Types of Locks: A Comprehensive Guide for Door Locks (Front and Interior)

Key Takeaway

  • Choosing the right type of lock for your front or interior door is crucial to ensure the safety and security of your home or property.
  • The most common types of front door locks are deadbolts, knob locks, lever handle locks, electronic locks, and smart locks.
  • The most common types of interior door locks include privacy locks, passage locks, and knob locks.
  • Deadbolts are the most popular front door locks that provide a high level of security, whereas privacy locks are a winner in interior door locks.
  • Biometric and smart locks offer added convenience and security features such as remote access and monitoring.

For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about learning about the different types of locks and the mechanisms behind them. Whether it was taking apart a lock to see how it worked or learning about the latest technological advancements in lock technology, my curiosity never waned.

Armed with years of learning and exploring, I have finally decided to create this comprehensive blog to share my knowledge of different types of locks with you.

Whether you’re looking for a front door lock to keep your home safe or an interior door lock to protect your valuables or maintain privacy, I will cover it all. From traditional keyed locks to innovative smart locks and biometric systems, we will explore the different types of locks available and their unique features. So, buckle up and get ready to delve into the fascinating world of door locks!

Types Of Front Door Locks

Types Of Front Door Locks

The front door is the main entry point to a home or business, so it is critical to have a secure lock in place. A lock on the front door is important for security and can deter potential intruders. It also gives homeowners peace of mind, knowing that their property is protected.

Here are the most common types of front door locks, along with details about their locking mechanism, installation and security.

Deadbolts

Deadbolts

Deadbolts are widely recognized as the ultimate locking mechanism for front doors, offering unparalleled protection against forced entry. They are typically made of sturdy materials, such as brass or steel, to withstand tampering and weathering.

Additionally, deadbolts come in a variety of styles, finishes, and materials to match your front door’s aesthetics. There are many deadbolts available in the market, so choosing the best deadbolt for your needs might get overwhelming and challenging.

Locking Mechanism: Deadbolts are operated by turning a key or thumb turn to move the bolt in and out of the door frame. When the bolt is extended, it securely locks the door in place, preventing it from being opened from the outside.

Locking Mechanism

Deadbolts are available in two types: single-cylinder and double-cylinder. A single-cylinder deadbolt requires a key to open it from the outside, while a thumb turn can be used to lock and unlock it from the inside. A double-cylinder deadbolt requires a key to open it from inside and outside, providing extra security but making it harder to escape in a fire or emergency.

Installation: Deadbolts can be installed in most standard front doors. The installation of a deadbolt involves drilling a hole in the door and frame to accommodate the lock and bolt. Deadbolts can be installed as a stand-alone lock or as a part of a complete security system. 

Security: Deadbolts provide superior protection against picking, bumping, and forced entry. The extended bolt makes it difficult for intruders to kick in the door or use a crowbar to force it open. To further enhance their effectiveness, some deadbolts come with additional security features, such as reinforced strike plates, anti-drill pins, and pick-resistant cylinders.

Padlocks

Padlocks

Padlocks offer a versatile and portable solution when it comes to securing doors. They consist of a metal body with a shackle that can be inserted into a hasp or loop to secure the object. Padlocks come in various sizes and security levels.

Locking Mechanism: The locking mechanism of a padlock is simple yet effective. With a key-operated padlock, the shackle is released by inserting and turning a key. Combination padlocks are opened by entering the correct numeric code on the dial. To enhance their effectiveness, padlocks also come with additional security features, such as anti-drill plates and pick-resistant cylinders.

Installation: Installing a padlock as a door lock is relatively straightforward. To install a padlock, insert the shackle into the lock body and secure the shackle in place using a key, combination dial, or other mechanisms. 

Security: Padlocks can provide a basic level of security for doors, but they must be foolproof and used in conjunction with other security measures. While some padlocks have advanced locking mechanisms that make them resistant to picking and drilling, others can be more easily bypassed. 

One of the most common ways for intruders to bypass a padlock is through physical attacks such as cutting, prying, or breaking the lock. I have covered almost all the ways in this article. Even high-quality padlocks can be vulnerable to these types of attacks if they are not installed properly or used in conjunction with additional security measures.

Lever Handle Locks/ Knob Locks

Lever Handle Locks/ Knob Locks

Lever Handle Locks are a type of door lock that uses a lever handle to open and close the door. They are commonly found in residential and commercial buildings and provide a convenient, easy-to-use way to secure a door. 

Locking Mechanism:

Lever handle locks use a latch bolt to secure the door. The latch bolt is operated by turning the lever handle, which retracts the latch bolt and allows the door to be opened. When the lever handle is released, the latch bolt extends back into the door frame, preventing the door from being opened.

Installation:

The installation of a lever handle lock is relatively straightforward and can be completed by a competent DIYer or a professional locksmith. This typically involves attaching the lock to the door using screws, installing the latch bolt and strike plate, and attaching the lever handle to the lock.

