How to Choose the Right Deadbolt Lock for Your Home

how to choose a deadbolt lock

One of the most effective home security solutions is the deadbolt lock. A deadbolt lock not only adds an extra degree of protection against burglars, it can give you peace of mind knowing your family and goods are protected. However, with many different deadbolt types or lock brands on the market, selecting the right one for your home can be difficult.

Continue reading to learn how to select the best deadbolt lock for your specific needs. 

What are Deadbolt Locks?

Deadbolt locks are a type of locking mechanism commonly used for securing doors. They have a bolt that extends into the doorjamb and cannot be moved without rotating the lock cylinder. Deadbolts provide added security compared to other types of locks such as doorknob locks because they are resistant to forced entry.

Types of Deadbolt Locks

Lock Type Description
Single-Cylinder Deadbolt The most common type of deadbolt lock. It has a keyhole on the outside and a thumb turn on the inside to lock and unlock the door.
Double Cylinder Deadbolt Similar to a single cylinder, but it requires a key to lock and unlock the door from both sides. Provides added security but may be a safety hazard in case of an emergency.
Smart Deadbolt Uses electronic technology to control and monitor the lock, such as using a smartphone app, fingerprint reader, or voice commands. Can be more convenient and offer additional features, but may be more expensive.
Jimmy Proof Deadbolt Also called surface-mounted deadbolts, jimmy-proof deadbolts are installed on the surface of the door and frame. They provide extra reinforcement against forced entry.
Vertical Deadbolt Similar to a standard deadbolt, but the bolt extends vertically into the door frame rather than horizontally. Can be more difficult to install and may require special modifications.
Keyless Deadbolt Uses a keypad, touchscreen, or other electronic means to enter a code instead of a physical key. Provides convenience and eliminates the need for extra keys, but may require batteries and can be vulnerable to hacking.


How to Choose the Right Deadbolt Lock in 5 Steps

1. Assess Your Security Needs

Before you shop for a deadbolt lock, assess the level of security you’re looking for. Deadbolt locks are available in a variety of types, materials, and security features, each providing a different level of protection. Also consider factors specific to your situation, including the crime rate in your neighborhood, the value of your home and belongings, and the type of door and frame you have when making your decision.

2. Consider Your Door's Hardware

When choosing a deadbolt lock, it's important to consider your current door’s hardware. Deadbolts are typically compatible with a standard door, but confirm the lock you choose is compatible with your specific door type and hardware.

Door Hardware Factors to Consider When Choosing a Deadbolt Lock

3. Learn the Available Deadbolt Lock Mechanisms

Deadbolt locks can vary in design, with each lock having unique benefits and disadvantages. Understanding the different mechanisms available can help you choose the deadbolt best for your situation.

Breakdown of Deadbolt Lock Mechanisms

Deadbolt Lock Mechanism Benefits Disadvantages
Single-Cylinder Deadbolt Easy to install and use, with a thumb turn on the inside and a keyhole on the outside. Affordable and widely available. Can be vulnerable to break-ins if the door has a window or glass panel near the lock, as intruders can easily reach in and turn the thumb turn.
Double Cylinder Deadbolt Provides added security, as it requires a key to lock and unlock from both sides. Can be useful for doors with glass panels or windows near the lock. Can be a safety hazard in case of an emergency, as occupants may not be able to quickly unlock the door without a key. May violate codes in some areas.
Smart Deadbolt Can be controlled with a smartphone app remotely, a keypad, a fingerprint reader, or voice commands. Can offer other features like auto-locking and real-time alerts. Can be more expensive than other types of deadbolt locks. May require additional hardware and power sources, such as batteries or a Wi-Fi connection.
Jimmy Proof Deadbolt Provides added security, as it is installed on the surface of the door and frame. Easy to install and use. Not as aesthetically pleasing. May require special installation or door and frame modifications.
Vertical Deadbolt Provides added security over horizontal bolts. Can be difficult to install and requires special modifications. May be more expensive than other types of deadbolt locks. May not be compatible with all door types or hardware.
Keyless Deadbolt Provides convenience, as it uses a keypad, touchscreen, or other electronic means to enter a code instead of a physical key. Can be vulnerable to hacking or electronic malfunctions. May require batteries or a power source.

4. Look for High-Security Features

When choosing a deadbolt lock, it's important to look for high-security features that matter to you. 

Top Deadbolt Lock Safety Features

  1. ANSI/BHMA Grade: Look for deadbolt locks tested and certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA). These certifications provide a rating system for deadbolt locks based on their durability, strength, and resistance to picking, drilling, and other forced entry methods. Locks are given an ANSI grade of 1-3, with grade 1 being the most durable and secure. We recommend sticking with grade 1 or grade 2 deadbolts.
  2. Solid Construction: Look for deadbolt locks made of solid materials such as brass or steel, which provide better resistance to tampering and forced entry.
  3. Hardened Steel Bolt: The bolt is part of the lock that extends into the door frame, and a hardened steel bolt provides added resistance to sawing, cutting, and prying.
  4. Anti-Drill Plate: An anti-drill plate is a hardened steel plate that covers the lock mechanism and provides added protection against drilling.
  5. Reinforced Strike Plate: The strike plate is the metal plate on the door frame that the bolt locks into. Look for a reinforced strike plate with longer screws to provide added strength against forced entry.

5. Consider the Required Installation and Maintenance

Consider the deadbolt lock's installation and maintenance requirements. Some deadbolt locks may require the use of specialized tools or knowledge to install, while others may need more frequent maintenance to ensure they stay working right.

Important Installation & Maintenance Items With Deadbolt Locks

  1. DIY vs Professional Installation: Some deadbolt locks are designed for easy DIY installation, while others may require the services of a professional locksmith. Make sure to consider who will install the deadbolt lock you choose.
  2. Compatibility with Door and Frame: Ensure the deadbolt lock you choose is compatible with your door and frame, and that it can be installed without causing damage or requiring extensive modifications.
  3. Required Ongoing Maintenance: Some deadbolt locks may require regular lubrication or adjustment to ensure proper function. Make sure to read the manufacturer's instructions and maintenance recommendations to ensure that your lock continues to function properly over time.
  4. Available Warranties & Support: Look for deadbolt locks that come with a warranty and good customer support in case you need assistance with installation or maintenance.


Hire a Locksmith to Choose & Install a Deadbolt Lock for You

If you want to leave the installation to the professionals, Suncoast Locksmith installs deadbolt locks in the St. Petersburg, Florida area. We make the process of selecting and installing a deadbolt lock in your home easy. Get fast service from our owner Mike, a certified locksmith with over 3 decades of industry experience. Contact us today to get started.

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