Guide to the Best Window Locks
Home windows are among the most vulnerable entry points for burglars. Older homes often have worn-out frames and hinges that can be easily pried open using a crowbar or common tools. Many homeowners make it even easier for intruders, leaving windows open when they are away. 23% of burglaries occur through an open window on the first floor.
Securing your home’s entryways is one of the most critical yet effective methods of protecting your property and family. Although double or triple glazing can improve the strength and stability of your windows, burglars can still gain access to your home.
Investing in reliable window locks is a cost-effective approach to securing your property, preventing easy break-ins, and deterring potential intruders.
Different Types of Windows
Not all window styles have the same weak points. You must choose an appropriate security system to suit the type of windows in your home. Fitting an insufficient lock for your particular window type can give you a false sense of security.
Many homeowners may be unable to identify different types of windows at a glance, making it difficult to determine the most effective locks. Before you start searching for locks, take a closer look at your windows to locate hinge positioning, opening mechanisms, potential weak points, and security features. Here are some of the most common types of windows found in U.S. homes:
Sliding windows are a popular lower floor option because they are easy to open and close. However, this makes them vulnerable to break-ins. They typically use a small lever or thumbscrew to activate and deactivate the locking mechanism. These can be manipulated using a screwdriver and a thin blade, like a hacksaw.
Casement or crank windows use hinges to open outward. You simply crank the supporting arm with a handle to open and close it. These windows can only be opened to a certain point, making them moderately resistant to burglaries. However, without added reinforcement, they can be pried open.
Awning windows are similar to casement windows. The key difference is that awning windows open outward in a vertical direction. They can only be opened to a certain point, making small awnings challenging to climb through. However, they are not impenetrable and should be secured with additional locking devices.
Single-hung windows are built with one operable and one fixed sash. The lower section slides over the fixed sash, providing ventilation through the bottom part of the window. Single sash windows are prone to wear and tear from continuous use.
Since they can be shut securely without locking them, homeowners often forget to lock these windows when they leave the house.
Double-hung windows are common. They feature two main openings: the top sash and the bottom sash. Double-hung windows are highly functional as they promote steady airflow and excellent ventilation.
However, these windows often lack quality locking mechanisms. They should be secured with latches or modern locks to make them more resistant to break-ins.
Types of Window Locks
A reinforced entryway is a major deterrent for burglars, particularly for windows. A window lock makes it difficult for an intruder to penetrate your home and may cause them to abandon their attempt. Smashing double or triple pane windows is difficult and noisy, increasing the likelihood of alerting neighbors or passers-by. If a burglar can’t bypass your window locks, your property may be safe from theft.
Most window locks are easy to install, using standard hand tools like a drill, tension kit, and screws. Some of the best window locks for a variety of windows include:
Sash locks are versatile and highly effective on most types of windows. They are an excellent option for single and double-hung windows, securing each sash to the frame and preventing them from opening. A common type of sash lock is a fitch fastener. It consists of two core components: the window lever and the frame lock.
To secure the window, you turn the lever using a key until it aligns firmly with the catch. Use the same action in reverse to unlock the window.
Small windows may only require a single sash lock. However, large, ground-floor windows may take two or three fasteners. Sash locks are typically available in pairs or sets, ensuring you can use the same key to lock and unlock each one.
Window bar locks are some of the most effective mechanisms for preventing intruders from entering your home. Even if they snap the hinge or break the glass, the intruder must find a way past the bar. Provided the wall surrounding your window is structurally sound, a bar lock can be fitted over most window types.
However, there are several downsides to a bar lock. Aesthetically, they can look like prison cell bars. They may also prevent you from fully opening your window. In some cases, bar locks can devalue your home, giving the impression that the area is unsafe.
Although a window bar lock may be an unsuitable addition to your home, it is an excellent security option for a store or office. Bar locks are also popular for securing outdoor air conditioning units.
Window latches are discreet, making them a popular option for households. They work well with various window types, including casement, awning, single-hung, and double-hung windows. Latches are designed similarly to sash locks, featuring a rotating latch and a matching lock to secure the frame to the window. They are available in a variety of materials and styles, ensuring you can find a latch that matches the interior design of your room.
A stop lock essentially acts as a wedge, occupying the space between the window frames of single-hung and double-hung windows. Stop locks are straightforward to use. Sliding the wedge inward loosens the lock’s grip, allowing you to open the window. When you slide the wedge out, it plugs the window frame gap, preventing it from opening.
Stop locks are a great way to childproof your windows. However, there are more robust options for break-in prevention.
Window pin locks are similar to chain locks for front doors. The chain or cable end is usually attached to the frame, while a connector is drilled into the frame. To secure the window, place the pin into the connector. One of the primary benefits of this type of lock is that it allows you to keep the window slightly ajar while it is pinned.
Pin locks are suitable for several types of windows, including single-hung, double-hung, and sliding windows.
Don’t Compromise on Home Security
Most burglaries are spontaneous, with only 12% of home invasions planned in advance. Securing your windows is a straightforward, affordable, and effective method of preventing a break-in.
At Zero Day Gear, we provide locksmiths and homeowners with tools and equipment for installing and picking locks. Our extensive inventory includes bump keys, wallet multi-tools, screwdriver keys, and a range of lock picking sets. For more information on any of our products, browse our digital catalog or contact us today.