101 Guide Of Types Of Combination Locks

A sturdy combination lock may keep an individual’s possessions safe in their absence or give extra security to a rear gate or outbuilding. The greatest versions on the market are small enough to take anywhere, tough enough to endure the conditions, and intimidating enough to deter criminals.

A proficient lockpick can overcome most locks given enough time and the right tools—but if thieves see a difficult nut to break, they may simply move on to easier prey. Even if the most determined robbers persist, the best combination locks should put a stop to their attempts. 

So keep reading to find out what to look for in a combination lock and why the types listed below are rated among the best available. And, the tips mentioned in this blog will also help you find a reliable digital lock supplier for your lock business. 

What Is Combination Locks?

A combination lock used in safes
Source: Pixabay

The combination lock was created in China, yet historical documents give little detailed information about its development. Mid-1800s bank vaults in the US were secured with combination locks. 

The vault locks are a colorful addendum to the old West, as western films show. James Sargent prevented several bank robbers in 1873 by creating a time lock and combination lock that kept everyone out of the vault until the designated time, generally once a day.

The combination lock is one that is unlocked not by a key but by the precise alignment of its inside components. The most prevalent kinds contain an internal mechanism composed of three or four linked rings or discs joined to and rotated by a central shaft. Turning the outside knob or dial manually rotates the discs, each of which is “programmed” to stop at a notched aperture or gate. 

Combination padlocks restrict property access by the use of a dial or a scrolling mechanism. In safes, schools, gyms, and health clubs, combination padlocks are frequently utilized to safeguard valuables.

Types Of Combination Locks

Below are the various types of combination locks that are used. If you are considering setting up a combination lock store, it’s vital to provide all of these to your customers.

Electronic Combination Lock

Electronic Combination Locks operate on an algorithm method in which numbers must be manually entered into the electronic device by pushing particular keys repeatedly until the required number is reached, making it tough. The manual dial contains three wheels that, when appropriately spun, unlock the lock automatically without the need for any outside force! Its locks are intended to provide security and safety. 

It comes with a pre-programmed code that is simple to remember, making it the most preferred smart door lock china. It may be used in schools, offices, residences, or anywhere else people wish to protect their valuables against theft or unauthorized entry. Electronic hotel locks Bluetooth are an excellent example of its applications.

Single-Dial Locks

Single Dial Lock

A typical form of padlock used for securing things such as lockers and storage sheds is the single-dial combination lock. Single-dial combination locks come in a variety of forms and sizes, but the essential premise is the same: spin one dial to enter the code, while another dial locks or unlocks the device. 

Single dials may also be fixed on floors or walls using installation kits, making them adaptable security choices for a variety of establishments ranging from schools to hospitals where safety is paramount!

Multiple-Dial Locks

A multiple dial combination lock
Source: Pixabay

A multiple dial lock is a lock that has more than one dial. It contains three or five primary numbers that move independently of one another and cannot be modified until the proper combination is typed into them all at once. It is used to secure doors instead of singular locking mechanisms. 

Many houses, apartment complexes, and companies have multiple-dial locks. Using multiple-dial locks can provide effective protection, causing criminals to go for an easier target elsewhere. 

Modern Combination Locks

Modern Combination Locks
source: Unsplash

When the right sequence is typed on the keypad, a succession of wheels turns. Modern combination locks include anti-shim technology, backlit keys for night visibility, and motion sensors that trigger alarm systems if someone tries to open the lock without inputting the proper code or if it senses movement while an erroneous code is being entered into its keypad. 

Modern combination locks provide increased security since all lock access is controlled by a keypad. Modern combination locks may be utilized in several settings, including hotels, schools, and warehouses. Modern combination locks come in a variety of sizes and types to accommodate any application requirement or budget.

Combination Padlocks

Combination padlock
source: Unsplash

Combination padlocks are sometimes called ‘Dial Combination Locks’ since they feature a number that may be set by the owner, unlike other traditional locks. These are one-of-a-kind locks used to secure diverse things. These locks feature a dial with numbers on it, and the user must spin the wheel to unlock or lock them. 

