9 Tips for Selecting a Deadbolt Lock

Home security begins at your front door, with a deadbolt lock. But how do you choose the best lock for your home? If security is your primary concern, then pick the best door lock you can afford. Security experts and insurance companies say that burglars and thieves prefer locks that are easy to pick, kick or pry open. Deadbolt locks, which are locks with a solid bar that slides into a recessed hole in the door frame, are better than simple door locks. Here are 9 tips for selecting a deadbolt lock.

1. ANSI Grade 1 Designation

All locks are not created equal. This includes locks designated "Grade 1." However, look for locks designated "Grade 1" by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI has standards for its locks. Those standards are developed and maintained by The Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA). BHMA comparatively measures the security and durability performance of door locks, so you know you're getting a quality lock.

2. Deadbolt Lock with Key Control

Get a deadbolt lock with key control. This means you control who can make copies of your keys. Key control keeps anyone, such as an employee or in-home help, or even a mechanic or valet with access to your keys, from making copies. It's not fail-safe, but much safer than non-controlled keys. Locksmiths must keep a record of all copies they make of key-controlled locks.

3. Saw Resistant Bolts

Saw resistant bolts will slow or deter burglars intent on sawing through your lock.

4. Minimum 1-Inch Long "Throw" on Deadbolt

Deadbolts with less than a 1-inch "throw" or bar on them are not very effective. Use the longest throw your door frame and door will allow. Door locks can often be defeated by spreading the door and frame with spreader bars. The longer the deadbolt, the harder it is to spread the frame and door apart.

5. Security Plates

Security plates with longer screws that go into the wall, not just the door jamb, make it harder to kick in a door. Make sure your strike plate screws are at least 3 inches long and have staggered screw holes in the plate. Staggered screw holes keep the wood from splitting, by not forcing the wood grain apart in just one place.

6. Double-Cylinder or "Captured Key" Deadbolt

Double-cylinder or captured key deadbolts prevent burglars from simply breaking glass and reaching in to turn the thumb bolt on a lock. With a double-cylinder lock, a key must be used to open the door from the inside and outside as well.

7. Hardened Case Steel

Hardened case steel and beveled casings are more resistant to hammer blows and pliers. Since burglars may try to hit, twist or pull the lock off, using hardened case steel makes it harder to cut or saw into the lock itself.

8. Beveled Casings

A beveled case will force hammers and other destructive implements to slide or glance off the lock. That makes it more difficult for thieves to get a grip on the lock, or to strike it in such a way to land a solid blow.

9. Anti-Drill Features

Anti-drill features will prevent burglars from drilling out the lock. If someone attempts to drill out the lock, embedded case-hardened steel chips in the lock will destroy the drill bit on the average drill.