Secure Your Space: Understanding Different Door Lock Types for Safety and Convenience

Anthony |18th June, 2024
Various types of door locks to be used on external doors

What door lock types are on offer and offer extra security for your needs? Many face this question when bolstering their home or business security. This guide cuts through the complexity by detailing key features, usage scenarios, and the strengths of the most common door lock types, arming you with the knowledge to make a confident, informed decision.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the various types of door locks, including cylinder, mortice, deadbolts, and smart locks, is essential for optimising security and matching specific needs and door setups.

  • Proper installation and regular maintenance, along with high-security cylinders, anti-snap cylinders, and auto-locking mechanisms, can significantly enhance the effectiveness and longevity of door locks.

  • Selecting the right lock involves evaluating security needs, aesthetic preferences, budget limitations, and compliance with standards like TS007 and BS3621 to meet insurance requirements.

Exploring the Landscape of Door Lock Types

external doors with door handle

The door lock, an emblem of security and privacy, has evolved significantly. Today, many different door lock types are at our disposal, each designed to cater to specific security requirements and door setups. Some common types of door locks include:

  • Mortice locks

  • Cylinder lock

  • Deadbolt lock

  • Electronic lock

  • Smart locking system

Modern advancements in door locks also include keyless entry systems and diamond-grade security anti-snap cylinders, offering enhanced security and convenience.

The options are extensive and overwhelming, from the robust mortice locks range to the sophisticated multipoint locking system.

Understanding each of the door lock types unique advantages and disadvantages is crucial in fortifying your entry points, whether you choose a simple yet effective cylinder lock or a smart lock.

Cylinder Locks: The Core of Security

At the heart of door security lies the cylinder lock, a popular choice renowned for its essential yet adequate protection. These locks come in various shapes and configurations, including:

  • Euro profile

  • Oval profile

  • Rim-mounted

  • Key-in-knobset

Anti-snap cylinders enhance the security of Euro and Oval cylinder locks. These options offer tailored solutions for diverse security needs.

The pin tumbler lock, Invented by Linus Yale or ”Yale” in the mid-1800s, embodies the essence of cylinder lock with its pin mechanism that bars entry without the correct key. Master-keyed options enhance versatility by allowing access with different keys, adding a layer of flexibility for systems with multiple users.

Mortice Lock: Deep-Set Security

Internal locking mechanism of a mortice lock for timber doors

Mortice locks, on the other hand, offer a more concealed form of security. These locks require a pocket to be cut out from the door’s core, embedding most of the mechanism within and leaving minimal hardware visible, contributing to their design. The 5-lever mortice deadlock stands as a stalwart against common burglary methods such as drilling, with British Standard kitemarked versions offering even greater peace of mind.

Commonly installed on wooden doors, mortice locks are a testament to the blend of reliability and elegance.

Multi-Point Locking System: Fortified Entry Points

For those seeking fortified security, the multi-point locking system commonly used in uPVC door and composite doors is an Impenetrable multiple locking points barrier. Multiple hooks and bolts lock simultaneously, anchoring the door at different points into the frame.

Typically paired with a euro cylinder lock, this double locking system is a common feature in uPVC doors and composite doors and integral to the structure’s security.

However, the efficacy of a multi-point locks hinges on its proper functioning, as any failure could void insurance coverage, underscoring the importance of regular maintenance.

Decoding Deadlocks and Deadbolts

Exploring deadlocks and deadbolts door locks types

Progressing deeper into the world of secure locks, we encounter deadlocks and deadbolts, the bastions against forced entry. These mechanisms, distinguished by their lack of spring action, require manual operation to open and close, demanding a key or a turn knob for Euro cylinder locks deadlocks. The deadbolt, in particular, is revered for its resistance to forced entry, with specific models fortified by hardened steel inserts and ball bearings to defy drilling and cutting attempts.

Often reinforced with metal strike plates, deadlocks and deadbolts are favoured as the primary security measure for front doors. They offer robust construction and reliability.

Night Latch: Quick Access and Exit

auto deadlocking night latch used as surface locks when a door shuts

Night latches, known as night locks or a door latch, offer different conveniences. Mounted on the door's surface, these locks feature an internal latch mechanism and an external rim cylinder, enabling quick access and exit. They are well-suited for internal and external doors and provide a reliable secondary security measure when paired with a mortice lock.

