The Best Padlocks of 2019

By Courtney Campbell

Padlocks are meant to keep you safe and secure, so imagine our frustration when the lock to Reviewed headquarters’ parking lot gate went missing overnight, and so did its replacement (twice). If only we had (what we now know) is our favorite padlock—the Stanley Hardened Steel (available at Amazon for $32.58)—our gate would have remained locked.

Locking an outdoor gate or fence just needs a simple but sturdy lock. There are smart padlocks on the market that rely on bluetooth (these are different from the smart locks you secure to your door), but most padlocks rely on a simple key or code, which has been used to operate these security tools for decades.

Choosing a padlock initially seems easy enough, until you find yourself struggling to unlock it, or worse, when a stranger successfully unlocks it for you. So, we tested and compared some of the best padlocks to find out their durability, see how easy they were to use on a variety of chains, and help you choose which padlock to buy.

These are the best padlocks we tested ranked, in order:

  1. Stanley Shrouded Hardened Steel Padlock
  2. Desired Tools 4 Digit Combination Lock
  3. ABUS Titalium Aluminum Alloy Padlock
  4. Kwikset SmartKey
  5. Master Lock Bluetooth Padlock
  6. Master Lock Word Combination Lock
  7. Master Lock Set Your Own Combination Padlock
  8. ABUS Diskus Padlock
  9. Master Lock Standard Dial Combination Lock
  10. ORIA 4 Digit Combination Lock
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated January 02, 2019

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Best Overall Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Stanley Shrouded Hardened Steel Padlock

Product Image - Stanley Shrouded Hardened Steel Padlock
  • Editors' Choice

Stanley Shrouded Hardened Steel Padlock

Best Overall

Keyed padlocks, such as the Stanley Hardened Steel, are the easiest to use: There’s no memorizing passwords or fumbling with numbers on the pad—just don’t lose the key! This was the largest and heaviest padlock we tested, which led me to believe it’s also indestructible. Its hardened steel shackle makes it difficult to saw, its six-pin cylinder makes it very difficult for pickers to unlock, and it survived all of our destructive tests with a breeze.

Despite its large size, the lock was easy to open and fit easily over every chain we put it on. It also requires you to lock it before the key will release, so there’s an extra level of protection for forgetful people. It’s one of the more expensive locks of the list, but it’s the strongest and a good fit for locking away anything from potential thieves.

Best Gym Locker Best Gym Lock
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Desired Tools 4 Digit Combination Padlock

Product Image - Desired Tools 4 Digit Combination Padlock
  • Editors' Choice

Desired Tools 4 Digit Combination Padlock

Best Gym Lock

For those times you don’t need to lock your prized possessions from the world, the Desired Tools 4 Digit Combination Lock gets the job done. Setting the combination was very straightforward (it even has an online tutorial!) and the numbers were the easiest to turn of all the combination locks.

Unfortunately, this small lock isn’t the strongest of locks and looked quite awkward on the chains it was tested on. But it’s lightweight to carry around, and would work well on a gym locker.

How We Tested

The tester:

I’m Courtney Campbell, an e-commerce writer here at Reviewed, and I spend most days sifting through the best deals on the internet for the best products out there. I’m also a big fan of personal security. You can find my apartment door usually locked even when I’m home and I never leave for the gym without a lock in my tote. I understand the importance of keeping whatever’s most important to you safe and what’s the best way to do that.

The testing process:

I found 10 of the most popular padlocks and pitted them against each other to determine the best of the best. For the combination padlocks, each lock was set with a combination and opened several times to determine how easy each padlock was to unlock and lock. We also tried opening the locks while they were locked by pulling on them. Next, these tests were applied to a bike lock and a chain to see how they fared in action.

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar / Jeremy Stamas

Next, we had some fun with a few destructive tests. Locks were chucked from the second-floor fire escape of our building to see how easily they would break or if they would open on impact. We also checked a while later to see if they still worked. The locks were then submerged in water for 24 hours to see if weathering would damage them. Finally, they were placed in a freezer for 24 hours and I then attempted to open each one, to simulate how they would fare in cold weather.

Things to know when buying padlocks:

Different uses call for different kinds of padlocks. Typically, keyed locks are the easiest to use and are often made with a higher level of security in mind. You’re going to want to opt for ones with more key pins, which means they’re more difficult to pick, and ones made of tougher metals. But if you’re locking up simple things at a gym or an employee locker room, or sharing a locked space, combination locks work will too—you may just struggle with a combination a few times before opening.

For the best padlocks, look for locks made from metal—just be sure a weather-resistant material, such as brass, steel, or aluminum, is used if you plan to keep them outside. For better security, Home Depot suggests die-cast zinc, solid-steel bodies, and boron-steel shackles will "provide additional cut and pry resistance."

According to a guide from Home Security Month on the seven steps for selecting a high-security padlock, "the best thief-proof padlock must be: resistant to cutting, resistant to twisting, tough to drill [and] part of an overall security solution. The world’s strongest padlock is of no use whatsoever if it’s fastened to the world’s weakest door using inadequate fittings." The guide also notes the importance of finding a well-engineered locking mechanism, ensuring a small amount of the shackle (the metal fastening bar) is visible (that helps prevent cutting), and buying a lock with the highest number of key variations.