It has a benefit over a keypad lock in that even if someone knows the unlock code, they will not be able to unlock it without the owner’s awareness as long the code is not shared with anyone who may misuse it.

Mechanical Combination Lock

A mechanical lock with a keypad
Source: Pinterest

A mechanical combination lock is a lock that unlocks using a set of dials, each of which corresponds to one letter or digit in an alphabetical sequence. It typically employs three types of techniques: rotary, push-button, and tumbler mechanical combination locks. They are typically used to provide protection for items such as a toolbox or storage container. 

It may be unlocked using a variety of methods, including dialing numbers until they align right and using keys to rotate the mechanism within the lock itself. It comes in a variety of sizes and forms, but each one has a unique number sequence that allows it to be accessed by turning or lifting on levers situated around the device’s circumference. 

These are inexpensive solutions to keep the valuable stuff safe from being stolen or accessed without the owner’s consent.

How Do Combination Locks Work?

a combination lock design
Source: Pinterest

Combination locks vary from most other common locks in that their internal components must be aligned in a precise manner by utilizing external dials to open rather than a key. These locks are often made up of three, occasionally four, interlocking rings or discs that are all connected by and spun by a central shaft.

The mechanism is controlled by an external knob that moves the discs/dials, which are individually halted at a notched aperture or gate.

What Happens Inside A Combination Lock?

Below is the entire process that takes place in a combination lock:

  • The wheel pack is the principal lock element of a combination safe; it is a group of gadgets that work together to ‘know’ the combination. While safe manufacturers have created numerous versions of the wheel pack to prevent cracking, they all work on the same premise.
  • The wheel pack consists of a combination dial linked to a spindle. The spindle travels via numerous wheels and a driving cam inside the lock. The number of wheels in a wheel pack is defined by the combination of numbers – one wheel for each number. The spindle rotates the drive cam when the dial is turned. 
  • A drive pin is joined to the drive cam. The driving pin finally makes contact with a little tab on the neighboring wheel known as the wheel fly as the cam revolves.
  • Either wheel has a wheel fly on each side of it. The driving pin spins the first wheel until it comes into contact with the neighboring wheel. This process is repeated frequently till all of the wheels are rotating. This is referred to as taking up the wheels. 
  • Each spindle wheel has a notch carved into it. When the proper combination is used, all of the wheels and notches line up properly.
  • The railing is barely above the wheels. The fence consists of a tiny metal bar connected to a lever. The fence prevents the safe door from being accessed without first dialing the combination. This is accomplished by lying on the wheels and obstructing the passage of the bolt that secures the safe door.
  • When all of the wheels align, the notches generate a gap. The weight of the fence causes it to collapse into this space. With the barrier removed, the bolt may readily pass through and the safe can be unlocked. When all of the wheels in the wheel pack are in place, their notches align to generate a gap. The barrier collapses into the breach due to the power of its own weight, allowing the safe to be unlocked.

How Does A Rotatory Combination Lock Work?

Rotatory Combination Lock
source: Unsplash

A wheel pack is a series of wheels that operate together to ‘know’ the combination in most combination locks. All-wheel drives are all based on the same concept. A rotating combination lock is an unkeyed padlock mechanism that is widely used to protect safes. This locking mechanism consists of a single dial that must be spun left and right in a certain sequence to unlock the lock. 

Inside the mechanism are three discs with notches that must be positioned in order for the component to keep the lock in place to be released for the lock to open. The disc positions are changed by moving the dial left and right; there is a catch—a sort of nub—on the dial, and a little catch on either side of the discs. As this disc revolves, its catch will begin rotating the following disc in the same manner. 

Once all discs and the dial are rotating together, the dial is rotated until the last disc is in place and the notch is properly positioned, then the catches all disconnect, starting from the dial to the first disc and so on until they reconnect from the other side and the discs begin to rotate together by the same method but in the opposite direction. The operation is repeated until all discs are in position and the lock is released.

