Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Welcome to our big chain lock test 2022. Here we present all the chain locks we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best chain lock for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying a chain lock.




Key Facts

  • Chain locks are characterised by the fact that they are relatively secure and can be easily transported and fastened due to their flexibility, but they are also relatively heavy.
  • There are many ways to secure your bike or motorbike. Maximum security is achieved by combining several different locks.
  • Chain locks can be used in many ways, for example to secure prams or garden furniture.

The Best Chain Lock: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a chain lock

What is a chain lock?

A chain lock is one of two things. On the one hand, it is a type of safety lock, and on the other hand, it is a part that can be used to repair a broken bicycle chain. This article tells you about the anti-theft chain lock. The links of the chain lock are made of steel up to twelve millimetres thick.

The classic steel chain is used for all kinds of locks and security devices. (Image source: unsplash.com / JJ. Ying)

Combination and cylinder locks are usually used as locks, but a padlock can also be used. Chain locks are considered very flexible and can be used in many ways, but they are also relatively heavy.

What should I look for to find the right chain lock?

Chain locks differ mainly in their strength and length, and therefore also in their weight. Before choosing a lock, it is important to think about what you need it for.

Both the strength and the length of the chain lock influence the security against theft.

Stronger chains are usually more difficult to cut. Longer chains make it easier to chain the bicycle. Chaining increases security because the bicycle cannot simply be carried away. However, both of these features increase the weight of the lock.

So you need to think about what you need. If you have just bought a new city bike or sports bike that you will be using a lot in the city, you should definitely not save on the lock and also accept the higher weight. However, if you travel less in cities, keep your bike safely indoors most of the time and just want to protect your bike from being pushed away, a lighter, thinner, shorter lock will suffice.

What can you use a chain lock for?

The main use of chain locks is to secure bicycles and motorbikes. They are particularly well established on bicycles and are one of the most popular securing devices.

The chain lock convinces with its versatile application. (Image source: unsplash.com / Masaaki Komori)

Furthermore, chain locks can be used for all means of transport on two wheels, but also for garden furniture, garden tools and front doors.

How much does a chain lock cost?

The price of a chain lock depends mainly on the quality of the lock and its dimensions. Shorter, thinner models are usually cheaper and thicker, longer ones are usually more expensive.

Price
Chain lock without casing approx. 10 – 20 €
Chain lock coated approx. 10 – 120 €

Models with sheathing are usually more expensive than models without. The reason for this is not that the sheathing is so expensive, but that higher quality chains are usually sheathed. Cheap chain locks can be bought for as little as €10. Models with a sheath can cost up to 120 €, without a sheath usually up to 20 €.

What are the alternatives to a chain lock?

There are numerous alternatives to chain locks for the main purpose of securing bicycles:

  • U-lock
  • Folding lock
  • Cable lock

A U-lock consists of a metal shackle encased in plastic, which is connected by a lock.

Advantages
  • Very secure
  • Reliable
Disadvantages
  • Inflexible
  • Impractical to transport

This type of bicycle lock is considered particularly secure and reliable. On the other hand, however, it is awkward to transport and also to fasten because it is completely inflexible. It can often be difficult to chain the bicycle. A folding lock consists of rigid links that can be folded.

Advantages
  • Very stable
  • Relatively flexible
Disadvantages
  • Heavier
  • More impractical to use

According to the manufacturer, folding locks have excellent security properties because the movable links make it more difficult to use tools. They are also easier to transport and more flexible than U-locks. Cable locks consist of a steel cable covered with plastic.

Advantages
  • Lightweight
  • Very flexible
Disadvantages
  • Relatively insecure

The cable lock is characterised by the fact that it is very light and flexible. On the other hand, it is easy to open with the appropriate tools and is therefore relatively insecure. It is therefore more suitable for leaving the bicycle for short periods in a safe area, especially in rural areas.

Decision: What types of chain locks are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy a chain lock, you have to think about what you want from it and how much you are willing to spend. If you want to buy a chain lock, there are basically two alternatives you can choose between:

  • Models without casing
  • Models with sheath

This subdivision says relatively little about the quality and only a limited amount about the possible uses of a chain lock, but the purchase criteria will help you further.

What distinguishes a chain lock without a cover and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A chain lock without a casing usually only consists of a steel chain that can be connected to a padlock.

