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Best Door Locks: Will Yours Keep Burglars Out?

Key-based door lockFor most of us, security is a top priority when selecting door locks for our homes, followed by cost, style and finish. Choosing the best door locks for your doors depends on whether a door is interior or exterior, because each type of door requires completely different locking mechanisms. For example, it would not make sense to install a deadbolt on a bathroom door or a push-button privacy lockset on a front entry door. But before we get into that, let’s learn more about door locks in general and which ones are the most durable.

ANSI Grading System for Locks & Deadbolts

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established three grades for door locks to help identify the quality and durability of locksets and deadbolts. Each product must pass operational and security tests, including cycles, door strikes and weight test. One cycle consists of the knob or handle turning completely to retract the latch bolt and open the door, then it is released, allowing the door to re-latch. ANSI Grade 1 is the best choice for exterior residential door locks.

Grade 1 – Best

Highest grade security available. Meets commercial building requirements and is available for residential uses via deadbolts. There are not standard knobs, handlesets or mortise lockset that will meet ANSI Grade 1 certifications, only commercial lever handles.

  • Knobs must withstand 800,000 cycles, 6 door strikes and a 360 pound weight test
  • Deadbolts must withstand 250,000 cycles and 10 door strikes (hammer test)

Grade 2 – Better

Meets light commercial building requirements; exceeds standard residential security and building requirements.

  • Knobs must withstand 400,000 cycles, 4 door strikes and a 250 pound weight test
  • Deadbolts must withstand 150,000 cycles and 5 door strikes (hammer test)

Grade 3 – Good

Meets residential building requirements only and provides minimal residential security.

  • Knobs must withstand 200,000 cycles, 2 door strikes and a 150 pound weight test
  • Deadbolts must withstand 100,000 cycles and 2 door strikes (hammer test)

Door Lock Reviews


Deadbolt locks provide the most security on residential doors. The term dead is used, because these locks do not contain springs. A single-cylinder deadbolt is operated with a key from the outside and with a turn button on the inside, and a double-cylinder is operated with a key on both the inside and outside. Double-cylinder deadbolts can pose a danger during an emergency if the key is missing or not readily available.


Kwikset Double Cylinder Deadbolt Review – ANSI Grade 1

Price: MSRP $79.10 (less on Amazon)

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This double-cylinder deadbolt is operated by a key on both sides and features a SmartKey cylinder for easy re-keying. It has a fully adjustable latch and deadbolt to fit all standard doors. It is an extremely loved deadbolt by consumers and the ratings are high for it.


Baldwin Single Cylinder Deadbolt Review – ANSI Grade 2

Price: MSRP $41.00 (less on Amazon)

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From the Baldwin Prestige collection, this single-cylinder deadbolt can be paired with several knobs from the collection. It features solid zinc construction and SmartKey re-key technology. Customers have given this deadbolt high rankings and it is a dependable deadbolt.

Entry Locksets/Handlesets

Locksets and handlesets are medium-security entrance door locks often combined with a deadbolt.  They have two doorknobs that can be locked from the inside and the outside. One doorknob locks from the inside by turning or depressing a small button, while a key must unlock the outside knob. A handleset features a decorative door handle on the exterior.


Kwikset featuring SmartKey Juno Knob and Double Cylinder Deadbolt Review – ANSI Grade 2

Price: MSRP $73.00 (less on Amazon)

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This combo pack provides two locking points: keyed entry and a deadbolt. It features SmartKey re-key technology, a fully adjustable latch, and double cylinder deadbolt.


Kwikset featuring SmartKey Tavaris Single Cylinder Handleset with Vedani Lever Review – ANSI Grade 2

Price: MSRP $232 (less on Amazon)

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A single cylinder handleset, it can be locked or unlocked by a key on the outside, or the turn button on the inside. It features a fully reversible interior lever that fits both right-handed and left-handed doors and SmartKey re-key technology.


For advanced home security and convenience, keyless locks can be used to replace any standard deadbolts on exterior doors. An anti-theft rolling code feature ensures the same code is never used twice, and certain models sound an alarm after the incorrect code is entered more than three consecutive times. Additionally, some systems are compatible with select garage door openers or home security systems.


Kwikset 9140 SmartCode Deadbolt with SmartKey and Z-Wave Review – ANSI Grade 2

Price: MSRP $229.99 (less on Amazon)

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The SmartCode touchpad electronic deadbolt is a one-touch locking motorized deadbolt, and it is battery operated, so hard wiring is not required. Its patented side locking bar technology offers improved security by protecting against lock bumping. The lock features customizable access codes for increased security, as well as a back-lit keypad for increased visibility.


