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Locks That Cannot Be Cut With Bolt Cutters

Shelley Frost

Locks that cannot be cut with bolt cutters can increase the security of your belongings. Learn what features to look for to keep locks from being cut.

Thieves are experts at quickly cutting or picking locks to make off with your valuable belongings. Padlocks and bike locks can slow them down, but you can increase the chances of keeping your items safe if you choose those locks wisely. Locks that can't be cut with bolt cutters have some common features that you should look for when buying a new lock.

What Thieves Want

A potential thief wants a quick, quiet exit with your bike or whatever belongings you have secured with a lock. Bolt cutters fit both of those needs, which increases the thief's chances of escaping unnoticed.

However, not all types of locks are easy to cut with bolt cutters. Thieves look for lightweight, flimsy locks made from materials that are easy to cut. A large, exposed shackle gives the thief more leverage to cut or break the lock.

Almost any lock can eventually be cut or broken, but most thieves don't have that kind of time or want to draw that type of attention. Your goal when choosing a lock is to make it unappealing to potential thieves so they move on to an easier target.

Thick Lock Shackle

A thick lock takes more work to cut through than a thin one. Compare the thickness of the shackle, which is the U-shaped loop of metal on the lock, to find one that's thick and sturdy. Thickness isn't the only factor, but it helps to make the cut harder to do with bolt cutters.

Less Exposed Shackle

Cutting through the shackle to remove the lock requires an exposed shackle for the bolt cutters to reach. Many bolt-cutter-resistant locks have a less exposed shackle to make this more difficult. The thief can't get the blades of the bolt cutter to the shackle quickly and easily, so he might move on. This isn't as easy to find on bike locks since you need a long U shape to fit around the bike and the item to which you're securing it. If you're looking for a padlock, choose one with a short or shrouded shackle.

Strong Steel Construction

The material is another factor in how easy it is to cut the lock with bolt cutters. Steel alloys tend to give the strongest protection against bolt cutters. Boron alloy is one example of a material that's difficult to cut through. Hardened steel is also used in many locks and can make the lock more resistant to bolt cutters.

ASTM Security Grades

Some locks have an ASTM security grade to describe how secure they are. A higher number indicates a stronger lock. Having any ASTM grading indicates that the lock is of higher quality that meets those standards than locks without a grading.

U Bike Lock

If you're securing your wheels, you'll likely see U locks and cable locks in the bike lock section. Cable locks are lightweight and easy to wrap around a variety of items, but they're usually very easy to cut with bolt cutters.

U locks aren't as susceptible to bolt cutters, especially if they're made from a stronger material with a sturdy, thick design. It usually requires power tools to cut through a U lock.

Examples of Locks

Some locks are more resistant to bolt cutters. Some options include:

  • Kryptonite New York Lock:​ This U lock is made of hardened steel and is designed to resist bolt cutters and other tools. It also includes an anti-theft protection offer from the manufacturer. If your bike is stolen due to someone successfully and maliciously destroying the lock, it will reimburse you for part of the bike expense or your insurance deductible.

  • Commando Total Guard Lock:​ The Total Guard lock is described as bolt-cutter-proof and is made with strong steel alloy. It has a shrouded shackle design, which makes it difficult to reach the shackle with bolt cutters.

  • Abus Granit Plus Lock:​ This hardened alloy steel lock also has a short shackle, making it ideal for storage shed security and other areas you want to secure.