How do Padlocks Work

You must have wondered that the padlocks you are using for years to secure and protect valuable items, belongings, homes, buildings, garages, and so many other things, how it works and how life will be without them.

Padlocks are not going anywhere for the years to come as it is so important to have such reliable and effective security tools and equipment. But here in this article, we will talk about the padlocks in details, how padlocks work, and what role it plays in our day to day life.


A padlock is defined as the lock with a shackle with a pivoted hook which usually forms a u-shape, solid body made up of heavy-duty material and a locking mechanism.

A shackle joints the two materials together, such as a door with a frame, two endpoints of a chain, or any other similar item to secure them with a padlock. With a key, the locking system locks the shackle, and then it can only be unlocked with a specific key or pattern.

These components, when combined, make up a padlock that is used to prevent theft, defacement, and unauthorized access. Leaving the doors without a padlock invites the burglars to your home, and this is why you need to use the padlocks.

Taking on board these three parts of a padlock will allow you to understand easily and quickly how do padlock works.

Not only for home security, but you will see the padlocks being used worldwide to keep valuable items, confidential documents, or any other thing that requires safety, which is being protected by padlocks.

How do padlocks work?

As the world is rapidly changing and moving towards advancement, so are the padlocks. Now you will see various types of padlocks available in the market with different features, aspects, and locking mechanisms.

Based on the type of padlock, the working can differ from each other; however, with the kind of padlocks, the basic concept remains the same. The two basic types of padlocks you will found are discussed below. You will also see the details of its working principles.

Before we move onto the types of padlocks, have a brief look at the inside of the padlock body.

Inside of the padlock

As we have already discussed, the three main components of a padlock are shackle, body, and the key mechanism. Now we will see inside the body of a padlock and how the key mechanism work. This will make you recognize and take on board the working system of a padlock in a better way.

Shackle: We have discussed it earlier; it is a component that joins the two materials together to lock and secure it.

Release: it is the component that keeps the shackle in place to not pull out without using the appropriate key.

Cylinder: It is where the key is inserted, and it allows the key to be rotated to unlock the padlock.

Teeth: Teeth refers to the edges of a key; it is unique with each padlock so that one key can be used for one padlock.

Padlock Types

These are some of the main components which make up the body of a padlock. As you are aware of the locking mechanism, now we will discuss the type; you will see how it works all together when we lock and unlock it.

Keyed Locks

Keyed locks are the oldest form of padlocks, and all it requires is a particular key to lock and unlock the padlock.

When you insert an appropriate key into the padlock and rotates it, it activates and releases the component which holds back the shackle, and as a result, you get it unlocked.

Similarly, to lock it again, all you need is to push the shackle in a hole, and the component will keep it in place. Some padlocks require keys for locking. The teeth of the key determine whether it is the correct key for the padlock or not. The quality padlocks are only operated with a dedicated set of keys.

On the other hand, it is easier to trick the keyed locks and get them unlocked. It requires a simple tool such as a pick, and it fits into the cylinder so that it looks as if the original key. To avert this from happening, the second type of padlock was introduced.

Combination Locks

Combination locks are the advanced version of the padlocks, and it comes in various designs and variants of locking mechanism such as keypad lock, parallel combination lock, and dial pad.

In these types of padlocks, four dials are linked directly to the cylindrical disk; when you select the correct number, it creates a gap, and after all four digits are selected correctly, it will be unlocked. In this way, only the persons who have the correct combination will be accomplished to open it with ease.

The combination locks are hard to break but not impossible because it requires much effort and time to guess the correct combination.

How secure are the padlocks

As we have talked a lot about padlocks, how they work, and their basic types, the question arises of whether they are effective and secure for protection and security purposes.

We have seen that padlocks are being used for ages, it is an effective solution, and therefore it is still in use worldwide.

However, how secure a padlock is depended on the quality of the padlock you are purchasing. Especially you look for the material the shackle is made up of because the stronger the shackle, the more reliable a padlock will be.


Padlocks are being used in our day-to-day life, and knowing how it works will allow you to choose the best padlock for your home, office, and protecting other valuables. In comparison, this article has not only covered the topic of how do padlock works and has defined the essential components of a lock briefly. So next time you will get a padlock, you will know which one will suit you the best.