A couple of years ago, getting a padlock was an extremely easy thing to do. You would walk down to your local hardware store and pick the one you liked most. However, things have changed significantly, and now you’ve got a host of manufacturers, as well as a host of options to choose from, and the decision can be difficult. You also get a variety of types of padlocks, and not all of them work in any scenario etc., making choosing the best padlock a chore, and one that you won’t want to do.
We understand your problem, and we’re here to help. Hence, we’ve got two things for you. First, we’ll give you ten of the best padlock options on the market today. From budget oriented models, to high end ones that you’ll have to think twice before buying, we’ll make sure to include something for everyone. Afterwards, we’ve also got a fairly extensive buying guide, one that should explain some of the key terms and things we’ll cover as we review the padlocks on our list. When you’re done reading, you should be able to make an informed buying decision as to which of the options is the best padlock for you and your use case. Without wasting any more of your time, let’s take a look at our options.
Quick Summary: Best Padlock of 2019
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- Best Overall: Desired Tools Padlock at Amazon
“Good quality, price, and durability”
- Best Durability: Schlage 994831 at Amazon
“One of the world’s most popular brands when it comes to locks and security products”
- Best Weight: ABUS 64TI/40 at Amazon
“Excellent option if you want to get a lightweight padlock that’s durable”
- Best Build: ABUS 20/70 Diskus at Amazon
“One of the most secure options on our list.”
- Best Design: Master Lock 141D at Amazon
“Excellent budget oriented and durable”
- Best Price: FortLocks Gym Locker at Amazon
- Also Good: Stanley Hardware CD8820 at Amazon
- Also Good: ABUS 37/80 Granit at Amazon
- Also Good: Master Lock 178D at Amazon
- Also Good: Master Lock 140D at Amazon
- Four digit dials
- For indoors and outdoors
Our top pick is made by desired tools. Even though that might not be the first brand that springs to mind when it comes to padlocks and security, this is actually a bestseller, and one that’s got raving reviews all over the place.
It’s a combination padlock, and one that has four digit dials. This means that you have 10 thousand combinations to choose from, so make sure you go for something unique and difficult to guess. All the numbers on the dials are easy to read, so you will be able to get them right quickly in case you need to. The dials rotate smoothly, which is a good indicator of quality. Setting your own combination is pretty easy, and in case you decide you want to change it, you can also reset and choose another combination pretty easily.
The padlock is made to be used both indoors and outdoors, and it comes with a plastic shell over the steel body, protecting it from the elements. It comes in a few colors, and the price is actually very reasonable. If you’re looking for the best padlock, but don’t want to spend too much money on one, and don’t need fancy features, the desired tools Padlock might be a great pick.
- Made of stainless steel
- 2-pack of padlocks and keyed
Schlage is one of the world’s most popular brands when it comes to locks and security products, and the only reason why their 994831 padlock is a runner up, and not first on our list, is because it’s pretty expensive. However, if you are willing to pay a bit more, you get a 2-pack of padlocks that are keyed alike and come with four keys.
The entire body is made of stainless steel, but the shackle is a 2 ½ inch molybdenium shackle. It’s made to be extremely secure, and is resistant to bolt cutters and blades. Since this is an open, completely exposed shackle, it’s good to know that it won’t give in to abuse.
You get double deadbolt locking and a high security brass cylinder with 6 pins. This is pretty picklock resistant, and is a cylinder that will last a good while without any issues. What’s great is that the padlocks work great even in pretty aggressive weather conditions, which is great if you intend on using them outdoors, especially at the seaside. If you’re willing to pony up, the Schlage is the best padlock you can get with an open shackle.
- Made of Titalium aluminum alloy
- 3-pack of padlocks that are keyed
ABUS is another household name in the home security industry when it comes to locks, padlocks and other similar security products. Their 64TI/40 padlock is an excellent option if you want to get a lightweight padlock that’s durable. To add to that, you get a three pack of padlocks that are keyed alike, so you can use them all with any of the four keys that come included.
