Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Most of the crimes committed are thefts and robberies. People who keep valuable items in their home are strongly advised to always protect them securely.

Of course, it is not possible for everyone to afford and install an expensive security system. However, with a combination lock you can protect your property and deter thieves. Combination locks are practical and are ideal for lockers, gates or bicycles. If you are looking for a combination lock, our combination lock guide 2021 will give you all the information you need to help you choose the best combination lock.




Summary

  • Unlike the classic padlock, combination locks are opened with number combinations. The biggest advantage is that no key is needed to open the lock. This means that there is no key that can be lost.
  • Combination locks are divided into mechanical and electronic models. Electronic combination locks offer more security than mechanical locks due to their high technical functionality.
  • For bicycles or other valuables that need to be protected outdoors, there are also rustproof combination locks. The housing of a weatherproof combination lock prevents the mechanism from being damaged in rainy weather.

The Best Combination Lock: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for combination locks

There are many combination locks on the market. We have listed the most important buying criteria that you should consider when making your decision. The criteria with which you can compare the different variants of combination locks include:

Here you can take a look at our comprehensive description of the criteria mentioned before making a decision:

Housing and shackle material

Before you decide to buy a combination lock, you should pay attention to the material of the casing. Most combination locks have a housing made of stainless steel, zinc or brass. Stainless steel locks are considered to be particularly weatherproof.

Combination locks made of zinc are very corrosion-resistant and are therefore very suitable for outdoor use. Of course, there are also inexpensive versions. In the market, you often come across combination locks that have a housing made of aluminium, for example. It is not advisable to use such combination locks outdoors.

Unlike locks made of steel, rust can form on the shackle or the housing. A steel, zinc or brass casing will withstand attempts to break it open for longer.

Combination lock type

There are many different types and models of combination locks. The main distinction is between a mechanical and an electronic combination lock. The mechanical combination lock is very common. The lock opens as soon as the numbers are turned into the correct position.

You will often find a safe with a combination lock, the integrated case lock or the combination padlock. Safes with important contents or front doors are often secured with electronic combination locks. These locks work with a mechanical and an electrical technology.

As soon as the correct numerical code is entered, an electronic signal is spread to unlock the door. Naturally, an electronic combination lock promises more security than a mechanical one.

Number of digits

The more digits a combination lock has, the more difficult it is for a thief to guess them. For a three-digit combination lock, for example, there are 1,000 combinations. These codes can range from 000 to 999.

Three-digit combination locks are great for children because the codes are usually simple and easy to remember. With four-digit combination locks, 10,000 combinations are possible. With each additional digit, the combination increases tenfold.

Security

Combination locks do not always promise perfect security. Nevertheless, a bicycle is better protected with a mechanical combination lock than with a simple bicycle lock. So if you want to deter thieves, you should definitely secure your items that are outside.

The strength of a lock's shackle also determines its security. Shackles with a larger diameter offer more protection than combination locks with a small shackle diameter. For gates, safes or strongboxes, electronic combination locks can provide a lot of security.

TSA lock

Combination locks that have a TSA lock can be locked with their combination of numbers and an additional key. These TSA locks are often used, especially for travel suitcases. In most cases, airport staff have a suitable spare key.

The advantage of these locks is that suspicious pieces of luggage can be opened and easily closed again during a check. The lock is therefore not damaged. A disadvantage is that a thief can illegally copy the master key.

Corrosion resistance

Stainless steel and zinc cases are very corrosion resistant. Brass and aluminium are also not very susceptible to rust, but offer little corrosion protection overall. For outdoor use, we therefore recommend combination locks made of steel and zinc.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about combination locks answered in detail

In the next part, we will answer the most important questions about combination locks. This will help you decide whether a combination lock is right for you and which one you would like to choose.

What is a combination lock?

A combination lock consists of a housing and a lockable shackle. Inside the casing there are rotating metal plates with numbers on them.

When you turn these plates, you can change the order of the numbers. Once you have set a code and placed the plates in the correct position, the combination lock can be unlocked. Combination locks are often used for bicycles, lockers or cupboards.

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Thieves are quickly deterred by securing your items with combination locks, thus weakening the chances of theft. (Image source: Pixabay / Claudia Peters)

Combination locks are universally applicable. The objects you want to secure should fit through the shackle of the lock.

To ensure that this is the case, you should search online for different sizes and variants.

What types of combination locks are there?

To find out which combination lock is best for you, we have added a table here where the different types are described.
Type advantages disadvantages
mechanical combination lock no key needed, easy to open by combination combination can be forgotten
electronic combination lock very high security, no key needed expensive, combination can be forgotten
TSA combination lock open by combination, additional master key key does not guarantee higher security, key can be lost, combination can be forgotten

An alternative to a combination lock would be a simple padlock.

What does a combination lock cost?

Simple combination locks can cost up to 25 euros. For electronic combination locks, the price is of course much higher. You can expect to pay around 100 euros. However, the security is relatively high.
Price range available products
Low-priced (10-50 €) simple combination locks or TSA combination locks
Medium- to high-priced (50-200 €) electronic combination locks, installation may cost even more

Combination locks costing less than ten euros often have an aluminium casing and rust quickly when used outdoors.

How do you set a combination lock?

When you buy a combination lock, there is usually a combination of numbers that you can use to open the lock. If you want to set a new combination, you have to lift the shackle upwards and turn it 180 degrees. Then you can push the shackle down again.

As long as the shackle is pressed down, a new combination can be entered. Enter a combination that you can easily remember. You can then return the shackle to its original position and close the combination lock.

After you have closed the lock again, you should turn the numbers again so that your code is not visible to anyone.

Conclusion

Whether an electronic or mechanical combination lock, these locks are perfect for protecting personal belongings and deterring thieves in the first place. A combination lock is a good investment for your items with low to medium risk of theft. Professional thieves who have the right tools are not deterred by combination locks.

For valuable items or money, an electronic combination lock is the ideal way to keep your items safe. Compared to a classic padlock, a combination lock offers many more advantages. With a combination lock, there is no key that can get lost. However, you should always remember your combination.

Image source: unsplash / Erik Mclean

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