Any deadbolt lock set you buy should be well-made; otherwise, you can’t really depend on it to keep you safe. So before you go through with purchasing one, remember to keep the following factors in mind.
Consider the different designs to choose from when picking a door lock.
1. Single Cylinder
The most common type of lock, single-cylinder deadbolts, is used with a key that must be inserted from the outside. However, locking or unlocking the deadbolt from the inside does not require a key. Rather, a thumb-turn knob is used for locking and unlocking from within. There are “smart” variations of single-cylinder locks as well, which utilize numerical keypads for passcodes along with the actual lock.
2. Double Cylinder
Similarly to a single-cylinder lock, double-cylinder ones also work using a key from the outside. When it comes to locking/unlocking from the inside, though, the same key is used instead of a thumb-turn knob. If you have an entry door with decorative windows, a double-cylinder lock is a way to go, as an intruder would be unable to unlock the door from the outside even if they break a pane.
This type of lock gets its name from the vertical bolt, which runs through a set of rings on the strike plate. These rings are connected to even more rings on the lock. Vertical deadbolt locks can have either one or two cylinders.
By now, you will have come across the mention of ANSI in lots of different contexts. It stands for the American National Standards Institute, which is a private NPO that specializes in measuring the security levels of various services, products, and processes. When it comes to locks, they can receive a rating of 1, 2, or 3.
This is the highest ANSI security rating a deadbolt lock can have. Such a lock has been tested for one million open-and-close cycles and can withstand a maximum ten strikes of 75 pounds highest.
This is the most common security rating for door locks. They are typically made from high-quality steel and are tested for 800,000 open-and-close cycles with the ability to withstand five strikes of 75 pounds.
This is the lowest ANSI security rating a deadbolt lock can have. This doesn’t mean that they won’t offer protection, but are typically recognized as being made from cheaper materials, and are therefore weaker. If your neighborhood is unsafe, don’t go for a grade 3 lock!
Ease of Installation:
Thankfully, the vast majority of deadbolt locks for residential use are designed to fit standard pre-drilled holes in exterior doors; if your chosen one doesn’t, it’s probably not worth buying. Also, keep a lookout for locks with 3-inch screws, which can be used to attach the strike plate to the door frame. If the deadbolt lock’s screws are shorter, though, you might have to purchase 3-inch screws separately for yourself.
The strike plate of a lockset is attached to the doorjamb using holes to insert the bolt of the door. The purpose of the strike plate is to protect the doorjamb from friction. It goes without saying that the strike plate on your deadbolt lockset should be made from sturdy, robust materials which resist bending/breaking in the event of someone trying to kick the door down. We’d recommend always choosing deadbolts with reinforced strike plates.
In this day and age, everything is automated, and the same is true for deadbolt locks. Smart locks work using the Wi-Fi connection in your home and can be locked/unlocked with the help of an app on your smartphone. Furthermore, they are usually voice-controlled and come with motion-activated security cameras to help you keep track of all your visitors.
Smart locks are very popular with homeowners who might frequently forget to lock their door manually. As can be expected, however, smart locks typically cost significantly more than regular ones. Also note that smart locks are different from electronic locks, which typically cannot be operated remotely with a smartphone.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What kind of security does a deadbolt lock offer?
The main appeal of a deadbolt lock is that its design inherently resists jimmying, as it cannot be unlocked without a matching key. However, the lock must be of good quality and installed properly.
2. Can I install a deadbolt by myself? If so, how?
Yes, if you have experience in DIY and are in possession of the required equipment. It might be a little difficult otherwise, but professional help is expensive!
3. What is the ANSI grading system for lock security?
The ANSI (American National Standards Institute) system indicates the level of security to be expected from a lock, from grades 1 to 3. Refer to the buying guide for more details.
4. What else can I do to enhance the security of my doors?
Your doors must be constructed from solid metal/wood, and ideally, not have any windows in them. You might also want to invest in strike plates and chain locks for better protection.
5. How do deadbolt locks work?
The main part of a deadbolt lock is a cylinder lock. When the key is inserted, the cylinder is turned, which causes the attached cam to turn, pulling in the bolt. There is no spring mechanism in a deadbolt lock.
When considering the security of your exterior doors, the best deadbolt locks offer the best solution. We’ve tried our best to round up the best ones for you; if you’re still unsure about your choice, why not refer back to our buying guide?
Whatever you do, remember it’s also important to invest in a good, solid door, and to install a heavy-duty strike plate along with 3-inch screws. Good luck!