7 Types of Deadbolts and How to Choose the Right One for You (2024)

As a proprietor of a home or business, it's crucial to ensure your security measures are current. This encompasses setting up the appropriate deadbolt locks.

There are many different types of deadbolt locks available on the market, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

In this post, we'll take a look at the most common types of deadbolt locks and discuss how they can benefit you. We'll also provide some tips for choosing the most secure deadbolt lock for your needs.

So, if you're interested in effectively upgrading your security, keep reading!

What Is a Deadbolt?

A deadbolt is a locking mechanism that is typically used in conjunction with a doorknob to secure doors. They use a key or thumb turn to engage a bolt that extrudes into the doorframe.

Deadbolts are commonly used on exterior doors because they provide a high level of security against forced attacks—such as kick-ins.

Types of Deadbolt Door Locks

There are seven main types of deadbolt locks on the market today. They all work pretty much the same, but each has specific characteristics that will affect how well they work in certain situations.

1. The Single-Cylinder Deadbolt Lock

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First up is the single-cylinder deadbolt. This type of lock uses a thumb turn on the inside of the door and a key on the exterior side.

These are the most popular deadbolt used on household front doors and are typically used in conjunction with a doorknob latch lock.

They are ideal to use when you want quick access in one direction (such as during an emergency) while restricting access in the other direction.

Single-cylinder deadbolts should be installed at least 40 inches away from any glass or a window to prevent someone from breaking the glass and turning the thumb turn.

2. The Double-Cylinder Deadbolt Lock

The double-cylinder deadbolt requires a key to be used on both sides of the door.

This type of deadbolt is often used on entry doors to provide an extra level of security and prevents someone from being able to break in by reaching through a broken window and turning the thumb turn from the outside.

Safety is a huge factor when using these types of deadbolts. Because the door is locked from both sides, fast egress (such as during a fire) becomes difficult. In most cases, there are specific laws and building codes you need to refer to before using.

3. Electronic Deadbolt Lock

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Electronic deadbolts are a popular choice for homeowners seeking a reliable and convenient way to secure their homes. These locks offer the same security and durability as their mechanical counterparts but with the added benefit of a keypad or touchscreen.

This allows you to program a unique access code, so you never have to worry about losing a key again. They are not connected to your WiFi or other smart home technology.

They are also referred to as "Non-connected locks," which means they are a closed system and are not connected to your WiFi or other smart home technology.

Whether you are looking for a simple way to secure your home or want the latest in smart home technology, electronic deadbolts are an excellent option.

4. Smart Deadbolt Lock

Smart deadbolt locks have recently emerged as a new and popular type of deadbolt—due to their advanced features and convenience. Compared to traditional electronic or mechanical locks, smart deadbolt locks have several advantages.

  • Multiple Modes of Access: One of the major perks of a smart lock is they present you with so many ways to unlock and lock your door. Common entry methods your find include keypads, biometric fingerprint scanners, mobile app access, location-based auto-unlocking, and sometimes physical backup keys.
  • Manage Access: Create permanent or temporary access codes to give to friends, family, house sitters, or anyone else that needs controlled access to your home. You can also schedule codes for specific dates and times—perfect for any Airbnb owner!
  • Unique Security Features: Smart locks also offer additional security features such as tamper alerts, automatic locking, and notifications when your door is unlocked.
  • Access Logs: See who unlocked your door and when using access logs.

Of course, there are a few disadvantages of smart locks, the most important are:

  • Battery-powered: Most smart locks are battery-powered and require battery changes every 3 to 12 months (depending on the device you get). This adds maintenance to the lock and adds a point of failure to the lock if the batteries die. That being said, most smart locks give you a goods lengths warning when the battery begins to die.
  • Needs a Stable Network: Because a smart lock operates on your home network, you’ll need a stable network to ensure the device always works. If your network or power goes down, you’ll lose some functionality of the lock.
  • Can Be Hacked: However, there are various steps you can take to secure your network against, such as using strong passwords, two-factor authentications, and using a separate network for your smart devices. All of these hardening techniques are rather simple.

