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How Secure Does a Shed Door Lock Need to Be?

shed door lock

Besides having a lot of stuff stored in your shed that just shouldn’t be in your house, or the shed handling the overflow, you will have some valuable property stored in your shed. Any lawn machinery such as a tiller or mower, bicycles, motorcycles, or any big boy toys such as a snowmobile are bound to be candy to a would-be thief.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that burglars only do their thing under cover of darkness. For one thing, somebody is more likely to be at home at night. Even if they are asleep, they can always wake up, and the thief won’t be aware of this until it’s too late.

A shed door lock should be secure enough to prevent easy access to the shed and in most cases most burglars will look for an easier target.

Because of this, some thieves are brazen enough to attack during the daytime while you’re at work. They depend on the probability that if a neighbor sees somebody loading your lawn tractor onto a small trailer, the neighbor will think that this guy must be from a mower repair service and he’s taking it in for repairs. Sometimes being visible and seemingly going about his business is the best way to hide his true intentions from prying eyes.

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What is The Most Secure Lock for a Shed?

The key is discouraging a thief from trying your shed once he sees your security setup. Also important is making things as hard as possible for a thief. The longer it takes for somebody to break in, the higher the likelihood that he’ll be seen and caught.

Probably the best kind of shed door lock is called a closed-shackle padlock. This type has a small top loop, making it very hard for a thief to use bolt cutters or an angle grinder to cut it. Be sure to investigate the more well-known lock brands, as they usually are made of stronger materials and are more resistant to weather. A rusty lock doesn’t do anyone any good. Your sheds hinges can also make your shed door more secure, check out my article How to Choose the Best Shed Door Hinges for more information and tips.

Is a Combination Lock Better Than a Keyed Lock?

This seems to be a no-brainer, but actually, combination locks are less secure than keyed locks. Because of the mechanism required for the combination, it simply can’t be made to be as strong as a keyed lock. In fact, many homeowners’ insurance companies won’t cover your shed if you use a combination lock.

How to Choose the Best Door Lock for Your Shed

Choosing your shed door lock is one of the most important facets of your shed’s security system. Let’s look at a few highly rated choices.

ABUS Diskus LockThe ABUS Diskus Lock – This is a small, disk-shaped lock with a short shackle forming part of the circular shape. It’s made of stainless steel with a six-pin cylinder that uses discs inside instead of the usual locking pins, making it harder to pick with traditional lockpicks.

A cylinder cover protects against weather. While it’s a rather expensive lock for a shed, costing around $60, if your neighborhood is subject to break-ins, this lock will provide a lot of peace of mind. It’s a really good deterrent to keep unwanted guests out of your shed.

Master Lock ProSeries 6271N – This lock will probably look a bit unusual, as the shackle is actually on the back of the lock. All you see on the outside is a small, thick, puck-shaped body that is made of steel and is very resistant to drilling or sawing.

You’ll need a special hasp that goes over the sides of the lock, but the good news is that you can buy a kit containing both the lock and hasp. The lock itself costs around $35, the kit is priced at around $46.

The drawbacks are that even with the kit, you’ll still need to get bolts, nuts and washers, as they don’t come with the kit. It can also be a little tricky to install. When you’re attaching the lock to the hasp, you’ll need to press the lock into the hasp with the right alignment for the lock to engage.

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Schlage B60N – If your shed has solid core doors, how about considering a deadbolt? They are actually easier to use on a shed as they can be opened with one hand when you’re carrying things inside. This Schlage model boasts a Grade 1 ANSI/BHMA rating, the highest possible for a deadbolt.

It also features a lifetime warranty covering not only the mechanical parts but also the exterior finish. An added bonus is that if you have these locks on your house as well, you can have them all re-keyed by a locksmith so that the same key opens all the locks. These locks cost around $35.

