Your home should be a place that makes you feel safe and protected. Your bedroom even more so. There are multiple little ways to reinforce your home security. One of them is installing appropriate door security devices. We wouldn’t want anyone walking in on – you know – never mind. The point is- Door locks are the primary defense against would-be trespassers and of course, they help maintain privacy.
As with most devices and items, the market has innumerable options that are confusing and time-consuming to sift through. Door Locks now feature impressive new technologies with interesting aesthetic value and functionality. But choosing the right pick for you is still near impossible. I find that narrowing down your options make the choices you have to make much easier. Hopefully, this article makes that decision less of a hassle for you.
Let us look at the different types of Door Locks (and additional Home Security apparatuses) and you can conclude what best fits your requirement.
The Anatomy of a Door Lock
A simple Door Lock can be dismantled into 3 main parts: the Cylinder, the Bolt, and the Box.
The Cylinder is the main body of the lock, the part where the key is inserted. The key disengages a series of spring-loaded pins that keep the cylinder from turning. The Bolt engages from the door into the frame. It is the latch. This holds the door closed. The box holds the bolt in place. It extends from the cylinder into a hole that fits the bolt. It prevents the door from being pulled open.
The key slides into the lock and disengages the lock. Locks are shaped specific to the key so that it unlocks with its unique key. The key acts as a security token, allowing owners to gain access to whatever the lock protects.
In addition to these parts, we have something called a Door Strike Plate, which is a plate of metal attached to the door jamb. This keeps the bolt in place when locked thus reducing friction. It adds an additional layer of security as it is made of metal (which is stronger than wood) and is more resilient against force.
How does one evaluate the Effectiveness of a Door Lock
I found the testing process for these locks quite interesting. (This is how Consumer Reports does their testing.) Strictly mechanically, the locks are tested in three ways- by picking, kicking, and drilling.
The kick-in tests involve a 100-pound battering ram slammed into the lock section of the door at increasing heights, or until the lock gives way. The same process is repeated with a reinforced box strike plate. (Reiterated Spoiler Alert: A Reinforced Box Strike Plate is a worthy upgrade.) Unsurprisingly, Hollywood exaggerates the ease with which handsome hunks kick down doors. You’d be surprised by the actual force required to kick open a door. It is significantly more challenging than it looks.
In the drilling test, each lock is evaluated on its ability to withstand an attack from a cordless drill. The picking test evaluates the internal mechanism of a wave to assess how easy it is to pick. These tests evaluate the lock based on a physical breach.
Smart Locks and Retrofit Locks are evaluated on the same physical factors as well as additional technological ones. Testing factors include ease of access remotely, smartphone alerts, electronic keys, ease of integration with Alexa/Siri/Google Assistant, and overall convenience.
Here are a few metrics by which to evaluate your door lock:
- Check the Grade of the lock
- Check the life of the lock (evaluated by number of turns, battery life etc.)
- Check Customer Reviews, don’t just take my word for it.
How Secure is Your Bedroom Lock?
The security of your bedroom rests in the strength of your door lock. How susceptible is your lock to brute-force attacks? Here are a few good-to-know key pointers to keep in mind:
1. Drills Open Most Locks quite Easily
With most high-security locks, simple cordless drills can easily disable the cylinders in under two minutes. Which means brute force usually wins. A pro tip is buying a lock with hardened cylinders. Drills might ruin this lock but it will still deny access as the lock won’t break.
2. Inadequate or Unsatisfactory Parts
A lock will usually come with a strike plate that attaches to the door jamb and screws for installation. These are usually inadequate for securing your door- the screws are too short. They only catch the jamb (door frame) and not the framing of your house (the wall).
How do you choose a Bedroom Lock?
