A Guide to Locks

When purchasing locks, the amount of options can quickly become overwhelming. There are many different types of locks that provide different security factors, and all should be considered before purchasing. Of the many types of locks, the four most common are padlocks, deadbolts, knob locks, and lever locks. This blog will discuss each type.

Padlocks are the only type of lock that is not permanently attached to something else. They come in a variety of sizes, are portable, and are perhaps the most easily recognized lock type. There are two main varieties of padlocks: combination and keyed. Combination locks have one or more number dials to open the lock following entry of the correct combination. These are often easy to decode or shim open. Keyed padlocks can be either rekeyable or non-rekeyable. If a lock is non-rekeyable, you cannot change the key that opens the lock. Padlocks can also be key-retaining or non-retaining. Key-retaining padlocks do not allow the key to be removed while the padlock is open. Lastly, padlocks can feature a shrouded shackle. This is an extension that raises up the sides of the shackle making it more difficult for bolt cutters to cut the padlock.

Deadbolts are typically installed on external doors and have more options than padlocks. The three primary types of deadbolts are single, double, and lockable thumbturn. Single deadbolts are the most common and are found in most American homes. These utilize a key cylinder on the outside and a thumbturn on the inside that opens and closes the lock. Double cylinder locks have cylinders on both the inside and outside of the door for added security. However, these present the disadvantage of needing a key to lock/unlock the door from either side. The final type of deadbolt, the lockable thumbturn, is a hybrid of the single and double deadbolt. They feature an inner thumb turn that works like a normal single cylinder, except the thumbturn can be locked using a key such that it cannot lock or unlock the door. This allows someone to leave a home while ensuring the door remains locked behind them, even on the inside.

Knob locks are common in residential situations where they are used on exterior doors to supplement deadbolts. While they can also serve as the primary source of security for a door, they are not an ideal choice for security on external doors, because the lock cylinder is in the knob itself rather than the door. This means they can be easily bypassed by breaking them off the door. If you have a knob lock as the lone security for your door, consider replacing them. Finally, lever handle locks are frequently used for inner doors in commercial settings. They are easier to open than knob locks due to their large push-down handle rather than a knob that must be grabbed and turned to open. Lever locks are used in areas where handicap accessibility is important.

Though these four are the most common types of locks, many other types, including cam locks, wall mounted locks, interchangeable core locks, furniture locks, and jimmy-proof deadbolts, also exist. Whatever type of lock you need, be sure to get it from a trusted source.



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