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Know your locks: A quick guide

Door locks are the first barrier to entry for anyone looking to break into your home. Like many other technologies, door locks have advanced far beyond just using a key to unlock. Smart home technology has allowed for homeowners to do away with a metal key and rely on mobile devices and even biometrics to access their home.

Other than a dependable home security system, having a strong door lock can mean the difference between a burglar attempting to make their way into your home or simply giving up and moving on to the next one.

First off, know your lock grades

Like many other products, locks come with a series of grades that signify the overall quality of the lock. You’ve likely come across all three grades of locks at some point in your life and never realized it, but knowing the difference can lead to better purchasing decisions in the future. While the information below is abridged, a fuller explanation of lock grades can be viewed on A Secure Life.

  • Grade 1: “Best” – Grade 1 locks are reserved for commercial-grade buildings and thus are less likely to be seen in a residential setting, but can still be found. According to A Secure Life, only commercial lever handles meet grade 1 requirements – thus no knobs or mortise locks are within this grade set.
  • Grade 2: “Better” – For “light commercial building requirements”, but still goes beyond what is needed for residential security.
  • Grade 3: “Good” – Relatively speaking, Grade 3 door locks are still strong, but only for residential buildings.



A single cylinder deadbolt

Deadbolts are essential to any home, as they arguably provide one of the quickest and cheapest forms of effective home security. Deadbolts come in either a single cylinder or double cylinder form. Single cylinder means that one side of the lock can be locked/unlocked by a key while the other side is operated by a twist mechanism. Double cylinder means that a key is needed for both sides.

Because double cylinder deadbolts are difficult to unlock from the inside without a key, they are banned by some local governments due to fire safety concerns.

Keyless/Electronic Locks


Although keyless locks are not the latest in lock technology, they still provide effective security for residents. These locks often feature a number pad that residents can enter a pass code to unlock the door without the need for a key, although a key option is often featured. Temporary codes can be set for guests hoping to enter, and can be reset at anytime.

Most keyless locks are battery-powered, which takes away the necessity for any hard-wiring.

Smart Locks


With technologies such as ADT Pulse, you can even lock or unlock your door from your mobile device, and you don’t have to be home to do it. Locks such as these have shown up form various companies throughout the past few years, and the technology is just getting smarter.

The locks pictured above are an example of what ADT Pulse customers can expect. Note the keypad technology with an option to use a key as well. Although these locks are somewhat disguised as normal keypad locks, most of their security comes from wherever the homeowner happens to be at anytime.

It’s hard to say that keys will be phased out all together in the future. People do still like have the quick option to slide a key in when needed, but smart technologies such as that from ADT will continue to develop and enhance the first line of defense in home security.

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