Your Guide to Door Lock Types: 14 Different Types of Locks

Fatima Buzdar

November 1, 2022

A wooden door with various security mechanisms, including a door handle, deadbolt lock, combination lock, chain lock, latch lock, and padlock. The door appears heavily secured with multiple layers of locking devices that would impress any locksmith.

Whether you want to secure a door for patio, bathroom, office or warehouse, finding the lock that gives a combo of protection from uninvited intruders and convenience for authorized entrants has to be the ideal scenario. However, the research can be quite an overwhelming process which can leave you scratching your hread.

After all, there are many different types of locks available – in fact, way more than you may have imagined before kick-starting your search! – and there is no cookie-cutter lock that fits every kind of setting, security, privacy and management needs. For example, locks for commercial premises would have different requirements compared to locks for residential buildings. A lock best fit for a residential bathroom door is bound to be insecure and unsatisfactory for a entry door with high-traffic for a commercial premise.

In this article, we have compiled the selection of 14 prominent lock types for your ease in researching, as well as an overview of how they function and which applications they are prominently used for, in order to hopefully help guide your decision process. We will also mention how some locks may even have a use beyond the doors. Remember that an expert locksmith can provide you security consultation in order to help you make the perfect choice as well!

1. Deadbolt Locks

Deadbolt locks are among the popular types of door locks for exterior doors, which is not surprising. Thanks to the deadbolt or deadlock, robust security and durability levels it offers make it an excellent choice to protect the property and prevent break-ins through resistance to physical force, manipulation through tools like crowbar, etc.

The three common types of deadbolt locks include:

  1. Single Cylinder Deadbolt Lock: Implements a keyed lock at the external side and a thumbturn at the interior side. This eliminates the need to unlock the door from the interior side of the door and makes it possible to unlock the door simply by turning or pushing the knob. This does not provide just convenience, but it also can be life-saving during emergencies, allowing swift exit from the property even without the keys. While it can be highly beneficial in the case of emergencies, it is also vulnerable to compromise through someone reaching the thumbturn through a broken window. Hence, there should be a notable distance between a door with a single cylinder deadbolt lock and a window.
  2. Double Cylinder Deadbolt Lock: Differs from the single cylinder deadlock in the way that it also requires unlocking from the interior door in order to exit. This eliminates the potential for compromise through the means of a broken window. However, as you might be able to guess, it can put one’s safety in jeopardy in the case of emergencies and hence is not quite recommendable for safety measures.
  3. Lockable Thumbturn Deadbolt Lock: Addresses the issues posed by both single cylinder lock and double cylinder lock, and combines their primary functionality. It has a thumbturn mechanism that can be turned on or off whenever you want. Thanks to this system, one can keep the thumbturn on when the property is occupied by people, and then turn it off when nobody is present.
  4. Vertical Deadbolt Lock: Installed on the top of the door. This helps make the attempts to pry open the door futile.

You may also find deadbolts being commonly used in conjunction with smart locks and electronic keypad locks.

New steel three bolt door lock

2. Multipoint Locks

Multipoint locks provide a very robust and higher scope of security, due to them covering the most or entirety of the height of a door. As indicated by their name, their multiple deadbolts extend and retract at multiple points. They are generally three-point, locking at top, middle and bottom. It does not just heighten the security thanks to multiple deadbolts, but it also can help you save energy due to its structure making the door more weathertight.

They are commonly found on uPVC doors, French doors, sliding doors, etc. They are also particularly good for securing big doors, since they extend the covered area and secure the doors in a bigger range.

3. Mortise Locks

Mortise locks, also called rim locks, are a common lock type, thanks to them providing excellent security. They have a more intricate structure than the other locking mechanisms, as they entail being mounted inside the door rather than on the surface like many other locks. A pocket called the “mortise” is formed into the door in order to fit the lockset. This kind of structure provides durability and resistance against attempts to break in. Mortise locks come with a set of either 3 levers or 5 levers. It is best to go with 5 levers, as they provide the best security.