How To Work A Combo Lock?

A combination lock to be opened
Source: Pixabay

Since Master Lock launched its first combination lock in 1935, the procedure for opening it has remained unchanged. “3-2-1 – Three to the right, twice to the left, one to the right.” To begin, clear the dial by spinning it three or four times clockwise, then stop on the first number in the combination. 

Turn the dial counterclockwise once, passing the first number, then stopping on the second number of the combination. Finally, spin the dial clockwise to the third position and release the shackle. 

A multiple-dial lock’s combination correlates to the numerical position of each dial, beginning with the one closest to the shackle. Simply turn the dials until the correct combination lines up with the arrow, then unlock the door.

In a nutshell, simply follow the instructions outlined below: 

  • Turning Combination Locks = RIGHT – LEFT – RIGHT
  • Have the combination code for the lock.
  • Turn the dial three times to the right and stop at the first number.
  • Turn the dial LEFT 1 full turn, past the first number, and stop at the second number.
  • Turn the dial RIGHT and come to a halt at the third number.
  • To OPEN, pull on the lock.

Resetting the Combination

A combination lock to be reset
Source: Pixabay

A single-dial lock combination is fixed at the manufacturer and cannot be changed. The method for resetting the combination on a multi-dial lock differs depending on the model. Manufacturers may add a reset tool, which is a tiny metal bar that fits into a hole on the bottom of the lock, or a reset button on the lock. 

Some locks include neither. A combination can’t be reset without the knowledge of the current combination, just like someone can’t reset a password unless they know the current one. Set the dials to the current combination and then do one of the following procedures:

  • Turn the reset tool 90 degrees and insert it into the aperture.
  • After entering the new combination, return the bar to its original place and remove it.
  • Keep the reset button held while entering the new combination.
  • When the combination is complete, release the button.
  • Open the shackle completely, rotate it 90 degrees, and press it down.
  • If the shackle does not come down when rotated 90 degrees, try 180 degrees.
  • Hold the shackle in place while setting the combination, then let go.

Keyed Locks Vs Combination locks


The first consideration between these two locks is their susceptibility. Both can do an excellent job of keeping the important stuff secure, but what if someone loses the key to the lock or forget the combination to the safe or keypad? When using these locks, there is always a level of vulnerability. A locksmith can, however, be employed to produce duplicate keys or to unlock the safe or keypad. 

For people who could easily forget the passcode, they can carry the key around their neck all the time and write the combination of the lock or keypad on the smartphone. Anyone can lose the keys to a standard lock without realizing it, which can cause a slew of difficulties and have far-reaching effects. 

However, if they write the combination lock or keypad code on the smartphone or a piece of paper in the wallet, the chances of losing or forgetting the combination are significantly reduced. When it comes down to it, when comparing these locks under these conditions, combination locks have a slight advantage.

Emergency Access

Combination Lock
source: Unsplash

This is a more difficult issue to grasp since it involves two components: first, the purpose to enter, and second, an emergency. Property may be protected using keyed locks since only the person who has the key can enter the area. On the other hand, anyone who knows the combination lock’s passcode can get entry to a restricted area. 

However, if an emergency arises in case of the absence of the key, the owner will be unable to enter the residence. Forgetting the passcode is quite uncommon since people don’t forget anything as crucial as a secure combination or a keypad combination. 

As a result, in the event of an emergency, combination locks have an edge. But then again, the owner may phone a locksmith business and notify them of the issue, and a crew will be dispatched to the location as soon as possible to handle the matter.

General Security Concerns

a door keylock
Source: Pixabay

Which type of lock is more secure when it comes to safeguarding valuables? Which is the most difficult to crack? This is determined by the purpose of the lockers. The ideal type of lock is one that is built into or protects the locker. The electronics hotel locks Bluetooth, for example, and uses cutting-edge RFID frequency technology that no thief can invade. 

