Understanding the different types of padlocks and their construction can have a significant impact on the level of protection you are equipped with.
Whether you're interested in buying or just want to expand your knowledge on the subject, browse this helpful guide for the full scoop on padlocks. The six main types include closed shackles, straight shackles, discuss shackles, long shackles, weatherproof, and combination padlocks.
Brief background of padlocks
The earliest padlocks date back thousands of years to ancient Egyptian and Babylonian societies. Their popularity quickly spread among Greek and Roman civilizations due to their unique ability to both deter thieves and protect valuables. Fast forward to this century and you'll see that the basic design hasn't changed dramatically. What has changed are the materials used to build these devices and the technological advancements that incorporate their functionality. A shackle (sometimes called a handle) is a curved piece of metal that protrudes above the padlock body. There is a locking lever inside the main body, which is connected to the internal locking mechanism. Typically, the locking mechanism has 3 to 7 small spring-loaded pins.
Padlocks, in case you haven't noticed, are one of the few types of locks that aren't usually attached to the device they protect. They can be portable or stand-alone and can be combined or keyed in. In terms of keyed padlocks, it is worth mentioning that there are two types - keyed and non-replaceable. A key-replaceable padlock gives you the option to change the type of key that opens it, which is handy if you plan to create multipurpose keys for all types of locks that get in and out of your home.
Combination padlocks are universal
Combination padlocks come in a variety of sizes for different uses such as luggage, gates, lockers, and more. A combination lock with a 4-digit combination can generate 10,000 possible combinations. In situations where multiple people need to open a combination padlock, choosing a padlock with a resettable padlock can be a good decision.
Enclosed/shrouded shackle padlocks are secure
As the name suggests, closed shackle padlocks feature a closed design with the lock body molded upwards around the actual padlock. This lock is designed to prevent bolt cutters or saws from breaking into it or to constitute a security. The photo above shows the Master Pro Series Laminated Steel Padlock. A sturdy iron guard protects against even the most abrasive theft, while a 5-spool pin roller cylinder adds excellent tamper resistance. Note, however, that the area between the shackles is much smaller compared to a long shackle padlock, so this may limit the type of lock bar or safe you install. Before purchasing a closed shackle padlock, check the manufacturer's dimensions to make sure the size will meet your needs.
Straight Shackle Padlocks for Industrial Frames
Straight shackle padlocks are sometimes called shutter padlocks because they fit perfectly on most rolling doors. While many believe this is their only function, straight hook padlocks are also uniquely sized for large containers, chains, and industrial-sized warehouse doors.
Discus or round shackle padlock
Discus (round or round) shackle padlocks are round with curved shackles making them eligible for closed padlocks. The key slot is in the very center of the lock and isn't spring-loaded, which means that if a thief forces it into the key slot with a drill, the padlock won't open. As you can imagine, this feature makes it quite popular with consumers.
Long Shackle Padlock for Large Chains
The long shackle padlock features its elongated U-shaped bar. Since their shackles are so slender, it's a great locking mechanism for wide-set chains or any other item that requires a padlock with a larger locking area.
Weatherproof padlocks stand up to the wind and rain
How do you keep rust and locks from tarnishing when the weather is so unpredictable? Purchase a weatherproof padlock that is coated with a rust and corrosion solution. Chrome-plated zinc padlocks are an example of weatherproof padlocks because of their excellent corrosion resistance. When browsing your weatherproof padlock options, make sure the specs mention moisture, ice, dust, or whatever else you need.
All in all, these six padlocks are easily distinguishable by their appearance and visible locking mechanism. While they may all serve the same goalkeeping intruders and burglars out of your property -- they all contain slightly different functions.