Yale YRL-220-ZQ-605 Digital Lock Review – Ansi Grade 2

Price: MSRP $275.00 (less on Amazon)

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This touchscreen lever door lock integrates with z-wave technology which is carried by hundred of companies so you can integrate it with other equipment. It’s easy to install and you can have a separate code for each family member. Codes can be 4-8 digits and you can even give out codes to frequent visitors like the housekeeper or babysitter. You can be notified each time someone enters and leaves your home or even unlock the door remotely for unexpected visitors that you’d like to let inside.

Schlage BE469NXCAM619 Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Nexia Home Intelligence & Alarm Review – ANSI Grade 1

Price: MSRP $431 (less on Amazon)

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The Schlage Camelot has a standard lock design that fits most residential doors and features a durable, fingerprint-resistant touch screen, which protects against fingerprints and smudges and ensures wear patterns remain undetectable. The motorized, tapered bolt design automatically locks and unlocks when a user inputs a code. It has an auto-lock feature that automatically re-locks the door after 30 seconds if the door is left unlocked. The built-in alarm technology senses movement of the door and alerts homeowners with an audible alert, and Nexia Home Intelligence enables remote locking and unlocking.

Mortise Locks

Mortise locks are used on many types of residential doors, including storm doors and stress convenience over security. The lockset consists of a flat, rectangular box that fits into a recess in the door from its edge and includes two faceplates with knobs and keyholes. The latch operates from either side except when the outside knob is locked, and the deadbolt operates by a turn of the inside knob.


Defender Security ENTRY E-2293 Mortise Lockset Review – ANSI Grade 2

Price: MSRP $23.99 (less on Amazon)

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This lockset is constructed from steel and, the lock bolt is key activated from the inside and outside. The latch bolt is also reversible for right or left hand installations.


Wright Products VMT115PB Accents Serenade Mortise Lockset Review – ANSI Grade 2

Price: MSRP $48.64 (less on Amazon)

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Crafted from solid brass inside and out, this lockset features a curved lever handle. The set includes a built-in deadbolt lock and is a direct replacement hardware for most mortise style storm door locks. It has great reviews from customers.

New Lock Technologies

Digital devices constantly overtake their analog counterparts, and now that includes the locks on our homes. Smart locks with Bluetooth-enabled deadbolts and fingerprint scanners soon are already on the market. Additionally, a company called Goji created a smart lock with a built-in camera that takes a picture of anyone activating the lock and sends a real-time picture alert to your mobile phone, providing you with visual confirmation of who is accessing your home. Goji completed its funding goal on the crowd funding website Indiegogo on August 3, 2013, which will help manufacture the lock. However, as of September 2015 the locks have yet to be on the market. You can reserve a Goji Smart Lock for less than the retail price of $349.99. The following state-of-the-art door locks are engineered for maximum security and technology performance.

Kwikset Kevo 925 Bluetooth Enabled Deadbolt – No ANSI Grade Yet

Price: MSRP $465 (less on Amazon)

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The Kwikset Kevo uses your iPhone and select Android devices as your key and includes a fob for touch-to open option without a smartphone. The mobile app sends notifications of lock activities and enables you to manage the lock. You can even share eKeys with family and friends as needed. The SmartKey deadbolt cylinder provides a backup with a traditional key and offers security against lock picking and bumping.


iTouchless Stainless Steel Bio-Matic Fingerprint Deadbolt Door Lock Review – ANSI Grade 1

Price: MSRP $349.99 (less on Amazon)

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Never worry about using a key again with this lock that uses fingerprint recognition technology. This deadbolt model uses the latest biometric entrance technology and can replace most deadbolt locks without drilling an extra hole. It provides access to 150 fingerprint users and 78 passcode code users and includes 2 backup keys. It can be configured for either left swing or right swing doors.


August Smart Lock Review – No ANSI Grade

Price: MSRP $249.99

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This device uses your smartphone to unlock your door for you. You can still unlock it the old-fashioned way, but with this device you are able to allow guests in and out of your house without a key. All you do is send them an invite and choose a length of time they are allowed to enter your home. Whether it be the plumber, friends staying from out-of-town or family you can allow them in your home without you changing up your schedule for when they arrive.

Security Extras

The following security extras are installed on the doorjamb or the inside surface of the door. They provide light security and are usually used in combination with another lock, such as a deadbolt.

Prime-Line Products U 10385 Door Strike Review

Price: MSRP $17.86 (less on Amazon)

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A door strike plate is a metal plate affixed to a doorjamb with a hole or holes for the bolt. This strike can easily be swapped out from a previously installed standard strike. It features six 3-inch long screws and provides improved security.


