Bike Locks Buyers Guide

If you’re commuting by bike, it’s important to make sure it’s secure when not in use. A bike lock is a simple and effective way to deter thieves and ensure your two wheels are kept safe and secure.

There are a range of different bike locks out there, so knowing exactly which bike lock is best for you can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve put together this bike locks buyer’s guide which will take you through the different options and help you to choose a bike lock that fits your needs.

In this article, we’ll cover:

How do bike locks work?

Different bike work in different ways, but the main purpose they all share is to deter thieves from attempting to steal your bike. They do this in a couple of ways:

By immobilising the wheels

The easiest way to make off with someone's bike is to jump on and pedal it away. If you've got a bike lock that feeds through the wheels and stops the bike from moving, then it makes it harder for a thief to ride away.

By fastening the frame to an immovable object

Securing your bike to an immovable object, such as a fence or railing, thieves will have a hard time simply picking it up and taking it away.

In most cases, a bike lock will fasten around the bike (either through the frame or through both the frame and wheels) and then lock in place, using either a combination lock or a conventional lock that uses a key. When you’re fastening the lock to a lamp post, bike rack, railing or even a bench, make sure the whole bike and lock can't be lifted over whatever it’s locked to!

Which is the best bike lock?

Different bike locks provide varying levels of security for different scenarios. The main thing to look out for is the security rating, which indicates how secure the lock is. The bike locks we sell at Halfords all come with either a standard security rating, or a Sold Secure approval.

Products with a Sold Secure rating have been tested externally by Sold Secure, the UK’s premier test house for security products, who test bicycle locks to a pedal cycle rating of bronze, silver, gold, or diamond grade. This is determined by the security level of the product. Tests are carried out annually and determine how well the product protects against theft. The grades are also based on the time it takes for the lock to be removed or bypassed using hand tools and, at diamond grade, power tools. Typically, the higher the grade, the heavier duty of tools required and the longer the attack time.

At Halfords, we test our locks in a similar way, using various tools commonly used by criminals and ranking them accordingly on a scale of 1-10, with locks rated 10 lasting the longest.

It's important to note that no lock, no matter how secure, is 100% thief-proof. Locks will only ever act as a deterrent to a committed thief, but the tougher the lock, the stronger the deterrent.

Bike lock types

Let’s take a look at the common types of bike lock you’ll find in stores.

D locks

A popular choice, D Locks use a strong, curved tube of steel that can be slotted between wheel spokes or around the bike frame. The lock then hooks around a bike rack, railing, piece of street furniture, or secure unit. A locked bar is then added to each end of the tube to keep it in place, with a key or combination code used to secure everything in place. Most D locks come with a frame that can be attached to your bike so you can easily ride with your D lock without having to carry a bag around.

We stock a number of high-quality D-Locks including the Halfords Advanced 23cm D-Lock that also includes a 115cm cable lock. It holds a Gold Sold Secure rating and a Halfords 8/10 rating, so you know it provides a strong level of protection.

There’s also the Halfords Advanced 23cm D Lock that holds a 10/10 Halfords rating. It features a hard steel casing to offer advanced protection against drill attacks and lock picking.

The Kryptonite Evolution Mini 7 D Lock with 4 Foor Cable is another strong choice with a Gold Sold Secure rating. The steel shackle offers superior protection against bolt cutters, providing you with peace of mind when leaving your bike in busy areas.

Shop D Locks

Chain locks

Chain locks use a set of heavy-duty chain links with locking mechanisms at each end to keep it in place. Again, the chain can be fed through the bike frame or around a wheel and then fastened around a bike rack or alternate mooring. The bonus of a chain lock is that it can easily be wrapped around your bike frame while you ride, making it much easier to transport.

With a 12mm hardened steel shackle and 10mm hardened steel chain, the Hiplok Superbright Wearable Chain Lock is a great deterrent against would be thieves. The model boasts a Gold Sold Secure grade, making it the ideal choice for high-risk areas.

Shop Chain Locks

Cable locks

Using a specially twisted steel cable, these locks work in the same way as a chain lock, but are much lighter and flexible, potentially being wound through both the frame and wheels before securing to a bike rack. Historically, they aren't as secure as other bike locks and are best used in addition to a D lock to deter thieves even further. They are also great for securing your accessories to your bike.

The Halfords 185cm Cable Lock is a great choice, with its combination lock meaning you won’t have to worry about losing a key!

However, if having a set of keys is more your thing, the Halfords 120cm Cable Lock will do the trick.

The Halfords Advanced 185cm Combination Lock is a great quick and convenient security option for leaving your bike in low risk areas. We also offer free key replacements for additional peace of mind.

Shop Cable Locks

Ground Anchors

If you park your bike in your garden shed or garage, then a ground anchor may be a good option. Using a heavy-duty ring that fastens to a wall or even into the ground, gives you a good solid point to lock your bike to whilst at home.

Attaching to walls or the floor via four masonry screws, the Halfords Advanced Ground Anchor is as secure as they come. Gold Sold Secure approved, it has a weather resistant shackle that folds flat when not in use to help prevent a trip hazard.

Shop Anchor Locks

Best bike lock brands

Here are our picks for reputable bike lock suppliers that sell properly tested, secure products.


Halfords locks offer enhanced bike security while providing great value for money. They're tested using both our rating and the SoldSecure rating, so you'll be able to see exactly how durable they are on the packaging or product page on our website.

Shop the range


Kryptonite is one of the world's most trusted bike lock brands, with over 40 years of security innovation. Featuring premium build materials and the best technology, their locks provide a great deterrent against thieves.

Shop the range


Abus ensure that their locks are highly reliable and provide long service life while also being easy to use. Providing security solutions since 1924, few brands can match the quality of their locks.

Shop the range

Our top bike security tips

Beyond carefully choosing the right bike lock for your bike based on their safety rating and mechanisms, there are extra steps you can take to improve your bike security. These steps include:

1. Looking out for CCTV or security staff

Look out for cameras or other forms of security when choosing a location to store your bike. A thief will be less likely to target an area that's being watched!

2. Use a high security bike lock in conjunction with other security products

By using a locking system with a higher security rating alongside another bike lock, the chances of a thief giving up or simply walking away without trying increases considerably. The easy formula to remember is more locks = less chance of your bike being stolen!

3. Lock your bike with other bikes

Dedicated bike parking areas or bike racks are more likely to deter thieves, thanks to the increased chance of someone turning up just as they're attempting to steal a bike!

4. Register your bike

Make life easier for the authorities if your bike does get stolen by adding it to BikeRegister. This police database makes it very hard for thieves to sell on your bike and helps to reunite you with your bike should it be found. Marking up your bike with a registration number and a warning label also puts off thieves from taking your bike.

Make sure your grab one of our marking kits so you can add your registration number to your bike.

Get your bike register kit

5. Lock your bike to something solid

As bicycle locks have gotten stronger to deter thieves, they are now sometimes tougher than the posts we lock them to. It’s important to make sure you lock your bike to something that is equally tough.

Make sure your bike is harder to steal by following our top tips, and investing in a decent, highly rated lock. If you catch someone stealing your bike or return to find it has been stolen, then always let the police handle the situation - it's much safer and you'll stand a better chance of getting your bike back.Check out our full range of bike locks.

If you're still looking for more ways of securing your bike, then don't forget that you can always ask one of our in-store bike experts - just head to your local Halfords store and we'll be happy to help!

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