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Here at Insight Security we understand how difficult it can be to select the right padlock. We routinely deal with customer queries asking us which is the best padlock from our store for their needs. In this post we clarify the pros and cons associated with combination padlocks and provide some useful guidance to help when determining which padlock is the best choice.
A combination padlock doesn’t use a key. Instead, a sequence of symbols or numbers is used to open the lock.
Single dial combination locks, sometimes called Rotary Locks, use just one dial to enter the unique combination. The dial must be rotated alternately clockwise and anti-clockwise to enter the each digit in the combination code.
Multiple dial combination padlocks are the simplest form of combi locks. They use several rotating discs to enter the required combination code. Some briefcases, for example, use simple 3 x digit combination locks. The number of discs and characters determines the number of potential combinations. So a simple 3 x numerical digit combination lock would have a maximum of 999 possible permutations.
Combination padlocks provide a number of important advantages which make them very popular.
As noted, the number of dials or tumbler wheels determines the number of potential code combinations. The more combinations the less easy it is for the combination code to be guessed. For example, a combination padlock with 5 numerical dials provides up to 99999 possible combinations.
While combination padlocks provide a number of clear advantages its important to be aware of potential disadvantages.
Having noted many of the primary advantages and disadvantages provided by combination padlocks its beneficial to compare these with keyed padlocks.
The most important aspect for comparison is the level of security provided by keyed padlocks compared with combi locks. Many keyed padlocks have achieved Sold Secure or CEN security ratings. To meet these standards they have been rigorously tested by independent assessors who apply some extremely arduous test procedures that determine how robust the locks are and how resistant they are to various forms of attack. You will find many outstanding examples of high security keyed padlocks that have achieved CEN6 rating, the maximum possible security rating for padlocks, in our store.
Keyed padlocks are available in a wide range of sizes and designs using a variety of materials. The huge range of high security keyed padlocks means there is bound to be a model suitable for every application.
Keyed padlocks are offered with various keying options including Keyed Differently, Keyed Alike and Master Keyed.
Since we are talking about padlocks it would be remiss not to mention a new type of padlock which is slowly entering the market. These new padlocks or smart locks typically use an electronically operated locking mechanism and Bluetooth connectivity. Some feature biometric control, such as finger print detection, but most commonly they require an app to be installed on a smartphone where the keypad is used to enter the required lock code.
Since these locks are electronic they require a battery which, for some models, can last up to around 2 years. But, at the time of writing, there are no high-tech bluetooth padlocks which have achieved Sold Secure or CEN security ratings.
Choosing the best padlock for any application basically boils down to these important aspects:
Its recommended that consideration is given to these important factors as they help ensure the right choice is made.
Before even considering which padlock to choose its vitally important to think about what the padlock will be used for and the level of security required. A useful technique is to consider the value of what is being secured and what will be the cost of replacement if stolen or damaged. Then allocate an appropriate security budget that’s appropriate to the value of what’s being secured.
For high security requirements keyed padlocks are currently the best choice to make. This is because high security keyed padlocks with recognised security ratings have been rigorously tested and verified to ensure they meet stringent security standards. Its worth noting that all insurance approved padlocks are CEN rated keyed types.
One of the main reasons people choose combination padlocks is for convenience. They don’t require keys which helps minimise the number of keys on a key ring and they avoid the risk of keys being lost or possibly duplicated.
Another important aspect of accessibility in favour of combination padlocks is in situations where multiple people need access. Combination padlocks avoid the need for multiple keys and therefore the associated risks of having many keys in use.
We know how difficult it can be to select the best padlock for any specific application. What’s needed to secure a shed full of valuable garden equipment is generally a lot different to what’s needed to secure a bicycle when out and about. So if you need any help or guidance be sure to give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll guide you in the right direction.
If you have any questions about combination or keyed padlocks remember that we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll provide you with free, expert advice.
This message was added on Thursday 14th October 2021
Need Help or Advice?
Call the Insight team
01273 475 500