Types of Padlock Styles
Padlocks are used in virtually every business, organization and home. In order to fill the needs of these different groups, a wide variety of options and styles have been developed. Below is an overview of some of the most common types of padlocks:
Breakaway shackle: A lock that features a scored shackle that will break when struck by a hammer or other substantial object. This padlock would be used in applications where the lock may need to be removed rapidly for emergency response like on sprinkler hose shut-off valves and fire hoses.
Combination: A lock that uses a rotary dial or series of buttons to unlock the device rather than a conventional key.
Combination with key control: A lock with key control that can be opened with a key or a combination. This type of lock is typically used in schools and locker rooms. The control key is capable of opening all the combination locks in that set.
Guarded/shrouded/shielded: A lock that has solid metal guards that protect and surround the shackle on both sides, leaving only the top of the shackle exposed. The guards make it much more difficult to cut the shackle with a bolt-cutter.
Government: Locks made to meet exacting U.S. government production standards such as Commercial Item Description (CID)-A-A-59486, CID-A-A-59487 and CID-A-A-1928.
High security: A lock that typically has one or more of the following options to increase its level of protection:
- Hardened steel shackle for cut resistance
- Shrouded shackle to protect against cutting and prying
- Pick-resistant key cylinder
- Reinforced locking mechanism to resist prying
Laminated: The body consists of multiple pieces of metal stacked on top of each other to form a tough, tamper-resistant lock.
Lockout: Locks designed specifically for use in lockout programs that often have a provision on the lock to write the users name and come with only one key to limit access to the lock. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) control of hazardous energy, lockout/tagout standard (29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.147) identifies five requirements that padlocks need to meet for compliance:
- Must be durable – Manufactured with materials that withstand usage environment
- Must be substantial – Cannot be removed unless considerable force is applied
- Must be Standardized – Clearly differentiated from other devices by color, shape or size
- Must be identifiable – Indicates the authorized employee that applied the device
- Must be exclusive for safety – Not to be used for purposes other than controlling energy
For additional information on OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout standard, see Quick Tips #170, Lockout Tagout Systems and Standards.
Single-post shackle: Unlike the other styles discussed here, this lock uses a single post rather than a U-shaped shackle. These are used on vending machines, utility valve equipment, meters and wherever a less accessible shackle is desired.