Residential Door Locks–Different Options for You

When you purchase that new residence, do not let yourself get overwhelmed or be intimidated. Take a deep breath and make a list of the primary things that you need to take care of when you first take possession of your new home. One of the first things you should think about is the keys which are in your hand–do you know where they have been, or how may be out there? The first thing you might want to consider is starting out with a clean slate–a new set of locks!

Determine Your Personal Preferences

If you don’t wish to be troubled with that pesky key in your hand, and are willing to spend a little extra money, then you might consider Electronic, or ‘key less’ residential door locks. There are knob sets and levers, deadbolts, or even both if you are a little more security conscious.

If you want to be more frugal, and having to carry keys does not bother you, then good old-fashioned key-in-knob knob/deadbolt combination sets might be just the way to go for you. Whichever you ultimately decide to choose, both types of locks are available in many finishes, styles, and colors to suit your tastes and budget.

Determine Your Needs

Once you have determined which type of lock–be it electronic or standard–you then must take a physical inventory of your actual needs. For instance, do you need both a deadbolt and a knob or lever? If it is a newer home, then you most likely will, since that is probably what you will encounter on all your doors, as that is the norm in most modern construction.

An older home, on the other hand may only have a knob or lever lock on each of its doors, unless it has already been modernized. This will cause you to have the added decision of whether you would like to purchase, and have a deadbolt lock installed. If you do decide to purchase, then you have the added decision of either doing it yourself, or hiring a professional to do the installation for you. Of course that would also depend on the overall shape of the door. If you decided that you would rather replace the entire door, newer ones usually come equipped pre-drilled holes for a deadbolt already in place. (that will be discussed further in a future post).

Electronic Deadbolts and Knob Sets (or Levers)

If you opted for these types of locks to be installed in your new residence, the take your time and look at each Brand and style carefully to ascertain their full array of capabilities. You may be able to save money if you do not need all the ‘bells and whistles’ that some of them have. Rest assured, there is a lock in this category that will fit almost every need and budget. My own personal preferences on the brand to use for this style of lock is Schlage They have a variety of different options and price ranges, and everyone that I have seen can be installed very easily yourself, and with minimal tools with very few exceptions.

Kwikset is also a very nice brand–cheaper of course and having far fewer frills than some of their more expensive counterparts. I have used and installed them as well. At this stage, it all boils down to what you want and what you are willing to pay for. Whichever brand or style, these sorts of locks typically last anywhere from 3 to 10 years–sometimes even longer,

Standard Keyed Door Locks and Deadbolts

These locks–as are the others–are only as good as the door and frame which they are installed on, and do not let anyone tell you different. I am the very first one who will tell you that locks are only deterrents–they serve to keep honest people out. Criminals, on the other hand, will eventually get in, if given enough time, so do not over-spend for something that is not ‘as advertised’.

These locks are also available in a vast array of sizes, types, and colors. They come in all price ranges as well. Some lower cost locks are every bit as good as those costing hundreds of dollars more. Again, let your tastes and budget be your guide. In addition, make sure on keyed locks that you carefully look for the code of the package and match it to other like packages to assure that those numbers match so that the keys in each package will fit all locks. If you do this, you will save yourself the headache of having to have the locks re keyed to match by a locksmith, or having to make a return trip where you purchased them.

‘Pulling the Trigger’. Making That Lock Purchase

Once you have finally satisfied all your criteria and have purchased the locks, it is now the time for you to make one more final decision. Do you wish to perform the installation procedure yourself, or do you want to hire a professional to do it for you. Remember that most locks you will encounter will include detailed installation instructions and usually will only require simple tools such as a screwdriver to install. Unless there is no deadbolt already installed, as in the case of an older door, there is usually no need for professional help, unless, you simply like to have a professional take care of the details, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. As briefly discussed, there are many minor details to consider when making this critical decision. Some of these will be discussed in more detail later in future posts on the subject, but by all means please call around and get a few prices to compare with each other before making a final decision. The more prices you can get, the better benchmark price you will be able to establish, which might help you determine the best value for your money.

Jeffrey Brown


  1. I believe that electronic deadbolts is probaly the best, especially, nowadays. Thieves can break locks or somehow figure out how to get passed the normal door locks. It’s bad enough now and as the years pass it will probally get worse.

    • Carol,
      I agree with you wholeheartedly–deadbolts of any kind are favorable over mere latch style locks. They typically provide more security. It has been my experience that most times thieves–unless they KNOW there is something of value inside–will pass on to a door that has only one lock. Oddly, this occurs when many times the deadbolt is not even locked. Just its appearance on the door is sometimes enough of a deterrence. Thanks for stopping by!


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