Home burglars want to get into a house easily and without being noticed. If they are stopped at the front door by a lock that resists being forced, they may give up and try the house next door. When evaluating your home security, start by having the best deadbolt available on your front door and any other exterior door that gains access to your house. Here is a rundown of the typical residential deadbolts you'll find to protect your home.
Materials Are as Important as the Design
Ask one of your local locksmiths to show you only their ANSI Grade 1 deadbolts. These locks are made of hardened steel. They resist being broken by a blow from a hammer, and the bolt can't easily be sawed through. The durability of the deadbolt you choose may alone deter a break-in from being successful.
Types of Residential Deadbolts
Deadbolts differ mainly in how they are installed and the way the steel bolt works to secure he door.
Single deadbolt - This is the standard deadbolt that you'll see installed in a new home. It consists of a single component that mounts in the door with a steel bolt that extends out through the door into the door frame to prevent the door from opening. A knob is turned on the inside of the house to move the bolt in and out of the frame, and a key is used on the outside.
Double deadbolt - This design is similar to the single deadbolt, but it requires a key to be used on both sides of the door to move the steel bolt. Before installing this type of lock, check with local building safety codes. Some areas prohibit this deadbolt because it can be hazardous during a fire should people inside of the house be unable to unlock the door to get out.
External mounted deadbolt - This deadbolt comes in two components. The first contains the steel bolt and mounts on the inside surface of the door. The second piece is a small metal box mounted on the surface of the wall next to the door. The steel bolt from the first component slides into this box. A small hole is drilled through the door into which the cylinder is installed to allow a key from outside to move the bolt. A knob on the inside locks and unlocks the deadbolt. This is sometimes called a jimmy-proof lock because a burglar can't easily pry the door away from the frame enough to get to the bolt to try to saw through it.
Vertical deadbolt - This design also uses two components. The piece on the door slips into grooves on the piece mounted on the wall next to the door. When the steel bolt is moved, it travels up into these covered channels in the wall-mounted piece. The bolt is completely hidden so it can't be accessed by prying the door away from the frame.