Padlocks come in a wide range of types, materials, locks, and key options. The security of a cabinet with a padlock is a minefield of considerations.
It is not a simple decision to make and it is worth bearing in mind a few key considerations. Making do with just any old padlock could result in problems further down the line.
A question of access or security
The most basic question to ask is what is the padlock for? Generally speaking padlocks on cabinets are there for two reasons – to prevent theft or to prevent unauthorised access. Understanding the purpose of the padlock will help with the decision making process.
Is the padlock preventing access? Is it a safety issue or a control issue? A padlock to a safety cabinet will need at least one master key to ensure that the right people have access to the cabinet at all times. If the padlock is just to prevent access to low value goods then a standard padlock with 2 or 3 spare keys will suffice.
If the padlock is protecting items of value within the cabinet then selection of the padlock needs to be more carefully considered. The more valuable an item the more determined thieves will be to get in. A cheap lock will not cut it in situations where high value items are at stake.
Keep your insurers happy
Insurance is also a consideration. When items secured in cabinets have a high value, an insurer will often dictate the level of padlock acceptable. Insurance approved padlocks are a lot more expensive than off-the-shelf standard padlocks. They come in a variety of standards from bronze to gold. The EU standards are rated in 3, 4 or 5. Always check the specification with insurers.
The weakest link
Another consideration is the fixing attached to the cabinet. If the clasp or locking bracket is weak or the material around the locking system is weak then even the best padlock will not keep the cabinet secured. So don’t just think about the padlock but ask what is the weakest link?
Size is everything
Padlock size is important. Choose the right sized padlock for the job. A large padlock on a small cabinet fitting may not fit. A padlock that is too small for the cabinet is a potential invite to thieves. Size of padlock is not just an aesthetic issue, it is a security issue too. Padlocks come in a wide variety of sizes from 20mm up to 150mm. Any padlock with less than an 10 mm diameter shackle will not be very secure and certainly won’t meet insurance recommendations.
Who holds the key?
Finally, consider the key options. Padlocks can come with master keys, keyed to differ or keyed alike and even combination locks. Choose a padlock with the key option to meet your access and security requirements. A word of warning – always have a plan in the case of a lost key as this will save a great deal of needless expense in the future.
Get it right first time!
Choosing a padlock is not as straight forward as it may seem at first. You should always consult your insurance company and it is worth seeking the advice of a security expert. If you choose wisely and play it safe, you can sleep soundly in your bed at night knowing that your padlock is doing its job properly.