Master Lock ProSeries 6230N – This is a choice on this list for people on a tight budget. It only costs around $30, but it’s rated as being commercial strength, so you do get your money’s worth. It uses a special BumpStop cylinder design and uses a boron alloy for strength, earning it a Grade 6 ASTM security rating, the top rating for a padlock.

The cylinder design prevents a thief from using a special locksmith tool known as a bump key to jolt the pins into the unlocked position.

The only drawback is the longer shackle which makes it a bit vulnerable to bolt cutters. It’s chrome plated, but it can eventually rust if it’s often subjected to wet conditions. If your shed roof has a decent size overhang in the front, this will help protect the lock.

StartFine T-Handle Lock Kit – This is another budget-minded choice priced around $18. This lock has a T-shaped handle with the lock right in the center. It features a zinc-plated spindle that goes through the door.

The zinc prevents rust, and the outer parts are coated with a black powder coating to protect against the weather. It has a D-shaped handle on the inside, which will keep anyone from prying out the lock.

The kit comes with all you will need, including self-threading screws. When the handle is in the shut position and locked, the handle prevents anyone from reaching the screws with a screwdriver, so he can’t just remove the mechanism. It does have a limitation, in that it’s only good for a door that is less than 4-1/2 inches thick.

Do I Need an Alarm System for My Shed?

If you live in an area that’s prone to break-ins, this will probably be a good idea. You don’t need a fancy security system. Even one that just sounds a loud alarm when the door or window is disturbed will be enough to send a burglar running. These usually work much like a car alarm and will sound long before a burglar actually gains entry.

What Else Can I Do to Secure My Shed?

There are several things that will help you secure your shed. One is to get the kind of hasp that has a long arm that folds back on itself when the lock is in place. It covers the hasp fasteners so that nobody can just bypass the lock by unscrewing the hasp. Check out my article How to Choose a Shed Door Latch to make your shed more secure.

Use fasteners that are harder to get into on all your shed hardware, including the hinges, such as Torx screws or round-headed bolts. Many thieves will carry slot and Phillips screwdrivers but probably not Torx drivers.

Round-headed bolts can’t be accessed by any type of screwdriver, and because they sit flush with the door, it’s hard to get a tool underneath to pry them off. In addition, the nut on the other side makes this almost impossible.

Sometimes a determined thief will actually just try to remove the hinges on the door if that seems easiest. You can add security by using super glue on the nut inside the door. Make sure you get hinges made of sturdy, heavy steel, making them harder to pry off or saw through.

Windows are a prime source of entry. Many burglars will look through a window to ascertain whether your shed has anything making it worth breaking into. Curtains or shades will prevent this. Even if you don’t have any big items, thieves will often prefer smaller things that are easier to carry. Any kind of power tool can easily be sold or pawned. You can use frosted glass to prevent this.

Getting a window with laminated glass will make it much harder to break than ordinary window glass. Motion lights are also great over both the door and window. Those with small solar panels attached won’t require running power to your shed.

One good tip is to plant a thorny bush under the window, making it hard and unpleasant for a thief to get to it. Shrub roses aren’t as picky as tea roses to grow and have plenty of thorns. Dwarf holly bushes can be plenty painful, and the dwarf varieties won’t grow to cover the window. Blackberries are another good choice.

If a thief tries to climb through them, the thorns will catch on his clothes like crazy and even get caught in his skin. Tri-foliate oranges, also called hardy oranges, are fairly carefree and have very visible thorns up to two inches long.

While the thorns are more painful when a branch is dead and brown, just the sight of these can be enough to get a miscreant to go elsewhere. Keep any other bushes trimmed around the shed or do without them altogether. You don’t want to provide a hiding place for burglars. Also having the door swing correct can also increase security, check out my article Should a Shed Door Open In or Out? for more information.


Your shed won’t do you much good if somebody finds it easy to remove your things. Being security-minded when purchasing your shed door lock and other hardware can go a long way towards adding security without adding much more cost. Consider the extra cost as peace-of-mind insurance.