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What are the Different Types of Padlocks?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 16, 2024
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Padlocks are an affordable, portable way to secure private or valuable items, at home or away, or even in your place of business. They are handy and simple to use. There are different designs and styles to choose from depending upon the type of security you need.

Made from solid or alloyed steel, heavy-duty padlocks are built to withstand force. While brass is an excellent material for resisting weather and rust, it is a somewhat softer metal that may not withstand prying or cutting as well as harder steel. Steel or alloy padlocks can be covered with specially fitted plastic casings to help protect them from the elements.

Aside from the differences in the materials used to manufacture padlocks, there are also differences in the construction of locking mechanisms. Combination padlocks are available with a dial design, or a thumb-rolled number pad on the side or the bottom of the lock. You can choose combination padlocks that come with a fixed combination, or those that allow you to choose your own numbers. The latter are often re-settable, so you can change the combination at any time.

"Keyed" padlocks have the same basic structure as combination locks. They have a shackle, the hooked part at the top that slides through a chain or a clasp before slipping inside the body of the lock to secure it, and a base. Keyed locks usually have a keyhole at the bottom of the base instead of a dial or digital number pad. They come with two keys so one can be placed in a safe location in case the other is lost, or one can be given to another person who needs access to the locked area or item.

Combination padlocks that also allow key access are perfect for kids who want to lock their lockers at school or chain and lock their bikes. Should they forget the combination, they can use the key. It is a good idea to write down the combination in a secure place at home and keep it with the extra key.

Some companies provide padlocks in bright colors and trendy finishes. Kids like the option of different choices, but these stylish padlocks are also attractive to adults, who may be concerned with aesthetics as well as security.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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