Top 5 Best Locks for Shipping Containers – [Ultimate 2020 Guide]

Get ready to take your shipping container lock system to the highest level imaginable because we selected the best locks for shipping containers for you. Of the many guides we’ve created, this one is easily one of the most exciting. Why? The reason is that securing shipping containers is serious business. Unlike typical lock applications, shipping containers feature lock boxes for enhanced security. In this guide, you’ll find two of the best lock boxes for shipping containers along with the locks.

Before we look at an overview of the five locks, let’s briefly go over the reasons why it’s critical to choose a quality lock:

  • Insurance purposes
  • To ensure your shipping container remains closed no matter how bumpy the ride
  • To keep even the most skilled thieves at bay (the locks in this guide are the types of locks that tell thieves you’re not messing around)

For more information, refer to the World Shipping Council’s complete Industry Guidance for Shippers and Container Stuffers. There, you’ll find everything you need to know about checking and securing your container.

Now, let’s get to the locks in the chart below. After the chart, you’ll find reviews of each lock with additional tips on how to use them and what makes them the pick of the litter.

Best Shipping Container Locks Comparison

Lock Description
#1) ABUS ConHasp Granit 215/100 + 37/55HB100 Padlock

  • Material: Extremely Resistant Steel
  • Core: ABUS-Plus Disc Cylinder
  • Shackle Diameter: 11 mm
  • Lock Size: 62.5 mm
  • Weight: 620 grams (Lock), 7 lbs (Complete Package)
  • Model(s): 215/100, 37/55HB100 (Art. no. 45090)
  • Price: $$$
#2) Equipment Lock Heavy Duty Cargo Door Lock

  • Material: 2” & 2 ½” Square Tube Steel w/ 3/16” Walls
  • Core: High-Security Barrel Style or Built-In Changeable Combination Padlock
  • Compatibility: Fit Doors w/ Vertical Bars 9 ¾” to 16” Apart
  • Dimensions: 10″ x 7″ x 5″
  • Weight: 13 lbs
  • Model(s): HDCDL, HDCDL-C
  • Price: $$
#3) Puck Lock Box & Mul-T-Lock “Hockey-Puck” Padlock w/ MT5+

  • Material: Steel, Hardened Steel
  • Core: MT5+ w/ Telescopic Pin Technology
  • Shackle Diameter: 10.2 mm
  • Lock Size: 74 mm
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs (Padlock)
  • Model(s): 7510958 (Lock), MPN-134 (Lock Box)
  • Price: $$$
#4) PACLOCK TL82A Hidden Shackle Container Lock

  • Material: 6061 Aircraft-Grade Aluminum Body, Steel Shackle
  • Core: 6-Pin Bump & Pick Resistant Rekeyable Cylinder
  • Shackle Diameter: 13/32″
  • Size: 2 1/2″
  • Weight: 2.9 lbs
  • Model(s): TL82A, TL81A
  • Price: $
#5) ABUS 92/80 Monoblock Steel Padlock

  • Material: Brass w/ Steel Jacket, Hardened Steel Shackle
  • Core: 8-Pin Precision Brass Cylinder
  • Shackle Diameter: 12 mm
  • Size: 65 mm and 85 mm
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs
  • Model(s): 92/80, 92/65
  • Price: $

Best Shipping Container Lock Reviews

Now that you’ve had the chance to get an idea of the most secure shipping container locks on the market, let’s go over a list of lock types:

  1. Hidden Shackle Padlocks – PACLOCK’s container lock and Mul-T-Lock’s Hockey Puck Round Padlock are both great examples
  2. Lock Boxes – Bolt-on and weld-on boxes are both used on shipping containers to house your padlock and add an additional layer of security. What we really like about lock boxes is the protection they provide against physical attacks. By choosing a padlock with a high-security cylinder, you basically ensure that thieves have zero chance of accessing your container.
  3. Crossbar Locks – These adjustable locks are typically made of tubular steel that spans the distance between your container’s locking rods or handles. Equipment Lock’s Cargo Door Lock is a good example, as it works well on its own or together with your lock box & padlock combo.
  4. Removable Shackle Padlocks – This is a specialty type of lock that’s made by ABUS. ABUS manufactures its Granit padlocks with this feature. Our top pick includes a Granit padlock with a removable shackle that makes securing your shipping container a breeze.

