Tips to Secure Your Storage Locker
One of the most frequent service requests we receive in the Vancouver area is for storage lockers. Whether it is to secure them or to deal with break-ins, here are a few tips to secure your storage locker.
- Use commercial-grade padlocks: Stay away from padlocks you can buy at the dollar store or from your local DIY store. Visit a professional locksmith shop and get a commercial-grade padlock.
- Use U-Lock bike locks: Most wire cage storage lockers can be secured with a U-shaped bike lock. It may be a bit awkward to use compared to a padlock but may offer better protection.
- Use a heavy-duty chain: There are several grades of chains plus many other factors to consider. We will help you select the right one for your needs.
- Use commercial-grade door hardware: Some of the newer residential buildings in Vancouver come with storage rooms vs a wire cage storage locker. In those cases, you should consider upgrading to commercial-grade hardware.
Commercial Grade Padlocks
When securing your storage locker, we generally recommend staying away from padlocks you can purchase at the dollar store and DIY stores and Rona and Home Depot. Despite all the advertising, they’re generally low-grade locks with some sort of vulnerability.
For example, they may have a thick shackle (the u-shaped part) but then they have a weak cylinder. Or, they have a paracentric keyway (harder to lockpick) but then they have a weak shackle or lock body. Or, they have a strong cylinder and strong lock body/shackle, but it’s so heavy that it’s virtually unusable.
For wire cage storage lockers, we recommend a pair or Abus Diskus Padlocks. One for the top hole and one for the bottom. The Abus Diskus Padlock comes in a few different sizes, and bigger is better. Their largest size will still fit virtually all storage lockers.
The reasons why we recommend the Abus Diskus are as follows:
- Limited shackle exposure to prevent bolt cutter attacks
- Self-spinning cylinder guard plate to prevent cylinder drilling attacks
- Paracentric keyway to make lockpicking difficult
- Hardened stainless steel body for additional security and rust protection
The final reason why we recommend the Abus Diskus is that it’s one I dread encountering the most on a storage lock service call. The few times I have encountered these padlocks is when the clients have lost their keys and we were forced to cut these in half to get them open.
Anyone who has worked with stainless steel knows just how much of a nightmare it is to cut or to drill this material. We can do it, but it’s noisy, messy, and destroys a good number of expensive drill bits and cutting wheels.
Plus, commercial padlocks can be easily keyed alike so that one key can open multiple locks. We may even be able to key them up to your existing house key. Also, if you lose a key, we can often just rekey them and extend their service life.
U-Lock Bike Locks
Some of our clients prefer to use a thick U-Lock Bike Lock to secure their storage lockers. A thick Kryptonite bike lock is hard to cut and can provide more protection than even a standard commercial-grade padlock.
The shackle on a good quality bike lock can be as thick as 18mm and will be covered with a thick rubberized coating for rust protection. At such thickness, these locks are virtually impossible to cut with a standard bolt cutter. If you have lost your keys, the only way to get them off is by cutting them with an angle grinder, or better yet, a die grinder. So it will be noisy and messy to cut off. Not to mention the stink that will be created by the burning rubberized coating will alert everyone in the area.
The downsides are as follows:
- Not as easy to put on or take off as padlocks in everyday use
- They can quickly get very heavy as the shackle diameter increases
- Getting additional key copies is difficult
- They cannot be rekeyed and they never come keyed alike
- Good quality bike locks are quite expensive and you should get a pair
Generally, most people need two locks per wire cage storage locker. One for the top and one for the bottom. With U-Lock Bike Locks, you will end up with two sets of keys which just increases the chance of losing one, or both.
Heavy Duty Chains
Metal chains come in a variety of different alloys, shapes, sizes, and ratings. Any large-diameter chain will act as a good deterrence. However, if it’s made of a softer metal, it will be easy to cut with a pair of bolt cutters no matter the thickness of the shackle.
So here are a few tips to help you select a good quality chain for your storage locker:
- Chains at DIY stores are rated more for tensile strength than cut resistance. So buy a security chain at your Vancouver local locksmith shop.
- Most security chains have square shackles vs round. Squares are harder to cut with bolt cutters. So, get a security chain from a locksmith.
- Try to find a chain with a Kevlar or nylon sheath. It will make it easier to use and keep your hand cleaner. Most locksmiths carry such security chains.
At our key store in Downtown Vancouver, we sell Abus Security Chains which come in 8mm, 10mm, and 12mm diameters. Their Rockwell rating (or hardness rating) is high which makes them difficult to cut manually with bolt cutters or with a power tool. Come and check them out!
However, we generally do not recommend securing storage lockers with chains. It makes it cumbersome to access your belongings. Plus, you will still need a heavy-duty padlock anyway. The only time we recommend the use of chains is when the wire cage door has been severely damaged and can longer be used as usual.
Commercial Grade Door Hardware
Finally, we have noticed that some of the newer upscale residential towers in Vancouver provide storage rooms vs a wire cage storage locker to their residents.
If that is your situation, we recommend upgrading your door hardware to Grade 1 Commercial Hardware. Most buildings provide the lower Grade 2 or sometimes even the lowest Grade 3 knobs or levers which are fairly easy to circumvent. Thieves do not even need power tools.
From personal experience, I can testify that a Grade 1 Commercial lever or a knob is a nightmare to force open when properly installed. There is a reason why most military bases and remote work camps use heavy-duty hardware. Not only do they last a long time, but they can also be left alone for a long time yet provide peace of mind when it comes to security.
Commercial Grade Door Hardware can be quite expensive, especially when combined with a high-security cylinder. So please call or text me at 604-363-2760 or email me at email@example.com to find out more or to get a free no-obligation consultation.
Finally, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting a pair of padlocks or other types of locks. You do need to secure the top and the bottom of a wire cage door. Otherwise, thieves can just pry the unsecure side open and steal your belongings.