Security:

Lever handle locks can provide an okayish level of security if they are installed correctly and are of high quality. However, they are less secure than deadbolts, which provide a higher resistance level to forced entry. One potential weakness of lever handle locks is that they can be vulnerable to lock picking, particularly if the lock is of lower quality. 

I wouldn’t recommend anyone to have lever handle locks to be their only locking mechanism on the front door.

Mortise Locks

Mortise Locks

Mortise locks are a type of door lock that is commonly found in older homes and buildings. They are known for their durability and security, and they provide a high level of protection against forced entry. In this response, we will discuss the locking mechanism, installation, and security of mortise locks.

Locking Mechanism: The locking mechanism of the lock comprises a latch bolt and deadbolt. The latch bolt is a spring-loaded bolt that extends from the lock body and engages with the strike plate on the door frame, holding the door in place. The deadbolt, which is usually operated by turning a key or thumbturn, extends from the lock body into the door frame, providing additional security

Installation: Installing a mortise lock requires some woodworking skills, as the lock needs to be fitted into the mortise in the door. This means the mortise must be cut to the right size and shape to fit the lock body. Once the mortise has been cut, the lock can be installed, and the faceplate can be attached to the door. The lock’s strike plate is then installed into the door frame, and the latch bolt and deadbolt are adjusted to ensure they operate smoothly.

Security: Mortise locks are known for their high level of security, as they are difficult to pick and tamper with. They provide a strong and durable locking mechanism that can withstand significant force.

Smart Locks

Smart Lock

Smart locks are an electronic alternative to traditional door locks that offer remote access and control of the lock using an internet-connected device. They can be operated via a smartphone app, voice assistant, or other internet-connected device. 

Locking Mechanism: A smart lock is a type of lock that uses technology such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or biometric recognition to control access to a door. The locking mechanism of a smart lock is an essential component that ensures security and convenience. The locking mechanism can vary depending on the type of smart lock, but most use an electronic motor or solenoid to actuate a deadbolt or latch bolt. When the smart lock is engaged, the motor or solenoid is triggered by an electronic signal, and the bolt is either extended or retracted from the door frame, depending on whether the lock is being locked or unlocked. Some smart locks also have the option to use a physical key in case of a power outage or malfunction of electronic components.

Installation: Smart locks are generally easy to install and can be done without the help of a professional locksmith. Most models require basic tools, a wireless connection, and a smartphone app for setup. However, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure proper installation.

Security: Smart locks offer advanced security to prevent unauthorized access as they use encryption and authentication methods to ensure that only authorized users can access the lock. 

Chain Locks

Chain Locks

A chain lock is a locking mechanism commonly used on exterior doors as an additional security measure. When the door is closed, the chain lock allows the door to be opened slightly for ventilation or communication while still providing a barrier against unwanted entry.

Locking Mechanism: A chain lock works by attaching a chain to the door frame or wall and the other end to the door itself. When the door is closed, the chain is pulled tight and prevents the door from opening fully. The chain is typically secured in place by a sliding or swinging mechanism that is attached to the chain and door frame.

Installation: To install a chain lock, you’ll need to attach the chain and lock mechanism to the door frame or wall using screws or other hardware. The chain should be long enough to allow the door to open partially but short enough to prevent the door from being opened fully.

Security: Chain locks can provide additional security to your home or business by making it more difficult for an intruder to force open the door. However, it’s important to note that chain locks are not foolproof and can be easily bypassed by someone with enough force or a tool like a bolt cutter. Additionally, chain locks should not be relied upon as the primary source of security for your home but rather as a supplement to other locking mechanisms such as deadbolts or padlocks.

Interior Door Lock Types

Interior Door Lock Types

Locks on interior doors are important for privacy and safety. They provide individuals with control over who enters their private spaces and can prevent small children from accessing potentially dangerous areas. 

In this section of the article, we shall highlight various types of interior door locks along with their features.

Knob Locks

Knob Locks

Knob locks are a type of door lock that is commonly found on interior doors. They are generally less secure than deadbolts and other types of locks, but they are still useful for providing a basic level of security and privacy. Some of these locks also feature a handle for ease of access.

Locking Mechanism: Knob locks typically have a spring-loaded latch mechanism that is activated when the knob is turned. When the door is closed, the latch will engage with the strike plate on the door frame, holding the door closed.  The interior side of the lock can be pressed to lock the knob from the inside. This provides a basic level of privacy but is less secure than a deadbolt or other types of locks.

Installation: Knob locks are relatively easy to install and can be used on various interior doors, including bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets. To install a knob lock, you will need to drill a hole in the door for the lockset and another hole in the door frame for the strike plate.

Security: While knob locks are helpful for providing privacy, they are not as secure as other types of locks. The knob can be easily forced off the door, and simple tools can easily bypass the latch mechanism.