In the last few years, smart locks have become a solid alternative to traditional deadbolts. While they do have additional points of failure, they make up for it by adding a digital layer of security to your physical door while providing you with easy access to your home.

If you like the idea of using a smart lock, be sure to check out my round-up of the best smart locks of 2024.

5. Rim Deadbolt

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A rim deadbolt lock is a type of lock that is installed on the inside surface of a door, typically near the doorknob. This type of lock is operated by a key from the outside, and a thumb turn from the inside.

Rim locks are a great way to add extra security to a door in which a traditional deadbolt can not be installed. They are also easy to install, typically requiring only a screwdriver.

The main downside to a rim deadbolt lock is that it is not as strong as a traditional deadbolt because it is mounted to the door. This means that it can be easily broken into if someone is trying to force their way into the house.

6. Vertical Deadbolt Lock

A vertical deadbolt lock is a type of door lock that is attached to the doorframe at the top rather than the side. This provides extra security against burglars, as it makes it much harder for them to pry the door open with a crowbar or other tool.

Vertical deadbolt locks are larger than other types of locks, but they provide a high level of security. If you are looking for a strong and reliable door lock, a vertical deadbolt lock is an excellent option.

7. Mortise Deadbolt Lock

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If you're looking for a high-security option for your home or commercial locks, mortise locks are a great choice. These locks are made with a metal body that houses both a deadbolt and latch lock, making them difficult to force open.

Mortise locks require a rectangular pocket (known as the mortise) to be cut into the door, making them even more difficult to tamper with. This makes them even more difficult to break into.

While these features make mortise locks more secure, they also tend to make them more expensive than typical cylinder locks. However, for homeowners who are looking for the highest level of security, mortise locks are definitely worth the investment.

What Type of Deadbolt Is Best?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best type of deadbolt will vary depending on your needs and budget.

However, a few guidelines to follow are:

  • If you just want the benefit that a deadbolt provides, consider picking a standard single-cylinder deadbolt.
  • If you can't install a deadbolt into a door, consider looking into rim deadbolts.
  • If you don't want to worry about forgetting or losing keys or would like to easily give or revoke access to your home, consider looking into electronic or smart deadbolts.
  • If you want the best security you can conjure, consider looking into a more expensive mortise deadbolt.

Deadbolt vs. Deadlock

"Deadlock" is a term that represents any type of door lock that requires a key to lock and unlock it and are most commonly used on exterior doors. Deadbolts and deadlatches are a type of deadlock.

Deadbolt vs. Deadlatch

A deadbolt is a type of lock that uses a bolt to secure a door in place. The bolt is usually metal and is thrown or retracted with a key, thumb turn, or electronically. Deadbolts are an added security measure that reinforces doors against brute force attacks.

A deadlatch (also referred to as a spring bolt) is similar to a deadbolt in that it uses a bolt to secure a door, but the bolt is spring-loaded and automatically throws into place when the door is closed. In order for the bolt to be retracted, a doorknob or lever must be turned. The shortcomings of deadlatches are that they can easily be manipulated by bypassing attacks such as "loiding." If not installed correctly, they can also be opened using a credit card or knife.

Both deadbolts and deadlatches are susceptible to key-cylinder bypasses such as:

  • lock picking
  • bump keys
  • drilling

Ideally, you want to use both a deadbolt and deadlatch on your exterior doors to provide the most security.

Final Thoughts

The best deadbolt for you will depend on your needs and budget.

If you just want the benefit that a deadbolt provides, consider picking a standard single-cylinder deadbolt. If you can't install a deadbolt into a door, consider looking into rim locks or mortise locks instead.

Electronic or smart types of doors are a great option that mixes traditional deadbolt security with convenience. And if you want the best security you can conjure, consider looking into a more expensive mortise deadbolt or high-security door lock.

Just remember to always install and use your deadbolts correctly and that using the right type of deadbolt is an important part of protecting your home. By following the guidelines in this article, you can be sure that you're choosing the best type of deadbolt for your needs.

Thanks for reading!

7 Types of Deadbolts and How to Choose the Right One for You (2024)


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