What is the Best Lock for Secure Self Storage?

Storelocal | June 22, 2021 @ 12:00 AM

To keep your belongings safe in storage, you want the best possible lock. Some facilities provide a built-in cylinder lock for their storage units. These are difficult to pick and impossible to cut. Other facilities require you to provide your own lock. But which one should you trust?

Before you head to the hardware store for that old reliable padlock like you use on your gym locker, think again. If you are investing the time and money to store your valuable possessions in a storage locker, make sure it’s safe with a lock that can’t be cut or easily picked. Here’s a breakdown of the types of locks, how storage unit locks work, and what features you should look for.

The Different Types of Storage Lock

You have four choices when it comes to locks for your storage unit:

  • Combination
  • Keyed
  • Disc
  • Bluetooth

Each lock has its pros and cons. Most importantly, each has varying levels of security based on their quality and features.

Bottom line: A more expensive lock with stronger features will be the best lock for your storage unit.

Combination Locks 

No sense mincing words, avoid combination locks.

Combination locks are handy because you don’t have to worry about losing the key. Unfortunately, they aren’t reliable.

How combination locks work: Combination locks rely on a series of interior plates which line up once the proper combination has been dialed in.

  • Pros: Combination locks are simple to use, cheap, and don’t rely on a key. 
  • Cons: Combination locks are usually cheaply made and can be easily picked by amateur thieves. Avoid both single dial and multiple dial combination locks. The dials often betray a subtle click sound that allows thieves to gain access easily.

Keyed Locks 

Padlocks that use a key to open the shackle (the loop that releases and locks) are much more reliable depending on the quality of construction and their features.

How keyed locks work: Inside the lock is a cylinder with several pins set at different heights. When you insert the key, it pushes all the pins to the same height. This allows the cylinder to turn and the shackle to release.

  • Pros: Keyed locks can be manufactured with higher quality components than combination locks making them more reliable.
  • Cons: If you forget or lose your key, you’re out of luck. There are still plenty of cheap key locks that don’t work well.

Disc Locks

Disc locks have a round shackle that rotates around the circumference of the lock. They are designed to have a minimal amount of the shackle exposed, making it more difficult to cut.

How disc locks work: Disc locks work essentially the same as a keyed lock. They contain a cylinder with pins that turns when the key is inserted. Instead of popping open, the shackle rotates.

  • Pros: Good disc locks are stronger than their keyed counterparts. The circular design makes them harder to pry or cut open.
  • Cons: Like any lock, cheaply made versions of disc locks are easy to pick open in a short amount of time.

Bluetooth Locks

Blue tooth locks are relatively new to the field and reviews are mixed. Instead of a key or combination, you use a synched smartphone to open your lock. Some models have a code pad if you forget your phone or if your battery is dead.

How a Bluetooth lock works: You synch your phone with the lock and control it via an app.

  • Pros: No key to lose or combination to forget. You can unlock your lock from anywhere or give other people access via their phones.
  • Cons: Depends on your smartphone to work. Some studies have shown 75% Bluetooth locks are easy to hack. More expensive.

What Features Make the Best Lock for Your Storage Unit

Keyed or disc locks are you best bet for a strong lock that’s not easy to cut or pick. When choosing which lock to invest in (and some of them get expensive) consider these features. These are what set the powerhouse locks apart from the school locker padlocks:

  • Hardened shackle – usually made with stronger steel to resist cutting.
  • Shielded shackle – often in disc locks, makes it more difficult to access and cut.
  • Five or more pins – the more pins in your lock’s cylinder, the harder it is to pick.
  • Weatherproof – if you storage unit is outside, consider weatherproof materials and features.
  • Anti-drill plate – protects housing against entry via power drill.

All or a combination of these features will make your public storage lock more secure. For example: a hardened steel disc lock is nearly impossible to cut. The thief would require a time-consuming grinder to remove it.

A good lock is more expensive but weigh that against the value of your stored belongings.

Keep Your Storage Locker Secure

Your lock is a key element in keeping your storage locker secure. Before you settle on a storage facility, make sure it has a security system that feels safe. Store local offers safe and secure storage units near you and across the country. Find the right solution for your storage needs with our easy search engine.


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