Their common uses include entry glass doors, commercial doors, external residential doors, etc.

4. Barrel Bolt Lock

Also known as sliding bolt locks, they are a bit of an old-fashioned and traditional lock type with a simplistic structure. However, make no mistake in doubting their integrity, as the security provided by them stands strongly. Barrel bolt locks are available in various metal types and sizes to better suit the different project and aesthetic needs. A barrel lock comprises two components, namely a bolt which is a sliding metal bar installed on the door and a catch plate that is mounted on the door frame for the metal bar to extend into and retract from.

Its common uses are versatile, ranging from public bathroom doors to heavyweight doors like property gates, as well as windows and filing cabinets.

5. Cam Locks

True to its name, its L-shaped appearance has a strong resemblance to a camera. As additionally indicated by the name, it has a cam component that operates the cylindrical lock. A cam lock can come in different types of metal and a variety of sizes. They are operated either by a flat key which requires rotation or pressing upon lock, tubular key which needs to be rotated, or a combination lock that has a secure numerical sequence that needs to be input.

Cam locks are generally recommended for applications that require a relatively small amount of security. This is because the level of security and durability offered by their mechanism is rather low in comparison to the other locking mechanisms, making it more vulnerable to be compromised. Hence, the most common uses include furniture like cabinets, drawers, lockers, etc. and other types including mailboxes. They may also be used with interior doors like bathrooms.

6. Padlocks

Old but gold depending on your usage and needs, the padlocks are a popular choice thanks to their portability and ease of use. These locks use either a keyed mechanism or combination mechanism.

Some keyed padlocks may be possible to be rekeyed, while some may not allow it. You can make the choice depending on your preferences, but the ability to rekey the padlock certainly might be beneficial to you at some point in the future. The combination locks, on the other hand, are operated by a numerical sequence code, or some may be alphanumeric or even alphabetical. This can be very useful if you would prefer a keyless lock.

Due to their mobility, their use is versatile. They can be used to secure motorcycles, garage doors, cabinets, interior doors and more. When it comes to external doors, their security and durability can be lacking, but they can be used in conjunction with another lock as a layer of extra security.

2 Padlocks

7. Disc Locks

Disc locks can be deemed modernized padlocks; in fact, they are also known as circular padlocks. Similarly to traditional padlocks, they are detachable unlike most of the different types of locks. They also provide better security and reliability compared to the traditional padlocks.

Their stainless steel, circular structure is heavy and thick, providing a robust durability. Most of them incorporate a pin tumbler mechansim. They can be keyed or operated with a numerical combination code. Disc locks are used for motorcycles and bicycles, as well as storage units, gates, doors, etc.

8. Keypad Locks

Keypad locks eliminate the need for a key, allowing the lock to operate through a numerical keypad powered by a battery. This electronic lock mechanism tends to be backed by deadbolt locks, as well as mortise locks. Along with eliminating the need for key management, this modern lock type opens the door to the myriad of versatile possibilities.

They enhance the locking system by allowing ease in access distribution, remote locking and unlocking, logging the time and person accessing, and more. These are commonly found in commercial facilities like hotels and offices, but they are also popular in residential properties, including apartments.

a person inputting code on an electronic combination lock

9. Smart Locks

Smart locks are another keyless lock type powered by a battery. They operate the lock through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc. Their functionality greatly overlaps with the keypad locks, e.g. they also offer smooth access distribution, remote entry and exit, logs, etc. Likewise, smart locks are typically used in conjunction with a locking mechanism like a deadbolt lock.

10. Knob Locks

Knob locks incorporate the locking mechanism directly into the door knob that needs to be rotated to operate the door. Due to this structure, they lack the capability to provide robust security on their own, since it is easy to compromise them and break in. All it can take is a tool like a hammer for an attempt of forced entry to succeed. As such, they are highly recommended not to be used on a solo basis for external doors.

