The Best Deadbolts and Door Locks to Help Secure your Doors

digital door lockA door is only as good as its lock.

Back in college, I received a phone call from a friend one morning saying his apartment had been broken into after he left for class. The thief didn’t use any advanced technique. He didn’t pick the lock or duplicate a key. He used the oldest, simplest method you could imagine: he kicked the door in.

If my friend had a stronger door, the thief may have broken his foot rather than breaking the door. The proper deadbolt, combined with a few ancillary accessories, can strengthen your door and make it almost impossible to break through. We’ll walk you through the best options for door security on the market today and what you can do to minimize your risk of a break-in.

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American National Standards Institute grading system

The ANSI grading system is a measure of how much security a lock provides. Every lock graded under this system undergoes rigorous testing, but the results can be broken down into three basic grades:

  • Grade 1: Best. Grade 1 locks can withstand ten strikes of up to 75 pounds and up to one million open-and-close cycles.
  • Grade 2: Better. Grade 2 locks can withstand five strikes of 75 pounds and up to 800,000 open-and-close cycles.
  • Grade 3: Good. Grade 3 locks can withstand two strikes of 75 pounds and up to 800,000 open-and-close cycles.

We recommend using Grade 1 locks. They provide the highest levels of protection and are the least likely to be picked.

Best deadbolts

A deadbolt is one of the most basic and effective ways of securing a door and works best when combined with your door’s standard lock. It functions much better than a spring bolt lock because it cannot be moved from its locked position without a key being inserted into the cylinder.

#1 Schlage B660P

Schlage B660P 626 B600 Single Cyl Deadbolt 626, Satin Chrome PlatedThe Schlage B660P deadbolt is one of the most powerful locks on the market. It has a Grade 1 ANSI rating, which means that while one of these locks can be picked, it would take a long time. Schlage’s locks also have strike plates that make it much harder for someone to damage the internal components of the lock—or to kick in the door. The Schlage B660P’s level can be thrown with a single finger, making it easy to lock the door behind you even when your arms are full.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $158
  • Fits door thickness from 1 ⅜” to 2”
  • ANSI Grade: Grade 1
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs.

#2 Kwikset 980 Single Cylinder

Kwikset 980 Single Cylinder Deadbolt featuring SmartKey in Venetian BronzeKwikset offers some of the top-rated deadbolts on the market, and this ANSI Grade 1-rated lock is no exception. Its SmartKey technology makes it easy to rekey your own lock and avoid locksmith fees. The Kwikset lacks a strike plate, but it’s designed to withstand a substantial amount of abuse. Like the Schlage, the Kwikset 980 can be locked or unlocked with a single finger.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $56.50
  • Adjustable and fits all standard door thicknesses
  • ANSI Grade: Grade 1
  • Weight: 1 lb.

#3 Kwikset 985 Double Cylinder

Kwikset 985 Double Cylinder Deadbolt featuring SmartKey in Polished BrassThe Kwikset 985 is almost identical to the Kwikset 980, except for one major difference: it’s a double-cylinder lock. While single-cylinder deadbolts have a knob you can turn to open the lock from the inside, double-cylinder locks require a key to open from both the inside and the outside. Double-cylinder locks provide extra security when placed close to windows because thieves can’t break the window and reach inside to open the door like they would with a single-cylinder.

While a double cylinder lock provides more security, it can pose dangers. For example, the lack of an easy-open turn can be dangerous in a situation where you need to escape quickly, like in a house fire.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $42.09
  • Adjustable and fits all standard door thicknesses
  • ANSI Grade: Grade 1
  • Weight: 3 lbs.

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Best mortise locks

If you found yourself asking, “What is a mortise lock?” don’t worry—you aren’t alone. Mortise locks are less common than deadbolts, but they actually provide better protection. Mortise locks are recessed and set in the frame of the door. This setup gives the lock an extra level of protection and makes a mortise lock more difficult to break with a swift kick than a simple deadbolt would be.

One factor to consider with mortise locks is their cost. They tend to be much more expensive than deadbolts, but the cost is justified in the level of security they provide. The bottom line is that mortise locks are better suited to commercial properties than residential. For the majority of residential uses, mortise locks are almost overkill.

