Best garage door locks to help prevent car theft

garage door with car showing

Danny Baggs

Posted May 11, 2023

A secure garage door can help keep your home and vehicles safe from theft. Here’s what you need to know about garage door locks so you can lock up like an expert.

Securing your garage door is crucial to keeping burglars out of your home. Garages remain a prime target for burglars, thanks to strong demand for used cars and other hot items like power tools and bicycles.

Between 2020-22, 12,000 Victorian households were victims of motor vehicle theft, while 70,900 households experienced theft from a motor vehicle, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“Garage doors can make or break a home in terms of convenient entry and vehicle security,” says Josh Martin from AGG Doors, who assists with RACV Trades garage door callouts, including installations, repairs and servicing.

While security measures like motion-activated lights near garage doors can help deter burglars from targeting your garage, a quality garage door lock is the best way to keep your car and other valuables safe. “Doors locks are your first defence when it comes to unwanted ‘visitors’ in your garage, home, office or vehicle,” says Shane McBride from Casey Locksmiths, another RACV Trades provider. “If locks are installed and used correctly, they can stop an intruder entering your space.”

Here are the best kinds of garage door locks so you can lock up shop with the most security possible.

Common types of garage door locks


Padlocks are basic keyed locks that can latch a single garage door shut. They may be a simple and cost-effective way to lock up your garage, but they don’t offer enough security for most homes. Burglars can use tools to cut through padlocks, making forced entry a breeze.


Handle locks

Many older garage doors have a T-handle for manual opening and closing. A handle lock adds plenty of security to these garage doors, although you’ll still have to get out of your car each time to lock and unlock your garage. A handle lock is spring-loaded, so that when you turn the handle, cables attached to it pull back the rods on the lock mechanism and raise the garage door. While handle locks served their purpose for a long time, more high-tech locks like key fob locks are overtaking them on the market.


woman unlocking a padlock fixed to a blue garage door

Padlocks are susceptible to break-ins from burglars. Image: Getty


Deadbolt locks

Deadbolts are popular front door locks – and for good reason. They’re more secure than most other locks because they use solid metal cylinders to lock doors into their frames. Deadbolts require a lot of force of break and are time-consuming to lockpick, making them a safe deterrent against would-be burglars. “If a particular door/window takes an intruder longer to gain entry, most likely they will either give up or be deterred from even trying,” McBride explains.

Many modern garage doors automatically deadbolt your garage door whenever it closes. Deadbolt cylinders are also often used in conjunction with more high-tech locks, like key fobs and smart locks.

Key fob locks

Most modern Australian garage doors are operated via an electronic key fob lock. They're quick, easy and convenient to operate since they allow you to remain in your car while locking and unlocking your garage. Since they require close proximity to work, key fob locks are also less expensive than more high-tech options like smart locks or keypad locks. Just remember not to leave your garage door key fob in your car.


man unlocking garage door with a key fob

Smart locks often use PIN codes. Image: Getty


Smart locks

Smart locks are becoming more common in Australian homes as technology progresses. They are unlocked via a smartphone or other device, with no manual unlocking required. Although they are more expensive than most other types of electronic locks, smart locks provide extra convenience since they allow you to lock and unlock your garage door from any location. They’re also secure, often using deadbolt cylinders and ‘rolling codes’ that make code-hacking devices ineffective. 

“We will likely see more smart locks in the future,” McBride says. “Their software technology is getting better every day and people like convenience, so smart locks will continue to grow in the market.” 

Keypad locks and fingerprint locks

Keypads are electronic locks that unlock your garage door when you enter the correct code into the keypad. Burglars can’t pick a keyless digital lock like a keypad, but you should regularly change your passcode to avoid hacking. You will also need to exit your car each time to enter your keypad code.

Fingerprint locks are very similar to keypad locks, except that they use your unique fingerprint as a code rather than a string of numbers or letters. This is one of the highest-security locks available since its code can’t be mimicked or stolen, but it’s also one of the most expensive locks. You can even program multiple fingerprints into the system to allow all household members to use the lock. However, you will have to exit your car to enter your biometric data to unlock the garage door.


man unlocking a keypad lock on his garage door

Keypad locks provide an extra level of protection against burglars. Image: Getty


What is the best type of garage door lock?

Smart electronic locks are the most high-security type of garage door lock. That said, keyed locks that use deadbolts are also very secure and a lot less expensive. Whichever lock you choose, make sure to get a trained professional in to install the garage door lock for your peace of mind and security.

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RACV Trades is a trading name of RACV's trade partner, Club Home Response Pty Ltd. All works are performed or arranged by Club Home Response Pty Ltd. trading as RACV Trades.