Furthermore, different firms frequently produce distinct keys. Bisley locker keys, Link Lockers locker keys, and Garran locker keys, for example, are all associated with distinct brand locks, making them difficult to duplicate. 

A three-number combination is all that is required to breach a combination lock. 

Unfortunately, both may be cracked by expert thieves, which is why no one should ever put valuable stuff in a safe. However, for a school locker room, both are effective in deterring opportunistic theft. As stated by numerous hotel door lock manufacturers, combination locks work best in places where customer safety is the most important factor in attracting more people and generating revenue.

Padlocks vs Combination Locks

An unlocked padlock
Source: Unsplash

Padlocks are detachable locks with a u-shaped bar that is hinged at one end and meant to be passed through an opening in a hasp or a link in a chain to prevent unauthorized usage, theft, or vandalism, or damage.

They are made up of three main parts: the shackle, the body, and the locking mechanism:

  • Shackle: A metal loop (u-shaped bar) that opens to lock and unlock the padlock; available in a variety of lengths and diameters to meet a variety of applications. A straight shackle is used in a somewhat unusual form of lock.
  • The Body of the padlock is the solid component that houses the locking mechanism.
  • Locking mechanism/cylinder: Locks typically include a keyway into which the key is placed, although they may also employ a rotating mechanism or dial.

Advantages of Padlocks

a key padlock outside a door
Source: Unsplash

Padlocks are commonly used on storage units, display cabinets, and filing cabinets, as well as lockers and desk drawers. These are the best solution to use for goods that need to be adequately safeguarded while still being easy to enter for those who are permitted to do so.

  • They are available in a variety of types – Padlocks are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials to suit aesthetics.
  • They’re quite adaptable — Because they’re so dependable,  padlocks may be used to secure a variety of items.
  • Simple to use – No need to memorize a string of numbers or symbols; all a person need is a key.
  • They’re weather resistant – Because the technology of a  padlock is hidden within the lock itself, they’re unaffected by inclement weather.
  • They’re simple to open — As long a key is available, key locks are simple to unlock.

Advantages Of Combination Locks

Combination Door Lock
Source: Unsplash
  • They’re fairly straightforward to use — setting up a combination lock takes only a few minutes.
  • They cannot be picked since there is no key, making it difficult for criminals to attempt to pick the lock.
  • They’re practical – because one doesn’t have to worry about keeping a key secure when traveling, and the locks are practical.
  • They’re inexpensive — combination locks are low-cost technologies.
  • There are several options – there is a large range of combination locks available to select the best one from.

Which Is More Secure

a combination lock used to secure keys and keychains
Source: Pinterest

When the benefits of both the key lock and the combination lock are considered, it is evident that both devices are dependable in safeguarding people’s most valued items and assets. Because each lock has distinct benefits to suit different situations, it should be considered which device is most suited to satisfy the current needs of the owner.

A lock’s combination may also be readily distributed to all authorized members of staff at a workplace, allowing a lot of employees to obtain access to the lock without having to cut and distribute several keys. 

However, for things such as furniture cabinets and lockers, key locks would be the most advantageous in ensuring security for the contents – the locks are simple to operate and do not require a combination or sequence to be remembered. On the other hand, a combination lock might potentially function as a smart cabinet lock that does not require a key to access.


Combination locks are the finest way to secure goods and valuables, but they may be tough to unlock. It’s critical to pick the right sort of combination lock for a user’s needs so that it doesn’t take them hours to get into their house or workplace. 

Due to the inevitable need for combination locks, starting a combination lock business can be a good option. And if you are looking out for suppliers, we recommend reaching out to one of the market’s leading biometric door lock suppliers, Be-tech.

Blogs you may be interested in:

  1. What is the keyless electronic door lock
  2. 101 Commercial electronic door lock guide
  3. What is the keyless electronic door lock
  4. Main door lock types for security
  5. Types of key card entry access system

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