Don’t trust your prized possessions to a bargain basement padlock – get some serious security from just £8
They may be as old as the hills, but when it comes to securing your bike, gate or garden shed, a padlock remains the best option around. Not all padlocks are created equal however, and any canny thief will tell you that some padlocks are far easier to break or pick than others.
We’ve put together a list of the top padlocks on the market today so that you can rest assured that your possessions and property are safe and secure. These locks are tough, difficult to break, and suitable for a range of different situations. While some models may be pricier than others, they all offer excellent value for money in terms of what they’re able to deliver. We’ve also included a short guide that covers the chief differences between the different varieties of padlock, so you can make a well-informed buying decision.
Best padlock: At a glance
|Best high-security padlock
|Master Lock ProSeries 6321KA1 | £41
|Check price at Amazon
|Best for lockers
|Abus 145-series Combination Padlock | £13
|Check price at Amazon
|Best for indoor use
|Abus 65-series Brass Padlock | £21
|Check price at Amazon
|Best rust-resistant padlock
|Abus Diskus 24lb/50 | £17
|Check price at Amazon
How to choose the best padlock for you
What features should I look out for?
Materials and design – As you may imagine, padlocks made from cheaper materials can be easily broken with simple tools. Ideally, you’re going to want to pick up a well-engineered padlock made from alloy steel or brass, these are a lot stronger and will prove much tougher to crack. Top-end locks will generally make use of reinforced construction methods and include ball bearings within their design. If you plan on using your padlock outside where it’s exposed to the elements then making sure it’s designed to be weatherproof is essential – you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where your tough lock becomes seized up through water ingress.
Shackle – The shackle is the hoop section at the top of the lock. While shopping for a padlock, for the most security, you will want to pick up a model where the shackle is mostly hidden or shielded. A large, exposed shackle presents criminals with the opportunity to go at the lock with cutters. Padlocks with minimal shackle exposure, or locks that shroud part of the shackle within the body of the lock are far tougher to cut into.
Seal of approval – For a locking up items of particular value it may be worth looking into a lock with an endorsement from one of the independent testing bodies, particularly “Sold Secure” (owned by the Master Locksmiths’ Association), “Kite Mark” (owned by the British Standards Institute) and the European standard, “CEN”. Each testing body has its own grading system. For example, CEN grading runs from one to six (with six being the most secure) and is based on how easy a lock is to cut through, how long it would take to pick, and how strong the lock is while being pulled and twisted. Buying an independently tested lock will give you the assurance that it’s sufficiently secure for your given application, and you may also find that some insurance policies specify certain lock ratings in order for you to be covered.
What about padlock accessories?
Your padlock is only as secure as the weakest component it’s attached to. In the case of gates and shed doors the accessory components are usually going to be a staple and a hasp. The staple is the metal hoop that’s usually attached to the door frame, while the hasp is the flat, hinged strip of metal on the door itself that you fold over the staple before attaching the lock. You won’t see much benefit from a top-tier padlock if you pair it with a sub-par hasp or staple that can easily be cut or pried away from the frame.
Should I go for a combination lock or keys?
Traditional key designs are more conventional, but a combination lock is ideal for situations where multiple people need access to the same lock. It also means there’s no need to get key copies cut, and there’s no danger of losing the key – do make sure to remember the combination, however!
If you do go for a padlock with a key, look for one with four or more pins – the tumblers that keep the lock from opening until it’s turned with the right key. The more pins, the harder it is for the lock to be picked or the key to be duplicated. Some high-end padlocks even come with a restricted key, which locksmiths will refuse to duplicate without evidence that you’re the owner.
It’s also possible to find packs of padlocks that are ‘keyed alike’, meaning that they all open with the same key. This can be bad for security – you only need one key to get access to several doors, drawers or lockers – but it’s a plus when it comes to convenience.
How much do I need to spend?