However, they may be used in conjunction with another robust locking mechanism like a deadbolt lock, enhancing the security and making them suitable for external use. They are commonly used in interior house doors, particularly bathrooms and bedrooms.

Another downside to this locking mechanism is the knob, which poses the lack of accessibility for certain elderly people and people with disabilities. In fact, due to this reason, the building code of Vancouver imposed a ban upon door knobs for new constructions in 2013.

close up of a lever handle lock

11. Lever Handle Locks

Similarly to the knob locks, the lever handle locks incorporate the locking mechanism right into the handle set. It makes use of levers to lock and unlock the door. Generally, this mechanism comes with a set of either 3 levers or 5 levers. For optimal security, 5 levers are recommended since the more levers, the better security. The lever handle locks are commonly found in residential and commercial doors.

12. Magnetic Locks

Also called maglocks, these locks are powered by low-voltage electricity to be locked up. They come with an electromagnet which is installed into the top of the frame of the door and a metal armature plate lined up with that electromagnet. The generated magnetic charge keeps the door locked as long as power is supplied. To unlock the door, the power can be interrupted by a signal through a certain locking mechanism like a keypad door lock.

As magnetic locks are only capable of operating under the fail-safe mode, there can be security concerns. Having a fail-safe mode means that a power outage will open the lock, since magnetic locks need constant power to lock the door. In order to prevent that, a battery backup can be utilized.

The magnetic locks are generally used in commercial premises, e.g. offices, hotel rooms, etc.

13. Electric Strike Locks

Electric strikes locks are also operated through electricity, except they can be utilized to receive an electricity-powered signal to unlock the door and keep the door locked otherwise. They are fixed on the door frame in order to hold the latch or bolt, and they release upon receiving an electric signal. They are used alongside other locking mechanisms, an example being a keypad door lock.

They can operate under two modes in the case of a power supply cut:

  1. Fail-secure: The electric strikes would keep the door locked, whether there is power or not. In order to accommodate exit, panic bars can be used.
  2. Fail-safe: Similarly to the magnetic locks, the strikes would unlock the door if the power supply is cut.

Fail-secure mode is recommended to be used so that your property is always secured. Similar to magnetic locks, they are also often found in commercial settings.

14. Chain Locks

To operate the chain locks, the chain has to be slid in or out of the catch opening. They are generally recommended to be used as an extra layer of security in conjunction with another robust lock, rather than on their own.

This is because the biggest drawback to chain locks is their weak security and vulnerability to be broken through. The chain locks can be undermined with force with an ease level that is concerning, and the screws that hold the chain locks in place tend to be short and prone to falling off too. With this in mind, the chain locks tend to not be recommended by security professionals for external doors. Another drawback is an impeded ease of access into the property from the other side, especially in the case of an emergency.

The common uses of these locks include residential uses like the terrace or store room, or the communal apartment doors. They might also be found in the hotel rooms, but they have been largely replaced by other robust locking mechanisms like keypad locks and smart locks.

Tools and mortise lock before installing the door. — Stock Photo, Image

Get the Best Type of Lock Installed for Your Door Needs Now!

Are you ready to choose the best lock to secure your door, after going through these different types of locks? Even if your dilemma in choosing has increased all the more after going through these 14 options, fret not! An expert locksmith can provide you personalized advice so you can call a locksmith for it. When it comes to installing the lock, it is best to seek a locksmith’s services as well. For a layperson, the procedure can range from being complicated to even being out of capability depending on the lock intricacy. Rather than wasting your time or risking damaging the lock or door, it is best to leave the work to a professional locksmith who knows what they are doing.

For that purpose, your search for a reliable Georgina locksmith has to go no further than Faster Locksmiths. We have the experience of providing stellar lock services to commercial premises and residential buildings in Georgina. Our experts can provide their valuable knowledge regarding locks and security to you to help guide you with choosing the best lock. We can also get the lock and install it for you, as well as aid with maintaining it to keep its best condition.

Safeguard your property with our expert locksmith solutions. Get in touch with our approachable, knowledgeable team.