The Truth About Combination Locks - Are Combination Locks Secure?

Combination locks are undoubtedly convenient. As shown above, they feature a column of numbered dials that you turn to open the lock. Rather than using a key, you simply turn each of the dials to the correct number. While convenient, however, combination locks don't offer the same level of security as their keyed counterparts. To learn the truth about combination locks and why they pale in comparison to high-quality keyed locks, keep reading.

How Combination Locks Work

Although there are different types of combination locks, they all feature dials -- typically numbered dials -- that are used to open the lock. Each of the dials is connected to an internal locking mechanism, such as a pin. When you turn a dial to the correct number, it disengages the connected locking mechanism. Only after turning all the dials to the correct position will the combination lock open.

Some combination locks also support the use of a key. In other words, you can open them either by turning the dials to the correct position or by inserting and turning a key.

The Problem With Combination Locks

The biggest problem with combination locks is that they can be cracked through trial and error. A motivated thief can probably find the correct combination in less than an hour.

Of course, some combination locks have more than three dials. And the more dials it has, the harder it is to crack through trial and error. Given enough time, though, a thief can guess the right combination, regardless of how many dials the lock has.

In addition to rudimentary trial-and-error cracking, combination locks are also susceptible to shimming. Not to be confused with picking or bumping, shimming involves the use of a special tool, known as a shim, to open a lock. The shim is designed to retract the spring that holds the shackle to the body of the lock.

What About Keyed Locks?

Keyed Padlocks vs. Combination Locks

Since they don't contain dials, keyed locks offer a superior level of security when compared to combination locks. Unless a thief has the key, he or she won't be able to open it. Furthermore, keyed locks are better protected against shimming than combination locks. For these reasons, you should choose a high-quality keyed lock over a combination lock. Commando Lock offers only keyed padlocks, most secure laminated and proven. 

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