For budget, the value of whatever you need to protect is always a decent guide. For filing cabinet of documents in your home office, a £5 lock will likely be up to the task. For a shed full of power tools, or a garage containing valuable bikes you will want to spend a little more for a higher quality lock. More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better, though, so be sure to check out our reviews below for the best padlocks for all situations and budgets.
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The best padlocks you can buy in 2024
1. Master Lock ProSeries 6321EURD Weather Tough shrouded padlock 55mm: Best high-security padlock
Price when reviewed: £41 | Check price at AmazonThis heavy-duty padlock features a hardened iron shroud which protects the shackle from bolt-cutter attacks and a tough boron alloy shackle. An internal dual-ball locking mechanism means no amount of meddling is likely to break it and the six-pin cylinder will prove extremely difficult to pick. Designed to withstand all weather conditions, it’s suitable for anything from trailers to sheds, and will see you through years and years of usage – a promise that’s backed up by a lifetime warranty.
Key specs – Lock type: Key; Sizes available: 3; Warranty: Lifetime against mechanical failure; Suggested uses: Gates, sheds, storage units, fences, containers and chains
2. Squire Stronghold 6-pin Closed Shackle: Best tough high-security padlock
Price: when reviewed £60 | Check price at Lock Shop DirectSquire’s Stronghold series doesn’t come cheap, but you will be hard pushed to find a tougher padlock. The closed shackle variants make things even tougher for thieves with a hardened boron alloy steel shackle that barely peeks outside of the dual-compound weatherproof body and hardened steel shell. It also has a rust-resistant electrophoretic finish and a drill-resistant 6-pin cylinder, so it’s about as secure and durable as padlocks come. And, in a clever idiot-proofing feature, it won’t release the key until the shackle is securely locked. Need to secure something really valuable? Want a padlock that comes built to last? Don’t skimp – this is a great investment that will last you years.
Key specs – Lock type: Key; Sizes available: 5; Warranty: 10-year no quibble guarantee; Suggested uses: Vehicles, garages, gates
3. Abus 145-series Combination Padlock: Best padlock for lockers
Price when reviewed: £17 | Check price at AmazonThis cheap yet durable, anti-pick combination padlock is designed specifically for lockers in schools and gyms. It might look like every other combination padlock you’ve seen, but it’s far more robust and long-lasting than you would expect for the price. The model shown here is the three dial 30mm version, but there’s also a 40mm version with four dials which may be better for larger lockers.
Key specs – Lock type: Combination; Sizes available: 2; Warranty: None; Suggested uses: Lockers and gyms
4. Groov-e My Lock: Best biometric padlock
Price when reviewed: £29 | Check price at Amazon
If you’re forever losing keys and forgetting combinations, Groov-e’s My Lock could be the answer. It’s a fingerprint padlock with a small square sensor on the front that can recognise up to ten fingerprints, allowing you to open the padlock in an instant. Training the padlock is simple. Just hold your finger down and tap with a different area each time you open it. During our initial few weeks of testing, we found no problems with rapid recognition or unauthorised fingerprints opening the lock.
Groov-e has nailed down the practicalities; the two CR2032 coin cell batteries need replacing every 12 months, but doing so or removing them won’t erase all fingerprints or get the lock to open – the LED will flash red to warn you when the cells are running low. The lock is also IP67 weatherproof, though the user guide advises keeping it dry and avoiding exposure to precipitation or low temperatures. For this reason, and despite the rugged plastic and zinc alloy casing and stainless steel shackle, it’s a lock that’s best used indoors or away from extreme weather. It doesn’t feel as tough as the Squire CP50 or the Master Lock M115EURDLF, but it’s great for quick and easy security.
Key specs – Lock type: Biometric; Sizes available: 1; Warranty: 1 year; Suggested uses: Lockers, luggage, sheds
5. Rolson Alarm Padlock: Best alarm padlock
Price when reviewed: £14 | Check price at Amazon Padlocks with built-in alarms are perfect for bikes, drawing instant attention to would-be thieves and encouraging them to scarper. This one sounds for ten seconds when triggered, with a 110dB twin tone siren (take it from us, that’s very loud), then resets after 35 seconds. Be warned that it is quite sensitive, though that might be a good thing – and the lock itself isn’t as tough as more expensive models, so we don’t suggest you use it without the alarm.
