Disc Lock vs. Padlock

We all want to get the best locks to keep our valuables safe, so it’s okay to compare locks before you make a purchase. In this post, we compared disc locks and standard padlocks—to help you make the best choice.

First off, what is the difference between a disc lock and a padlock?

These two terms (disc lock and padlock) are commonly used to refer to closed shackle and open shackle padlocks. A disc lock is a rounded shape padlock with a shielded shackle to prevent bolt cutter attacks, while a padlock (standard padlock) has an open shackle, making it more vulnerable to attacks.

Note: Disc lock and standard padlock are both padlocks but differ in design and security features. A disc lock is considered a modernized padlock with upgraded security features.

With that being said, we’ll go on to compare discus lock and standard padlock—to see which one offers the best security. Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in!

Disc Lock vs. Standard Padlock

Disc Lock

Difference between disc lock and standard padlock

This padlock differs from its traditional counterpart in terms of design and security features. While the standard padlock is left with an open shackle, the disc padlock is designed with a closed shackle in a rounded shape to prevent bold cutter attacks and the like.

If you’re looking to get a padlock that resists bolt cutter attacks, you want to opt for a disc lock.

Disc locks have other features that make them more functional and secure. Here’s a more detailed look.

Features of Disc Locks

  • Closed shackle: Yes, this seems to be the dominant feature of the disc lock. As mentioned above, the closed shackle, as well as the rounded shape designed, makes it tough to cut, as the shackle is not exposed.
  • Anti-pick: Apart from bolt cutter attacks, thieves can also pick locks. The best disc locks are equipped with more pins (cylinder) and dual locking lever mechanism that prevents pick and pry.
  • Stainless Steel and Anti-rust: This is a notable feature of disc locks. The majority of them (the best ones) are designed with stainless steel and weatherproof features that prevent rust. More so, weatherproof disc locks are suitable for outdoor use and can withstand the elements.
  • Hardened shackle: Even though the shackle is not exposed, disc locks have hardened shackles, which means increased strength and security.

Looking to get a disc lock? See our top picks:



Puroma Keyed Padlock—Stainless Steel Discus Lock

Discus Keyed Padlock with Hardened Steel Shackle for Storage Units

Brinks 673-70001 Commercial Discus Lock with Stainless Steel Shackle

Master Lock 40DPF Stainless Steel Discus Padlock

Master Lock M40XD Magnum Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Discus Padlock

Tuff4ever 70mm Disc Padlock with Stainless Steel Shackle

Stainless Steel Discus Keyed Padlock with 2 Keys

Brinks 663-60001 2-3/8-Inch 60mm Stainless Steel Discus Padlock

Standard Padlock

Standard padlock and disc padlock

There’s not much to say about standard padlocks. As you probably know, the locks have been around for decades and are still used for storage units, sheds, garages, etc.

Yes, standard padlocks could still protect your valuables, when you get one with anti-pick features and a tough shackle. However, they’re still prone to bold cutter attacks, especially because of the open shackle.

So if you must go with a standard padlock, ensure you get one with a 4-7 pin cylinder—that can resist picking. Also, a standard padlock with hardened shackle could withstand bolt cutter attacks.

READ NEXT: Can You Kick Down a Door with a Deadbolt?

Disc Lock vs. Standard Padlock: Which is best? (Verdict)

Disc padlock offers the best security as it has a shielded shackle that prevents bolt cutter attacks. Other features like anti-pick, anti-rust, and hardened shackle and lock’s body make the disc padlock stand out. It’s by far the best option for those that want to prevent bolt cutters attacks and lock picking.

Tips to Buy a Great Padlock

1. Avoid a Super Cheap Padlock

I get it; you don’t have to break the bank to buy a padlock. But the best padlocks don’t come so cheap, and you really have to be wary of a ridiculously cheap padlock. You want to secure your valuables, so ensure you’re getting a padlock that does the job and not looking at the price.

Of course, you could tell the quality of a product based on the price. That means a good quality padlock can cost you some reasonable bucks but needn’t break the bank, still.

2. Go for a Padlock with Closed Shackle

You probably know about this. A padlock with an open shackle is vulnerable to bolt cutter attacks. You need a padlock with a closed shackle as this helps prevent thieves from cutting the shackle.

A typical example is the disc padlock. The shackle is shielded in its round shame, leaving no option to cut it easily.

3. Consider the Size

The size of a lock also matters—security-wise. Larger locks with hardened shackles and an overall sturdy lock body are harder to defeat.

Note: you need to consider the materials the lock is made of; a larger lock made with substandard materials could easily give in to attacks, which defeats the purpose of getting a larger lock. So while you consider the size, you need to check the quality of the lock before you buy.

4. Anti-Pick Features

Your padlock can be picked even though it comes with a closed shackle, larger size, or hardened shackle and lock’s body. Lock picking works via the pins of a padlock. The more the pins, the more difficult it is to pick. So you want to get a lock with more pins, say 4-7 to prevent picking.

There’s also pry, which could be defeated with a double lever locking mechanism. So you want to get a padlock with a dual lever locking mechanism too.

READ NEXT: How Many Locks Should a Front Door Have?

Related Questions

Are disc padlocks any good?

Disc padlocks are worth it! They are the best for protecting against bolt cutter attacks as they are made with a shrouded shackle. The padlocks are also equipped with rust-proof and anti-pick features, making them more secure and suitable for outdoor use.

What is the most secure type of padlock?

Closed/hardened shackle padlocks are somewhat the most secure types of padlocks. This is because attackers can’t clearly see the shackle, let alone cutting it.

Can I use a disc padlock at public storage?

Discus locks can be used at public storage. However, it depends on the facility; specific units could be designed with a disc lock or cylinder lock. So you want to confirm which lock is used on your unit before getting one.

Where can I use a disc lock?

Disc locks are suitable for storage units, garages, outdoor gates, sheds, tool boxes, and even doors.

Can disc locks be rekeyed?

Yes, a disc lock can be rekeyed. You should get a locksmith to help you out, especially if you lost the original key.

How do you open a disc lock without a key?

Opening a disc lock without a key can be done via lock picking. Usually, you’ll need some basic lock picking tools such as a tension wrench and lock pick rake. Then insert the short end of the tension wrench into the keyhole and turn it in the direction you would turn the normal key to open the lock.

You should also insert your rake into the keyhole and turn in the same direction while keeping the tension wrench in place with little force. This should open your disc lock if done correctly.

Though disc locks are equipped with more pins that could resist picking, you could still pick them with advanced lock picking tools and skills. Get a locksmith to help if you’re not able to open it with basic lock picking tools.

READ NEXT: Best Keyless Cabinet Locks

Closing Thoughts

Should standard padlocks be ditched? So far, you’ve seen that disc locks offer the best security, but that’s not to say standard padlocks are completely out of the way. You can still use standard padlocks, but in places where they’re not exposed to attacks.

So if you’re considering using a standard padlock, get a sturdy one. And as mentioned, use it where it’s less likely to be attacked by bolt cutters. And for areas prone to attacks, disc locks work best as they won’t easily give in to bolt cutter attacks and other related forced entry.