Despite occasional issues leading to a lockouts, such as a loose snib or leaving without the key, the simplicity of night latches makes them a popular choice, even considering the potential for lock picking.

Sash Lock: Dual Functionality Mortice Locks

A sash lock kit that includes a door latch and mortice lock

Sash locks are a versatile lock, combining a spring-operated latch with a mortice deadlocks for dual functionality. The latch allows for easy passage when unlocked, while the deadbolt secures the door firmly when locked. A thumbturn can also operate a euro sash lock, adding to its ease of use.

This double lock mechanism adds sturdiness with convenience, as it can be operated with a simple thumb turn or key, depending on the lock type.

Specialised Lock Types for Specific Needs

Rim locks kit with keys

Navigating through the diverse landscape of door locks, we come across specialised types that cater to distinct needs and preferences. Rim locks, for example, offer a nod to antiquity with their surface-mounting design, easily affixed to various door materials and ideal for doors with thin profiles.

Keyed different systems, though offering high control and security, remind us of the importance of key management, as losing one key can compromise the entire system. Keyed different systems are also a high-security option for those needing individualised access control.

Euro Cylinder Lock: Versatile and Replaceable

euro cylinder with keys

Euro cylinder lock stand out for their versatility and easy replacement, making them a go-to for most doors, including uPVC and composite doors. These locks provide different security levels and can be upgraded with cylinder guards and anti-snap cylinders to combat forced entry methods like lock snapping. Lock snapping is a standard forced entry method that Euro cylinders can fight effectively.

Euro cylinder lock can adhere to standards such as SS312 Diamond Approved or TS007 3 Star to further bolster their defences, ensuring resistance against drilling, bumping, snapping and extraction.

Smart Locks: Modern Convenience

A smart lock represents the convergence of security and technology, offering keyless entry and remote access through smartphones and integrated systems. These locks come in retrofit units for existing mechanisms or as complete electronic systems with an external operating system, allowing multiple access methods, such as digital keys, keypads, and mobile apps.

Their integration with home automation and features like two-factor authentication and automatically locking exemplify the advancements in lock technology, providing both convenience and ease.

Master Key Systems

In large complexes or multi-occupancy buildings, master key systems provide a streamlined approach to security management. One master key can access multiple locks, while individual keys maintain private access to designated areas.

This system maximises security without compromising convenience, especially when combined with different cylinder grades, such as 3-star cylinders for high-risk doors and 1-star for others. Additionally, using 3-star cylinders for high-risk doors in master key systems.

Locks Tailored for Privacy: Bathroom Locks and Internal Doors

Privacy locks for bathroom, internal doors and office doors

When it comes to internal doors, locks are indispensable when it comes to privacy, especially in areas such as bathroom doors. These locks incorporate a thumbturn mechanism for easy locking and unlocking and provide safe emergency access through an external egress slot, balancing privacy with safety.

Another example of a lock on internal doors is a lock for French doors, also known as a security bolt turn.

a security bolt turn, otherwise known as a internal French door lock

Enhancing Security: Additional Lock Features

Beyond the basic lock types, additional features like high-security cylinder locks can fortify security while adding convenience. High-security cylinder locks, for instance, adhere to rigorous standards like Sold Secure SS312 Diamond or TS007 3 Star, mitigating vulnerabilities like drilling and bumping. Locks with ‘Police Preferred Specification’ status or those meeting BS3621 insurance standards indicate an elevated level of security, often requiring key operation from both.

Keyed Alike Systems: Simplified Security

The keyed alike system simplifies the equation by allowing one key to operate multiple locks, an ideal solution for properties with several doors. While this system reduces the number of keys one needs to carry, it also raises the stakes, as losing one key may necessitate replacing all the locks within the system or remaking a key from scratch. Effective key management is crucial in keyed alike systems to ensure security and prevent unauthorized access.

Auto-Locking Mechanisms: Ensuring Safety

For those who value peace of mind, auto-locking mechanisms are a godsend. These systems ensure the door locks automatically upon closing, offering an additional layer of security without requiring extra effort from the user.

More refined commercial systems can also be programmed to lock doors after a set time or in response to specific actions, such as arming a security system.

