If you have experienced a break-in, you know how it feels to have your personal space violated. Nobody wants to arrive home and find that their house has been broken into and precious items stolen. Worse yet, for your house to be invaded while you or your children are there.
It’s vitally important to make sure that your entrance doors are secure.
There are many types of door locks for sale and adding a robust lock to your front door doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice style or aesthetic appeal for high security. In fact, there are so many different types of locks on offer that the choice can become a bit overwhelming!
In this article, we will look at different types of door locks and rank them according to the level of security they offer.
Choosing the Right Lock for Your Home
When deciding what type of lock to purchase you need to assess a few things first.
What are your security priorities, do you want the lock to have aesthetic appeal, or doesn’t this matter, are you looking for convenience, what type of door are you securing, and how much are you willing to spend on a lock?
If you aren’t intimidated by technology, a smart lock might be the way to go. If you prefer something more traditional, a key lock could be the right choice for you.
Smart keyless door locks offer the convenience of easily opening your door even when your arms are full of groceries. They are also handy if your house needs to be accessed by dog walkers, babysitters, repairmen, or cleaners. With a smart lock, you can let people in using your phone or give them access with a temporary passcode. You don’t have to distribute keys to people and then wonder where those keys have got to and if your house is still secure.
The more traditional key lock offers a lot more possibilities in terms of upgrading the strength of your door materials as well as the lock itself. The number of designs and finishes that key locks come in allows for much more personalization and you can buy a lock that suits the style of your home.
Both smart and traditional door locks come with security limitations. You can’t always upgrade a smart lock’s components, and they could possibly be hacked into. A deadbolt is only as strong as the doorframe it’s attached to. When last did you assess the strength of your doorframe around the deadbolt? And are you one who keeps a door key hidden in a pot plant?
Deadbolts offer the most security when it comes to key locks. They are usually used on exterior doors. You can get single or double-cylinder deadbolts with strength ratings of ANSI Grade 1, 2, or 3 – Grade 1 being the best.
Doorknob twist locks, which are opened with a key, are not particularly secure on their own. They can be used together with a deadbolt to bolster the security of the door.
In the end, all door locks have their flaws and are subject to human error. However, that doesn’t mean that all locks are equal. There are certainly ones that perform better than others.
Door Lock Types
Here is a quick summary of different types of locks and what they offer.
These are the only lock types that aren’t permanent. They are meant to be portable and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
There are two types of padlocks:
• Keyed – as the name implies, a key is used to operate these padlocks
• Combination – number dials open the lock when the right combination is entered.
Usually used on exterior doors a single deadbolt uses a key cylinder on the exterior side of the door and a thumb turn on the interior side to open and close the door lock. A double-cylinder deadlock uses a key cylinder on both the interior and exterior of the door. While a double deadbolt has a clear advantage in terms of security, it can pose a problem in an emergency when exiting quickly from your home is imperative.
A hybrid between the single and double deadbolt is the lockable thumb turn. While operating in a similar matter to a single deadbolt the thumb turn can be locked with a key.
These locks are often installed together with deadbolts. They should not be used alone on outside doors for security. Because the lock is in the knob itself it is easy for it to be broken off.
Lever Handle Locks
Lever handles are easier to open than knobs. They are often used on interior doors. As with the knob locks, the lock is in the handle which makes them vulnerable to torque attack.
Handleset Door Locks
An alternative to the doorknob or door lever handle is a locking handle set with a deadbolt. Different models offer different features in terms of the key usage. The installation of these sets is a bit more difficult than that of a normal knob or deadbolt.
These locks are also known as rim locks or Yale locks. A night latch is secured to the interior of a door. They should not be used as your primary lock however they do provide an extra layer of security to your door.
Mortice locks are most commonly installed on glass doors. While similar to a rim lock, a mortise lock has threading on the outside – the threading inside the lock lines up with that on the body of the lock thus securing it in place.
Best Locks for Front Door Security
Schlage Camelot Keypad Entry with Flex-Lock – Amazon
This stylish top-selling lock provides you with the ability to assign 19 passcodes to friends and family for convenient keyless access to your home. The auto-lock function re-locks the door automatically five seconds after you enter the code. We really rate this feature as it provides a lot of peace of mind – especially for those of us who rush out of the house, drive away, and can’t remember if we locked the door or not!
The construction of this keyless door lock is elegant with a satin nickel finish and the high-quality metal used to form the lock gives it ample strength.
It has a Grade2/AAA security rating and is an ideal lock for residences as well as light commercial properties.
A 9V battery is included. Battery life is around 2 years with standard usage.
The keypad is well-constructed, and silicone coated. The numbers light up when pressed which is perfect if you come home in the dark.
No skill is required when it comes to installation as there is no hardwiring. All you will need is a screwdriver.
The Schlage lock comes with a limited lifetime mechanical and finish warranty as well as a three-year electronics warranty.
Easy access with no keys needed
Nineteen different codes allowed
We don’t love so much….