There is a trade-off between convenience and the level of security. It is also a fact worth accepting that additional security measures obviously come with an additional cost. There is a trade-off between quality and cost. Obviously. Harsh but true. This (obviously) doesn’t mean that the budget-friendly items aren’t secure, or that the most expensive options are the only way to go. You aren’t compromising on security by a lot if you aren’t securing your rooms with heavy-duty grade 1 locks. It is a matter of diminishing returns.
I don’t think it is helpful to guilt yourself into overspending by asking yourself “Is a threat to my life worth the $50-$100 I am saving on this”. Instead, find the best items to fit your budget. There are always workarounds that get you nearly as far at half the price. You don’t have to invest in Grade 1 industrial-level heavy-duty locks just for the extra sense of security. It is a little excessive.
Ask yourself a few questions about what you want and need for your doors:
- What Kind of lock do you want? (Mechanical Lock, Electronic Lock, SmartLock, Retrofit Smart Lock) Do you want a SmartLock?
- What is your budget?
- How can I maximize the safety provided by this lock? What can I do to make this lock as effective as possible?
- How often will I need to replace this lock?
- (Might seem irrelevant but I’m still going to say it anyway) Does the design match the interiors of my space? Does it fit the aesthetic of my living space?
You are going to be using this lock multiple times a day, everyday, for years at a time. Make sure it feels right and you can get behind the design and aesthetic of your lock.
What are the different Types of Door Locks?
I think you can broadly divide locks into three main categories-Mechanical Locks, Smart Locks, and Retrofit Locks. There are way too many subcategories of locks under each broad type and seemingly infinite options to choose from, here is a narrowed down list of well reviewed, popular locks of each type. (Disclaimer: This is a non exhaustive list, a cherry picking)
Conventional Mechanical Locks
Conventional Locks are your everyday go-to Normal Locks. No fancy features, just reliable old-school locks. They are usually single cylinder locks. Front line soldiers to all brute force attacks. They are affordable and sometimes rekeyable.
1. KNOB LOCKS
Knob locks are perhaps the most common type of locks available and used today. There is a cylinder and spring in the Knob with a push button locking system.
Product Name: Copper Creek BK2040SS Ball Door Knob
- ANSI Grade-3 Security Keyed Entry Ball Knob
- Steel Round Corner Adjustable Latch
- Nickel plated bolts
Deadbolts are perhaps the strongest protection against physical assaults. They do not have springs, and the locking mechanism is a simple bolt running from door to door frame. These are preferable over knob locks, and provide more protection.
Product: Baldwin 93800-008 Prestige 380 Round Single Cylinder Deadbolt
- Baldwin Prestige offers effortless, accessible style and luxury with superior security.Note: Measure your door's backset, cross bore and thickness to ensure you find the right fit
- Traditional inspired design shown in a satin nickel finish with keyed entry for exterior doors
- Includes 2 keys; Lifetime mechanical and finish warranty
3. LEVER LOCKS
Lever locks are popular for residential use as well as commercial doorware. The mechanism features multiple levers and a stump that maneuvers the bolt, thus opening and closing the door. These locks come in two types- ones with 3 levers and ones with 5 levers. Intuitively obvious- The lock with the greater number of levers provide more protection as they are harder to pick.
- DOOR LOCK APPLICATION: For indoor and outdoor use; Best used for heavy-duty commercial exterior entry doors
- EASE OF USE: Six pin Schlage C compatible cylinder; Removable thru-bolts and clutch feature
- DURABLE DESIGN: Cylindrical construction for enhanced durability
I’ve chosen to group Electronic Door Locks in the category as well. These are Regular keyless locks. Password protected locks. You would typically enter your passcode into a keypad to unlock your door.
4. KEYPAD ELECTRONIC LOCK
Instead of needing a key, this lock requires a passcode to be punched in to grant access to the room. It is a mechanical deadlock with a keypad. I find an added benefit to having a keypad lock is you can give people access to the room with a password, without having to go through the hassle of giving them a physical key. The password is easily changeable when required. FYI, these are battery operated locks and will require you to change the battery every year or so.