Key specs – Lock type: Key; Sizes available: 1; Warranty: 1 year; Suggested uses: Bikes
6. Squire CP50 Heavy-Duty Padlock: Best heavy-duty combination lock
Price when reviewed: £29 | Check price at AmazonThe CP50 gives you a high level of security without any need for keys. And, thanks to a tough zinc-finished, steel alloy body and a weatherproof construction that’s been tested for 312 hours against salt spray, it’s long-lasting and incredibly robust. The four wheels give potential thieves 10,000 different combinations to work through, while a hacksaw won’t get through the hardened boron steel shackle in a hurry.
It also comes in marine and closed shackle versions if you want even more protection against the elements, or further safeguards against pry bar and saw attacks.
Key specs – Lock type: Combination; Sizes available: 1; Warranty: None; Suggested uses: Sheds, gate barriers
7. Master Lock M115EURDLF Heavy Duty Padlock: Best-value weatherproof padlock
Price when reviewed: £15 | Check price at Amazon Master Lock’s weatherproof Heavy Duty padlock is ideal for all-weather applications. It features a laminated steel core with a weather-resistant cover and a covered keyway, designed to see off rain, snow, mud and salt. Master Lock stand by the lock’s weather resistance with a limited lifetime warranty against rusting on the lock body. As for security, the padlock features a four-pin cylinder to trump would-be lock-pickers as well as a Tough-Cut octagonal boron carbide shackle with double ball bearing locking.
Key specs – Lock type: Key; Sizes available: 1; Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty; Suggested uses: Gates, sheds, fences
8. Abus 65-series Closed Shackle Brass Padlock: Best for indoor use
Price when reviewed: £21 | Check price at Amazon Abus is well known within the padlock space, making a wide range of locks for just about any application. This one’s particularly good for indoor jobs, such as cellar doors, document cabinets and toolboxes. We’re particular fans of the enclosed hardened steel shackle which makes it particularly difficult to cut into. Its only limitation is that it won’t withstand tough weather conditions, so don’t use it outside.
Key specs – Lock type: Key; Sizes available: 1; Warranty: None; Suggested uses: Indoor
9. Abus 64TI/40 Padlock: Best small and lightweight padlock
Price when reviewed: £18 | Check price at Amazon
Don’t be fooled by this lock’s modest size: it’s strong, well built and features a weatherproof coating to help it resist the ravages of the outdoors. The larger models (30mm and up) also have a protective shackle coating that makes them even more resistant to corrosion. Made from an aluminium alloy called Titalium (as used for certain parts of planes, we’re informed) it’s great for cupboards, locks, tool boxes, shed doors and anywhere where you need a sturdy, compact padlock that won’t rust up.
Key specs – Lock type: Combination; Sizes: 7; Warranty: None; Suggested uses: Cupboards, locks, toolboxes and shed doors
10. Abus Diskus 24lb/50: Best rust-resistant padlock
Price when reviewed: £18 | Check price at Amazon
If you live close to the sea or need to lock up boats, kayaks or other seagoing vessels, then an ordinary weather-resistant padlock isn’t going to cut it. With their stainless-steel parts and nickel-plated cylinder, Abus’s Diskus locks are built to resist saltwater corrosion, and are incredibly robust in general. What’s more, the circular design and narrow opening make it hard to get at the shackle, either with bolt cutters or a saw. Unless your budding thief has an angle grinder handy, they’re going to find it hard work getting through. It’s a great lock for coastal and marine use, but still a good choice for anything else.
Key specs – Lock type: Key; Sizes available: 3; Warranty: 10-year no quibble guarantee; Suggested uses: Vehicles, gates, doors, barns, boats, boat sheds