Choosing Door Locks
Learn about 5 important considerations for choosing quality door locks.
According to data from the California Crime Technological Research Foundation, in over 50 percent of single-family home burglaries, the criminals gain access to the home by forcing a door lock or jamb. If you want your property to have the best possible protection, you need to choose your locks carefully. Here are some important considerations for doing so.
Interior vs Exterior Doors
The first consideration for choosing a door lock is whether the door is an exterior or interior door. On interior doors, locks are typically used more for privacy than for security. Therefore a simple latch bolt is probably sufficient. Your decision will hinge more on concerns about the style of door knob or door handle that you want than the strength of the lock. However, for an exterior door security will be the primary concern. You will want to choose some kind of high-quality deadbolt lock for exterior doors. For maximum security, the door connecting to your garage should also be considered an exterior door so that it will provide another layer of resistance to anyone who manages to access your garage.
When choosing a quality deadbolt, one of the easiest ways to begin narrowing down your search is to only consider locks with a deadbolt throw of 1 inch or greater. The throw describes how much of the deadbolt extends beyond the strike plate into the doorframe. The longer the throw, the more difficult it is to open a locked door by prying the door out of the jamb.
ANSI grades are also very helpful in guiding your choice of a lock for an exterior door. These ratings are provided by the American National Standards Institute based on a lock’s performance on a variety of tests. Grade 1 locks are best able to resist attacks from picking, smashing, or cutting. However, most experts consider Grade 2 locks sufficient for residential use, only recommending Grade 1 for commercial use.
The keys for most locks can be copied by anyone with the right tools and key blanks. This includes hardware stores where staff often copy “do not copy” keys with few qualms. If you purchase a lock with key control, this means that the manufacturer has limited the availability of key blanks to help prevent unauthorized duplication. For some key control locks, you can only get new keys from the manufacturer, while for others certain specially authorized locksmiths can provide key copies. Either way by choosing a key control lock you can help guard against the possibility of a maid, nanny, or roommate secretly making their own copy of the key to your home and keeping that copy even after you’ve asked them to return their keys.
Finally, don’t forget that a door lock is only as strong as the door it’s attached to. It won’t do you any good to purchase a top of the line Grade 1 door lock if you install it in a flimsy door or door jamb. Be sure your door has a solid core, does not have any windows near the lock, and is set in a jamb that is securely attached to the framing of your home. Also, ensure that the strike plate that the deadbolt enters fits properly and is secured down to the studs with 3-inch-long screws, as flimsy strike plates are often the weakest points in the entire door system.
If you need help picking out your door locks, please contact us at RBM Lock & Key.