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Popular Types of Door Locks and Uses – The Guide

There are several types of locks used today for home and commercial security. The type of lock needed depends on the situation. Home security differs greatly from the needs of a large business or school. Also, the type of door makes a difference in what type of lock is best to install.

Popular Types of Door Locks and Uses

Knob locks

Knob locks are the most common type of residential lock. A knob lock can be opened with a key on the outside and locked with a thumb turn on the inside of the home. Entry doors, closet, or bedroom doors may also use the knob lock. The drawback for these is that they are not as secure as other types of locks and therefore easier to break open. One other drawback is that if someone locks the door with the thumb turn, walks out of the house, and closes the door behind them, they are locked out if they forget to bring the keys.


Deadbolt locks are much more secure than a knob lock and often are added to a door with a knob lock for extra security. There are various types of deadbolt locks. The single cylinder deadbolt is the most common, and uses only one lock on the outside, with a knob inside to turn to lock. This gives the home extra security above a simple knob lock. If the entry door is made of glass, another option is the double cylinder deadbolt, which needs to be locked and unlocked with a key on both sides. This will prevent a burglar who breaks the glass from then reaching inside to unlock the door. The drawback to this type of deadbolt is that the homeowner needs a key to unlock even from the inside, making it more difficult to go out quickly when the door is locked. A single sided deadbolt is another option for extra security. This type of deadbolt only has a single knob on the inside with no option to lock from the outside. This works well to add security if you do not need to exit that door when leaving and can go through the garage or another exit. Deadbolts can also be the keyless electronic type that use a keypad on the outside of the door. These are very convenient and secure and can be programmed with various codes for different people. A key may also be used with this electronic system if the electronic component were to fail because of dead batteries. Batteries in these systems are good for about 3-5 years. The homeowner will be warned of low battery either by a low battery light or by hearing the system work slower and more sluggishly before it stops unlocking the door. Deadbolts provide great security to a homeowner than a knob lock because the door lock is more secure to intruders, and it is not possible to lock oneself outside accidentally using only a deadbolt.

Lever Lock

Other types of door locks are lever locks. A lever lock is like a knob lock in the way it functions, but it opens with a lever. Levers are easier to pull down to open the door quickly. Many public places will have a lever lock since it is easier for both children and handicapped for use a lever for egress, and it is ADA compliant. A door with a lever lock may have a keyhole on the outside and a small turn button on the inside to lock the door. Once the door is opened with the lever from the inside, the door is unlocked. Some interior lever handles may not have a lock on them since they are not the main entry door and do not need to be locked.

Keyless Entry

There are several types of door locks with keyless entry systems. The first is a keypad system. As discussed earlier, a deadbolt can be operated with a keypad system. Lever locks are common in conjunction with a keypad system. Some keypads allow for multiple codes to be added for various people. Some commercial keypad systems allow for audit trails to detect when certain codes were used during the day. This allows the owner to know exactly what codes are being used to get in the building and what time they were used. Some businesses will have a mechanical keypad that uses only one code, but that code can be easily changed if needed. It is helpful to have a backup if the batteries wear out, so having a key to go with the keypad lock is helpful. Other keyless entry pads use Wi-Fi, and a homeowner can use their phone to lock and unlock the keypad lock, even while offsite. Numerous codes can be created for family and friends to use to unlock the door with the keypad. When someone unlocks the door, an app will notify the homeowner. This type of technology is helpful for knowing who is always entering and exiting the home. Another option for keyless entry uses biometrics to recognize the fingerprint of the owner or another approved user. Finally, some businesses or schools use proximity locks. This type of lock uses a card with a magnetic strip or a key fob to unlock the door when the card or fob is close to the lock, or within proximity to the lock. Each card or fob is programmed specifically for that user, and access can be programmed for certain times of day and for certain doors in the facility as needed. The proximity lock works well for large campuses, hotels, apartment complexes, community pools, and gyms. The administrator of the proximity lock system has record of who enters and exits and can see how many people are in a building at a given time.

For residential security, a combination of knob lock and deadbolt lock is often the preferred choice. Lever locks are great for making buildings or homes handicap accessible or for giving a bit of a variety and style with the hardware used. Both Residential and Commercial buildings may use various types of keyless entry, whether it uses a simple mechanical keypad, Wi-Fi, or a proximity lock system.

For reviews on keyless door locks we recommend this article from our friends at Contractor Advisorly.

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