Choosing the Right Lock: Factors to Consider

A NELK BS3621 Lock

Selecting a lock for your space involves carefully considering several factors. The level of security required should reflect the property’s location, the value of items within, and the local crime rates. With options ranging from basic, affordable models to high-security, expensive ones, budget constraints will also influence your choice.

Aesthetic preferences and the need to match the property’s architectural style also play a role, offering a spectrum of designs from traditional to contemporary.

TS007 Lock Standard

TS007 Lock cylinder with keys

The TS007 lock standard was developed to counteract the online sharing of forced entry methods. This standard, marked by a star rating scheme, ensures that your locks are tested against various attack methods, including picking, drilling, and snapping, providing a robust defence for your front doors. This rating can only be achieved by using a 3 ☆ lock or the combination of 2☆ handles and a 1☆ lock.

BS3621 Locks

BS3621 sash lock

BS3621 locks meet British Standards for thief-resistant locks, essential for complying with most insurance policies. These locks are rigorously tested against burglary techniques and feature measures like a minimum bolt throw of 20mm into the door frame on a five lever mortice lock and hard plates to prevent drilling and ensure robust protection.

Wooden Door Lock Selection

For wooden doors, selecting a lock that meets BS3621 standards, like a British-standard night latch or mortice deadlock, is recommended to ensure a high level of security. Incorporating a British-standard lock alongside a non-British-standard night latch will bolster protection.

Locks for Aluminium doors and Glass Panelled Doors

An Adams rite lock for external aluminium doors

Aluminium and glass-panelled doors often require special consideration due to their design. Deadlatches and Adams rite mechanisms are suitable choices, providing security without compromising the aesthetic appeal of these types.

Installation and Maintenance Tips

Its installation and ongoing maintenance heavily influence the longevity and effectiveness of a lock. Here are some tips to ensure proper installation and maintenance of your lock:

  1. A Rim lock can be easily installed using standard screws, but they must be properly aligned to function correctly.

  2. Regular lubrication can prevent malfunction and prolong the life of the lock.

  3. Avoid harsh door slams, as they can also cause damage to the lock.

      By following these tips, you can ensure that your lock remains in good mechanical working condition for a long time.

      Professional Installation vs. DIY

      Choosing between professional installation and a DIY approach can significantly affect your lock’s performance. While tackling the installation yourself might seem cost-effective, it could lead to challenges, particularly with complex systems like smart locks. A professional locksmith, such as AD Locksmithing, ensures correct fitting and functionality, which are crucial for the security and longevity of your locks.

      Moreover, reputable services, like AD Locksmithing, provide warranties on their installation, giving you additional peace of mind.

      Maintaining Your Locks

      Maintaining your locks is as important as selecting the right one. Regular cleaning and lubrication with graphite powder can keep your locks functioning smoothly, preventing sticking and removing debris. It’s also advised to make key duplicates from the original to prevent a lockout.

      Additionally, preventing door slamming can help avoid damage and ensure the lock continues working as intended for years.


      The right door lock is a cornerstone of safety and convenience in the quest for security. Each option offers unique benefits tailored to specific needs, from the humble cylinder lock to the advanced smart lock. By understanding the different door lock types, security standards, and considerations for various door materials, you can make an informed decision that enhances the safety of your space. Remember, the lock you choose is more than just a lock mechanism; it’s a commitment to protecting what matters most.

       | Updated: 18th June, 2024

      Frequently asked questions

      What should I look for in a lock for my front door?

      Look for a front door lock that offers high security, resistance to common burglary methods, and ideally meets security standards like TS007 or BS3621. A deadlock or multi-point locking system can provide enhanced protection.

      Can smart locks be hacked, and how secure are they?

      Yes, smart locks can be vulnerable to hacking, but choosing one with strong encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular software updates can make them a secure option for locking your property.

      Are combination locks a good option for residential properties?

      Combination locks are a good option for areas needing controlled access without keys, like storage rooms or home offices. Still, for main entry points, keyed locks with a deadbolt lock or multi point locks systems offer stronger security.

      How often should I maintain or replace my door locks?

      You should maintain your door locks annually by cleaning and lubricating them. Consider replacing them if you notice wear and tear, experience a security breach, or move to a new home.

      What's the advantage of a keyed alike system?

      Keyed alike systems offer the advantage of using one key for multiple locks, simplifying access management. However, losing one key may require changing all locks in the system for security purposes.

      Guide,Locksmithing,Lock Replacement,Locks