Other Padlocks We Tested

ABUS Titalium Aluminum Alloy Padlock

Product Image - ABUS 80TI/50 Titalium Aluminum Alloy Padlock

ABUS Titalium Aluminum Alloy Padlock

I had no trouble opening the ABUS Titalium Aluminum Alloy Padlock and it fit over every chain I tested it on. Made of an alloy steel shackle with nano protect coating, this lock survived all our destructive tests and still opened just as easily as the first time I tried to open it. The lock itself is a six-pin cylinder, which makes it harder for the average person to pick. It’s much lighter than our winner, but reviewers warned that the lock can be shimmed if someone desperately wanted to get in.

Kwikset SmartKey Padlock

Product Image - Kwikset SmartKey Padlock

Kwikset SmartKey Padlock

The Kwikset SmartKey is a fine keyed lock. It’s made up of Hardened molybdenum that makes it more resistance to sawing and cutting compared to cheaper locks. You can rekey it to any Kwikset home key, and you need to lock the padlock before opening it, making it good for forgetful people. My main issue with it was that the lock was too narrow, which made it difficult to fit around a bike lock and I had trouble taking it off a chain.

Master Lock Bluetooth Padlock

Product Image - Master Lock Bluetooth Padlock

Master Lock Bluetooth Padlock

Once I got the app set up, I found the Master Lock Bluetooth padlock very easy to use. As long as I had the app open on my smartphone, I could easily unlock the lock with a press of a button—no key or combo required. There’s even an added security feature that lets you set a “locker mode,” preventing someone else from trying to unlock it while your phone is near.

The reason why it isn’t higher on the list is I’m concerned that those who aren’t as tech savvy won’t be able to use it with ease. You also need to keep an eye out for a dying battery indicated by a yellow glow or else you’ll be stuck jumpstarting the lock to get your precious trapped items. This lock was also the only one to fail the water test. The batteries short-circuited as expected, which leads to some concern of potential water damage if it’s used outside. I would personally use it as an indoor lock, though.

Master Lock Word Combination Lock

Product Image - Master Lock Word Combination Lock

Master Lock Word Combination Lock

The appeal of the Master Lock Word Combo is its fun colors, and memorizing a four-letter word instead of a combination, and that’s where it ends. Unlocking this lock became increasingly frustrating. Each time I would try to change a letter, I would end up nudging one the adjacent letters and would have to redo my set word. Also, over time, its white lettering could fade.

Master Lock Set Your Own Combination Padlock

Product Image - Master Lock Set Your Own Combination Padlock

Where To Buy

$9.49 Amazon Buy

Master Lock Set Your Own Combination Padlock

The glaring issue with the Master Lock Set Your Own Combo is that it’s kind of backward. You push down to open the lock as opposed to pulling and you need to scramble the numbers before closing the lock, which I found to be quite annoying. I felt like I was playing against the force and hurt my hands a bit when attempting to open it. The numbers don’t move smoothly either, and I had to jiggle it quite a bit in the cold.

To change the combination you need to use a small key provided, but it would be easier to just get a lock with a key than having to worry about both a combination and a key. That being said, once I got a hang of the reverse opening method, it opened very smoothly when it was attached to the chain. It also survived the destructive tests with ease.

ABUS Diskus Padlock

Product Image - ABUS Diskus 20/70 Padlock

ABUS Diskus Padlock

I initially struggled with opening up this disk padlock. You need the three layers of keyholes to line up perfectly, or else it won’t open. Its small hole made it incredibly difficult to fit around any of the chains we tested on. Strength-wise, it’s made of stainless steel and held up well in our destructive test. Nonetheless, these style of locks are ideal for storage units or moving trucks, but I wouldn’t use it for anything else.

Master Lock Standard Dial Combination Lock

Product Image - Master Lock Standard Dial Combination Lock

Master Lock Standard Dial Combination Lock

The Master Lock Standard Dial gives the iconic look and feel of high school lockers. With a long combination sequence, it’s very easy to mess up and I found myself attempting the combination a few times before successfully opening it. I would not use this on anything but a locker—it looked very awkward on chains and you have to spend a bit of time performing the combination sequence, which would be annoying if you’re in a hurry to open a bike lock or gate. This lock was the only one that opened upon impact in our drop test, so it’s the easiest to break into.

ORIA 4 Digit Combination Lock

Product Image - ORIA 4 Digit Combination Lock

ORIA 4 Digit Combination Lock

The ORIA 4 Digit Combo is designed as a gym locker, but it’s also one of the harder ones to use. It’s relatively easy to set up the combination, but it felt stiff while changing the numbers. The lock itself feels very loose, and to relock it you need to scramble the combo first while it’s still closed, which was a bit difficult to do when playing against the force of a chain. It was also damaged during our weathering tests. Although it still opens, it now makes an annoying squeaking sound and the numbers are harder to move.

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