#1 Schlage L9040

Schlage L9040 06A 626 Series L Grade 1 Mortise Lock, Privacy Function, Keyless, 06A Design, Satin Chrome FinishThe Schlage L9040’s description states that it’s best suited for educational, medical, or governmental uses. If you want your home to be as well-guarded as a government building, this is the lock to choose. Rated ANSI Grade 1, the L9040 exceeds the one million open/close cycle rating. The Schlage L9000 series of mortise locks has a feature called Vandlgard, a reinforced strike plate that prevents tampering from kicking, hitting, or even standing on the handle. With a lock like this, a thief may be better off using a battering ram than a lock pick.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $351.65
  • Case size: 4 7/16 ” x 6 1/18” x 1”
  • ANSI Grade: Grade 1

#2 Sargent 8225 Exit Door Lock

Sargent 8225 Dormitory/Exit Mortise Lock Lever TrimThe Sargent 8225 mortise lock is rated ANSI Grade 1 and exceeds the cycling testing requirements by more than 14 times. The pieces of the lock are preassembled, which simplifies installation. Most mortise locks need to be professionally installed, but the Sargent allows for DIY installation. The lock can also be re-handled easily without removing the handle from the case. Unlike many other mortise locks, the Sargent 8225 has a thumbturn on the inside so it’s easier to lock and unlock it from the inside, rather than requiring a key to lock it. While this lessens security if the door is next to a window (where the thief can reach inside and manually open the lock), it’s more convenient.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $498.26
  • Fits door of 1 ¾” standard thickness
  • ANSI Grade: Grade 1

#3 Grainger Yale Privacy 8800 Mortise Lock

grainger mortise lock
The Grainger 8800 is a Grade 1 lock and is rated for three hours of fire resistance. The technical documentation on this lock actually recommends it for use in minimum security prisons, but when it comes to guarding your home, this lock can do the job well. There are no visible screws on this lock, which makes tampering that much more difficult. Like the Sargent, the Grainger includes a thumbturn for easy locking and unlocking from inside your home.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $364.00
  • Fits door of 1 ¾” standard thickness to 3 ¼”
  • ANSI Grade: Grade 1

Best keyless entry locks

Have you ever tried to get your key out with your hands full? Keyless entry locks allow you to enter a combination and get inside without ever touching your key. They also make it easy to give out codes to allow specific people entry into your home. One thing to keep in mind is that while these deadbolts offer a level of convenience not found with keys, the key overrides are more vulnerable to being picked because they are often only rated at ANSI Grade 3.

#1 Kwikset 909 SmartCode

Kwikset 909 SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt featuring SmartKey in Satin NickelThe Kwikset SmartCode has several things going for it that we love. The first is the ease of installation: you only need a screwdriver, and you don’t have to hardwire anything into the door. The second is that it operates on four AA batteries and includes a battery level indicator to help prevent lockouts because of dead batteries. The Kwikset automatically locks itself after 30 seconds, so even if you forget to lock the door on the way out, it’s okay. There is also a lifetime warranty on the equipment.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $78.00
  • Size: 6” x 6” x 6”
  • ANSI Grade: Grade 2

#2 Schlage BE365

Schlage BE365VCAM619 Camelot Keypad Deadbolt, Satin NickelMuch like the Kwikset, Schlage’s BE365 is a keypad deadbolt that makes it easy to gain entry into your home without the use of a key. However, it has a key override in case your code doesn’t work or the batteries die. Replacing the batteries is easy, but it does require the use of a screwdriver. The Schlage BE365 doesn’t lock automatically when you leave, but it doesn’t require a code in order to lock it either. Like many other Schlage products, the BE365 has a rekeying feature that lets you rekey the lock as needed.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $100.20
  • Fits door thickness from 1 ⅜” to 1 ¾”
  • ANSI Grade: Grade 2

#3 LockState LS-DB500-SN

LockState LS-DB500-SN Electronic Keyless Deadbolt, Satin NickelThe LockState allows you to set up one-time use codes for guests, or you can program in up to six permanent codes for members of the household. The LockState also comes with a remote that functions as far as 30 feet away from the door, allowing you to unlock the unit from your car—perfect for rushing inside on a rainy day. Like the Kwikset, the LockState also has an auto-lock feature; however, several reviews mentioned malfunctions with this feature, so double-check that it locks properly. An added bonus is that the lock is reversible, so it works on both left- and right-handed doors.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $106.78
  • Dimensions: 3.5” x 1” x 6.5”
  • ANSI Grade: Not ANSI rated

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Best smart/Bluetooth locks

Smart locks differ from keyless locks in that they’re linked to your phone and capable of home automation integration functions, such as automatically unlocking the door when your phone comes near it. Another feature is limited-use passcodes for guests. If you’re often away from home, you can grant guests access from your smartphone.

