Abus vs Kryptonite vs OnGuard

Kryptonite, OnGuard and Abus. The three biggest bike lock brands in the world. They also make the best bike locks in the world. But which brand is the best? Are there any real differences? Of course there is!

Abus vs Kryptonite vs OnGuard

Three very different brands, I compare them here for three important qualities to see who comes out on top: 1. Build Quality and Reliability, 2. Price and 3. Customer Service…

1. Build Quality and Reliability

Abus easily have the best reputation for quality and reliability. Their locks are extremely well made, perform well in adverse weather conditions and last a long, long time. You can really feel the quality when you hold an Abus lock. Nearly all their locks are double bolted, which makes them more secure. And the steel they use tends to have the best strength to weight ratio.

For example, the Abus Granit X Plus 540 is the only Sold Secure Gold rated U-lock with a 13 mm shackle. And the Abus CityChain 1010 is the only 9 mm chain with a Sold Secure Gold rating.

13 mm Abus Granit X-Plus 5409 mm Abus CityChain 1010/110

Perhaps this is to do with where the locks are manufactured. While Kryptonite and OnGuard are US brands that manufacture their locks in Taiwan and China, Abus are a European brand that still manufacture at least some of their locks in Europe.

Whether this makes any difference is debatable. But European steel certainly has a better reputation for quality than Chinese steel. And for those locks still manufactured in Germany, closer control over the production process makes it easier for Abus to ensure consistently high build quality and reliability. In fact, here’s a great article on the manufacturing and testing processes at Abus. And here’s another one.

While Kryptonite don’t quite match Abus for quality or reliability, they’re not far off. Their locks are generally well made, perform reasonably well in adverse weather conditions and last a long time.

In the past, OnGuard locks had a reputation for somewhat poorer quality. Not so much that they were less secure. Rather that they weren’t as reliable. However, more recently they have completely overhauled the technology and production techniques used in their locks and there has been a marked improvement in both quality and reliability. They’re still not quite up to the standards of Abus or Kryptonite, but this is reflected in the price.

Build quality and reliability
abus-logo5-stars
kryptonite-logo4-stars
onguard-logo3-stars

2. Price

In general, Abus is the most expensive of the three brands. This is particularly noticeable in the US, where Abus locks nearly always cost more than similar locks from both Kryptonite and OnGuard. In Europe, the price difference is less pronounced, but Abus is usually a little more expensive.

Kryptonite sits in the middle and then at the bottom of the price range is OnGuard. And of course this is the great thing about OnGuard locks. They’re often half the price of Kryptonite and Abus locks that offer comparable levels of protection!

New York Fahgettaboudit MiniOnGuard Brute MiniAbus U-Mini 401 Yellow

For example, the OnGuard Brute Mini is usually 50% cheaper than the similarly rated New York Fahgettaboudit Mini from Kryptonite or the Abus U-mini 401 Yellow.

Price
abus-logo3-stars
kryptonite-logo4-stars
onguard-logo5-stars

3. Customer Service

All three brands offer a key replacement service and the option to buy keyed alike locks. But beyond this there are significant differences in the extent of their after sales service.

Abus don’t advertise much about their general customer service but I’ve heard good things about broken parts and even lost locks being replaced for free. OnGuard meanwhile tend to have a slightly poorer reputation for their after sales support.

But way out in the lead are Kryptonite who are famous for their outstanding customer service. What does this mean in practice?

  • If you lose your keys, with most of their locks, you get the first replacement set for free
  • If you lose your keys but don’t have your key number and never registered your key number with Kryptonite, they will send you a brand new replacement lock for $20
  • If your key breaks off in the lock and you need to get a locksmith to free your bike, Kryptonite will replace the lock and refund the locksmith’s fee
  • Most locks are eligible for optional anti-theft protection

Anti-theft protection

Kryptonite and OnGuard (but not Abus), now offer their own “anti-theft protection” with some of their locks. Under these schemes, if your bike is stolen as a result of your lock being broken, they will pay you the value of your bike up to a certain limit determined by the security level of the lock.

It sounds great, but in practice they impose a lot of conditions which can make it difficult to make a successful claim. Let’s have a quick look at them…

Firstly, you’re not covered automatically. You must register with the scheme within 15 days of buying the lock. And it’s not free. How much you pay depends on the type of lock and the length of the protection, but ranges from $1 to $30 for up to 3 years cover.

