Types of Door Locks – How important are door locks when we plan our house? It goes without saying that they are absolutely significant. As with other products, there are various kinds of these locks that are available in the market including the parts of door locks.
Of course, different locks function in distinct ways. These are things that we should be aware of when we decide on locks. It is also very very critical to understand which kind of lock will provide the maximum protection.
If you are planning to shift into a house, you have to pay a lot of attention to the sort of locks used both in the front and the back of the house. This is to ascertain that both you and assets are completely protected. If you are redoing the outside of the house or are replacing the door, you have to confirm that you decide on the best kind of lock worth the funds that you invest in it.
If you believe that the only duty of the locks is to make the outside doors secure, then think again. They are instrumental to ensuring privacy in bathrooms and also to protect important papers and records that we normally secure in offices.
Apart from these considerations of preventing theft and privacy, we should also consider safety as far as fires are concerned and ease of access when we decide on a lock for our house. This article lists out the most popular kinds of locks that are in use globally.
This article has been made enlightening and simple for better understanding so that you get all the necessary help to take secure and knowledgeable choices when you decide on how you are going to protect your house.
What are the Different Types of Door Locks
Padlocks have been in use for an astonishingly long time. The first of these kinds of locks were used as long back as the Roman era. These can be carried around easily and are very common.
They can be used in a variety of places such as doors, gates, chains or fences. They effectively stop robbery and destruction. They are available in a variety of different shades and shapes. Some of them are very tiny and they are used to protect private journals. Bigger, stronger varieties enable security in places such as warehouses and industrial sites.
Though some of these padlocks are extremely sturdy and cannot be broken, a bolt cutter can cut through such locks without much effort. In order to stop this, some padlocks are concealed. This is achieved by the presence of a lengthy shape near the shoulders. This hides the shackle and because of this, it becomes very complicated for bolt cutters to reach the shackle.
These padlocks function in two different ways known as combination padlocks and keyed padlocks.
1. 1. Combination
These locks come with dials that have a lot of numbers or alphabets which can be rotated. There are specific combinations for these locks. When the numbers or alphabets are moved into the required combination, the padlock is released and this leads to the lock opening.
Due to this arrangement, these locks do not need keys. This is a major advantage. If a person close to you needs to enter the house when you are not there to take care of your plants or pets, they will not need a key. All you need to do is to give them the combination of the lock.
Apart from this, there are many other advantages to these locks. If, at any stage, you feel that your combination is not private anymore, you can always change it by resetting it with a new code.
If keeping your keys safe is a problem for you, then this is the lock for you. With this kind of a lock, you will not get locked out of your house because you have forgotten your key. All you need is the combination to get into the house.
However, there are some disadvantages too. The biggest disadvantage is that these locks can be decoded easily. Locks with keys are also much stronger than these padlocks. So, these can be broken more easily than the locks with keys.
These locks rely on keys to release them. The key is put into the lock and turned to release the lock. There are different types in these locks too. After putting the key into some of these locks and opening them, we cannot take back the key until the padlock is open.
Some of them allow you to interchange the key with other keys like the garage key. This means the key is similar to the garage key and this ultimately means that you will have to carry only one key for multiple purposes.
2. Deadbolt Locks
These locks are usually used in doors that are outside due to the kind of security they provide against thieves. The main thing that is different about this lock is that the key to the lock is put into a cylinder.
The only way to open this lock is to put the key into the cylinder and turn it. There are different types of this lock too. There are locks which have only one cylinder, locks that have two cylinders and thumb turn and vertical locks too.
These locks are called single cylinder deadbolt locks because they operate only with one cylinder. This means that they can be secured only from the outside. The part of the lock inside the house has either a doorknob or thumbturn.
From inside, all we need to do is to turn the doorknob or thumbturn to open it. So, a key is not at all required to open it from inside. However, the downside to this kind of a lock is that if it is near a window that is open, people from outside will also be able to reach the lock and open it by just turning the thumbturn or doorknob.
They will not even need a key to enter the house illegally. Moreover, if they enter the house this way, they can also walk out of the doorway with your possessions. This is definitely an advantage to thieves as this is very different from climbing out of the window and will not arouse any suspicions in the neighbourhood.
Though this disadvantage exists, people in North America still use this very very commonly. This could be because the advantages outdo the disadvantages. A major advantage of this locks is seen in times of a crisis.
Imagine a situation where there is a fire in the house. At this time, we would definitely prefer turning a knob in the lock to run out rather than look for the key to the lock in order to safe guard ourselves.
As the name indicates, these locks have two cylinders. We will need a key to open and lock it both from the inside and the outside of the door. This scores over the single cylinder deadbolt lock as it makes things difficult for thieves.
With this kind of a lock, even if there is an open window nearby, thieves cannot open this lock by just turning a doorknob. They will need a key. So, it is impossible for them to get in easily without a key.
Unfortunately, the need for a key can become a disadvantage in case of a crisis situation. For instance, if there is a fire and everybody in the house needs to escape as quickly as possible, the easiest way to get out is to turn a doorknob.
