Garage lock: 7 tips for choosing

9 min

Buying an expensive car, investing a lot of money in building a garage, getting a good gate and at the same time saving on a lock is even indecent. The lock should be reliable and burglary, if, of course, your property is dear to you. Alas, there are no locking mechanisms that cannot be opened, but it is in our power to choose such a lock for a garage, the opening of which will take a thief more time, which means that he risks being caught or even surrendering.

What should be a garage lock?

Protecting your garage is more than just a lock. This is a whole range of measures. This includes strong walls that are difficult to break through, and gates that cannot be easily cut open, and a high-quality roof, because sometimes attackers use it to access the garage. For maximum security, it’s a good idea to use an alarm and a security camera. But in this complex of measures, a reliable lock occupies one of the main positions.

This is where the question arises, which lock is considered reliable? The one that costs more? Or the one that is actively advertised? Or, on the contrary, the one that is sold in very few places, and the thieves have not learned to open it?

When choosing a lock for your garage, consider the following professional tips:

  1. reliable locks are made of stainless steel;
  2. the walls of the case must be at least 3 mm thick;
  3. the presence of massive crossbars is required;
  4. it is better to put at least two locks and farther from each other – this rule works the same way as with locks in an apartment;
  5. choose two / three locks from different manufacturers;
  6. the main mechanism must be a lever.

Experts joke that the best additional lock is an alarm. The way it is. Even the simplest howler can protect your property, and no less reliably than a good lock. If funds allow, then video surveillance can be installed. But! All this does not mean that you can get by with an alarm and take the cheapest lock. Remember that alarms and video surveillance can be disabled by drowning or cutting wires. So one does not interfere with the other.

In addition, you can protect the garage from intruders by welding a metal corner to the hinge zone, which will protect them from sawing. The complex of measures also includes strengthening the walls with a lattice from the corner, reinforcing the roof with a mesh-netting or reinforcement, strengthening the gates and wickets with steel armor strips.

Lock type

As you might have guessed, or maybe you managed to understand in the process of studying the market, the range of garage locks is huge. Therefore, it does not interfere with somehow classifying all existing diversity.

By the type of fastening, locks are:

  • hinged;
  • waybills;
  • mortise.

Mortise locks are considered the most reliable, since the entire mechanism is hidden inside the garage door. Thanks to the armor plates, such a lock can be additionally protected from drilling. This type of locks is not suitable for all garage doors – it is almost impossible to install it on sectional doors. To ensure a longer and maximum quality operation, it is necessary to periodically lubricate the lock with machine oil or more specialized means. The latter will not allow the lock to freeze at strong negative temperatures.

In terms of the mechanism of operation, overhead locks do not differ from mortise locks (we will talk about the principles of operation later), but they are installed differently – not inside the gate or door, but on top of them. Thanks to this, installation is simplified, there is no need to violate the integrity of the gate or door. At the same time, the case is made in such a way as to reliably protect the mechanism from knocking out and external adverse environmental factors. The mechanism will look neat, and from the outside, no one will ever guess which mount you used – mortise or overhead.

Many people do not consider padlocks as locks, calling them a means of complacency. In no case can such a mechanism be used as the only lock, and it is better not to use a padlock as a second lock, but it will do as a third additional lock. It will turn out at least a little to complicate the life of the attacker. If the gate already has lugs, then you will still have to purchase a padlock. Someone will be able to hang their castle on the gate for fun. Of course, getting rid of it won’t be so difficult, but why waste time?

Due to the fact that it is easy to get rid of the padlock, it is not recommended to use it as a primary or additional one. Someone might argue that if you take a barn lock with a thick steel U-shaped short shackle, an all-metal body made of boron steel, hardened and electroplated, then it will be difficult to break. In general, yes – it will not be easy to hack, but it is easy to cut the eyes off the gate.

Fortunately, more or less reliable padlocks have been invented. They are often called the “turtle”. They differ from the classic barn padlocks in the design that protects the lugs. In addition, in such a mechanism, a rather thick locking finger, therefore, the lock can also be used as a second additional one, only it is necessary that it fit snugly to the gate, otherwise the attacker will be able to bring a mount or cable under it, and then everything follows the classical scheme.

Padlocks can be locked with a key, but there are also combination locks – disc and push-button.

Locking mechanism

According to the mechanism of work, garage locks are divided into the following types:

  • Lever locks are rightly considered the most reliable. The easiest way to identify them is by the shape of the key – it has a long rod, at the end of which, on one or both sides, there are plates with grooves of different heights. Getting into the lock, such a key activates the levers – the basis of the leveled lock. Even if one of the plates does not match, the lock will not open, because the lever mechanisms are considered the most reliable. It is also difficult to knock it out, and in the presence of additional armor plates it is very difficult to do this. In addition, lever locks, unlike cylinder locks, are more resistant to frost (and distortions caused by temperature changes), dirt and dust, and an aggressive environment. In general, they are less likely to break and jam. Lever lock can be mortise and overhead. If you choose the latter option, try to perform the installation so that the attachment points are not visible from the outside of the gate. Another tip is to take a lock that can be opened / closed from the inside with a key, not a pinwheel. This will create additional problems for the thief, who can get into the garage through the walls or roof. When choosing, pay attention to the following structural elements:

