Choosing a Top Deadbolt Lock for your Home

(This is a guest post from Madison Parker.)

One way to keep your home safe from would-be intruders is to install effective dead bolts on your doors. However, it’s important to look at what type of dead bolt to buy and what makes certain dead bolts even more effective – and discouraging to burglars – than others.

In general terms, as part of any basic security plan, homeowners should install what is known as Grade 1 or ANSI-designated deadbolt locks on every exterior door, including those between garages and home interiors. Burglars would of course prefer that you not use a deadbolt at all, and instead install an easy to pick spring lock. In fact, they’ll often avoid buildings with strong dead bolts in search of an easier target.

Since most area building codes do not require dead bolt type locks at all, the task of selecting an appropriate lock falls on the homeowner.  Start your selection process by looking at a lock that’s a deterrent to burglars: one that can’t be picked, pried, hammered or drilled out easily. That means a lock that has an ANSI Grade 1 specification, which means the dead bolt has been tested to show that it can withstand up to ten hammer blows, and can effectively open and close two hundred and fifty thousand times, and project itself one inch into the door frame. Grade two dead bolts are also considered recommended for home use, but the grade one specification means it’s the sturdiest by far.

You should also look at what is called the UL or underwriters laboratories listing standards. The sturdiest locks have a UL listing of four hundred and thirty seven, meaning the lock meets the highest standards for security locking. And, once you’ve found an ANSI Grade 1, UL 437 lock, you’ll need to decide if you want a single or double cylinder lock. A double cylinder requires a key to operate even from the inside, which can make usage a bit more complex for your family. A single cylinder is the type of dead bolt most of us use, and it requires a key to lock and unlock from the outside, but operates with a twist of the wrist from the inside.

If your exterior door has a window in it, you may want a double cylinder, as an intruder could potentially break a window, reach inside, and simply turn the single cylinder lock. However, if there are no windows on your door, the added complication of using a double cylinder lock is probably not worth it. They can also be dangerous if you’re trying to exit your home quickly in the event of a fire or another emergency. In general, a single cylinder lock is strong and safe if you have a solid door.

Select your dead bolt lock by choosing one that features steel bolts or steel inserts with a one inch throw or more. What is a one inch throw? It’s the one inch of bolt that extends past your door’s edge, making it more difficult for an intruder to pick your lock.

Other facets to look for: a striking plate that’s steel with screws at least three inches in length.

Select a leading brand such as Master Lock, Schlage, or Baldwin.

Some Examples:

  • Schlage B60 609 Grade 1 Single Cylinder Deadbolt or the Kwikset 99800-092 Signatures 980 Grade 1 Security Single Cylinder SmartKey with a customized security system that allows easy re-keying if a key is lost.
  • Medeco Maxum 11WC60L, one of the toughest out there.

Electronic keyless deadbolts

When selecting an electronic model be sure to find one that prevents lock bumping which is one way dead bolts can be broken. The Sunnect AP501AB and the Schlage BE365VCAM619 Camelot Deadbolt Keypad are both excellent keyless dead bolt models.

Madison Parker is a security expert whose interests range from personal to home security systems. Get more tips and advice on her Home Security blog!

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