It is quite common for us to own more than what we can keep at home and so we look to other places to store these items of ours, especially over long periods of time. One of the more common and convenient solutions to this dilemma is to rent a storage unit.
These units come with a padlock for you to literally keep your belongings under lock and key. But, a simple padlock? The units are regularly rented out to store valuables, family heirlooms and other items that can fetch a little more than mere pocket change. But this fact does not escape the notice of a shady individual with a set of bolt cutters and sheer determination.
Now, if someone shady does manage to get past all the security in place, would you want the last line of defense between them and your valuables, to be a measly padlock? No, right? See that is exactly why we have compiled a list of the best storage unit locks.
Choosing The Right Kind Of Lock
- Choosing the right kind of lock is really important. It is always advised that you have a look at the storage unit you chose to rent, so that you know which type of lock you would require. This will also help determine the size of the lock you would need to secure the unit door in place.
- The other important thing for you to consider is, how valuable the items you look to store in the unit are. Yes this is subjective, but ideally, the more valuable the items, the more you should be willing to invest in purchasing a good lock.
- To be honest, when it comes to locks, there is one rule of thumb you should never forget. Never judge a lock by its looks, but you can judge a lock by its price. The cheaper the lock the easier it is to break. Good locks are expensive. You may come across a cheap lock that looks sturdier than a bull in a ring, but any delinquent worth their salt will be able to break this lock.
- Expensive locks promise longevity. It’s extremely common to store items in your unit and not open it up again for years at a time. A cheap sturdy lock that we mentioned above may be alright to begin with, but as time wears on, so does the lock.
Keeping these in mind let’s move on to talk about the different types of locks you can purchase for your storage unit.
Types Of Locks In The Market
There are a numerous variety of locks in the market. The most common distinction between locks is made based on their locking mechanism. Let’s look at some of the more common locks used by people looking to secure their storage units.
1. Combination Locks
These are one of the most common locks available in the market. These are so common that many traveling bags and suitcases come with these locks inbuilt. The basic principle of the combination locks is that you set a number as the key to the lock. Essentially, until the specific number has been input, the lock will not open. Know that there are two types of combination locks available in the market. Single dial combination locks and multi-dial combination locks.
Single dial combination locks, like the name suggests, have only one dial. You rotate the dial one way, say clockwise, to input the first number and then rotate it the other way, anti-clockwise, to input the second number and so on. The dial is much like the generic safes you see them trying to crack in heist movies.
Multi-dial combination locks have multiple dials. The more common of these locks have 3 dials with numbers ranging from 0-9. The number of digits your code has depends on the number of dials on the lock. A 3 dial combination lock will have a 3 number code that is required to open the lock. This is also the lock that you see on many traveling bags and suitcases.
Combination locks are made the most convenient, as you do not require a key and so you don’t have to go the extra length to make sure you do not lose the key. All you have to do is remember the code for the lock.
As convenient as these locks may seem to someone looking to secure their storage unit, it is also the most convenient and easy lock for a burglar to tamper with and gain access to your unit. You don’t even have to break this lock. Just a little pressure on the lock and a few min of time and the lock will pop open. So it is probably not the best lock for you to get if you plan on storing valuable in your storage unit.
These are the locks that are more frequently suggested and chosen for securing storage units. One of the main reasons that these locks are so commonly used is that they are very affordable and sturdy. These locks require a key to unlock and some people find it far easier to keep a key safe rather than remembering a 4 numbered code for a combination lock, 1 year down the line.
Cheap as these locks are, they are not that difficult to get past. A determined burglar with a bolt cutter or a patient one with a lock pick set, can break these locks with brute force, or just pick them. That does not mean, however, that all padlocks are easy to get past. Like we mentioned earlier, the quality and reliability of a lock tends to be proportional to the price tag attached to them.
The basic principle of a padlock is that you have a key which when you insert it into a lock, moves a set of pins into a certain position, that allows you to turn a cylinder that releases the lock.
There are more expensive robust varieties that have more complicated mechanisms and that are forged from tougher material that make it difficult to gain access to whatever they secure. The companies and brands that sell these locks will charge more, but if you do plan to store anything of significant value in your storage unit, then you should be willing to splurge a little extra on making sure it stays in that unit.
3. Disk Lock
When looking into purchasing a storage unit, you may have come across these locks. You may have even been advised by the storage unit professional to invest in a disk lock. These locks are preferred by most people who own any type of storage unit. Disk locks are built specifically for securing storage units and lockers.
A disk lock looks exactly like it sounds. No matter if a burglar is looking to break in by drilling or striking to break the lock with brute force the unique shape of the disc lock makes it extremely resistant to breaches. It even makes things difficult to a seasoned lock picker, and the way the lock is built makes it difficult for an individual with a bolt cutter to cut his way past the lock.
Apart from being a deterrent to a potential burglar, these locks offer other benefits. They cost just about the same as padlock, and if you insure your storage unit and its items (which you should), then some insurance companies offer perks or savings if you use a disk lock to secure the unit.
Read Also: Need of Insurance For My Storage Unit?
4. Digital Locks
Digital locks have gotten more popular in recent years. As the name would suggest, these locks don’t require a key or a combination to unlock. To be more accurate, these locks don’t require you to insert a key or combination into the lock itself. They would connect to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and you unlock it by inputting the password to your phone.
Some of the more advanced digital locks give you the option of monitoring the lock in real time via their app. If someone tries to physically brute force their way past the lock, the lock can send you an alert and you can inform the authorities and prevent the robbery or at least apprehend the burglars. Some have access to a camera that will snap a picture of the burglar or sound an alarm, when its sensors are triggered.