But here, people require to spend precious time looking for the key and opening the lock with the key. This may actually be fatal to some and may delay escape in some cases, leading to injury which could have been prevented. For these reasons, usage of this lock is prohibited in some areas.
Another disadvantage with these kinds of locks is that the key can be kept away from the door for some reason. This arrangement can be cumbersome every time we have to open the door to visitors or delivery of mail.
At times, we may even misplace the key and end up searching for it when someone is waiting outside the door. The more important thing to remember is that the key should be readily available in case of emergencies.
So, if at all you decide to fix this lock at home, it is always a good idea to hang the key from a hook very near the door so that you can rush out immediately in case you have to.
2.3. Lockable Thumbturn
This type of a lock is a combination of both the single cylinder and the double cylinder locks. It can actually double up as both these locks at the same time. This is possible because of a simple arrangement.
The inside of the lock is fitted with a thumbturn and a lock. So, for everyday use on a regular basis, you can use the thumbturn to open and secure the door. When we do this, the lock functions as a single cylinder lock. However, if you have to be away from home for a long time, then it is advisable to use the lock itself so that your house is secure until you come back.
The design for this lock is very different from the ones discussed until now. This kind of a design ensures that the lock cannot be forced open. It is fitted on the surface and is used prevalently as it is very reliable.
The extra security it provides and the fact that it can be fixed very easily on doors outside are reasons for people to prefer it. There are two parts called the jamb bracket and the deadbolt that are interlocked in order to make it fool proof.
3. Cylinder Locks
These locks are available in different varieties which come in useful in different ways. Some types are rim cylinders, mortise cylinders and European cylinders. They are famous for being the safest of all the locks available.
However, if you are planning to get one, you should look into the security rating carefully before you make a decision. This is because all of them are not identical. These locks are generally used with doors made of glass at the entrance of buildings or with doors used for commercial purposes.
3.1. Rim Locks
Though these locks and mortice locks look alike, they vary in the kind of hardware used to fix them in place. A rim lock is fixed using a couple of screws from the inside. These screws penetrate the back of the cylinder also.
The locks are fixed on the inside part of the door. An opposite locking mechanism is fixed parallelly on the outside of the door. These two parts are connected to each other by a lengthy piece of metal.
Though these locks were used popularly in the 20th century, they have lost importance now as the sole means of security for houses. In places where these locks are installed, there is usually another lock in place to ensure complete security.
3.2. Mortise Locks
These locks, alternatively named mortice locks in British English, are completely different from rim locks. This is because of where they are installed. They are installed inside the door and not on the surface of the door.
Initially, the hardware required for this lock is mounted inside the door and then the lock itself is fixed on this using screws. An easy way to make out this kind of a lock is that it is visible from the edge of the door.
This lock also comes in different types. There are 3 and 5 lever motice locks. The 3 lever motice lock means that the lock has 3 levers. This number indicates the number of places the door is fixed to the frame of the lock. So, locks with more levers than the others will surely provide more security as the door will be fixed to the frame in more number of places.
3.3. Euro Profile Cylinder
These locks are very suitable for uPVC doors and composite doors. They are very commonly used in this fashion in the United Kingdom. They are popular in North America, but here, they are used more with sliding glass doors or at times, with internal double doors.
These locks come with the advantages of a high quality security and very easy handling. They are also available in various types. You also have the option of choosing between single cylinder and double cylinder.
The screw that fits this lock in passes right through the center of the cylinder. However, there is an important point to be noted about these locks. If they are not fixed properly, we face the danger of the only point of attachment breaking.
4. Lever Handle Locks
These locks are normally used in business ventures. You might find them being used in offices or hospitals for instance. There is not much of a difference in the appearance of regular lever door handles and these locks.
The only difference is that these lever handle locks have an advantage over the regular ones. They are also provided with a keyhole and this facilitates locking the door either for privacy or to secure the place. They have a very simple method of operation and we just need to give a light push down to make it work.
The best thing about these locks is that we can choose between left or right facing locks. This facilitates easy handling by handicapped people also. There is the option of opening these locks forcibly by using force but there are consequences of doing this. This option may result in breaking the lock. To avoid this, manufacturers are resorting to using a clutch mechanism which will prevent such forced openings.
4.1. Knob Locks
These locks are door knobs that are round in shape and the best part is that we can lock them. They are used regularly in houses in the doors of bathrooms. They are versatile and can be used in doors outside also as the main form of securing the household.
They are found mostly in apartments and in the back door of houses also. However, it is important to remember that they are not very useful against thieves and so, they should not be used in the front or back door of a house to secure the place by any means.
Since the knob contains all the required mechanism of the lock, it can be destroyed completely effortlessly. All it needs is a few strikes with a hammer or wrench. However, if you have already installed this kind of a lock at home, you can always strengthen the security of the house by fixing another lock along with this. If that is not possible, the only other option is to replace the lock with another lock with a greater efficiency.
5. Barrel Bolt
These locks are uncomplicated locks that come in very useful in providing extra security. They can be used in doors or gates. It is to be remembered that they cannot be depended on for complete security.
They work well on bathroom doors, whether it is in houses or in public restrooms. Their structure that has one bolt fixed on the door, slides smoothly and rests in a catch that is fixed to the doorframe.
This structure and function give them the name of sliding bolts. They are available in many sizes, both big and small. The small locks are ideal for doors inside buildings. The bigger barrel bolts however suit doors or gates that are outside the house.
These locks are not fool proof and there are chances that these locks can be broken. At the same time, they are not too easy to break and this makes entry into a house significantly complicated.
This will probably discourage thieves who might choose a different house thanks to this lock. Another common thing that people do is to fix two of these locks in the place of one. One is fixed at the top and the other at the bottom. This ensures additional assurance of security.
6. Chain Locks
These locks resemble barrel bolts. There is a chain in this kind of a lock. This is fitted onto the door and the catch is fitted on the door frame. The procedure to be followed to operate this lock is to just slide the chain into the catch.
The difference between this and the barrel bolt is that this lock allows us to open the door even after we secure the chain. The speciality of this lock is that it allows us to open the door only just enough to check who the visitor is. This arrangement eliminates the need to open the door fully and thus prevents giving the visitor a chance to barge in without permission.
This safety feature of this lock makes it very suitable for hotel doors. However, it is of immense help to defenceless people who need to be very careful when opening doors to strangers. Although they cannot be depended on for complete security, they definitely play a big role in making the owners more confident about their security.
7. Electronic Locks
These locks usually come with an inbuilt digital screen. These are controlled either by inputting a code or by using a keycard. The major advantage with these locks is that they do not need keys.
These locks have become a part of hotels and commercial spaces and are fast becoming a part of apartment buildings and individual houses too. The control for these locks is placed very close to the lock and these locks definitely have an edge over the others.
Apart from functioning as just a lock, since it is electronic, it can record the number of times the lock was used. It can also maintain records about the time of entry into a room or a house.
There is also a way to maintain a record of who came in and when. This can be achieved by using separate keycards for different people. If this system is followed in an office, this lock can give details about the entry time of different staff members. Needless to say, this kind of information comes in very handy when there is a crime or if there are any shady activities going on.
Magnets or motors being worked by an electric current is the way these electronic locks function. We must remember that a sudden power failure could lead to a failure of these locks. So, as a solution to the problem, many of these locks work on batteries.
If that is not possible, they definitely have a backup supply of battery to ensure that the entry into the building does not become a challenge at any time. In spite of all these safety measures, it is always wise to do some research and contemplate before you decide to go in for these locks.
8. Smart Locks
A smart lock is the in thing now in the field of locks and this brand new way of securing houses is rapidly becoming the preferred method of safeguarding houses. The most exciting and advantageous thing with these locks is that they can be controlled through your smart phone and guess what that means?
It means you can still use your lock even if you are in a far away country. You can choose between a code and a thumbprint in order to use your smart lock. You also have the option of setting up both these processes so that your property is doubly secure.
The basic mode of operation of these locks is through Bluetooth. Hence, you do not have to worry about whether you will be able to operate it as long as you are within range. Though this range does not extend too much, it still comes in very handy.
For instance, if you are in a different room when your doorbell rings, you can let the person in without physically walking up to the door. All you have to do is use your phone to open the door.
There are other smart locks which go a step further and operate on Wi-Fi signals. All you need for this is a Wi-Fi signal even if you are in another part of the world. This type of lock has a host of functions other than just safeguarding your house.
You can actually see the person who is ringing your bell outside your door through a video. There are other facilities which allow you to converse with them too. Apart from this, every time your doorbell rings, you are intimated about the visit through your smartphone.
If you are away and do not wish to talk to them then, you can disregard the intimation. However, if it is important to you or if it is a person are confident about, then you can choose to talk to him and probably advise them about the best place to leave your parcel safely. Other than new comers, you can also keep a tab on regular activities such as he punctuality of a pet sitter or whether your kids are keeping up their promise of returning home on time!!
We have all faced situations when we have had to leave home very suddenly. We are often left wondering how to manage regular duties at home if this happens. Even in such situations, the smart lock comes to the rescue. Even if you are not at home or away from your town, you can still control things like letting a friend in to take care of your pet or even to switch off the heating.
These are the amazing advantages of owning a smart lock, the best of them being the kind of command you have over the lock even from a distance. However, these locks also come with a few disadvantages.
All the above advantages are possible with a smart lock provided the Wi-Fi is available. Imagine if you have to allow a person inside your house for something really important and your Wi-Fi fails at that time.
This is so true specially if you live in a place where the Wi-Fi connection is not dependable. In such situations, a smart lock is going to lead to a lot of disappointment and is definitely going to be annoying. The second thing to bear in mind is that these smart locks work on batteries which tend to drain out very quickly with the use of the Wi-Fi. So, to keep them going, you should either change the battery regularly or charge them often.