Privacy Locks

Privacy Locks

Privacy locks are a type of door lock that is commonly found on bathroom and bedroom doors. They are designed to provide privacy by preventing the door from being opened from the outside without the use of a key. 

Locking Mechanism: Privacy locks typically have a push-button or thumb-turn mechanism on the door’s interior side. When the button or thumb turn is activated, it engages a latch that prevents the door from being opened from the outside. Some privacy locks also have an emergency release mechanism that allows the privacy lock to be unlocked from the outside in case of an emergency.

Installation: Privacy locks are relatively easy to install and can be used on various interior doors, including bedrooms and bathrooms. To install a privacy lock, you will need to drill a hole in the door for the lockset and another hole in the door frame for the strike plate. Once the lock is installed, it can be activated or deactivated using a push-button or thumb-turn mechanism. 

Security: Privacy locks are designed to provide privacy rather than security, so they are not as secure as deadbolts or other types of locks. They can be easily bypassed by experienced intruders who know how to use a credit card or other similar tools to manipulate the latch mechanism. Additionally, privacy locks typically do not have a keyed entry feature, which means that they can only be locked or unlocked from the inside. However, they do have an emergency key for exit in SOS situations but this can be a problem as it can prevent people from being able to exit a room quickly.

Passage Locks

Passage Locks

Passage locks are a type of interior door lock that does not have a locking mechanism and are designed to keep the door closed but not locked. They are often used on interior doors such as closets, hallways, or other rooms where privacy is not a concern.

Locking Mechanism: Passage locks do not have a locking mechanism. Instead, they rely on a latch mechanism that keeps the door closed. When the door is closed, the latch engages with the strike plate on the door frame to keep the door closed. To open the door, you simply turn the doorknob or lever, and the latch retracts, allowing the door to open.

Installation: To install a passage lock, you will need to place the latch mechanism and lockset into the hole in the door, ensuring that it is centered and level. Once the lockset is in place, attach the strike plate to the door frame with screws. 

Security: Passage locks do not provide any security, as they do not have a locking mechanism. They are designed to keep the door closed, but anyone can open the door by simply turning the doorknob or lever. While they are unsuitable for areas where security is a concern, they can be useful on doors where privacy is not an issue, such as closets or hallways.

Factors To Consider While Choosing A Lock

Factors To Consider While Choosing A Lock

When it comes to buying a front door lock, there are a few factors that you should consider to ensure that you choose the right one for your needs. 

  • Security is obviously the most important factor here, so it’s essential to look for a lock that offers a high level of security, such as a deadbolt or a smart lock with tamper-resistant features. Look for locks that have been certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to meet their grading standards.
  • Durability is also important, especially since front door locks are exposed to the elements and frequent use. Make sure to choose a lock that is made of high-quality materials and can withstand wear and tear. 
  • Compatibility is another important factor to consider, as you want to make sure that the lock will fit your existing door and hardware. 
  • There are also different types of locks to choose from., as mentioned in the article, including traditional locks with a key, keyless entry locks, and smart locks, so consider your needs and preferences to determine which type of lock is best for you. 
  • The cost of a lock can vary depending on several factors, such as the level of security it provides, the type of lock, and the brand. Generally, higher-quality locks with more advanced security features will be more expensive than basic locks. I do not recommend compromising on security while considering the cost part 

As for internal door locks, the factors to consider may be slightly different. 

  • While security is still important, it may not be the top priority for internal doors. 
  • Instead, convenience and ease of use may be more important factors to consider. You may want to choose a lock that is easy to install and operate, such as a simple knob or lever lock. 
  • Durability is still important, especially if the lock will be used frequently. 
  • Compatibility may also be a factor, but less so than with front door locks.  
  • Considering aesthetic appeal is more relevant while buying indoor doors than front door locks and is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer simple, classic designs, while others may want a lock that adds a decorative touch to their door. That being said, the aesthetics of the lock can largely affect its cost. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1. What is ANSI security grading of door locks?

Answer – The ANSI grading system rates front door locks based on their durability, security, and functionality. There are three grades assigned to locks by the ANSI: Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3.  Grade 1 locks are the strongest and most durable for commercial use, Grade 2 locks offer a moderate level of security for residential use, and Grade 3 locks provide basic security suitable for low-traffic areas. 

Q2. Which lock is the most ideal for a bathroom?

Answer – For bathrooms, a privacy lock is commonly used as these locks are designed to provide privacy rather than security and are easy to install and operate. 

Conclusion

Choosing the right type of lock for your front or interior door is crucial to ensure the safety and security of your home or property. With various locks available in the market, it can be overwhelming to make the right choice.

In this comprehensive guide, we have covered the most common types of locks, including deadbolts, knob locks, lever handle locks, privacy locks, and passage locks. Each type of lock has its own unique features and benefits, and it’s essential to choose one that meets your specific needs.

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Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.