The body is made of Titalium aluminum alloy. This is much lighter than steel, but ABUS claim that it’s just as secure, and since it’s ABUS, we have no reason whatsoever to doubt those claims. The shackle is steel, but it has a nano coating to help it with resistance against the elements. The cylinder plug is chrome plated, and the keyway is paracentric to add a bit more protection against tampering and manipulation. Oh, and you also get a tulip-shaped key head.
Overall, the ABUS 64TI/40 is an excellent solution if you’re in need of three padlocks, but don’t want the hassle associated with carrying a separate key for each. They’re cheap, they’re made very well, and they come from one of the most reputable brands out there. What more could you want?
- Made of stainless steel
- Weather Resistant
- For indoors and outdoors
Another padlock by ABUS, this time we’ve got their excellent 20/70 Diskus model. It’s a circular, discus padlock that’s 2 ¾ inches wide, and is made for areas where you don’t need a massive shackle. It is, however, pretty expensive, but it’s one of the most secure options on our list. If you believe that the shackle is large enough for your needs, definitely check it out.
The entire padlock is made of stainless steel, both on the inside and the outside. This doesn’t only make it durable and high quality, but also very weather resistant. You could go ahead and use it in outdoor applications, and you shouldn’t have any issues. It makes use of ABUS’s Diskus Deep Welding technology, which ensures maximum strength and resistance against tampering. The ABUS-Plus cylinder also comes with extremely high protection against manipulation, and this being a keyed different padlock, there’s an extremely slim chance of someone else getting a compatible key. The cylinder is also made to resist drilling and pulling, and to add a bit of security, ABUS have added an anti-cut plate. If you don’t mind paying a bit more, but want the ultimate in terms of security, this is it.
And so, we arrive to our first product by security gurus Master Lock. They’ve been on the market for quite a while, and you’ll be hard pressed to find one of their products that’s bad, or somehow fails to perform as intended. The 141D is a padlock that comes with an open, exposed shackle, but is an excellent way to protect things both indoors and outdoors.
The aluminum body is stiff, and there’s a vinyl cover on top to help it a bit in terms of weather resistance and add corrosion resistance, too. You also have a shackle that’s made of hardened steel, so even though it’s exposed, chances are nobody is going to be able to cut it. It’s also 6mm in diameter, so it’s pretty thick.
The cylinder has four pins, and a dual locking lever mechanism that adds a lot of pry and pick resistance. Whether you want to use it on your gym locker, your storage unit, or anything else for that matter, the 141D is an excellent budget oriented padlock that’s going to be pretty durable, and resist both thieves and the elements.
Just like our top pick, the FortLocks Gym Locker lock is a combination padlock that’s made with all the necessary features, and without cutting any corners. Yet, you get a very reasonable price for an item that will give you excellent piece of mind.
On the outside, you have a hardened stainless steel body and shackle. Even though the shackle is exposed, it’s cut proof so you shouldn’t worry. Add to this the plastic casing, and you’ve got yourself an excellent padlock that’s not only good for the Gym as its name implies, but for outdoor use as well, since it’s water resistant.
The combination consists of four digits, and it’s easy to reset if you need to change it. The numbers are all easy to read and adjust, and they’ll stay in place while you turn the neighboring dials, making unlocking a breeze and indicating great quality.
Another thing we have yet to see and the Gym Locker has, is lifetime warranty. Even some of the big boys in the industry don’t offer it, but FortLocks feels confident enough, and so should you. It’s an all round great product, and the reasonable price makes it an attractive offer.
Here’s the first (and only) product on our list from another of the big dogs, Stanley Hardware. Their CD8820 padlock is an expensive, yet excellent contender for the title of best padlock, since it combines quality materials and craftsmanship with a great reputation to live up to.
The first thing that we love about it is the ASTM security grade 5. You have a host of security features implemented to achieve this rating, and it’s one below the most secure padlocks out there. Stanley have also added a very generous number of additional features. You have a completely shrouded body made of hardened steel, as well as a hardened steel shackle. Add to this the dual stainless steel ball bearings that are pry attack resistant, as well as the commercial grade 6 pin cylinder with anti pick pins, and you’ll realize this is the best padlock out there when it comes to security. Did we mention the keyway cover that’s drill resistant?