Secondly, should your bike be stolen you must:

  • report the theft to the police within 72 hours
  • notify Kryptonite or OnGuard within 7 days

And lastly, in order to make a claim you need to send Kryptonite or OnGuard:

  • the broken lock as proof of its failure
  • at least one key
  • a copy of the police report
  • a copy of the purchase receipt for the lock
  • a copy of the purchase receipt for your bike OR a signed and dated dealer valuation
  • evidence you have notified your insurance company, if you have insurance

Bear in mind that this cover relates only to the lock and is only valid if your bike is stolen as a result of the lock being broken. So if a thief steals your bike by either cutting your frame or breaking whatever your bike is secured to, you’re not covered.

There are also restrictions depending on where you live. For instance, very few locks are eligible for the cover if you live in New York State in the US.

However, the main problem with these schemes is that you must send Kryptonite or OnGuard the broken lock as proof it was defeated. And since a thief will often take the broken lock along with bike, you will be often be unable to make a claim!onguard_vs_kryptoniteIf the cost of the coverage and the potential payout is roughly the same for both companies, does this mean the schemes are equally good? No it doesn’t.

It seems to me that Kryptonite offers much the better program. Why? Well, OnGuard make the initial registration process much more difficult and place some very restrictive extra conditions on how the lock may be broken:

Kryptonite vs OnGuard Anti-Theft Protection

Anti-Theft ProtectionKryptoniteOnGuard
Registration:OnlineBy post, pay with check, including:
- copy of lock receipt
- copy of bike receipt OR
- signed bike valuation
Extra conditions:NoneNot valid if torches, battery operated tools, or any power tools, including hydraulic tools, were used to open or cut the lock

But you should also bear in mind that neither program is particularly popular among cyclists due to the restrictive nature of their conditions. Certainly, neither is a replacement for including your bicycle under your home insurance or arranging specialist bike insurance.

Customer service
abus-logo4-stars
kryptonite-logo5-stars
onguard-logo3-stars

Summary

So, in the battle of Abus vs Kryptonite vs OnGuard, which brand is victorious? Well, it’s sort of a draw really! Each brand excels in a different area: Abus in build quality and reliability, OnGuard in price and Kryptonite in customer service. So…

If you want the highest quality, most reliable lock, with the best strength to weight ratio and the best performance in poor weather, go for Abus. But bear in mind it will be a little more expensive.

If you’re looking for great security at the lowest price, go for OnGuard. However, don’t expect the highest quality or the greatest level of customer service.

And if you’re looking for good all round performance and fantastic after sales customer service go for Kryptonite.

 abus-logokryptonite-logoonguard-logo
Build quality and reliability5-stars4-stars3-stars
Price3-stars4-stars5-stars
Customer service4-stars5-stars3-stars

So that’s Abus vs Kryptonite vs OnGuard!

Whatever you do next, don’t forget my simple 3 step guide to guarantee you choose the best lock for you and your bicycle!

You should think about whether a chain lock or a U-lock will be best for you and then make sure you read the chain lock and U-lock buying guide. I also have long lists of chain locks and U-locks which you can compare for size, weight and security rating.

Make sure you check out the best way to lock your bike as well. And don’t forget I have useful information on how to stop your wheels and seat from being stolen.

But which bike lock brand do you use? And which do you think is the best? Let me know below…

18 thoughts on “Abus vs Kryptonite vs OnGuard

  • April 6, 2016 at 12:48 pm
    Permalink

    DON NOT buy ONGUARD…. I bought an ONGUARD lock and my 800 euro bike is now stuck to a pole as the lock is faulty and will not unlock! What a headache… No replies from customer service!

    Reply
    • April 6, 2016 at 4:24 pm
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      Oh no! I’m sorry to here that. That’s not good. Have you tried the tips on the jammed lock page?

      Unfortunately OnGuard don’t have a great reputation for customer service. If you can’t get it off yourself, the only thing you can do is pay for a locksmith to remove it. And then send it to OnGuard as a “defective lock” and ask for a replacement under their Full Lifetime Warranty.

      I don’t know if you’ll have any luck with this and it may be more hassle than it’s worth anyway!

      But if you do try, let us know how you get on…

      Reply
    • April 6, 2016 at 11:57 pm
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      My lock just broke but i had it for over 12 years it never let me down, just the past couple of months was hard to open the lock and now key got jammed…… but it was old and wear and tear….BUT it was an awesome lock

      Reply
    • April 19, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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      I had the same problem with an OnGuard lock, I put some wet lube into the key hole and it worked an absolute treat! I hope it helps!