    • the number of crossbars – ideally at least 3, but in some models (for example, RIF-1) and two thick crossbars work no worse;
    • welded case for overhead locks;
    • zinc suvald anticorrosive coating;
    • the presence of an armor plate is very desirable. This is a drill protection. In this regard, a red-hot ball in a rack works well;
    • a hardened insert on the crossbar is also desirable, which will protect against sawing;
    • 4 class of burglary resistance.
  • cylinder locks are slightly inferior in reliability to lever locks, but, nevertheless, are suitable for a garage, can be used as an additional locking mechanism. Inside such a castle, there are cylinders, each lined up at a certain height. It is difficult to open such a mechanism with a master key, but it can be drilled out or knocked out, therefore it is better to choose locks with additional protection – armor plating or balls inside the mechanism. The locks are relatively easy to operate, and in case of loss of keys, it is enough to replace the core without touching the entire lock. The cylinder lock can also be applied and mortise. It reacts more subtly to changes in temperatures, frost, humidity, more often than a lever, it wedges;

  • rack locks (sometimes called crossbar locks) have an extremely simple design, hence the main plus – durability, but also a minus – ease of breaking. At the base – slats / crossbars with a rectangular (less often – round) cut. There are usually two crossbars, but there are locks with three slats, there are also mechanisms with one large rectangular crossbar. Slots are randomly cut on the rail, falling into which a key with the correct cut opens the lock. The crossbars are actuated by springs. To open such a lock, the key is simply inserted all the way, the grooves of the bolt and the key are aligned, after which the turn of the key compresses the spring so that the rail moves back and allows the door to open. It is not so easy to make a duplicate key for a deadbolt lock – even the slightest discrepancy will lead to tight opening / closing. Rack and pinion locks are strong and durable, easy to install, inexpensive. But using them as the main castle is still not worth it for a number of reasons. They can be easily broken with a screwdriver, in winter the opening process can be complicated, and in summer you will have to make some efforts. Plus, the key to such a lock is long, which may seem inconvenient to some.

Execution material

The elements of the lock can be made from the following materials:

  • aluminum is not afraid of corrosion, which is important for the operation of the lock in a garage, but due to its low strength, we would not recommend using such clamps;

  • steel is the most durable, reliable and most preferred option when it comes to stainless or galvanized steel;

  • brass is a good option in terms of strength and resistance to high humidity, but it is not cheap;

  • cast iron is rarely used for the manufacture of locks. It is a heavy material, the strength characteristics of which deteriorate under the influence of low temperatures.

Burglar resistance class

The key characteristic of the lock is how long it takes to break it. We are talking about how long it will take, since absolutely any lock can be broken. There are four classes of burglary resistance:

  • first class – the most inexpensive locks. In most cases, these are transom-type mechanisms. Even an inexperienced thief spends no more than 5-10 minutes on breaking;

  • the second class – more reliable locks, which can be opened by an experienced thief in 10 minutes, but novices cannot;

  • the third class – locks, breaking which even a professional spends at least 20 minutes. During this time, he runs the risk of being noticed, and more than once, therefore, many attackers simply will not tinker with such mechanisms, not being sure of their complete safety;

  • the fourth class – locks that will have to be opened for at least 30 minutes in the presence of all the necessary and sufficiently specific tools.

When choosing a lock for a garage, you need to find a balance between security and cost. It is clear that first class castles are definitely not an option, at least not as a main castle. The fourth class is expensive, and not always justified, but the third class locks are what you need for a garage, and if you install two third-class burglar-resistant locks with different operating mechanisms, then we can assume that you have done everything to secure your property …

What else to consider when choosing a lock for a garage?

To be sure to purchase a reliable and durable lock, you should pay attention to the following nuances:

  • too complex locks are not suitable for the garage, since aggressive operating conditions such as temperature drops and high humidity can quickly disable the mechanism;
  • each key that comes with the lock must be numbered;
  • there should be no burrs, scratches on the lock, and no metal dust in the box;
  • buy locks in specialized stores and from trusted manufacturers. A handicraft mechanism is unlikely to be able to provide reliable protection and last long without jamming;
  • the name of the manufacturer is actually a quality guarantee. The leaders in the world of castles are as follows: CISA (Italy), Titan (Slovenia), ABUS (Germany), TESA (Spain), DOM GROUP (Germany), MOTTURA (Italy), KALE KILIT (Turkey). Among domestic manufacturers, we note Cerber, Guardian, Elbor, Polivektor, etc.

Operating rules

You can spend a lot of money, choose the most reliable and expensive lock, but it will last a couple of years, and all because you could not provide it with the appropriate operating conditions. So what are the rules to follow?

  1. Accessible parts must be lubricated regularly.
  2. If the lock does not open, it is jammed, try filling it with grease and try again after 5-10 minutes. If after that the lock still does not lend itself, then you can try to turn the key with pliers. If this does not help, then you will have to seek the help of professionals
  3. Sometimes problems with the lock arise due to the skew of the gate. You can correct the situation with a lever.

Finally, we note that a good lock is reliable protection, but the lock alone will not give complete confidence in security, since it is also necessary to take care of protecting other ways of entering the garage, incl. walls and roofs.

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Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...


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