Padlocks have a past that can be traced back, to 500BC during the period of ancient Rome. Initially these locks were made of iron with a metal bolt to secure them. They were unlocked using a shaped piece of metal as a key.
Throughout time there have been advancements, in padlock design resulting in a range of options available today. These options vary in terms of size, material composition and level of security. Therefore it is important to consider these factors when selecting a padlock to ensure that you choose the one that best suits your requirements.
Assessing the Padlock’s Security Level
Different padlocks, in the market have varying security ratings although these ratings are not standardized across the industry. However when it comes to high security padlocks there are industry ratings that you can rely on. Two notable ones are the Sold Secure and CEN ratings.
Sold Secure categorizes locks into three ratings; gold, silver and bronze with gold being the standard. On the hand CEN rating is a standard that rates padlocks from CEN 3 to CEN 6 with CEN 6 being the topmost level.
To choose the padlock, for your needs it’s important to consider your security requirements. For example an industrial site gate would require a padlock compared to a standard mailbox.
A padlock consists of two parts; the body and the shackle. The size of the shackle can indicate how secure the padlock is. Shackles, with a diameter of 7mm or less are commonly used in situations where security requirements are low. For medium security needs shackles with diameters between 7mm and 10mm are preferred, while anything larger than 10mm is considered security.
The material used for the shackle also determines its intended use and strength. For example stainless steel shackles are suitable for applications while hardened alloy shackles provide strength, for high security situations.
The body of the padlock, which contains the lock cylinder and mechanisms also plays a role. Solid brass bodies are typically used for levels of security while solid steel alloy bodies offer increased security levels.
The budget you have will definitely affect the type of padlock you choose. High security padlocks are more expensive, than low security ones. If you want to secure items be prepared to spend money. However expensive general padlocks can still deter intruders by creating a barrier that requires extra effort to overcome. Additionally certain locks can act as deterrents. For example a padlock on a chemicals cupboard in a science classroom is more effective, than having a warning sign.