There are nearly 3 million break-ins in the US every year. First and most important line of defense are exterior locks and deadbolts. Even though today’s locks offer more protection, it can be very confusing to choose the right lock set. There are three major types of exterior locks on the market—keyed entry doorknobs, handle sets and dead bolts. Keeping unwanted people out is the main purpose of any lock.
Exterior doors need a dead bolt to be truly secure. The choices are separates (lockset and dead bolt mounted separately) or a handle set that incorporates both. These are priced from $25 to over $300. The security ratings needed for exterior door security are Grade 2 or even Grade 1 (commercial grade). Higher end units offer solid forged-brass components. Grade 3 should only be used on interior doors. Look for anti-theft device of a dead locking bolt that will prevent intruders from jimmying the lock. Dead bolts need to have hardened pins to withstand sawing. The strike plate needs to be a heavy duty plate with 3 inch screws that will go through the jam into the framing. Make sure that the information on the lock doesn’t say “Grade 1 features”, the rating needs to be for the entire lock.
A six-pin system is much harder to pick than a five-pin system. You may want a lock with a free-spinning, saw proof, hardened-steel pin in the center of the bolt. This pin will resist a saw blade and the pin will spin, frustrating the cutting action of a saw. Large turn pieces will offer more leverage for children and people that would have trouble opening dead bolts. Check for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance.
There are dead bolts available that can be opened by remote control. Check the security against hacking for these types of dead bolts. Have trouble seeing the lock at night? There are models that have motion detectors that switch on a light to make the cylinder easier to find. Universal keying means that a single key can be used even from different manufactures.
There are many models of exterior door locks. You need to decide what is needed by your household and budget. Remember that it is your home’s first line of defense against intruders.
Written by Tayna Vy, 941-955-2224