If we’re being honest, the CD8820 is expensive. But if you’re in need of a padlock that will certainly keep your items safe and sound, it’s the best padlock you can get today.
The first reaction for many when they hear how much the 37/80 Granit costs is “WHAT?!”, and with good reason. It’s ten times as much as some of the options on the list, and many people will find it extremely hard to justify spending that much. However, when you consider everything you get with the padlock, it starts to look as an attractive option, especially if you’ve got costly items to protect.
The first notable characteristic is the 25,000 pound of tensile strength, combined with a 65 Rockwell core-hardened lock body and shackle. This is pretty much indestructible, and the ABUS-Plus cylinder is inserted from the top for excellent drill and pull resistance. You have a hardened steel bottom plate as well, which helps a bit with physical attack protection.
The Granit coating is actually what adds weather resistance to this excellent padlock, and you’ll be able to use it outside if you need to. The shackle has a 9/16” diameter, which is pretty thick, and if you find the dimensions usable, the rekeyable 37/80 Granit is actually the best padlock in terms of security, period. If you believe you want to pay for it, that is.
Master Lock also has a few excellent combination padlocks as a part of their lineup, and the 178D is a great middle ground between excellent performance and quality, and a reasonable price. It costs as much as most of the other budget-oriented padlocks on our list, yet comes from a very reputable brand and has all the basic features covered, without cutting corners anywhere.
It’s meant to be used both indoors and outdoors, and it’s made of stainless steel. The 8mm in diameter shackle is made of hardened steel, which adds quite a bit of cut resistance. You can easily choose a combination with the included combination change tool, and you can change it afterwards if you want to.
While this is a 1 pack model, it’s also available in up to 5 pack which are Keyed Alike, so you can get as many as you want and use the same key if you’ve got multiple locks that need to be secured. While there’s nothing that stands out about the 178D, it’s actually the best padlock when it comes to a subtle lock that has a lot more resistance than you’d think at first sight.
The Master Lock 140D is a slightly more secure variant of the 141D we spoke about earlier. However, due to the fact that it’s bare brass on the outside, and not covered aluminum, it’s much lower on our list. It’s best used for indoor use, but in a pinch, you could use it for outside uses, only short term.
The padlock comes with a durable body made of solid brass which resists corrosion. The shackle, however, is made of hardened steel and is as cut resistant as they come. It’s also ¼” in diameter, which is pretty thick. It comes with a cylinder that has a dual locking lever mechanism, which makes picking the 140D very difficult. The other difference with the 141D is that this one also has security pins, which are much harder to rake, or even pick individually.
You can choose between getting a 1-pack, or 2-, 3- and 4-packs that are keyed alike if you’ve got multiple storage units or items to lock. When you consider the very entry level price, it’s easy to see why the 140D is a crowd favorite.
As you can see, the “best padlock” isn’t a universal term. Instead, the best padlock for you is one that performs in a way you need it to. Using a padlock with a massive shackle can be useless if needed for a small chain – it will be problematic to use, and you won’t get the job done. So, how do you choose what’s best for you?
Key or combination?
This is the first question you’ll need to answer, and it will dictate how you use the padlock. Both types have their own pros and cons. With a key, the pro is that you don’t have a combination to remember. This also means that there isn’t a combination that someone could guess, either. While you may think there are thousands of combinations, someone with enough time could definitely get it right eventually. However, there are a few downsides here, too. Lockpicking is a real thing, and someone may try to pick the lock of your padlock. Whether they succeed, and how easy they do that, depends on the padlock itself, and how good it’s made. The second thing is that you’ll need to carry a key, and as we all know, losing or misplacing it is quite possible.
With a combination, things are a bit different. First of all, you don’t need to carry a key. If you want to go to your storage unit, or unlock your fence, or whatever, you don’t have to remember to take a key. Just input the combination on the rotatable dials, and you’re good to go. Also, considering there is no actual lock, lockpicking is pretty much useless. However, that combination can easily be forgotten, and given enough time, someone persistent can get it right.
There isn’t a better option here. Instead, it’s a matter of choosing the lesser evil, and making a compromise.
