Choosing the right lock for a home or business can be an overwhelming task because there are so many variations of locks available on the market today. Anytime a home or business security is at stake, making the wrong decision can be costly.
People use locks every day, but since they aren’t as noticeable as a surveillance camera or an alarm system, they mostly go unobserved. But they are an important security feature and need to be as strong as the strength of the door frame and the door.
Here’s a comprehensive guide on considerations and features for door locks to help your customers make the best choice for their security needs.
Door Lock Anatomy
- 1.The Cylinder
The cylinder is where you insert your key to open or lock it. Inside the cylinder is a series of spring-loaded pins. These pins must line up with the shear line before the lock opens.
The teeth and notches on the key match the specific layout of the pins in your lock. Unless you use the right key, the pins will not align, allowing the cylinder to turn and lock to open.
Most locks have either single or double cylinders. Single cylinders are found on door handles that only have a keyhole on one side of them. The other side is locked and unlocked by turning the handle. Double cylinders can be unlocked and locked with a key from both sides.
- 2.Bolt or Latch
The bolt, sometimes called a latch, is the part of the locking mechanism that moves when the key is turned to lock or unlock the door. A box is the name given to the square hole, carved out in the door frame to allow the bolt to move in and out freely.
- 3.The Strike Plate
The strike plate surrounds the box in the door frame. The strike plate helps keep the cylinder bolt aligned with the frame. It is also the piece of metal that a spring bolt or latch will hit as the door is closed.
- 4.The Box Strike
A box strike is a piece of hardware that fits into the doorjamb and has a box shape that surrounds the entire deadbolt with metal making it harder for the lock to be compromised.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Door Lock
- 1.Desired Lock Function
Typically outside locks must be stronger than inside ones. Garage and back doors are more prone to forced entry by burglars, so make sure these locks are the strongest. Exterior doors usually require a deadbolt which is separate from the door handle or doorknob and is difficult to pick or jimmy open.
- 2.Door Material and Type
Certain types of locks work better on specific door types or door materials. Some locks work better with metal frames, while others work better with wooden frame doors.
- 3.Level of Security Required
Locks are graded based on their level of overall security and endurance. The American National Standards Institute assigns these grades. The grades run from three to one: Three provides the lowest level of security, and one provides the highest. Each grade is based on its ease of operation, the number of key torque cycles, impact resistance, and pull strength.
A Grade One lock is considered commercial grade and is much more durable and difficult to force open or pick with a lock pick.
The type of lock you choose should match the outside of the house or building as well as the existing décor.
- 5.Can It Be Easily Opened by Others in the Home or Business?
Some hardware can be difficult for some people to use. Lever-style mechanisms are easier to operate than doorknobs for most people. A keyless lock is another great option.
Types of Door Locks Available
There are two types of deadbolts: manual and one that uses a key to operate. A manual deadbolt usually is added to provide extra security to whatever key lock used. A key deadbolt extends a bolt into the door frame.
- 2.Cylinder Locks
Cylinder locks do not extend the bolt or into the door frame very far. These locks simply lock the bolt in place.
Cheap cylinder locks can sometimes be opened by slipping a credit card or a piece of thin metal between the door frame and the door jamb, the upright part of the door frame where you hand the door.
- 3.Sash Locks
A sash lock features a deadbolt and a non-locking, spring-loaded latch. The latch allows the door to remain closed even when the mechanism is unlocked. A handle will usually operate these locks but, with the deadbolt added, can be locked with a key.
- 4.Rim Locks
Rim locks attach to the surface of the door instead of being set inside the door’s edge. They are an older type of lock and not used much today as they are easily compromised, providing a very low level of security.
- 5.Mortice Locks
A mortice lock is designed to fit into the edge of the door and requires some preparation before installation.
These locks are considered very secure. They can feature anywhere from 2-7 levers, depending on the model, to enhance their security further.
- 6.Multi-Point Locks
If you have a uPVC door, will need a multi-point lock. Multi-point locking mechanisms use multiple bolts that lock the door at different points throughout a single key turn.
These locks require an upward pull of the handle before locking.
- 7.Smart Locks and Keyless Locks
Smart locking systems have become very popular in the last decade. These smart locks can be locked and unlocked via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi from an app on your smartphone or through your computer.
Keyless systems like key-card enabled RFID locks use RFID technology, embedded in a card to open the lock. Hotels have increasingly begun to use RFID locks.
Final Thoughts on Choosing the Right Door Lock
No matter which lock you choose for your home or business, make sure it has UL on the packaging, which means the lock meets fire safety standards.