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Padlocks are a handy item to have around the house—you never know when you’re going to need to secure a locker, shed, storage unit, or other containers. Locks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and strengths to suit every situation, and most of them are quite affordable, too.
One of the main choices you’ll have to make when buying a lock is your preferred unlocking mechanism. There are many traditional keyed locks, as well as combination locks that use both numbers and letters. You can even find high-tech locks that unlock via your fingerprint or Bluetooth on your phone—though these are more expensive.
No matter what you need to secure, here are the best locks for the job.
Best Overall: Master Lock 178D Set Your Own Combination Lock
Master Lock is one of the leading padlock brands, and this model is one of your best options for an all-purpose combination lock. It has a 2-inch-wide lock body and a 1-inch hardened steel shackle that resists cutting for added security.
This lock opens via a four-digit code, and what’s great is that you get to choose the combination yourself, ensuring it’s something you’ll remember. The combination change tool is included, allowing you to change the code down the line if needed. This Master Lock padlock can be used both indoors and outside, making it a great choice for lockers, gates, sheds, storage units, and more.
Best for the Gym: FortLocks Gym Locker Lock
If you regularly store your belongings in a gym locker while working out or taking exercise classes, you can keep them secure with the FortLocks Gym Locker Lock, which comes in three different colors. The heavy-duty padlocks are fairly large, measuring close to 3.62 inches long and 1.77 inches wide, and they have a hardened steel shackle made for unbeatable durability.
The FortLocks Lock opens via a four-digital numerical combination that you can reset to your preferred code. The padlock is both waterproof, freeze-proof, and rust-resistant, allowing it to be used outside and indoors.
Best Combination: Puroma 2-Pack Combination Locks
For a pair of reliable combination locks, you can’t go wrong with this two-pack from Puroma. The compact padlocks come in five different colors, and they open via a four-digit code that you can choose yourself. There are more than 10,000 combinations available, making them extremely secure.
These lightweight locks have side windows for easy combination viewing, and they have a 0.75-inch shackle that’s ideal for lockers, toolboxes, sheds, and more. Plus, they’re constructed from a durable zinc alloy with a steel shackle, helping to deter theft.
Best Keyed: Schlage 994831 Solid Steel Round Padlock
If you have trouble remembering combinations or prefer using a key, the Schlage Round Padlock is a good option for you. These durable locks come in a set of two, and each unit comes with two sets of keys to unlock the shackle.
The whole padlock is made from hardened solid steel and features an oversized 2.5-inch shackle useful for large applications. The lock has a double deadbolt locking mechanism for greater strength, and its six-pin brass cylinder helps to resist picking, so you can rest assured your belongings are safe. Overall, Schlage padlocks are a high-security choice for indoor and outdoor uses—just don't lose the keys.
Best Smart: igloohome Smart Padlock
The igloohome Smart Padlock makes it easier than ever to access your belongings. This Bluetooth-enabled lock syncs up with your smartphone, allowing you to open it from several feet away. The heavy-duty design and hardened steel construction resist cutting and pulling force. It’s made from anti-corrosion materials that allow it to be used both indoors and outside.
Its functionality doesn’t end there. The igloohome Smart Padlock allows you to create and send PIN codes to guests for easy access. You can select between one-time, recurring, or permanent PINs, which recipients can punch into the number pads. It is a great choice for Airbnbs or other rentals; you can send guests a code that expires after their stay.
The smart padlock offers several advanced security features, including lockout mode, automatic relocking, and an emergency jumpstart.
Best Password: Master Lock 1535DWD Set Your Own Word Combination Padlock
Instead of using a numerical combination, the Master Lock Password Combination Padlock allows you to select a four-letter word to use as a password. This lock is ideal for younger children or anyone who struggles to remember standard combinations. You can select from real words or abstract letter sequences.
The round lock comes in several colors (selected randomly upon shipment) and has four rotating dials, a metal body, and a hardened steel shackle. It’s only recommended for indoor use. The unit is a little over 3 inches long with a 0.25-inch shackle.
Best Dial: Master Lock 1530DCM Locker Combination Padlock
Dial locks may make you feel like you’re in middle school again—after all, they’re a classic choice for school lockers. The Master Lock Combination Padlock has a traditional spinning dial design, and the locks come in several bright colors. If you order online, the color you get is randomized.
These inexpensive locks have a metal body, a hardened 0.75-inch long steel shackle, and an anti-shim locking mechanism. Each lock comes with a preset three-digit combination that can’t be changed. You enter each number by spinning the dial in alternating directions.
While these dial locks may not be high-security, they’re a classic choice for school or sports lockers, as well as other small uses around your home, such as locking cabinets or sheds.
Best Fingerprint: BenjiLock by Hampton Fingerprint Padlock
No keys or combinations are necessary with this padlock. To open it, you only need a fingerprint. The BenjiLock by Hampton Fingerprint Padlock featured on the hit TV show, "Shark Tank," includes a biometric sensor that reads your fingerprint, allowing you to open the lock with a touch of your hand. Plus, the lock can store up to ten fingerprints, making it a versatile option for large households.
This padlock has a hardened steel shackle, double stainless steel ball locking mechanism, and a solid brass cylinder with five spool pins to prevent picking. It’s powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that charges via a micro-USB cable (included), and the lock has a built-in LED light indicator to help you program and operate it. The BenjiLock also comes with a traditional set of keys, allowing you to get it unlocked if the battery runs out.
The Master Lock 178D Set Your Own Combination Lock (view at Amazon) is a durable and versatile padlock for everyday use, and you'll be able to set a four-digit combination to open it. However, if you prefer a key-operated lock, the Schlage 994831 Solid Steel Round Padlock (view at Amazon) offers a large 2.5-inch shackle and an extremely durable solid steel build.
What to Look for in a Lock
The first thing you’ll want to consider when buying a lock is how it opens. Today, most models use either a key or a combination of numbers or letters. While keys are technically more secure, dials tend to be more convenient, as you don’t have to carry a key around. However, there are also smart locks that you unlock with your phone. The best option depends on your particular needs.
Where will you be using your lock? In particular, you’ll want to consider whether it will be inside or outside, as some locks are not weatherproof and may rust or otherwise deteriorate when exposed to harsh conditions.
Locks come in varying degrees of durability and security. The thicker the shackle, the tougher it will be for someone to cut through. However, more durable, heavy-duty locks often cost more than inexpensive, lightweight locks. If you’re protecting something valuable, you may want to spend a little extra for a better lock. But, if you’re locking a locker, for instance, a budget option may work just fine.
Where can I buy a secure lock?
You can shop for secure locks online or in person. Hardware stores, such as Lowe's or The Home Depot, have a wide selection of locks in-store and on the web. You can also search for locks by features on some manufacturers ' websites; many have links showing where you can purchase the genuine product.
Which lock is easiest to use?
The easiest lock depends on your personal preference and needs. Combination locks are best for those who prefer not to keep track of keys or remember a code. A simple, short combination is best if children need to remember the code. Fingerprint or electronic locks are great for those who enjoy technology and don't want to carry a key or remember a code.
Where can I find a durable lock?
When looking for a durable lock, you can search online or in hardware stores for high-security locks that can withstand harsh conditions. Many hardware websites and manufacturers ' websites allow you to search for locks by feature.
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance contributor for The Spruce. As someone who has rented apartments for more than a decade, she knows firsthand how important it is to have a durable padlock to secure storage units and gym lockers. This piece was updated by Jenna Stregowski, who has written for The Spruce since 2008 and is an expert for The Spruce Pets.