Material of choice
With most of the quality padlocks, the material used is steel. Steel is stiff, durable, and very resistant to twisting and breaking. You will also come across some that go for hardened steel, especially for the shackle itself. Hardened steel is even better, and is pretty resistant to bolt cutters, too.
You will also come across steel locks that have some kind of rubber or plastic housing on the outside. This makes them friendlier to work with, but make sure that what’s below is all steel or hardened steel. Plastic or rubber must not be a part of the lock.
There is one thing to note here, though. With key padlocks, you often get a lock cylinder that’s made of zinc. While it is durable, if someone really really wants what’s inside, a torch might help them destroy the cylinder and potentially open the padlock.
Type of padlock (discus vs regular)
There are two main types of padlocks, and both of them are actually great, but in different scenarios. A regular, conventional padlock usually comes with an open shackle and is best used with a chain or a larger lock. The great thing about them is that they’re pretty easy to work with and are often made of high quality materials since they’re a bit cheaper to produce.
A discus style padlock, on the other hand, is a bit smaller and often used with shed or storage unit doors, as well as with cables. The main advantage here is that you have a closed shackle, which means that most of the shackle is hidden and out of sight. Visually, this doesn’t do much, but functionally, it hides the shackle from saws or bolt cutters, making it impossible to get into.
Which type of padlock you go for is actually up to you. If you believe the size of the shackle will be enough, a discus padlock will often give you a bit more peace of mind when it comes to the closed shackle. On the other hand, if you need a larger, more exposed shackle (think trying to hold multiple chain links), get a conventional one with a better choice of materials, and a thicker shackle diameter.
Do you need it for indoor or outdoor use?
Most padlocks are made of steel, and it’s no secret that steel can get rusty eventually. Even if you do get a brass padlock, chances are the interior components, especially the springs, are made of steel and they may rust.
If you’re going to be using the padlock indoors, this shouldn’t make any difference. However, for outside use where you might get rain, get one that’s actually weather resistant, even one with a plastic jacket that covers the insides. Or, get one that’s made of stainless steel, so it doesn’t rust and fall apart after a while.
Keyed Alike vs Keyed to Differ vs Master Keyed
These are three terms that you’ll come across as you come across options in terms of different padlocks. Keyed Alike means that you have multiple padlocks (always sold as a 2-, 3- or 4-pack, together) that can all be opened with a single key. While you may not think this is too secure, it’s actually very convenient if you have multiple storage units and you don’t want to carry a bundle of multiple keys just for them. Keyed to Differ are basically randomly keyed locks, and this is how all individually sold padlocks usually are. That means that getting another padlock that can be unlocked with the same key is very rare, and it gets rarer as the security levels go up. Lastly, you have Master Keyed locks, which are also sold in a pack of multiple. This way, you have individual, unique keys for all locks of the pack, but you also get a master key that can unlock all of them. You have a single key to open all, but if you lose one of the other keys, you don’t compromise the security of all locks. It’s the best of both worlds.
When it comes to security, knowing that your padlock has been made by a reputable brand can actually give you quite a lot of peace of mind. While there are other brands that have absolutely great padlocks, we would like to mention four brands that are the crème de la crème of the security world, and you’ll notice they’re dominating in the list above.
ABUS is a German brand, on the market since 1924, and it’s one of the leading manufacturers of preventative security technology. Master Lock is an even older one, founded in 1921, and is an American company that manufacturers padlocks, safes, combination locks and other similar security products. Schlage, founded in 1920 is a US company that was headquartered in San Francisco, but relocated to Colorado Springs in 1997, and is an excellent lock manufacturer. Last but not least, Stanley is another brand that’s worth paying a bit more for.
To be completely honest, you don’t have to pay a premium for any of these brands. There are other brands, as seen on the list above, that can give you the best padlock for your needs, and for a bit less money. But if you don’t mind it, chances are you’ll get a bit more in terms of quality.
Wrapping things up
At the end of the day, choosing the best padlock for your specific needs doesn’t have to be complicated. All you’ve got to do is see where you’re going to be using it, and what kind of padlock works best for your needs, and then get the one that’s closest to your budget. Simple as that!