Next, let’s go over the reviews of each lock with the pros & cons to consider for each.

#1) ABUS ConHasp Granit 215/100 + 37/55HB100 Padlock

We’ll just come right out and say it, this lock box & padlock combo gives you ironclad security. If you’re unfamiliar with ABUS, it’s a German company that’s one of the world leaders in locks. The ConHasp Granit package includes a bolt-on lock box and compatible Granit long-shackle padlock that scores a perfect 10/10 on ABUS’ security scale and holds a CEN Class 4 certification.

One of the key advantages of this combo is the removable shackle padlock that makes securing your container quite easy. There’s no need to worry about blindly wrestling with the padlock below the lock box cover. The design allows you to insert the lock body and shackle at the sides of the box, which is a really nifty feature we like a lot.

One final highlight we want to mention is the ABUS-Plus disc cylinder used in the padlock and weather-resistant materials. With this combo, you get superb resistance to corrosion and protection against picking attacks. Compared to a 4 to 6-pin tumbler, the ABUS-Plus cylinder is a lot harder to pick. Casual thieves have no chance of getting past this lock system.

Pros

  • One of the most secure hasp & lock combos for shipping containers on the market
  • Very easy to operate
  • Top-notch resistance to corrosion
  • Made in Germany (included padlock scores 10/10 on ABUS security scale)
  • Ultimate protection against both physical and picking attacks
  • Easy installation for most people
  • Compatible with old and new containers as well as transport and storage containers

Cons

  • Costlier than a PACLOCK or ABUS shutter padlock

#2) Equipment Lock HDCDL Heavy Duty Cargo Door Lock

Equipment Lock’s HDCDL Cargo Door Lock is the perfect addition to a shipping container lock system or as a medium-security standalone lock. Its adjustable square steel tube frame allows you to adjust it between 9 3/4″ and 16″ apart. Currently, there are two versions of this lock: model HDCDL and HDCDL-C.

The difference lies in the locking mechanism. Model HDCDL features a tubular pin tumbler lock, and model HDCDL-C features a combination padlock. Compared to the ABUS hasp & padlock combo above, this lock is easier to pick, particularly for advanced lock pickers. For better protection against picking, stick with model HDCDL-C because it allows you to choose between using your own lock or the included combination padlock.

Outside of the locking mechanism, the body of this door lock is a beast. You get excellent protection against physical attacks and protection against corrosion with the powder coat finish. Additionally, the bright finish acts as a visual deterrent to keep most thieves at bay. One final advantage of this lock is there’s no mounting required since it connects to the existing innermost vertical bars on your container.

Pros

  • Very simple to use, no mounting required
  • Tough powder coat finish to resist corrosion and to act as a visual deterrent
  • Heavy-duty materials
  • Features 3/16″ thick steel plates that sit flush against the doors for additional support
  • Multiple lock options available
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • More prone to rust issues than ABUS products
  • Better as part of a locking system rather than a standalone lock
  • Easier to pick than Mul-T-Lock and ABUS
  • Not invincible to prying attacks

#3) Puck Lock Box & Mul-T-Lock “Hockey-Puck” Padlock w/ MT5+

For ultimate protection against picking attacks, the MT5+ core in Mul-T-Lock’s Hockey Puck is just about unbeatable. The key features the patented Alpha Spring at its tip for the highest level of protection (see video below). Basically, this lock is a nightmare for lockpickers, just be sure to choose the Hockey Puck model with the MT5+ core to get this level of protection.

Outside of the maximum-security cylinder, this lock box & padlock combo shines in just about every other way. The inherent beauty of the hockey-puck style padlock is the completely hidden shackle. Similar to the ABUS combo, this system is very easy to operate. Simply align the puck and hasp, then turn the key to engage the shackle.

As for the puck box, it’s made for ISO Shipping containers, cargo containers, and Conex boxes. Also, the base package includes a hockey puck padlock if you want to avoid the added purchase of the Mul-T-Lock. Finally, the box includes detailed instructions for welded & bolted installations, a drill template, and all the required mounting hardware.

