Safety Padlock Comparison – Master Lock vs Brady

Total Lockout has carried out a review of two rival safety padlocks from Brady & Master Lock.

Master Lock S31 Safety Padlock

Two lockout tagout equipment manufacturers go head to head with their latest versions of the lockout safety padlock.

Shortly after the launch of Master Lock’s S31 safety padlock, Brady have launched their new Compact Safety Padlock. This article compares the two products to establish whether either

Brady Compact Safety Padlock
Brady Compact Safety Padlock

offers any compelling advantage over the other.


As the name suggests, Brady’s compact padlock is smaller in size that other similar lockout padlocks on the market. The body width is 33mm compared to Master Lock 35mm. The Master Lock S31 body is 13mm taller at 48mm. This makes the Brady padlock feel much smaller in the hand. Brady offer four different shackle lengths, 25mm, 38mm, 50mm and 75mm. Master Lock have two; 38mm and 76mm.

Materials of Construction

Since Master Lock entered this market, their padlocks utilized the brand name Xenoy TM for their thermoplastic padlocks. This has recently changed and the padlocks will now bear the Zenex TM name. They are claimed to perform to the same high standards in terms of temperature (+350˚c), chemical, corrosion resistance and UV stability.

Brady’s new Compact Safety Padlock is made from Reinforced Nylon and also claim good resistance to temperature (+120˚c), chemical, and corrosion.

Of note is the material of the shackle. Both manufacturers have gone for a smaller diameter shackle of 4.7mm (3/16”). But whereas the Master Lock S31 is made from Stainless Steel, Brady has opted for an aluminium shackle. This may restrict some of the environments where it can be used, particularly in chemical industries.

The Master Lock padlock is available in nine different colours. These are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Teal, Purple, Black and White. For Brady, there are 10 colours; Red Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Black, White, Grey and Brown.

Key Styles:

As is common with safety isolation padlocks, both products offer 4 different key styles. These are:

  • Keyed to Differ
  • Keyed Alike
  • Master & Differ
  • Master, Keyed Alike

These variations facilitate a wide range of applications for users, for example individuals having more than one padlock with a common key, with supervisor access via a Master Key.

Both products have a captive key function. This means that the key cannot be removed from the padlock when the shackle is open (unlocked).

But here’s the most important aspect of these two locks. The Brady Compact lock is a four pin cylinder design meaning the number of available unique differ codes is significantly restricted to just 1850 in fact. In contrast the Master Lock unit has a 6 pin design and offers a claimed 40,000 unique codes. This is a significant difference and for large industrial consumers, the small number of codes available on the Brady Compact padlock will be a market limiting factor.


For standard product (keyed alike and keyed to differ), both manufacturers offer stock from their European warehouses. In the case of Master Lock, this is around 7 – 10 days. For Brady, 2 – 3 days. For custom systems, deliveries can extend to 2 – 3 weeks for Brady and around 6 weeks for Master Lock.

Out of the box:

Both manufacturers offer a long heritage of lock making; in the case of the Brady compact padlock, the padlock is produced by German manufacturer Abus. In the samples we used for this article, we found an inconsistency of key operation with the Master Lock S31 with some being sticky to insert the key and turn.

Master Lock offer an optional dust cover for their padlock to protect the lock cylinder. This offers increased resistance in dusty environments.


The Brady padlock is a slightly lower cost option. At the time of writing, £9.78 versus Master Lock £10.42.


There is very little to separate these products, in terms of function, price and specification. With their 410 padlock now widely used globally, Master Lock have stolen the lead for market awareness. Brady will need to be very proactive with their marketing to catch up.

However, where speed of delivery is often the most important factor, Brady have the potential to claw back some of Master Lock’s market share.

Master S31 and Brady Compact Safety Padlock are both available now from Total Lockout (Safety) Ltd

Safety Padlock Comparison