Published Date: May 22, 2023
How to Choose the Best Lock for Your Home
Think about your home. The place where your family lives; where most of your most precious belongings likely rest; where your pets are comforted by the safety of the walls. The security of your home is of the utmost importance and something that most families hold high on their priority list. One of the simplest and most effective ways to take the security of your home into your own hands is with the locks on all entry points for your home. But where do you begin? What kind of locks are best for the front doors? What about the back doors? The windows? There are a lot of questions, and we're here to provide answers to the most common question of all: how do you choose the right lock for your home?
Choosing a Lock: Considerations
Type of Lock — The first step in choosing the right lock for your home is to determine the type of lock you need. There are various types of locks, including deadbolts, knob locks, lever handle locks, and smart locks. Deadbolts are considered the most secure and are recommended for external doors. Knob locks are less secure and are generally used for interior doors. Lever handle locks are similar to knob locks but are easier to use for people with disabilities. Smart locks are the latest technology and are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience and added security features.
Security Level — The security level of a lock refers to its ability to resist forced entry. The higher the security level, the more resistant the lock is to picking, drilling, and bumping. Look for locks that have been tested and certified by independent organizations such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or Underwriters Laboratories (UL). These certifications indicate that the lock has undergone rigorous testing and meets specific security standards.
Material — The material of the lock affects its durability and security. Brass, nickel, and steel are some of the most common materials used in locks. Brass is an excellent choice for its corrosion resistance, but it may not be as strong as other materials. Nickel and steel are stronger materials but can be more expensive.
Price — Locks come in a range of prices, and it is essential to choose one that fits your budget. However, keep in mind that the cheapest option may not always be the most secure. Consider the value of the items you are trying to protect and invest in a lock that will provide the necessary security.
Installation — The installation process for a lock can vary depending on the type of lock and the door. Some locks may require professional installation, while others can be installed by the homeowner. Consider the installation process before purchasing a lock to ensure that you can install it properly.
What Kinds of Front Door Locks are There?
There are several types of locks available for front doors, each with its own set of pros and cons. Here are some of the most common types of locks and their features:
- Deadbolts are considered the most secure type of lock and are recommended for external doors. They consist of a bolt that extends into the door frame and cannot be pushed back without a key or turning mechanism. Deadbolts are available in single-cylinder and double-cylinder options. Single-cylinder deadbolts can be unlocked from the inside with a knob or lever, while double-cylinder deadbolts require a key to unlock from both sides. The pros of deadbolts are their high security level and resistance to picking, drilling, and bumping. The cons are that they can be challenging to install and may require professional installation.
- Knob locks are the most common type of lock and are often used for interior doors. They consist of a lock cylinder located in the knob itself and are easy to use. The pros of knob locks are their low cost and ease of use. The cons are that they are not very secure and can be easily picked or bumped.
- Lever handle locks are similar to knob locks but are easier to use for people with disabilities. They have a lever instead of a knob and are often used in commercial buildings. The pros of lever handle locks are their ease of use and accessibility. The cons are that they are not very secure and can be easily picked or bumped.
- Smart locks are the latest technology and are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience and added security features. They can be operated using a smartphone app, voice commands, or a keypad. Some smart locks also have features like remote access, temporary access codes, and activity logs. The pros of smart locks are their convenience and advanced security features. The cons are that they can be expensive and may require a stable internet connection.
- Mortise locks are a type of lock that requires a pocket, or mortise, to be cut into the door itself. They consist of a lock body, a handle, and a cylinder. The pros of mortise locks are their high security level and ability to resist forced entry. The cons are that they can be challenging to install and may require professional installation.
Overall, deadbolts and mortise locks are generally considered the most secure options. In contrast, knob and lever handle locks are less safe but more affordable. Smart locks offer the most advanced security features but can be expensive. Ultimately, the type of lock you choose will depend on your needs and preferences.
How Can I Be Sure my Back Doors are Also Secure?
Securing your back doors is just as important as securing your front door. Here are some tips to help you ensure that your back doors are secure:
Install Deadbolts Install deadbolts on your back doors to provide an extra layer of security. Deadbolts are considered the most secure type of lock and are recommended for external doors. Make sure to choose a deadbolt with a grade 1 rating, which indicates that it has been tested and certified to meet the highest level of security standards.
Use Reinforcement Consider reinforcing your back doors with metal plates or bars to prevent them from being kicked in or forced open. You can also install a doorjamb reinforcement kit, which reinforces the area around the lock and strike plate.
Install a Peephole or Camera Install a peephole or camera on your back door to allow you to see who is outside before opening the door. This can help prevent break-ins by allowing you to verify the identity of anyone who comes to your door.
Add Lighting Install motion-activated lighting outside your back door to deter intruders. Bright lights can make it difficult for someone to approach your door unnoticed, and they can also alert you to any suspicious activity.
Keep it Locked Always keep your back door locked, even at home. Make sure that everyone in your household understands the importance of keeping the back door locked and secured at all times. You can also consider adding multi-point locks with several locking points on the door, typically at the top, bottom, and sides. They are designed to provide increased security and are often used on patio or French doors.
Check for Weaknesses Regularly check your back door for weaknesses, such as loose hinges, a weak frame, or a worn-out lock. Repair or replace any weak spots to ensure that your back door remains secure.
What Kinds of Locks Should I Use for my Windows?
Choosing the right locks for your windows can also help improve the security of your home. Here are some common types of locks that you can use for your windows:
- Window sash locks: Window sash locks are a type of lock that attaches to the sash of a single or double-hung window. They secure the window by preventing it from being opened from the outside.
- Keyed locks: Keyed locks can be installed on the window frame or sash and require a key to open or close. They provide a higher level of security than sash locks because they cannot be opened without the key.
- Window pins: Window pins are a simple and inexpensive security option. They are small metal pins that can be inserted into the frame of the window to prevent it from being opened from the outside.
- Window bars: Window bars are metal bars that can be installed on the inside or outside of a window to prevent it from being opened. They are often used on basement or ground-level windows for added security.
- Window alarms: Window alarms can be installed on the window frame or sash and will sound an alarm if the window is opened. They are a great option for those who want to be alerted if someone attempts to enter their home through a window.
When choosing a lock for your windows, consider the type of window and the level of security you need. For example, first-floor windows may require a higher level of security than second-floor windows. Consult with a professional locksmith to determine the best locks for your specific needs.
To DIY or Hire a Professional Locksmith?
While it is possible to install locks yourself, it is generally recommended to have locks installed by a professional locksmith. Here are some reasons why:
- Proper installation: A locksmith has the knowledge and experience to install locks correctly and ensure that they function properly. Improperly installed locks can leave your home vulnerable to break-ins.
- Security expertise: A locksmith can provide expert advice on the best type of lock for your specific needs and can recommend additional security measures to further protect your home.
- Warranties: Many locksmiths offer warranties on their work, which can provide added peace of mind.
- Time-saving: Lock installation can be time-consuming, and a locksmith can typically install locks more quickly and efficiently than someone who is not experienced in the process.
- Avoiding damage: Improper installation can damage your door or lock, which can be expensive to repair or replace. A locksmith has the proper tools and techniques to install locks without causing damage.
When it comes to the security of your home, it is important to choose locks for your doors and windows that will truly protect your home from break-ins and burglaries. Whether you are home or not, these locks will provide peace of mind and protection to your most precious loved ones and assets. If you’re in the Louisiana area, contact Trulox for all of your household locksmith security needs.