Do I Need a Fully Weatherproof Padlock?
A fully weatherproof padlock is a padlock that uses 100% stainless steel and non-corrosive materials. Also known as marine padlocks, they are suitable for salt water and other extreme environments. This is a common question and the answer is usually no.
The first thing to break the padlock to work properly is the internal mechanism. This mechanism is very small and complex, using tiny pins and springs. When these rust or corrode, they will prevent the key from properly operating the cylinder and ultimately prevent the lock from opening fully.
However, many non-marine padlocks are ideal for outdoor use, and many good quality padlocks use corrosion-free internal mechanisms.
The dilemma between a standard padlock and a fully marine padlock is due to the padlock’s shackle and the metal used in the lock body. Alloys and metals that are completely corrosion-free are inherently softer, so they can be sawed, cut or bolted more easily. For example, a standard version with a “hardened steel” shackle and a fully weatherproof version with a “stainless steel” shackle. They are the same size and the same design, but a fully weatherproof model will be more vulnerable due to the softer metal composition of the shackle. Consider this when choosing the right padlock for your application.
In general, we would recommend standard padlocks with hardened shackles for general outdoor use. Shackles may discolor over time, but rest assured that your padlock is stronger and this corrosion will not affect functionality.
However, if you plan on not using the padlock for extended periods of time by the sea, on a boat, underwater, or in other extreme environments, then a marine-grade padlock will be the best choice. Any padlock with a “raindrop” icon is a fully weatherproof marine grade padlock.
Remember that even marine-grade padlocks are susceptible to grit, sand, and dirt. For these, some padlocks are encased within a plastic sheath and protected keyway. They are also usually marine grade, ideal for padlocks exposed to moisture and other solid elements.