Different Types of Door Locks

A door lock is an essential part of your household that provides safety and security to your family. With the advent of technology, door locks have become more robust and foolproof, in addition to having auxiliary features that make your life easier. They come in different shapes and designs to complement the appearance of your doors.

However, this creates a headache of choosing the right door lock that suits your security needs from a plethora of models available in the market. We have created a list of different types of door lock and the factors that you need to consider to choose the ideal one.

Types of Door Locks

The door locks are broadly classified into three major groups – keyed, electronic, and smart locks. The keyed locks are your traditional locksets whereas electronic locks are relatively new and the smart locks are the latest arrival in the market.

Knob Locks

They are the most common door locks and have been prevalent for quite some time. In this, the lock is located in the knob of the door handle as opposed to the door. Hence, it can be easily broken with the help of a hammer or wrench. These locks are not ideally suited to be fitted in the front door and are preferred for door rooms that are located within the building.

Cam Locks

These locks use a cylindrical locking mechanism and are commonly fitted in cabinets and furniture. These locks are fitted in the wooden part in such a way that they seem invisible or complement your furniture and cabinets. They generally come fitted with cabinet kits and furniture. They are reliable and secure the doors completely.

Deadbolt Locks

These are the most robust door locks that are typically resistant to any type of physical attacks, battering and boring. They are fitted at the front doors or at the entrance door and are the best option to prevent your home from burglaries and break-ins. The bolts can be opened or closed by simply turning the key or the knob. They come in three different types.

A single cylindrical deadbolt is the simplest type that can be opened or locked from one side of the door using a key whereas a double cylindrical deadbolt can be opened or locked from both sides. The C type cylindrical deadbolt has an additional thumb turn inside that can be opened with a key.


Unlike other locks, padlocks are portable in nature and you can remove them from one door and fit it to another door when needed. The locks consist of a shackle that passes through a cylindrical hole in the lock body and clicks into place. Inserting the key into the hole and rotating it releases the shackle to its rest position.

Padlocks are classified into two categories – keyed and combination. The combination padlock does not require a key and is opened or locked by entering a sequence of numbers. The keyed padlocks are further subdivided into keyed alike, keyed different, and keyable.

Mortise Locks

Mortise locks are generally fitted to external doors. The doors are cut to allow the mortise lock to be installed. They are generally fitted to the edges of doors or furnitures that make them concealed. These locks come in both light and heavy-duty models. They either contain knobs or levers that are enclosed in a cylindrical body.

The cylinder is threaded and is used to secure through the door into the body of the lock. The threaded cylinder comes in different dimensions to accommodate the different sizes and types of doors.

Single Cylindrical Locks

The single cylindrical lock can be locked or unlocked from the external side of the door using a key. The internal side has a knob that is used to lock or unlock the door without using the key. The knob uses a thumb-turn style lever to lock and unlock the door.

This type is generally preferred for the convenience it offers in activating the lock from the inside without a key. These locks can be commonly seen in hotels, fire exits, and other public places

Double Cylindrical Locks

Double cylindrical locks do not have a knob and need a key to activate the lock on both sides of the door. They provide more security than the single cylindrical locks and are difficult to unlock without the right key. The lock is especially useful in preventing kids from unlocking the doors themselves and heading out since it requires a key.

While the double cylindrical locks improve security, in case of emergencies such as fire occurrences, it would prove to be difficult and time consuming to unlock the door. It is due to these reasons, they are mainly installed in the exterior gates and doors that are adjacent to windows where robbers can not open the door by reaching their hand inside.

Handleset Locks

Handleset locks have a handle on the front side of the door while the interior side has a keyed mechanism or a thumb-turn style knob to activate it from the inside. It uses a deadbolt lock mechanism to enhance security. In addition to this, they come in various shapes and styles to complement the door.

Hand Lever Locks

Similar to handleset locks, these locks have a handle on the front side and a knob lever on the interior side of the door. The hand level locks are not very sturdy and hence are not preferred for entry doors, Rather, they are more suited for closets and bedrooms.

Barrel Bolt

Barrel bolt locks are installed on the inside of doors. They contain two pieces – one that is fitted in the door frame while the other is fitted in the door. A shaft passes through the cylindrical lock from the door frame to the door that arrests the opening of the door. They are not great for security purposes as pushing the door hard enough can break the cylindrical assembly.

