Locks are your home’s first line of defense against unwanted intruders. There are a large variety of different options available to homeowners when it comes to making your doors safe and secure. Exterior doors are the most in need of secure locking mechanisms while locks on interior doors will be more for privacy than security. The three most commonly found residential internal door locks are deadbolts, knob locks and handle sets. Popular external door locks include sliding chain locks and surface-mounted deadbolts. What is the best door lock for your home? Let’s find out.
Interactive door locks
Interactive locks work directly with your phone and can be controlled remotely from a variety of mobile devices. Many of them also have touchscreen keypads, because key-less entry and exit can be much more convenient. Z-Wave technology is a common home automation platform allowing homeowners to connect to their homes through locks, lights, appliances and more. Home automation is quickly gaining ground in American households and is easily integrated into most homes.
Internal door locks
Doors with internal locking mechanisms are the most secure. All the doors in your house that lead outdoors should be fitted with at least one of these kinds of locks.
Deadbolts: These locks are some of the most secure. They work by extending a metal cylinder between the door handle and the frame, preventing the door from being opened. Note that when a deadbolt is engaged, the door will be locked from both sides. Those on the inside of the door must disengage the lock by the switch mechanism. Turning the handle will not disengage the lock. From the outside, a deadbolt can be disengaged with a key.
Knob locks: These locks contain an internal mechanism that prevents the knob from turning when engaged. They can be disengaged from the outside with a key or from the inside by turning the handle. For maximum security, install both a knob lock and a deadbolt lock on your exterior doors, as the latches of knob locks are common targets for burglars who can easily jimmy them open with a credit card.
Handlesets: These locks combine features of a deadbolt and knob lock into one system. These are common for front doors and main entryways as they are a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the traditional knob/deadbolt combination. They are also beneficial in that they combine the safety of a deadbolt with the emergency exit feature of a knob lock. This feature allows those on the inside of the door to exit even if the lock is engaged.
External door locks
These locks are not recommended for exterior doors by themselves. They are, however, often used in addition to deadbolts and knob locks – especially in apartments – as a last line of defense. They have the benefit of being almost failsafe, as they can only be operated from the inside. However, they are often quite flimsy and can be broken through with sufficient force and are not the best choice for home security.
Sliding chain locks: These locks are comprised of a knob on a chain that is attached to the door frame and a grooved slider mounted to the doors. The knob is inserted into the grooved slider when the door is closed, connecting the wall to the door by the chain. The only way to disengage the lock is from the inside when the door is closed.
Surface-mounted deadbolts: This is a commonly used lock in bathroom stalls that is also sometimes found on apartment doors in place of a sliding chain lock. The principle is the same as the internal deadbolt but instead of being inside the door, the bolt is mounted on the surface of the interior side of the door. To engage the lock, you simply slide the bolt over and into a surface-mounted receiver.
Each of these locks has their own benefits and disadvantages, so homeowners are encouraged to carefully examine their home’s needs when deciding which type of locks to install. No lock is invincible, so always add a door sensor to detect when an entryway is opened.
Cover photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons