23 Feb Deadbolts: the best lock?
So you’re lock shopping this week. You just bought a new condo, or maybe there was a break in in your neighborhood. Now that you’re serious about the security of your home, you’re online trying to find out what the best lock is.
This is a common question, and the answer varies depending on your needs. Some people might go with smart locks so they don’t need to carry keys. Others don’t have that kind of money, and choose a really intimidating looking lock that will deter burglars because it’s a less-appealing target. Most just want what’s convenient. For real security though, I’d tell just about everyone to go deadbolt, and here’s why.
Most break ins are forced entry
We’ve discussed before that few people bother with lockpicking in real life. Burglary is all about speed, so if they want to get in, they’re looking for the quickest way. Often times, that means breaking the doorframe. You’ve seen people kick down doors on tv at least once. That works best on doorknob locks because they work by stopping the knob from turning, thus putting up resistance when you try to open the thing. But doorknobs aren’t especially sturdy, and if you hit the door with enough force near the lock, it’s likely to damage the strike plate in the door frame. No strike plate means nothing to hold the door closed, and anyone can walk right in.
The key to deadbolts is that they have a steel bar that extends deep into the door frame. The strike plate traps it there, making it way harder to break with force alone. You’ll probably have a doorknob lock anyway, but as we always say, security comes in layers, so you should add a deadbolt if you can.
Nothing is perfect, least of all locks. But there are easy ways to make your deadbolt work even better. First of all, and this goes for any lock with a strike plate, use really long screws. The longer the screw, the tighter the strike plate will sit in the doorframe, and the less likely it will break under force.
“But, Paige,” you say, “what if your door is next to a window? Couldn’t someone reach through and turn the bolt like in a horror movie?”
Yes, I concede that point. But I’ve saved a twist for you: the double-cylinder deadbolt. This is a deadbolt with locks on both sides. Is it convenient? Absolutely not. Is it secure? More so than a lot of options since it requires keys to get in and out. And speaking of horror movies, this is perfect for locking Jason Voorhees in your summer cottage while you run to the nearest police station.
Of course, even the best lock won’t help you if it’s not used correctly and properly serviced. If your lock is sticking when you turn the key, that’s the number one sign that you have a problem. Having your locks serviced is a quick and easy affair with the right locksmith, and definitely not something worth putting off.
And, most importantly, lock the door. This isn’t the ‘70s and we have locks for a reason. Yes, some people will be deterred just looking at the locks, so feel free to install some dummy locks to your heart’s content. But seriously have one or two real ones, actively engaged, on your front door. The day may come when we don’t need them, but it’s not today. In the meantime, let us know if you have questions in your lock search, or if you want help with a security assessment. Your safety is literally our business.