It is also important to know that these locks have backdoor access built into them to make it possible for you to unlock them in case the battery on the phone or on the lock itself is depleted. It is also worth noting, like with most digital security, a digital lock always runs the risk of being hacked. Whether a burglar is skilled to do this or whether he has the patience to figure out how to hack the lock is up for debate. It may depend on how valuable the items in the unit are and if he is determined enough to dedicate the time and energy to hack and break into your unit.
Now that you have an idea of the type of locks available and what they can each bring to the table, it may be easier for you to decide on what lock you would prefer for your storage unit.
The Best Storage Unit Locks
1. ABUS Granit
This is one lock that has the reputation of being extremely secure. ABUS Granit is built with a complex mechanism that makes it cumbersome to cut past. If someone does get past the lock, they have an incredible number of years of lock picking experience and a vast amount of time and patience or they probably have the key. What we mean to say is, short of having a key this lock is unlockable to almost anyone.
2. Ingersoll 10
This lock has made it onto the list because of one main feature. It can make your storage unit an impenetrable fortress. Ingersoll 10 has an extremely strong core and body, making it absolutely rigid. The color and shape of the lock make it look almost boring and nondescript that it may not even capture the fancy of someone looking to break into storage units. If by any chance it does catch the attention of a burglar, it will soon leave them frustrated and looking at another unit to break into. This lock also boasts an extremely long life span and can weather any condition.
There really isn’t much else to tell you about the lock apart from the fact that it is expensive. But like we keep stressing throughout this article, the security and reliability of a lock tends to be proportional to the price tag attached to it.
3. EVVA MCS
The EVVA MCS lock is a little more high tech than your average storage lock, in that it has a magnetic key system along with the regular mechanism of pins and cylinders. The body of this lock is built with steel alloy that makes it extremely durable and robust. It doesn’t boast any branding or logo and is as discrete as they come. Interestingly, EVVA MCS lock claims to be one of the more secure locks on the market right now and has the reputation to back it up.
4. American Lock A700D
American Lock 1700D is not the best lock on the list, nor is it the more secure lock. However, for the price you do pay for this lock, it beats all its competition. To put it simply, this lock stands above a regular storage lock that you can purchase, but at pretty much the same price range.
As we keep pointing out that the price of the lock defines the security it provides, it should be obvious that this lock is not extremely secure. Sure, it comes with a body and build stronger and more rigid than others in its range, but the lock system may give your regular thief a run for their money if they look to pick it. But if they bother to do their homework, there are bypass tools available that can make picking this lock significantly easier.
That being said, if you are not looking to spend too much on a lock but still want security from your average burglar, then this might just be the lock for you.
5. Stanley Padlock
One word to describe this lock would be ‘sturdy’. The Stanley Padlock is difficult to cut and it boasts a patented keyhole that makes it almost impossible to break into the lock by drilling or prying open.
The core of the lock, though not exceptional or unique, is removable. This means that you can upgrade the core of the lock with one that you prefer, giving you an extra layer of security against a burglar, who would definitely be caught off guard at the switch up.
6. Mul-T-lock MT5+ TR 100
This lock resembles a hockey puck. The lock itself may not be extremely exceptional, but it does serve a unique function.
You see, most times a burglar may not bother with the lock and may just look to cut the hasp that the lock is secured to. What this hockey puck shaped lock can do, is make it difficult to get to this hasp. In addition to that, it conceals its own shackle in its body making it hard to determine its location and cut through.
Frequently Answered Questions
After reading this article, we know there are a few questions going through your head. In this section, we shall try to answer a few of the more common questions that are asked.
Are any locks pick proof?
No. There are no locks out there that are truly and fully pick proof, if such a lock does come into the market, then rest assured that someone somewhere will figure out how to pick it. This has been the story or rather the dance between a locksmith and a lock picker from the very beginning. The best you can hope for is a lock that is difficult to get past and a pain to attempt to pick.
What is the most secure padlock?
Like we mentioned in the article, the most secure padlock, and the most trusted in the market at the moment is the ABUS Granit lock. The lock is manufactured with high quality materials to withstand and bear the harshest conditions and pressure placed on it. Extreme precision crafting, with the goal to be able to stand against the toughest adversary out there, makes the lock incredibly difficult to pick.
Do you need your own lock for storage units?
Many storage units do come with a basic padlock on them while others don’t. Either way, it’s in your best interest to purchase your own lock to secure your belongings. The basic locks on the units will be cheap and will have master keys available in the market. First thing you could do is ask the professional renting the unit to you, for his advice on a lock you can purchase.
When you do invest in a lock, make sure that it is worth what you store in your storage unit. There is no reason to buy the most expensive lock if all you’re storing are a few knick knacks or furniture that you couldn’t keep in the new house you just moved into. Well you can, it’s just that it’s not necessary.
For consultation, you could also ask people who have experience in the field. This could be the professional that you rent the storage unit from, or the locksmith or the professional at the local hardware store. Tell them the kind of storage unit you look to buy and what your budget for a lock is and they will be able to give you advice based on their expertise.
All in all, don’t just buy the cheapest lock from the dollar store around the corner. Oh and yes don’t forget where you placed the keys to the lock or what the code was. If that does happen, we hope the irony doesn’t escape you, as you struggle to cut or pick your way into your own storage locker.
Read Also: Best Self-Storage Companies