Product Name: Schlage BE365 V CAM 619 Camelot Keypad Deadbolt, Electronic Keyless Entry Lock
- KEYLESS CONVENIENCE: Use 2 pre-programmed codes for easy setup out of the box; assign up to 19 codes for trusted friends and family to experience convenient, keyless security.Control Method:Application
- PREMIUM SECURITY: High-quality metal construction provides strength where it counts; Grade 2/AAA rating offers trusted security and durability for residential and light commercial applications
- BATTERY POWERED FOR RELIABLITY: Deadbolt operates with included 9V battery; avoid lockouts with dedicated low-battery indicator; get up to 2 years of battery life with typical use
Product Name: Amazon Basics Electronic Keypad Entry Lever Door Lock
- Secure keyless entry: keypad function and motorized deadbolt for convenient one-touch locking; meets ANSI grade 3 standards for security and strength.Note: Measure your door's backset, cross bore and thickness to ensure you find the right fit
- Simple programming: 6 customizable user codes--ideal for family, friends, workers, and others; user-friendly keypad programming makes it easy to add or delete users in seconds
- Perfect fit: accommodates door thickness of 1-3/8 to 1-3/4 inches; door handle fits standard-size door hole (2-1/8-inch / 54mm); 6-way adjustable latch fits any 2-3/8-inch (60mm) or 2-3/4-inch (70mm) backset
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SMART LOCK AND AN ELECTRONIC LOCK?
This is a common question with a very easy answer. Smart locks integrate with modern technology. Smart Locks allow you to enter your room by unlocking your room through wifi, or bluetooth. It allows integrations with Alexa/Google Assistant/Siri etc. Electronic Locks are usually much more basic locks that have keypads that unlock your door with a passcode.
Smart locks are a hyper upgraded version of a regular door lock. These technologies integrate with Alexa/Siri?Google Assistant. They can be remotely controlled on your phone, connect to wifi and bluetooth. They even offer voice recognition and fingerprint scanners. The lock also creates access logs along with other interesting smart features. This is obviously placed at a far higher price point, but if you can afford it, these are so fun and convenient.
Product Name: U-Bolt Pro Z-Wave
- Control Your Ultraloq Smart Lock Anytime, Anywhere: Lock, unlock, share access and see a Log of who’s entered and exactly when they did remotely using smartphone App with Z-Wave. Share code remotely to your family, guests or service people for permanent access, specific dates or periods of time. Requires compatible Z-Wave hubs or Ultraloq Bridge sold separately.
- 6-in-1 Keyless Entry Smart Lock: Touch and Go 360° Fingerprint ID + Anti-peep Keypad + Smartphone + Auto Unlock + Shake to Open + Mechanical Key.
- Works with Z-Wave Plus, Home Assistant, Compatible with Apple Watch. Voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant. Requires Ultraloq Bridge or compatible Z-Wave hubs such as Samsung SmartThings, Hubitat and Ezlo (Vera) etc, sold separately.
Product Name: Wyze Lock Smart Door Lock
- Wyze smart lock: Lock or unlock your door from anywhere using the Wyze app. Wyze Lock connects to your WiFi via the included Wyze Lock Gateway. Enable auto-lock and auto-unlock to never have to think about keys or codes again
- Certified for Humans – Smart home made easy for non-experts. Setup with Alexa is simple.
- Simple sharing: Wyze Lock lets you easily share access to your home with friends, family, contractors, dog walkers, and really, whoever you want. See a history of lock and unlock events. Wyze Lock gives you complete control of who has access to your home
Retrofit locks are a sort of hybrid lock. It has all the regular features of a smart lock. Instead of having you replace your original deadbolt, it allows you to replace parts of your already existing deadbolt lock. This is super convenient, easy to install, especially if you already have a strong deadbolt in place and are looking to upgrade your house doors.
