What to Look for in a New Deadbolt Lock

Written by Jeremy Kaminsky of Kaminsky’s Lock and Key Service
Updated February 20, 2013
Door locks
Locks come in different grades, so know which one will provide your home with the most protection. (Photo courtesy of Kwikset)

A highly rated Hillsboro, Ore.-based locksmith explains what to look for in a new dead bolt to help prevent break-ins.

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When considering which locking hardware for your home, the task can feel overwhelming and difficult to understand. You want to protect your home and family with the best locks and lock hardware possible without breaking the bank.

First of all, the best way to provide a strong barrier against unwanted visitors is a commercial quality deadbolt lock – not an alarm system. An alarm system will not keep someone from getting into your home, it only notifies you if they’re already entered your home.

A common myth about locks and locking hardware is that all the brands are about the same quality. This is wrong, as the differences can be made clear by looking at the locks’ American National Standards Institute quality grade:

ANSI Grade 1: Highest rating for commercial and residential locksANSI Grade 2: Highest rating for residential only locksANSI Grade 3: Lowest rating and only meets minimum requirements

The lock on your home’s door handle or knob is not strong enough to withstand the force of a break-in. The handle or knob lock’s strike plate and small screws do not provide a strong connection to the door frame. You need an ANSI Grade 1 deadbolt on every exterior door in your home, including doors leading in from an attached garage. The most common residential locks that are installed when the home is built or purchased by DIY homeowners are only ANSI Grade 3 and can quickly be defeated by an intruder.

For older homes that may feature 1-3/8-inch thick exterior doors – which are thinner than modern doors – installation of a quality ASNI Grade 3 lock on older homes can be accomplished with metal door reinforcement, which is metal that wraps around the door to provide additional strength. It’s important that this work be done by a professional locksmith, as It takes some advanced skills to ensure proper installation.

For around $100 per door, you can have high quality deadbolts installed that provide solid armor against common break-in methods including kicking, hammering, bumping, sawing or prying.

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About this Angie's List Expert: Jeremy Kaminsky is owner of Kaminsky's Lock and Key Service in Hillsboro, Ore. He is a licensed security professional with over 20 years experience designing, installing and maintaining life safety and security systems for homes and small businesses.

As of Feb. 20, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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