best padlock

FJM Security Locker Combination Padlock

FJM Security makes the best padlock if you want a solid portable padlock. This padlock can be used on small doors, gym lockers, school lockers, luggage, toolboxes, and pretty much any small item you can think of. It is small enough to be portable and durable enough to not be easily broken into easily.

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best padlockIf you have something to protect whether in your home or on the go, chances are you want to use the best padlock. Padlocks are designed to be portable, in that they are small enough to be carried around with you and strong enough to be very difficult to ply open with a tool. Padlocks are made of three things: a body, a shackle, and some sort of locking mechanism.

Typically, padlocks have a U shaped metal loop that juts out of a round or square metal body. The metal loop will be permanently attached to the body on one end, while the other end swivels and locks into the body. In terms of locking mechanisms, there are really only two: integrated and modular. A padlock with an integrated locking mechanism directly engages the padlock’s shackle with the tumblers. These are more older locks and usually require a key to open.

Rotating disks and lever tumblers are both examples of locks with integrated locking mechanisms. Most of the modern locks you will find today use a modular locking mechanism which usually don’t require a key to open. These locks do not directly use tumblers to lock the shackle but instead has a plug inside the cylinder that triggers a mechanism with the right sequence of turns to retract from notches cut into the shackle. Pin tumblers are common with modular locking mechanisms.

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FJM Security SX-575 Locker Combination Padlock

best padlockFJM Security makes the best padlock if you want a solid portable padlock. This padlock can be used on small doors, gym lockers, school lockers, luggage, toolboxes, and pretty much any small item you can think of. It is small enough to be portable and durable enough to not be easily broken into easily. FJM Security is a subsidiary of Frank J Martin Company which was founded in 1957 and has a long standing history of making high quality security products.

This padlock comes with a 4 digit passcode that sums up to 10,000 different combinations, making it nearly impossible to figure out the combo on the spot. This is a combo lock, so it can be opened by inputting the right combination or by a key. The FJM padlock also solves one of the most common nagging problems with padlocks: losing the key.  With key override and patented code discovery, the lock can be open with the master key and the combination can be discovered by rotating the digits on the dials until they stop.

This shows your your current combination, which you are allowed to reset if you want. The FJM padlock is about 1 inch wide and 3 inches tall, so small enough to fit about anywhere. In terms of security and breaking in, we know the padlock is strong and made of steel. It is pick resistant and impossible for a theft to figure out the combination by “listening” to the clicks. However, if you were to take a hammer and beat this thing up, it would probably break. In general, we say this is the best padlock for the size, portability, and price.

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Stanley Hardware 828160 2.5-Inch and 60-mm Hardened Steel Security Lock

best padlockIf you want a real padlock that is tough to break into, the Stanley Hardware Hardened Steel Lock is the best padlock for you. Just to give you some numbers behind our claim, Stanley’s padlock is ASTM security grade 5. A high security padlock will typically have a ASTM grade of 4 and the highest grade you can achieve is 6. If you haven’t figured out already, ASTM is a security consulting company that rates locks and has become the industry standard.

ASTM performs a series of rigid strenuous testslike the salt spray test, cutting test, shock test, lock plug pull test, and wet freezing environment test. Received a grade of 5 out of 6 definitely says something about this padlock. To us, it means it is pretty difficult to break into this lock. The Stanley has all sorts of features built to prevent theft including a 6 pin cylinder, dual stainless steel ball bearings, hardened steel body, and a keyway cover to prevent drilling.

This lock can only be opened by a key- no bolt cutter can pry this thing open. However, it is not safe to say it can’t be opened by a master locksmith by picking it. For this price and the type of security you are getting with it, we think there is a lot of value in the Stanley.

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ABUS 37RK/80 KD Granit Extreme Security Steel Padlock

best padlockIf you want the absolute best padlock, you will have to go German. The ABUS 37RK/80 is one tough padlock to crack. It is made of solid German engineering and ABUS is the most respected names in the German securities business. If you truly want to protect something with a padlock, the ABUS 37/80 is the strongest in the world.

ABUS blows Masterlock and Stanley out of the waters. This padlock can be used to secure gates, warehouses,  and important containers. It meets the requirements of insurance companies for international shipping as well. The body and shackle are made from hardened alloy steel and the bottom is even hardened to protect it from physical attack.

The shackle is completely enclosed and protected from any kind of shimming. It can withstand over 6 tonnes of tensile resistance which pretty much means if you take a sledgehammer to it, it won’t break. The door or latch that secures it will break before the ABUS 37/80 breaks. We must warn you that this padlock is not cheap, so if you can’t afford the big bucks you should look somewhere else. But if you want the best of the best, the ABUS 37/80 is the clear winner.

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Choosing the Best Padlock

Please keep in mind that even the best padlock can be opened with the right tools or time. If someone really wanted to, they could just yank it off with a lot of force, like pulling it with a truck. In general there are four ways a theft can open your padlock: picking, raking, bumping, and shimming. Picking means the theft binds each pin within the lock until they can turn the cylinder and open the lock. This takes skill and works on more advanced locks. Raking involves sliding a tool back and forth within the lock until all the pins bind.

This takes less skill and works on cheaper easier locks. Bumping takes little skill too and requires the use of a bump key, or a fake key where each pin is down to the lowest point. The bump key is placed into the lock’s keyhole and then tapped with a mallet until all the pins fly upwards, allowing the pins to be bound all at once and the lock to be opened. Shimming bypass the entire lock mechanism and instead focuses on opening the shackles on the padlock. A thin piece of plastic is all you need to perform shimming. All you need to do is slide the plastic into the shackle of the lock, turns it a bit and using some force to open the latch within the shackles.

The best padlock today has many safeguard mechanisms to fight against the aforementioned ways of breaking in. The first is just increasing the number of pins. Common padlocks have 4 or 5 pins while the more expensive ones have 6 or 7. Each pin increases the amount of complexity for breaking in. You can also change the type of pins you are using. Some advanced padlocks feature security pins which make it difficult for the thief to know if the pin has been set or not.

Bumping can be prevents by joining the pins so that a bump attack will only move pins together but they will never align together in the right way to open the lock. To prevent padlock shimming, you simply need a protected shackle. Also you may want a shim removing mechanism, meaning the key cannot be removed until the lock is relocked. We have factored all of these anti-theft features in our review of the best padlock. Please see our reviews below for more details.

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