Good home security starts at the front door. A home burglary occurs approximately once every 18 seconds in the United States, and thieves obviously prefer homes that are easy to enter.
A deadbolt—so called because the locking bolt is nonmoving and can only be operated by manually turning the locking mechanism with a key or a thumb-knob—offers the best security for most entry doors. Not all deadbolt locks are the same, however. They range in quality, price, and the level of protection. If you’re ready to upgrade your home’s first line of defense, read on to understand what makes a lock the best door lock and consider our top three picks.
Types of Deadbolts
Choosing a new lock can be confusing if you don’t know the lingo. While all deadbolts work on the premise of a solid steel bolt sliding into place to prevent the door from opening, there are
several different designs to choose from—and not all are ideal for the typical house or apartment.
Single Cylinder Locks: A single cylinder lock opens with a key from the outside and operates inside by turning a thumb-knob. In addition to the exterior key hole, some newer single cylinder locks feature a keypad that permits residents to enter a numerical code to unlock the door. A keypad makes it handy for family members who wish to avoid fumbling for keys in a purse or pocket.
Double Cylinder Locks: Like the single cylinder lock, a double cylinder lock opens from the outside with a key, but instead of a thumb-knob, the same key is used to lock and unlock the door from inside. Double-cylinder locks offer break-in security on entry doors that contain glass windows, since an intruder cannot break a pane and then reach in to unlock the deadbolt because there is no thumb-knob. Local fire codes often ban these locks, however, deeming them a hazard should a home emergency occur and residents need to get out quickly.
Vertical Locks: This type of lock employs a vertical bolt that extends through a set of rings to secure the door. The strike plate (the metal plate that attaches inside the door frame) features steel rings that interlock with additional steel rings on the lock itself when the door is closed. Vertical locks can incorporate either single cylinders or double cylinders and are most commonly used in commercial applications, such as hotel doors or large apartment complexes.
- Smart Locks: As technology advances, so do ways of securing our homes. Smart locks, which use your home’s Wi-Fi network to send and receive information to your smartphone or computer, may be operated by voice control, from your smartphone, or by fingerprint recognition. In addition to locking and unlocking your door, some smart locks feature motion-activated cameras to record all visitors at your door.