Choosing and Maintaining Padlocks
TYPES OF PADLOCKS
Most padlocks these days are made from alloyed steel, which provides strength. Strength is what you want. The steel is sometimes covered by a plastic coating for use outdoors. This provides some protection against rust and is perfect for non-climate storage units that have outside access.
Some locks are made of brass and although these might look pretty, they do not provide the strength that steel padlocks do.
TYPES OF LOCKING MECHANISMS
There are basically two types of padlock locking mechanisms; keyed and combination. Cheaper combination locks usually have combinations preset by the company. Slightly more expensive locks allow you to set your own combination and change it when you want to.
Both these types of locking mechanism work equally well. Your choice depends on whether you feel more comfortable remembering a combination. Or whether you prefer carrying a key with you.
Downsides to a keyed padlock is forgetting the key. Downsides to a combination lock is forgetting the combination. Either option can be shared with another person in your family who you wish to give access to. Most keyed padlocks come with two keys.
KEEPING PADLOCKS WORKING SMOOTHLY
Padlocks generally require very little maintenance. But, to keep them from getting stiff and difficult to open and close, there are some simple things you can do.
Dust and rust can get into the locking mechanism over time. A quick spray of compressed air, from a can, is an easy way to get dirt out. These are available at computer and electronics stores. If you have access to an air compressor, this can do the same job.
After removing the dirt with a strong burst of air, the next best thing to do is to lubricate the padlock. The best kind of lubricant for padlocks are the “dry” graphite kinds, which are specifically designed for padlocks and locks in general. Using other types of lubricant will eventually just gunk up the lock even more.
Here’s a short and simple ‘how to’ video.
SECURITY OF PADLOCKS
No padlock is 100% secure. But, the larger and beefier the padlock the more difficult it is to cut or break open with a crowbar or sledgehammer. Larger, IS better in this case. Certain brand names, such as Master Lock, have been on the market for a long time and generally speaking, are made of good steel.
We don’t recommend cable locks, bicycle locks, or brass locks for your storage unit. Choose steel! And choose the largest size that will fit into your storage unit locking mechanism.