Product Name:Shepherd Lock – Touch Entry Smart Lock Bluetooth Keyless Entry | Easy Install Retrofit Deadbolt Lock
- UNLOCK WITH A TOUCH - Shepherd turns your existing deadbolt into a touch-activated electronic lock. When your authorized smartphone or Bluetooth device is close to the lock, a simple touch to your deadbolt lock will unlock it. No more keys. Touch activation feature from outside is only supported with Wood, Fiberglass, Composite Doors
- EASY ACCESS SHARING - Share temporary virtual keys with anyone via the Shepherd Lock app. Virtually grant and revoke access instantly from anywhere. Be able to review full access history and be notified of any lock activity.
- COMPLETE CONNECTIVITY - Built-in sensors allow you to check at all times whether your door is open or closed, unlocked or locked. Have full awareness of the status of your front door from anywhere at all times.
Product Name: August Wi-Fi, (4th Generation) Smart Lock
- Product 1: UPGRADE YOUR EXISTING DEADBOLT: August smart locks fit on the inside of your door, making your regular deadbolt smarter, more secure and way more convenient. Keep your keys just in case (but you won’t need them).
- Product 1: GRANT ACCESS WITH THE AUGUST APP: Forget key copying. Quickly and easily share permanent, scheduled or temporary access to your home with friends, family and other people you trust, and never put a key under the doormat again.
- Product 1: EASY TO INSTALL ON ANY DOOR: Even if you’re not so handy, installation only takes about 10 minutes. August locks fit perfectly over most single cylinder deadbolts and aren't much bigger than your original thumbturn.
5 Key Takeaways on Home Security (aka the Most Important part of this Article)
Here are a few extra precautions you can take whilst choosing a door lock that go an extra mile in terms of ensuring your security:
1. Use Locks with Hardened Brass or Steel
Hardened steel has been specially treated to improve strength and hardness. It increases the durability and the resilience of your lock. Using hardened metals provides significant protection against physical breaches and attacks on the lock by brute force. Hammers and drills will have trouble getting through it.
2. Keyless Reinforcements
I find that adding a simple additional lock to your door makes a huge difference without emptying your pockets. These greatly decrease the likelihood of a successful security breach. An inexpensive addition for door security.
(As you will read in ‘6.’, it is recommended to install these with long, good-quality screws)
Note: These appliances are to be used in addition to your standard door lock, and not as a substitute for your main door lock.
3. Swing Bar Door Guard
The Swing Bar Door Guard is probably the best on the market for keyless, affordable reinforcements. It is impressively sturdy and immune to brute force. It holds its ground against physical breaches.
- Constructed from high quality metal Alloy,ensuring quality and longevity
- Brushed Nickel finish,build to resist daily scratches,corrosions and tarnishing.
- The Security Lock Offers Reliable Protection Against Intruders
4. Slide Bolt Latch with Chain
The Slide Bar Latch with a chain is another affordable security reinforcement. Watch out for the length of the chain when locked and the distance of the two installed parts from each other.. If you install the two parts too close together, the chain won’t be taut enough and will allow you to partially open the door enough to unchain the lock from the outside.
- Constructed of High quality SUS304 stainless steel ensuring durability and dependability
- SUS 304 Stainless Steel will not rust,High hardness, not easy to deform, strong and durable
- The unique spring button lock can enhance the security performance and to Offers Reliable Protection Against Intruders
5. Hook and Eye Door Lock
This Hook and Eye Door Lock is yet another neat and easy reinforcement lock. These are typically used outdoors for sheds but can always be repurposed for a bedroom door. Especially if you have a rustic vibe going. It has an old-school aesthetic to it. A fact worth noting is, if the hook is too loose there is a possibility of it getting dislodged from the lock eye with the vibrations of a banging door. Which means if an intruder were to repeatedly use force on a door, it might just unhook. Very low possibility but a possibility nonetheless. Install it right and you will be fine.
