Securing your external doors should be a high priority in helping to protect your family, belongings, and privacy -- but how do you know if your lockset system is adequate for your house? From deadbolts to chain locks, there are a lot of options for you to choose from, and each varies depending on your needs. Here we’ll review some of the most common, affordable, and popular locks on the market, speaking to each lock’s strengths and weaknesses. Look through this list, compare the locks you currently use, and consider what locks might be the best option for you.
The deadbolt lock is the absolute best locking system to have on your external doors. Mounted into the door itself, the deadbolt lock helps prevent anyone from breaking the lock to gain access into the house. These require either a key or a thumb turn latch on the inside of the door to operate. Variants of the deadbolt include a single cylinder—which allows for a key on only one side—or a double cylinder, which is operable from either side with a key.
Mortise locks come in two variants: the deadlock and the sash lock. The sash lock is operated by a handle as well as a bolt, and the deadlock is operated in conjunction with a night latch. Many back doors or glass doors will be operated by a sash lock. On every mortise lock, there are a series of levers, and the more levers you have on your mortise lock, the more secure a door will be. Look for a standard of five levers for your lock.
Operated by a keypad and powered by a battery, keyless lock systems are useful tools, especially if you have trouble remembering keys, or if you live with several other people. This way, anyone who knows the code can access the house. That also means that you need to protect your key code from getting into the hands of someone who shouldn’t have access to your home or apartment. Also, keep in mind that the batteries on these keyless systems need to be replaced about once every year.
Whereas a mortise lock and deadbolt are mounted into the door, night latches are a type of lock that bolt onto the side of the door and provide an added level of security. If, for any reason, your regular deadbolt or mortise lock becomes compromised, a night latch is a good backup system to use to help keep your home safe.
The benefit of a chain lock is that you can open the door slightly without giving access to intruders, but it’s also one of the easiest locks to get around; these locks can be picked and can be kicked in because they aren’t installed within the door but bolted to the outside. If you plan on using a chain lock, be sure to also include a deadbolt or night latch as your primary lock. Chain locks should only be used as a secondary lock.
The sheer variety of locks available on the market today may seem
overwhelming, but all that really means is there are tons of different options at your disposal. While nothing in life is 100%, installing the right lock can make all the difference. Take some time to assess what you think your external doors actually need. What materials are they made of? Are they flimsy? The better you understand the integrity of your doors, the better choices you’ll make.