No deadbolt included
Kwikset Juno Keyed Entry Door Knob – Amazon
Finishes include satin nickel, brass, bronze, or antique which makes it easy to buy one that matches your current hardware.
Its SmartKey function allows a person to rekey the lock whenever necessary which makes it very useful for rentals.
The Kwikset Juno has lock bumping resistance mechanisms as well as extra-long kickplate screws. It also comes with Microban – a product that keeps your door hardware 99.9% cleaner than other surfaces.
Kwikset locks come with a lifetime mechanical and finish warranty.
That it’s rated Grade 1
Comes with a single-cylinder deadbolt
Anti-break in features
We don’t love so much…..
No easy way to reverse the lock
Schlage Z-Wave Camelot Deadbolt – Amazon
Together with a fingerprint-resistant touchscreen feature, Schlage Z-Wave Camelot Deadbolt Locks come with Alexa voice control. Take note that the Alexa hub and device do not come with the lock and need to be purchased separately.
The lock is battery-operated and comes with a Grade 1 security rating.
The Schlage uses Z-Wave technology which connects the lock to other smart home systems. This connectivity, as well as the connection with Alexa, means that you can lock or unlock your doors remotely. You also get to view an activity log.
The lock allows you to enter up to thirty different passcodes.
Grade 1 rating
Integration with Alexa
We don’t love so much…
Alexa needs to be purchased separately
Expensive price tag
Kwikset 660 Single Cylinder Deadbolt – Amazon
Constructed in a delightful colonial style and available in a range of finishes, this keyed deadbolt lock is easy to install using only a screwdriver.
Perfect to use on an exterior door that you wish to make more secure with a deadbolt on one side and keyed access. The interior lock is controlled with a thumb turn.
SmartKey Security allows you to re-key your lock in 3 simple steps. The latch is adjustable and will fit all standard doors. Side locking bars protect again lock bumping.
The Kwikset 660 has a security rating of Grade 3.
Anti-break in features
We don’t love so much…
It’s only a deadbolt
Kwikset Belleview Handleset – Amazon
The set includes a single-cylinder deadbolt, a matching handle, and a cove interior doorknob. This beautiful-looking lock is ideal for outside doors that you are looking to make more security.
The lock comes with a Grade 3 security rating and features SmartKey security. It allows you to re-key your lock quickly and easily.
You get the screws and plates needed for installation with your purchase of the lock.
There is no locking mechanism on the handle – this lock is only a deadbolt. You will need to use a key every time you leave the house.
The solid construction of the lock
Easy to re-key
We don’t love so much…
Grade 3 rating
Deadbolt only lock
Kwikset Powerbolt 2 Keyless Entry Deadbolt – Amazon
The designer Kwikset Powerbolt has SmartKey re-key technology and automatic locking after thirty seconds.
The latch is adjustable and fits all standard doors. It has a Grade 3 security rating and comes with a lifetime mechanical and finish warranty as well as a one-year electronics warranty.
The keypad can be programmed with six unique passcodes. One touch on the lock button will lock your door as you leave your home.
This lock is not a smart door lock and operates on battery power.
Six passcodes allowed
One touch lock
Good battery life
We don’t love so much…
Grade 3 rating
Amazon Basics Exterior Knob with Lock and Deadbolt – Amazon
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly lock that still gives you great security, then this is the one for you.
The Amazon Basics comes with two sets of handles and locks that are easy to install. The body is made of brass with steel internal components. The set includes four brass keys.
It doesn’t have a security rating and doesn’t look as sleek as some of the more expensive locks, but it is still a lock worth buying.
It comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Detailed installation instructions included
Two sets of door handles and locks included
We don’t love so much……….
No security rating
Frequently Asked Questions
Are padlocks safe?
Most padlocks are mass-produced. This means that the same key that opens your padlock opens other padlocks of the same model. If you have a combination padlock, someone could have chosen the same combination as you. If you purchase a Grade 4 padlock you are buying a lock with an extremely strong resistance to cutting and pulling as well as 5000 key differs (this refers to the number of possible keys for any given lock. Five thousand key differs means that there are 5000 different keys/combinations and only one that can open that particular padlock.) So yes, padlocks are as safe as the model of the padlock you buy but they may not be the best form of security for a front door.
Are deadbolts safe?
A single-cylinder deadbolt has an obvious security weakness. The thumb turn on the inside of the door can be turned without a key. So, if an intruder somehow gets access to the interior side of the door, they can simply let themselves in by turning the thumb turn. A double-cylinder deadbolt does away with this flaw by having key access on both sides.
Why are lock security ratings important?
ANSI grades help you to know how much protection a lock gives you.
With such a range of locks available you are spoilt for choice. Each lock has its pros and cons. Consider your lifestyle and security needs before making a final decision. Any lock you choose will add an extra bit of security to your home.
Traditional door locks can be reinforced. Smart locks cannot. And any lock is only as strong as the door they are attached to. Make sure your door is made of strong materials with a solid core to ensure added security.