Padlocks have been around for a centuries. General thought says Romans started using padlocks around 500BC. They were iron locks that featured a metal bolt which held the lock closed. A 90° bent piece of metal was fashioned as a key.
Between now and then there’s been many changes to the common padlock. There’s all kinds of variants from materials, size and security ratings. Not all padlocks are the same, so ensuring you obtain the right ‘tool for the job’ when choose a padlock is very important.
The Level Of Padlock Security
Most regular purpose padlocks will often have a manufacturers security rating stamped on it or in the packaging it is supplied in. This security rating is usually a rating supplied by the manufacturer and isn’t an industry standard. That said, high security padlocks are a different story. You’ll find two industry standard ratings which high security padlocks generally follow. The Sold Secure and the CEN ratings. Sold Secure ratings are supplied with three different categories. These categories represents the levels of attacks which the padlock must withstand. The category ratings are gold, silver, and bronze. Gold is the highest standard. CEN rating is a European standard and works in the same way as Sold Secure. Padlocks are rated from CEN 3 to CEN 6, where CEN 6 is the highest level. If you know the level of security that you require from a padlock will help you purchase the correct padlock for the application required.
A padlock consists of two main parts. There is the shackle and the body. The larger the diameter of the shackle generally the higher the security of the padlock. If the shackle is less than 7mm in diameter these kinds of padlocks are used in low security applications. A shackle between 7mm and 10mm can be considered a medium security padlock, and larger than 10mm it can be considered for high security applications.
The metal from which the shackle is constructed from also provides information into the padlocks use and strength. A stainless steel shackle are great for outdoor use and hardened alloy shackles can be found in high level security applications.
The padlock body is also very important and provides insight into the strength of the lock. The body protects the enclosed lock cylinder and lock mechanisms.
Solid brass padlock bodies are the standard in low level security offerings. Solid steel alloy padlocks are tougher than the solid brass ones and provide a higher level of security.
The price of the lock is also going to affect your purchasing decision. A high security padlock comes with a much higher price tag than a low security level one. Exactly as you had likely suspected it would work. Generally you are after a high security lock because you are trying to secure something of high value. General padlocks that might be cheap are still great if they assist you where needed. Sometimes you just need to create a bit of a barrier which makes accessing something a little bit harder for someone else.
It might be able to be penetrated but with a bit more effort than if it wasn’t there.