      Reply
  • April 23, 2016 at 5:38 pm
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    A more than decade old Kryptonite U lock saved my 800+ euro bike. It seems like an amateurish attempt to pick the lock. It took me more than half an hour with my victorinox army knife to enable my key to release it. An ABUS chain with a CISA lock secured the front wheel which were not tampered with.
    Your detailed article leads me to a choice between Abus Bordo GRANIT 6500 and Abus Granit X Plus 540 as a replacement. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  • May 8, 2016 at 11:58 pm
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    Does Kryptonite only insure brand new bikes or the original purchaser of the bike? I purchased an older high end mountain bike of craigslist thus I do not have a bill of sale. I wanted to purchase some additional years of the protection plan, but I assume it would be a waste of time. I do see that you can have, “…a dated and
    signed dealer appraisal reflecting the market value of the bicycle/powersport vehicle, not
    including accessories…”

    Should I try to ask a local bike shop to appraise my bike, and then keep it on file just in case or would that also be a waste of time since I am not the original purchaser? Heck, would home owners insurance cover the bike without the bill of sale?

    Reply
    • May 9, 2016 at 11:43 am
      Permalink

      Hi Lou,

      As I understand it, a signed appraisal from a local dealer is sufficient. You should send the original to Kryptonite. And keep a copy for yourself.

      For homeowners insurance, I’m not entirely sure. I’ve claimed successfully for stolen items that I no longer had the receipt for. But it would be wise to check with your particular insurance provider.

      But I would certainly recommend that you are covered by some sort of additional insurance rather than depending solely in the Kryptonite cover.

      I hope that helps.

      Reply
  • May 10, 2016 at 7:14 pm
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    I recently got a Brute Mini based on research that was centered around this site. While the price is nice, I’m not so hot about it, tbh. Maybe I should have spent 45EUR more and gotten a NY Mini Fahgettaboutit. The thing is that the cross bar has a lot of plastic inside. It’s rather bizarre.

    The lock was delivered dry, so it was barely usable and painful, in fact, to turn the keys. With lube it still didn’t loosen. It’s getting better now, but it doesn’t go on well when locking. It takes me numerous tries to get the shackle on right so it locks. To this day, I still can’t figure out how to replicate the position off the bat.

    Also, I got the NY Noose in the XL length, which I bought separately for a steal from an UK seller. I was hoping to be able to slip this lock through the smaller link and use them together, but no dice. No way to get the shackle through. Kind of a bummer. This was another reason for not getting the Kryptonite. I’m still wondering if I can source a Legend padlock, if it will fit.

    Reply
    • May 11, 2016 at 6:00 am
      Permalink

      Yes, OnGuard locks can be a little stiff. But in my experience they do respond well to lubrication. Make sure you use the right lubricants and treat both the mechanism and the body.

      The Legend padlock should fit the NY Noose. But remember it has a 16 mm shackle as opposed to the 14 mm that you would normally use with this chain. Best to check with the seller. And then let us know how you get on!

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Reply
  • June 7, 2016 at 12:04 am
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    ‘You have to send in the broken lock for the insurance claim’ – What a scam! I have emailed Kryptonite to politely highlight my disappointment. I’ll update this forum when and if I get a response.

    Reply
  • July 16, 2016 at 4:09 pm
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    Has anyone ever tried submitting (instead of the missing lock) video proof/surveillance video of their bike being stolen while a Kryptonite lock was in use in a paid for secure bike parking cage? Keep in mind the cage is still not “guaranteed” for anti-theft and there is no set of eyes right in front of the cage.

    Reply
  • October 7, 2016 at 4:38 pm
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    Last I checked at least Kryptonite wants detailed pictures taken of the undisturbed crime scene at the same time of day the bike was thought of been stolen at, and they want lots of photos, including a large scene picture so they can see how public of an area it was locked in. I do find it odd that with Kryptonite they require at registration that you send the UPC code from the box and the original receipt, but then at the time of theft they want the original box the lock came in with the UPC code which you sent, and they want the original receipt which you also sent…hmmm. Kryptonite will not disclose publicly how much money they pay out on bike replacements annually which has been estimated to be very little.

    Reply
    • October 8, 2016 at 8:43 am
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      Yeah, I totally agree. The demands both Kryptonite and OnGuard make are punitive. It makes much more sense to cover your bike with proper insurance.

      Reply
  • October 28, 2016 at 9:49 am
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    I love your site. Sorry to be a pedant but you use “loose” in this article when you mean “lose.”

    Reply
    • October 28, 2016 at 11:04 am
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      No need to apologize Bikewatt! Opinions, corrections, ideas … they’re all welcome! Fixed, thanks.

      Reply

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