Home security locks include all hardware devices used to secure the exterior openings of a house. These locks protect both property and occupants from thieves and other intruders. While the most basic locks are designed to prevent thieves from breaking into the home by force, others feature advanced technology to resist drilling and lock-picking tools. Home security locks are available in both mechanical and electrical styles to provide homeowners with a wide range of security options.
Mechanical home security locks include all devices that require a key or other physical action to lock or unlock the door. Cylindrical locksets, which fit into a small hole bored into the door, are an example of the most widely used mechanical lock design. Another popular style is the mortise lock, which is installed into a pocket within the edge of the door. Mortised home security locks offer better security than cylindrical models, but also tend to be more expensive. Homeowners operate both of these locks using a key and either a knob, handle, or lever.
Most mechanical locks offer fairly low levels of security when used alone. Because of this, many homeowners combine standard mechanical home security locks with an auxiliary deadbolt. The deadbolt is installed above the existing lockset, and features a longer, sturdier bolt that makes it harder to break in to the home. Deadbolts are operated using a key from outside, and a thumbturn from the inside of the home. Double-locking deadbolts that require a key on both sides of the door pose serious risk during a fire, and are banned by many local building codes.
Electrical home security locks operate using an electric signal to release or secure the bolt. They may require a key card or simple numerical code for entry. Once the homeowner swipes his key card or enters the correct code, the bolt is released and the door can be opened. Some of these locks tie-in to a home security alarm system to signal police during an emergency.
Special high-security locks use patented lock technology to enhance home security. Many feature cylinders that cannot be picked with standard tools, and are virtually drill-proof. These locks often have heavy-duty bolts to prevent burglars from kicking in the door or forcing it open with a crowbar. Some even come with key blanks that are only available directly from the manufacturer, which means it's impossible for anyone to copy a stolen or lost key. While high-security locks offer extra protection, they also tend to cost more than standard locksets.