Types of Door Locks Ranked by Level of Security

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.

Padlocks

Padlocks - Types of door locks

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.

Find a suitable padlock on Amazon

Deadbolts

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.

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Knob Locks

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.

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Lever Handle Locks

Lever Handle LockLever 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.

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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.

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Night Latch

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.

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Mortise Lock

Mortise Lock SetMortice 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.

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Best Locks for Front Door Security

No.1

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.

We love!

Easy access with no keys needed

Easy installation

Nineteen different codes allowed

We don’t love so much….

No deadbolt included

No 2.

Kwikset Juno Keyed Entry Door Knob – Amazon

The Kwikset Juno is a Grade 1 security-rated lock that comes with both an entry doorknob and a single-cylinder deadbolt lock.

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.

We love!

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

No 3.

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.

We love!

Touchscreen feature

Grade 1 rating

Integration with Alexa

We don’t love so much…

Alexa needs to be purchased separately

Expensive price tag

No 4.

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.

We love!

Easy installation

Different finishes

SmartKey technology

Anti-break in features

We don’t love so much…

It’s only a deadbolt

No 5.

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.

We love!

The solid construction of the lock

Easy to re-key

Simple installation

We don’t love so much…

Grade 3 rating

Deadbolt only lock

No 6.

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.

We love!

Six passcodes allowed

One touch lock

Good battery life

We don’t love so much…

Battery operated

Grade 3 rating

No 7.

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.

We love!

Detailed installation instructions included

Affordable

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.

Concluding Thoughts

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.

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