- Constructed from high quality Stainless Steel,ensuring quality and longevity
- The high quality solid stainless steel to ensure it will not rust, strong and durable
- 9.55mm Thicker solid materials, greatly increased security, not easy to be broken by external forces
6. Use a Reinforced Box Strike Plate
A reinforced Box Strike Plate is proven to provide substantial additional protection against physical breaches. It is a simple do-it-yourself security upgrade that exponentially increases protection. It sells at nearly three times the price of a simple box strike plate, but for the sturdiness it provides, it is no doubt worth it.
- BUY 2 GET 10% OFF | BUY 3 GET 15% OFF | BUY 4 GET 20% OFF
- UPGRADED DOOR SECURITY! Using two 4 1/2" heavy duty posts embedded into the house studs, a lengthened strike plate and longer screws, the Two Post Strike Plate helps reinforce the deadbolt lock and door jamb to help prevent forced entry.
- EASY INSTALLATION! Easy to follow installation instructions are included as well as a step by step video on our website. Extra security and peace of mind in 20 minutes!
7. Check the Grade evaluation of your locks
Locks are evaluated on the basis of multiple categories like strength, materials used, security, operation life etc. Based on the tests they are categorized as- Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3.
A Grade 1 lock is the highest quality lock available on the market. These are often used for industrial and commercial locks. They are heavy duty locks and are typically on the more expensive side.. Grade 1 locks provide the bare minimum security. They are better than no lock at all but it is not the most secure and isn’t recommended if you can afford better. Most residential home locks are Grade 2. These are your Goldi-locks :) They provide a reasonable amount of security and protection without making too large a dent in your pocket.
8. Secure all the Points of Entry/Exit- All Doors and Windows
Impenetrable doors are completely useless if your windows are easily breachable. Burglar proofing your windows with simple-to-install, inexpensive locks that keep your windows secure and safe from intrusion. There is always the possibility of adding grills and bars to prevent entry. These would be attached to your window frame.
- Size: volume approx. 3 x 2.4 x 2.4 cm/ 1.18 x 0.94 x 0.94 inch(LWH), apply to track heights more than 1.5 cm/ 0.6 inch,track thickness no greater than 1.6 cm/ 0.63 inch (not applicable to the middle track of the window, please check your window track before buying)
- Easy to install: there is no need to install extra tools, it equips a hex key in each window locks, holding on the track by key control
- Durable material: it is strong, solid and sturdy, exquisite workmanship, aluminum alloy frame and stainless steel screws that can be reused many times
- High quality steel construction
- Hole center spacing: 1.75"
- Mounting screws included
9. Beef Up your Door Frames and Use Good quality Screws
This may be the most inexpensive but invaluable choice you might make with regard to home security. Most screws that are given to you when you purchase a lock are fragile and not very long. Short screws mean they screw into the doorframe and not the drywall. The door frame is made of wood and is soft. This means the screws are easily dislodged and the parts of the lock screwed to the door will come off without much difficulty. We do not want that.
Buy 3”- 4” screws instead. These attach right into the drywall, past the door frame, and keep your lock securely in place and immune to forced dislodging.
- ENGINEERED FOR THE OUTDOORS: Ideal for decking and any outdoor wood project
- BEST-IN-CLASS CORROSION PROTECTION: Bronze epozy coating offers superior rust and corrosion protection
- SELF-STARTING TIP: Offers 20 percent faster engagement into wood; no splitting
Beefing up your Doorframe entails reinforcing it with a layer of steel and would prevent your doorframe from splitting on repeated application of force (incessant kicking, for example). This makes your door kick-in proof. Excessive? I don’t know. You decide.
Who would have thought a door lock choice would justify reading through a 3000 word article, yet here you are. In all seriousness though, security is not a joke and preparing for the worst is a good idea. I would ask the right questions and evaluate which locks best suit your needs and desires. Then make an informed decision. The choices out there will make your head spin. So just go with tried and tested successes that are reliable and fit your needs.
Last update on 2022-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API