Take it from me, having a shed or outbuilding broken into is a nightmare none of us deserves! Aside from the actual value of anything stolen, it can feel deeply invasive on a personal level. Having just moved house myself, I’ve been pondering the ins and outs of securing outbuildings carefully. In my case, I wanted to put in some effective measures but had quite a limited budget.
Some break-ins might be sheer bad luck; but more often than not, there are definite ways to prevent theft or burglary that we missed. I’d hate this to happen to anyone reading this article. Hence I’ve created a simple guide to shed security, with cost-effective tips and items that can drastically reduce the risk.
So, without further ado, here are some really easy and cheap shed security ideas and ways to keep your property safe from thieves without breaking the bank.
Shed security tips: How to prevent theft
1. Remove the temptation!
When it comes to avoiding theft, it helps to start by thinking like a thief. For example, what might make your property a target in the first place? Are there any valuable items on display?
Nosey criminals will go “window shopping” before they take action by looking over fences and through windows, so a great starting point is to remove valuable items from view. You could even mask any windows, while some even swear by leaving poor quality items on the view that says: “nothing worth stealing here”.
2. Add a simple, cost-effective deterrent
On the subject of thinking like a thief in order to stop one, it’s worth noting that criminals seldom target sheds and gardens at random. They’ll inspect lots and aim for those with high gains and low risks. Why not give them one or two simple messages to get lost?
Among the simplest is a camera. It needn’t even be the real thing! One of the best dummy security cameras is the BW 1100B: under £6, and it even has a convincing flashing sensor light (above). A bargain, considering the money it could save you!
That said, the price of real security cameras has also come down massively. One of the best at under £50 is the IE Geek Camera (below), which offers motion detection and night vision at an amazing value.
Another cheap and excellent burglar deterrent is a motion sensor light. Even if you are out, these can help alert neighbours or cause thieves to think again. One of the very best values motion sensor security lights is the Meike 10W PIR at just £13.99 (below). Over 6,000 positive reviews tell their own story- and in fact, it seems to be only thieves who are not fans of this excellent product!
Of course, other ideas for deterrents are unlimited! You can be creative with this, too, and we’ve even known non-pet owning homeowners to put up “beware of dog” signs! Anything that says to a thief “not worth the risk” can help. For just three quid, this sign has to be the best value deterrent of all and sends out a strong message to would-be invaders.
3. Security essentials: Browse the best locks for sheds and shed doors
There are many locks on the market. What you spend probably depends on the value of what you want to protect! No system is bulletproof, but obviously, the better the model you choose, the harder thieves will find it.
BASIC BUT SECURE: At under £10 you could buy a very simple but robust padlock. Zhege Basic Combination Locker Padlocks cost just £7.49 for a two-pack on Amazon (below) and are hard wearing, ideal for outdoor use and among the best value you’ll find anywhere. Combination codes are preferred by many simply because these eliminate the risk of breaking or losing keys.
TOUGHER GRADE PROTECTION: For extra security, for example, if you have valuable tools or machinery, it’s worth going further and spending a few more quid. Among the best rated of all in shed lock reviews is the Concise Home Double Long Throw Gate Lock (below, £25.99). Yes, it takes more installation than a standard latch and padlock but is very robust and secure. With eight sturdy attachment points and no fewer than five keys, you’ll have peace of mind and never be short of a spare, while still having change from £30.
4. Add a shed bar for ultimate security
Whether used as a stand-alone item or even as an additional security measure, a shed bar is an even more robust defence against thieves. Nor does it cost a huge amount – the biggest cost to you being the time involved to install properly.
One of the simplest and best rated of these items is the RinTalen Garden Shed Security Bar System. At just £33.00 (above) it gives thieves not only a high visual deterrent but a bigger headache to remove than a simple lock and latch. Perhaps the only disadvantage is that it takes a little longer for you to access your shed for gardening tasks- and so if you are in and out to get tools and equipment on a daily basis it might be less ideal.
5. Double-check your home insurance and contents policy!
With the best will in the world, determined criminals will still sometimes find a way to break into sheds and outbuildings. But does your home insurance policy cover you for this? Even if you have home contents insurance under your policy, it’s worth double-checking that this includes your garden and shed as well as the house. Furthermore, you should check if any payout will replace items “as new” or at a reduced value for age and wear.
Better safe than sorry, as the saying goes. You should also make a quick inventory of your shed contents for peace of mind. The easiest way is to take a photo or two with your phone and make a simple list. It takes minutes and could save you a big headache further down the line.
6. Make your mark for extra peace of mind at just £5.40!
Another great deterrent and also worth considering is a UV security marking kit. A simple system of UV pens can be used to mark your property so that it is invisible to the naked eye and yet easily visible under a UV torch. We hope it never happens to you, but if you did ever suffer theft and need to chase the items through markets or pawn shops, or the police for that matter, having a UV marker and registering your items with code is a game changer!
There are various solutions, but the Property Minder 5 Pen and Sticker Kit is an amazing value at just £5.40 (above). The stickers alone are worth using on your shed or outbuilding door and other strategic places, giving thieves the clear message that your property is marked, which not only makes it harder to sell on but means there’s a far higher risk of prosecution.
Further advice and ideas on protecting your property and preventing shed break-ins
We hope you have picked up some useful tips and product ideas to protect your shed and garden in this article! Of course, there are many other factors that will determine the risk of a break-in and how much you should ultimately spend. In my case, it’s so far so good- and at under £100 I now have a working security camera and three other good measures in place, including a solid padlock and warning signs.
On that note, while all of us have different needs and budgets, it’s well worth combining different deterrents and measures. For example, a lock on its own may not totally deter a thief, but if there is also a security camera and an “all property is marked, and traceable” sticker, far fewer criminals will risk their neck.
While we have limited space here, it’s also worth mentioning some other more old fashioned measures to prevent break-ins. One is maintaining your fences and doors in good order. Of course, your actual shed is also a factor- a rickety old model is never going to match up to a new, more secure version.
Another final tip is to keep on good terms and communicate with your neighbours for mutual benefit. If you have good relationships, you can inform each other when holidays take place or share any information on suspicious activity. If you are new to any area, your neighbours can also tell you if they have had any break-ins to sheds or their home and give a clearer idea of risk.
Needless to say, I hope this guide has been useful. Hopefully, with a measure of deterrence and protection, you can avoid the nightmare of a break-in without having to dig too deep into the bank account. Stay safe out there and do keep an eye on our articles for regular updates and further practical tips for your home and garden.