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Decoding Door Lock Options

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Looking at a new front door, or just want to change out your lock? There are a ton of door lock options. In years past, if you wanted extra security you went for a deadbolt. Technology has evolved quite a bit since then. Here’s everything you need to know about door locks and automation. This will help you know what’s out there then ask your window or door company what options they offer.

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Door Locking Options

  1. Deadbolt: On a multi-point lock, the deadbolt is located at the center of the lock for increased security. These come in single- and double cylinder with a double cylinder requiring a key on the outside and the inside. As an added bonus, insurers often give discounts for homes with deadbolts so check with your insurance company.
  2. Multi-point lock: As opposed to a single lock, a multi-point lock has more than one locking point that is spread over the length of the door. When choosing among these locks, be sure to evaluate the strength and construction of the lock.
  3. Mortice lock: This is when a bolt protrudes out of the lock and into the striker plate after the key is turned. These are deemed more secure than a deadbolt, but often are used only in apartments or other commercial settings.
  4. Digital locks: These, of course are keyless, and several different variations are available including:
  • Electronic keypad: This can be as easy as punching in a code on your front door and then giving specific codes to others to enter the home. Advanced options include surveillance that takes a photo of the person at the door as well.
  • Biometrics: Opening is as easy as technology that recognizes your fingerprint to unlock the door.
  • Key fob: Carry this in your pocket and unlock the door while walking up your driveway. Think of the key fob for your car.
  • Smartphone-controlled: Using an app on your smartphone, this is a high tech way to open your door or to allow others to enter with a special code.

Handle Types

In addition to all the door lock options, you have different options for handle types:

  • Lever: Aesthetics come into play here where the homeowner can choose a stylish lever in a variety of styles and finishes. If you opt for an automated keypad these can be incorporated into the lever for both added security and aesthetics.
  • Knobs: From simple to ornate, a variety of knobs are available no matter what the grade level you choose (see below for more on security grades).
  • Handleset: These offer the added security of a deadbolt and the aesthetics of a stylish handle to accompany your entry door.

Evaluating the Options

Consumer Reports offers advice on choosing a door lock, and much of it is based on what many homeowners are looking for: keeping intruders out. So if you don’t want your lock to get picked then take note.

The magazine investigated features such as smartphone alerts, remote locking and unlocking and geofencing. The latter is basically using GPS technology to define a geographic boundary. The research also looked at shareable electronic keys, tamper alarms and voice control, otherwise known as talking to Siri, Alexa or any other automated female voice on your phone.

The bad news is that a drill can open most locks, and all that technology, while convenient, doesn’t make your home more secure: a drill or a kick can still penetrate the lock. With these automated locks, you are also exposing yourself to a different kind of threat—the online kind that is susceptible to hackers.

The good news is lock makers do offer ratings with Grade 1 being the strongest, or the least susceptible to forced entry. Unfortunately many manufacturers don’t advertise this fact, so you will have to conduce more research to determine the grade of a particular lock.

These grades are based on standards produced by the American National Standards Institute and specifies minimum acceptable requirements for operation, key torque cycles, pull strength, impact resistance and finish.

  • Grade 1: highest level. Here, knobs must hold up against 800,000 cycles, 6 door strikes and a 360 pound weight test. Deadbolts must withstand 250,000 cycles and 10 door strikes via the hammer test.
  • Grade 2: intermediate level. Knobs must hold off 400,000 cycles, 4 door strikes and a 250 pound weight test. Deadbolts must withstand 150,000 cycles and 5 door strikes via the hammer test.
  • Grade 3: basic level. Knobs must hold up against 200,000 cycles, 2 door strikes and a 150 pound weight test. Deadbolts must withstand 100,000 cycles and 2 door strikes via the hammer test.

By now you should be an expert on door locks but if you are looking for more there are a few articles on that can help. Sliding glass hardware is unique with its own set of specifications so do research there as well. Keep in mind though that a great lock won’t work alone, so make sure you aren’t putting a strong lock on a weak door frame, such as a hollow core door.

Visit for more information on securing your doors or to find a reputable door dealer in your area.

Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, earns from qualifying purchases.



Tara Taffera

Tara Taffera was the editorial director for USGlass magazine, AGRR Magazine , and Window Film Magazine. Her skills and more than 20 years of experience have helped her earn numerous journalism awards, including coveted Jesse Neal Awards. Tara enjoys spending time with her family and staying active with her husband by competing in races together, including triathlons. She also spends time volunteering in her community and with her church. Find out more about Tara on Linkedin.

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