Buddybar Door Jammer Review

Price: MSRP $74.95

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This door jammer is made of 16 gauge, powder-coated steel and is very easy and quick to install without the use of tools. The foot is 2″x4″ rubber-coated steel and provides a solid grip.

0National Hardware V804 Door Security Guard

Price: MSRP $7.43

View on Amazon

This latch is installed in the interior surface of a door. It unlocks easily from inside, cannot be unlocked from the outside and opens slightly for ventilation or looking outside.

Common Home Security Tips

The quality of a door lock does not matter if it is not locked. Sometimes people forget to lock a deadbolt when leaving, but it is also important to remember to lock your doors when you’™re at home. Most intruders prefer to enter a home through unlocked entry points. Additionally, doors and their hardware occasionally need maintenance, because a poorly maintained door makes it easier for a burglar to enter your house.

What door lock are you using?

Our site's mission is to help consumers make more informed purchase decisions. This website accepts financial compensation from some of the companies mentioned which allows us to provide this free service to our readers. Compensation does not influence the rankings of products. More info on our disclosure page.

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About Kimberly Alt
Kimberly has always taken security seriously. Whether it's making sure she locks all the doors or using complex passwords, she tries her best to live a secure life. She has years of experience with testing, reviewing, and writing about security systems. One of her favorite parts of her job is being able to inform consumers of the best security products available.
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  • David

    Something I would point out to people is that you DO NOT, under any circumstances, want a “smartkey” lock. There is a $10 tool available that will allow a burglar to disengage a smartkey lock in less than 10 seconds, with no exterior damage. It is small enough to fit into any pocket, and practically silent, so it’s not hard to use without attracting attention.

    While most thieves are not especially well trained or likely to have specialized tools, I think if I spend the money for a high quality lock, I expect it to take more than 10 seconds for ANY thief to force their way in. SmartKey locks, as they are right now, are a very foolish buy.

    • Lia

      Thanks for the great insight, David. As you stated above, most thieves don’t have the specialized tools needed to pick these locks. However, it’s always good to weigh the pros and cons before making a purchase.

  • Indeed a very good tips. You can always choose door locks as you want. But be sure that it is durable and with good quality, and don’t forget to put sensor alarm security system as well.

  • Lia

    Yes! We saw a lot of these products while we were at ISC West last week. I’m sure we’ll be reviewing them here shortly.

  • Hank

    Very good article. One thing that people need to keep in mind is a chain is only as good as its weakest link. Along with a quality lock, a door re-enforcer plate, an armor strike plate and hinge shields go a long way in stopping a kick-in attack.

  • Want to reduce the likelihood of a successful door break down? Replace all the screws with 4″ long screws as follows:

    All hinge screws. Screws that hold the plates in the door frame into which the … View more deadbolt inserts into, and to a lesser degree the strike plate where the little part that sticks out of the door knob catches on. Ideally you’d want to put some 4″ screws to secure the frame into the surrounding wall frame itself, but it’s likely that’s already the case.

    There are YouTube videos that show police departments trying to break down doors with 4″ screws as a demonstration of how much these longer screws help, and it’s not an easy task.

  • ort

    We just put on a new garage side door that has a steel door frame along with the deadbolt. The lock is a Kwik Set, but I’m not sure of the ANSI grade as we had it installed by a door and window company.
    I’m thinking thieves would probably drill out the lock rather than kick in the door.
    Like Lady C said, if they want to get it, they will get in.

  • Lady C

    Great article. All of the products and tips you shared were really helpful! However, I did just want to remind anyone who sees this article that it’s not always about what lock you put on, it’s about how much time you delay the burglar from getting inside. If a burglar is determined, he will find a way to break in.

    • That’s a great thing to point out! Thanks for contributing to our site and mentioning this. It will be very valuable for our readers to keep this in mind!

  • Hello Kristina,

    The information you shared regarding the locks and their digitization is really awesome and different. A digital door lock is best, I think. It will allow you to step in to a certain area of the house only after entering a code that only you and the people you trust know. It is the safest model of a lock system which will give you the maximum protection level.

    Avishay “Shy” Lavy

    • Hi Avishay – thank you for your input! Do you have experience with a specific brand/type of digital door lock? I’m thinking about moving to one from the double dead bolt I currently use.

  • Cathleen

    The new technology locks are really awesome. Looking forwards to giving them a try.

  • Lisa Jackson

    You can use Knob locks. These are perhaps the most common types of knobs people use in their interior doors. These locks have an appealing cylindrical look that gives your doors an entirely new look.