Pros

  • Versatile installation options with all the required mounting hardware
  • Diesel construction for peace of mind
  • Puck locks feature completely enclosed shackles for maximum security
  • Pair with Mul-T-Lock’s MT5+ puck for maximum security
  • Easy to operate once installed, no need to reach beneath the box to operate the lock
  • Includes a puck lock
  • Powder coat finish

Cons

  • For max security, you’ll most likely want to upgrade over the included puck lock
  • Installation required

#4) PACLOCK TL82A Hidden Shackle Container Lock

Another hidden-shackle style padlock that’s perfect for shipping containers is this one by PACLOCK. First off, this lock is Buy American Act compliant, so you know for sure that you’re getting a lock that’s made in America. However, we did notice that PACLOCK uses global components, which is tough to get around, so it’s hard to fault them there.

There are two versions of this lock available, and PACLOCK recommends its TL82A for shipping containers because it has more spread to fit over your container’s hasp. If you choose model TL81A, check your hasp size to ensure there’s enough spread offered by the lock to secure your container doors.

As for the lock, the solid aluminum body is especially tough against torch attacks and other types of physical attacks. Regarding the core, it’s not as pick-resistant as ABUS-Plus or MT5+ cores. We’ve seen 6-pin tumblers picked rather quickly with just a couple of special tools by experienced lock pickers. Other than that, this lock provides medium security, and it’s easy to use with no installation required.

Pros

  • Incredibly simple to use with no installation required (works with your existing swinging handle hasp)
  • Keyed Alike available with PACLOCK’s unique and convenient key system
  • Made in America
  • The special design shields the shackle from bolt cutter attacks
  • The machined body survives the torch test
  • Features high-security pins for better picking resistance
  • PAC-BAND all-weather keyhole cover

Cons

  • Not quite as secure as ABUS Granit or Mul-T-Lock’s puck lock
  • Prone to rust issues

#5) ABUS 92/80 Monoblock Steel Padlock

The final lock is one of our favorite locks for a wide variety of uses, and it’s perfect for shipping containers. This lock is available in two sizes: 80 mm and 65 mm. When choosing your lock, be sure to match your required size to the second number in the model number. For example, the 92/80 lock is 80 mm wide while the 92/65 is 65 mm wide.

This monoblock lock is also known as a shutter or warehouse padlock. The main difference between it and common padlocks is the straight shackle design rather than the common U-shaped shackle. For this reason, it’s easy to simply align the lock with the loop below your existing lock box and engage the shackle to your secure container. To avoid compatibility issues check the hole size in your current locking loop to ensure the shackle will pass through it and the gap in your lock box to ensure the lock body will fit.

Another advantage of this ABUS lock is the positioning of the shackle extrusion and key entry. Unlike other shutter padlocks, the ABUS series positions these elements on the same side of the lock to avoid compatibility issues with your container. Lastly, this lock is CEN 3/6 rated and scores 8/10 on ABUS’ security scale. Its one shortcoming is that it does not feature the same ABUS-Plus disc cylinder as ABUS Granit locks.

Pros

  • Available in multiple sizes to work with your existing lock box
  • Keyhole and shackle extrusion are located on the same side of the lock
  • The 8-pin precision brass cylinder is more secure than PACLOCK’s 6-pin cylinder
  • A chrome-plated steel jacket for excellent rust resistance
  • Ideal for ocean containers
  • Most lock boxes completely conceal the lock
  • Functions smoothly

Cons

  • Not as secure as ABUS Granit locks
  • Be sure to double-check the size to avoid compatibility issues with your container

Bottom Line

The best locks for shipping containers live little room for thieves to access your container. The first types of locks to check out are locks with hidden or removable shackles. As of now, ABUS manufactures the best locks with removable shackles, which is its Granit series. It’s tough to beat the level of security and convenience offered by the ABUS ConHasp Granit 215/100, and that’s why we ranked it #1.

After the ConHasp, a puck lock box paired with Mul-T-Lock’s Hockey Puck MT5+ padlock is another maximum-security option. Depending on the value of your goods, the peace of mind you get from the two aforementioned locking systems is invaluable.

Finally, if you already have a lock box or swinging handle hasp, then ABUS’ shutter padlock and PACLOCK’s TL82A lock are both great options. As for Equipment Lock’s Cargo Door Lock, we like it as part of a complete locking system rather than a standalone lock because the more layers of protection you have the more likely you are to keep your personal property.

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