Electronic Locks

The electronic locks use a keypad system or a card system to activate the locks. You need to enter the secret PIN in the keypad or swipe the card in the system to lock or unlock the door. In most cases, the door locks automatically when closed.

These types of locks can be commonly found in hotels, schools, and other commercial buildings. Some locking systems integrate the conventional key system and you can use your key to activate the lock if you have forgotten your PIN. The main advantage of these locks is the convenience and flexibility they offer.

Smart Locks and Systems

These are the latest addition in the market and are preferred the most by millennials. Moving away completely from the conventional lock mechanisms, the smart locks are an integral part of a larger system of audio and video monitoring.

These systems rely heavily on technology and the entire system can be controlled remotely using your smartphone. The systems raise an alarm in the occurrence of a break-in. However, as they are technology-dependent, the systems are prone to hacks and, hence, are not entirely foolproof. There are three main types of smart door locks which are,

1. Bluetooth

This is the simplest and the most commonly employed connection for smart locks. You can directly pair your smartphone with the lock and gain access to it. Your smart lock has the capacity to automatically sense your phone once it is in range and unlock your door.

However, it raises several security concerns and has limitations. Anyone who has access to your phone can bypass the security. Also, the range of Bluetooth is very limited and, hence, you can not remotely control your lock over long distances.

2. Wi-Fi

Due to the shortcomings of Bluetooth, it is being fast replaced by Wi-Fi connection. This is more versatile, has unlimited range, and lets you control more complex security systems. You can control wireless cameras and you can unlock the door remotely for your friends and family members to get in.

The main downside of this is that the Wi-Fi connection drains the battery of your smartphone drastically and you need a stable connection to access the lock system.

3. Z-Wave

The Z-Wave locks consist of a central hub that establishes a connection between the lock and smartphone. Similar to Bluetooth, you need to be within range to establish the connection. Once you go out of range, you lose access to the locks and, hence, you can activate them remotely. You can use range extenders to increase the range of connections.

How to Choose the Lockset?

Now, once you are aware of the different types of locks available in the market, the next step is to understand your requirements and choose the one that meets them. Below are the factors that you need to consider while choosing the lockset:

Where will the lock be installed?

If the lockset is to be installed in the entry door, you need a robust and sturdy lock system such as deadbolts, mortise locks, or smart locks that can prevent break-ins. If you are installing it in cabinets or room doors, then you can go with locksets that offer convenience and ease of use.

Keyless Locks

If you are someone who misplaces his keys all the time, then keyless locks are a real lifesaver for you. You can activate the lock with the help of your smartphone or by setting up an access code.

Remote access

If your friends and family constantly knock on your door, then you can opt for smart locks that offer you remote access. You can unlock the door and let your friends in even when you are not at your home.

Are you tech-savvy?

If you are not a fan of technology and smartphones, then it is best to stick with the conventional locksets. On the other hand, if you are tech-savvy, then smart locks are the best thing for you.


If you or anyone of your family members are suffering from arthritis or any other related health condition, it will be difficult to twist the doorknob and unlock the door. In such cases, the best option is to go with a lock system that employs a lever mechanism. On the other hand, if there are kids in the house, it is better to go with a doorknob.

Looks and Design

Locksets are considered not just as security devices but also as showpieces. They come in a variety of designs, colors, and styles to go along with your door. Choose the one that matches the style and design of the door.


The cost of the locksets varies widely depending on the model, security, and additional features they offer. The cost of conventional locksets is comparatively lower while the technology-integrated smart lock systems are priced on the higher end.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the most secured lock?

Deadbolts are considered to be the most secure locks as it is near-impossible to open them without the key.

2. Which is the best lock for the entry door?

Deadbolts, mortise locks, and smart locks are considered to be the best locks for entry doors.

3. Are smart locks safe?

Smart locks are safe but are not completely foolproof. Smart locks are prone to hacking. Additionally, if someone can access your phone, he can bypass your smart lock system.

4. What brand door lock is the best?

Irrespective of the brand, the door lock that is sturdy and robust and meets your security needs is the best option for you.

5. How much does a door lock cost?

The cost of a door lock varies widely depending on the type, working mechanism, accessibility, and additional features.
Your door locks are the only thing standing between the burglars and the safety of your family. Hence, the importance of choosing the ideal door lock can never be overstated. Purchasing the right type of door lock will offer you convenience, in addition to keeping your home safe and giving you peace of mind.