There isn’t a single trailer door lock that is universally the absolute best. Many truck drivers have hasps and door hardware that vary in size and functionality; therefore, not every padlock will fit every trailer door.
However, there are some things you can keep in mind to navigate the winding roads of finding the best trailer door lock to secure your cargo.
Most truck door locks must be padlocks based on how the trailer door secures. Often a trailer door will use hardware with a cam action side-bar that fastens into place with a hasp. In order to lock the doors, a padlock must be placed on the hasp.
Padlocks come with many different profiles, but they have some essential features that are consistent throughout the wide range of products. Though you might know your trucker terms, here are some other definitions you should be aware of.
A Keyway – Combination padlocks and other such devices that do not use a key are not made to the same security standards as the best keyed-locks on the market. You also run the risk of someone overhearing you mention the combination, seeing you input it, decoding it, etc.
Shackle Protection – A shackle is going to be thinner than the lock body, so you need your shackle to be as covered as possible (which provides greater thickness). You can do this with a padlock that has a puck lock profile or a shackle shroud (both of these terms are used to describe the different ways the thickness of the lock body can extend to cover the shackle).
Sturdy Internal Components – Since the padlock will be outside, exposed to the elements, debris, and sustain stress from the vehicle’s movement, the internal components of the lock are at risk of being damaged to the point where the proper key will not open the padlock.
Strong Metal – This should be used on the lock body as well as the shackle. Hardened steel can vary in quality, so it is best to get some sort of alloy steel. Those made with Boron Carbide are some of the best on the market. This helps to ward off cutting and prying attacks.
Picking Resistance – Though most criminals do not pick locks, you do not want someone with little to no training opening your lock quickly and covertly (lockpicking resistance will also equate to bump key resistance).
Drill Protection – Even with a strong padlock with a protected shackle, most lock cores are brass and can be drilled out. Whether it is an anti-drill plate that uses rotating hardened steel or anti-drill pins that deflect drill bits at key drill points, you should have some form of drill protection.
Ball Bearings – The locking pawls for your padlock must be ball bearings. Other forms of locking pawls can be shimmed, which is a simple bypass most people can perform untrained with simple household items.
As we previously mentioned, there is no one best lock for every use. But as long as you purchase a product with at least most of the specifications listed above, you will be providing your cargo with more protection than many others who are just buying what they can get their hands on at the hardware store.
Depending on your budget, what you are hauling, and the types of truck stop you will be parking your load, you might need different levels of security. Here are some recommendations that cover a variety of potential needs:
1. Mul-T-lock MT5+ TR 100 “Hockey Puck”
This product is a great example of the puck style of a padlock. It is similar to products from companies such as Master Lock and Trimax, but with the additional features that Mul-T-Lock provides in their high-security locks. This lock has a cost that makes it accessible to most, though some more frugal buyers may faint from sticker shock. Just know for that price you are getting a very hardy lock that almost no one is going to pick the lock open or remove it by force.
2. Abloy PL 342T
Sometimes referred to as the Abloy model 342, this is a tremendous lock, both in terms of size and security. This Abloy padlock uses a PROTEC2 core, which has never been picked open to this day. With an extremely thick shrouded shackle (10mm in diameter) criminals will have a hard time prying it open too.
The main issues you are going to run into with this lock is not having a hasp with the correct dimensions to accommodate such a thick shackle. It is also the most expensive padlock that I am recommending (though certainly not the most expensive padlock you could buy).
3. Stanley Hardened Steel Padlock
The lowest security lock I am willing to recommend for securing your cargo is this Stanley Padlock. It has a shrouded shackle and drill protection, which come standard. I would recommend that you replace the lock core with something more secure, but in terms of price for the product you get, this is the best value for such a small sum.
The Stanley Hardened Steel Padlock is a good starter lock. If you have invested in other things and need a bit of time to recoup adequate funds, the standard Stanley is the lowest security placeholder you should settle for. For the price, you cannot buy much better.
Price matters because money most truck drivers have to work within a budget. Don’t spend all of your budget for your truck’s security on the trailer door lock. With that said, you shouldn’t both with a lock that is less than $100. If money’s no object, you can get the best padlock available to you. For everyone else, focus on getting as many of key features as you can. And if you can’t afford much now, start with a Stanley padlock and work your way up to the lock core replacement.
About the Author
Ralph Goodman is a professional writer and the resident expert on locks and security over at the Lock Blog. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about keys, locks and safety. They offer tips, advice and how-tos for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.