Advantages
  • Cheaper
  • Do it yourself
Disadvantages
  • Scratches bike
  • Often poorer quality

Since chain locks without a casing consist only of a chain and a padlock, you can easily get one yourself without spending a lot of money. You can buy both the chain and the padlock cheaply at a DIY store.

On the other hand, chains without a sheath can scratch your bike while riding. If you have a new bike and this bothers you, it is advisable not to buy a chain without a cover. Furthermore, homemade chain locks can often be heavier and still provide poorer protection.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a chain lock with a shroud?

Most chain locks available on the market come with a sheath. This casing is usually made of fabric or plastic.

Advantages
  • Protects against scratching
  • Various qualities
Disadvantages
  • More expensive
  • Difficult to compare

A sheathed chain lock protects the bicycle from scratches. Furthermore, certain sheath materials also protect against water and thus rust. Since the majority of locks available on the market have a sheath, there is more choice here.

The various brands, such as Abus or Kryptonite, specify security levels for their products. However, these are not universal and can therefore only be compared with the manufacturer’s other products, but not with others.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate chain locks

In the following chapter, we will show you what to look for when deciding on a particular lock to protect against theft. The most important aspects with which you can compare chain locks are listed below:

  • Security
  • Operation
  • Weight

In the following paragraphs, we will explain what the individual criteria are.

Safety

Of course, the main criterion when buying a chain lock is the security it offers against theft. The security provided by chain locks from different manufacturers is difficult to compare because the

manufacturers use different security levels. What you should look for when evaluating the security of a lock are the potential weak points. A common weak point is the connection between the chain and the lock.

No matter how strong the chain is, if the connection to the lock is not properly made, the chain is considered insecure. Another criterion is the visual protection of a chain. This should very well be a criterion, as a solid chain lock is also considered a preventive deterrent against potential thieves.

Operation

Your preferences play a big role here, such as whether you prefer a combination lock or one with a key. The flexibility and length of the chain determine how well and easily the bicycle can be chained.

Factors that influence the operation of the chain lock are: The lock, the flexibility of the chain and the length.

If you are interested in a combination lock, we have linked you to our test with the best combination locks.

Weight

The biggest disadvantage of chain locks is that they are very heavy. How heavy varies greatly from model to model. Strong chain locks can weigh up to 5 kg. You need to consider how you will carry this extra weight before you buy, or whether it will be a hindrance to your use and you can get by with a lighter one.

Facts worth knowing about chain locks

How are chain locks broken? Tips against theft.

To know what you are protecting yourself from, it is good to know what chain locks are vulnerable to. Bicycle thieves usually use bolt cutters or other handy pliers with which they can pick the lock quickly and unnoticed. So to protect yourself against theft, you should follow a few points.

  1. Where do you park your bike?
  2. How long do you leave it?
  3. How do I lock my bike properly?

These points are explained in more detail below: Where do you park your bike? The safety of your bike is strongly influenced by where you park it. In urban areas, caution is generally advised and, if possible, it should be parked in areas where there are many people. However, it is important to remember that this does not prevent theft, it just reduces the likelihood of it.

The slightly more creative theft protection. (Source: unsplash.com / Hughes de Buyer Mimeure)

In rural areas, bicycles should not be parked directly next to roads if possible, especially not near motorways. This way, the bicycle is discovered more quickly and is also more easily removed. How long do you leave it?

The longer you leave your bike unattended, the higher the risk of theft. This is especially true at night. You should not leave your bike outside overnight, especially in cities. Lock your bike properly Locking your bicycle properly is a relatively difficult subject, as it consists of many parts that can be detached individually.

Especially with high-quality bicycles, individual parts are very expensive. As a rule, you should chain the bicycle to a fixed object, such as a bicycle stand, by means of the lock on the frame.

What to do if the lock no longer opens or closes?

There can be several reasons for this. Here is a list of the most common ones:

  • Rust
  • Key broken off
  • Other defects

If your lock has been unused for a longer period of time, for example after the winter in spring, it is possible that the lock has rusted and is therefore jammed or cannot be closed or can only be closed with difficulty.

This can also happen with constant use, especially if the lock is often in contact with water It is advisable to treat the lock with appropriate anti-rust sprays. Regular use will prevent unpleasant situations. If your key breaks off or if there are other defects in the key, you should contact the manufacturer and find out if a replacement key can be made.

In the case of defective locks, you should also contact the manufacturer and proceed according to their instructions, as these locks are designed not to be opened without a key.

Image source: pixabay.com / Henk Schenkels

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