security? 

In this article, I will talk about standard padlocks and disc locks. I shall try to elaborate on the similarities and dissimilarities in these locks so that you can choose one as per your requirements.

What Is A Padlock?

What Is A Padlock?

Padlocks are the most traditional locks that have been securing our homes and belongings for more than 4000 years since the Roman empire. It is a lock with a lock body or pad at the bottom and a U-shaped shackle that goes through the door latch. 

Padlocks are portable and detachable pin and tumbler locks where the padlock’s key 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.

In earlier times, padlocks were pretty large in size, and so were their keys. As Science advanced, padlocks became more compact, secure, and smart. The padlock these days comes in various types. You can choose from long shackled, short shackled, electronic, manual, heavy-duty, pocket-sized, and many more types of padlocks, depending upon your need and preference.

What Is A Disc Lock?

What Is A Disc Lock?

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.

Standard Padlock vs Disc Lock: How Are They Different?

In this section of the article, we shall discuss some similarities and differences between padlocks and disc locks. If you are unsure about making a choice, the following points should make your decision simpler and easier.

Shape And Locking Mechanism

The shape of a disc lock is significantly different from that of a standard padlock. The major difference lies in the shackles. A padlock is a lock with a lock body (or pad) and a U-shaped open shackle. In comparison, a disc lock is a circular lock with a closed shackle that goes along the circumference of the lock. 

When a padlock is used to lock a door, you can see the shackle after the lock is fastened but in the case of a circle lock, the shackle is concealed when the lock is locked. 

Disc tumbler locks consist of rotating discs that are rotated by the key to unlocking the lock. The locking mechanism of a disc lock does not use springs, as many standard padlocks do.


The difference in shape and locking mechanism of a disc lock and a standard padlock contribute to the difference in their level of security. 

Since the shackles of disc locks are concealed, unlike standard padlocks, they cannot be bypassed by cutting the shackles. The shackle of disc locks is small to be exposed, making them hard to cut using a saw. This makes disc locks far more secure than standard padlocks.

This does not imply that these locks are totally impossible to get through. It is feasible to cut a disc lock with the proper tools. The amount of difficulty or ease would, however, vary from lock to lock. Heavy-duty metal disc locks may be more difficult to hack than standard disc locks.


Padlocks can be used on almost anything to everything, making them the most versatile locks. You can use a padlock to secure your front gate, gym lockers, bicycles, and whatnot! 

The portability of disc locks makes them equally versatile, but the higher security of these locks makes them perfect locks for storage facilities and two-wheeler vehicles. Hence, you can mostly find them in areas that demand a higher level of security than usual.


The cost of a padlock would be around $10-$50, whereas the cost of a disc lock would be around $20-$100. While disc locks are more expensive than padlocks, the extra expenditure can level up the security of your storage unit and save you from the threat of any burglary or vandalism.

Some insurance carriers like Bader even provide some extra benefits if the user is using a disc lock on their storage facility. This benefit is not provided in the case of padlock security.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is disc lock the same as circle lock?

Answer – Both a circle lock and a disc lock are pin-and-tumbler locks with a stack of pins responsible for locking and unlocking the lock. However, the pins in a circle lock are placed in a circular arrangement rather than a straight line with a cylindrical key to match. On the other hand, a disc lock is a closed shackled padlock with a similar pin and tumbler as in a standard padlock.

While both the locks are different, both are considered to offer better security than standard padlocks.

Q2. I have lost the key to my disc lock. How can I cut a disc lock to bypass it?

Answer – A disc lock is 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 disc lock. A blow torch may be used to cut through a heavy-duty disc lock.

Q3. How can I get a new key for my disc lock in case of a lost key?

Answer – You may get a new key cut for your disc lock in case the key is lost. One way to o so is by locating the serial number of the lock and contacting the manufacturers of the lock. The other way is getting help from a locksmith and getting a new key cut for the lock.

Final Words

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 and spaces unless you prefer or need a higher level of security. The security offered by heavy-duty padlocks is better but still not as great as many other modern locks.

Disc locks, on the other hand, offer better security and hence, are ideal for spaces that require better protection. The type of lock you should invest in quite depends upon your needs and preferences.

If you were looking for literature on disc lock vs padlock, I hope the article was a useful read. If you have more questions about locks and home security, write to me in the comment section. I will gladly assist!

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Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.