#1 August Smart Lock

August Smart Lock - Latest Generation (Dark Gray)The August Smart Lock is a game changer in the security industry. It doesn’t have a key at all. Instead, the lock operates with a series of virtual keys. When someone leaves the house, it automatically locks behind them. Because every key is unique, the August Smart Lock keeps a log of who goes in and out of the home, and you can monitor this log in real time from your smartphone. You can also unlock the door from anywhere via your phone, meaning that you can give people entry even if you’re out of town. The August Smart Lock is compatible with Apple HomeKit, allowing you to use Siri to lock or unlock your door. If you want an ANSI Grade 1 lock, you can install a different lock and still use the August; it only replaces the interior side of the existing lock.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $199
  • Dimensions: 3.39” x 3.39” x 2.22”
  • ANSI Grade: Not ANSI rated

#2 Schlage Camelot Touchscreen

Schlage Connect BE469NX CAM 619 Touchscreen Deadbolt with alarm & Camelot Trim, Satin NickelSchlage produces a number of Grade 1-rated locks, and the Camelot Touchscreen fits into that category. This lock provides an additional layer of security—the Camelot Touchscreen is equipped with an alarm system that monitors from the first time the handle is touched until the door opens. It has three alert modes: Activity, Tamper, or Forced Entry. If someone attempts to open the door but doesn’t know the proper code, the Camelot will notify you via your phone. Repeated attempts (or opening the door without the code) will trigger the Forced Entry alert and allow you to notify the proper authorities. The touchscreen itself is fingerprint-resistant, which means you don’t have to worry about someone making out the smudges of where your fingers have been and figuring out your security code.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $189.00
  • Dimensions: 5.12” x 4.5” x 9.25”
  • ANSI Grade: Grade 1

#3 Kwikset SmartCode Z-Wave Touchscreen Deadbolt

Kwikset SmartCode 916 Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolt with Z-Wave Wireless Remote Home Automation Compatibility and SmartKey Re-key Technology, in Satin NickelThe Kwikset SmartCode holds up to 30 user codes and has a 20-minute fire rating, but it only ranks as Grade 2 on the ANSI rating scale. It’s Z-Wave compatible, which means you can program your automated home to respond a specific way when the door opens—to turn on the lights, for example. Even though this deadbolt isn’t an ANSI Grade 1, the Z-Wave compatibility is enough of a boon to earn it a spot on this list. On top of that, this lock allows you to rekey it yourself should you ever lose one of the keys. It also locks itself automatically after 30 seconds.

Pricing & tech specs

  • Price: $202.50
  • Fits door thickness of 1 ⅜” to 2”
  • ANSI Grade: Grade 2

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Best security extras

A quality lock will help protect your home, and security extras like door jammers and strike plates can secure your home even further and foil all but the most determined thieves. These are our recommendations.

Cocoweb Door Jammer

Cocoweb PortBlock Dual-Function Door Security BarA door jammer is an interesting tool. While it doesn’t prevent a lock from being picked, it makes it incredibly difficult to force the door open from the outside. The Cocoweb is designed to withstand up to 350 pounds of outside force, and with 40 different height settings, it will fit almost any door. Another reason we like this door jammer is because it comes in sets of two, meaning you can secure two doors with one package.

StrikeMaster II Pro

strikemaster II pro

Image courtesy of Home Depot

One of the most common weaknesses in a door is the frame itself. Even if you reinforce the door, a smart thief will target the frame and pry the door out of place. The Strikemaster II Pro reinforces the door frame and protects it against force. The added layer of metal and the extra-long screws make the door frame almost unbreakable.

Invest in solid doors

Another way you can improve the security of your home is to replace any hollow-core doors with solid wood or metal. Hollow-core doors are weaker and more vulnerable to being shattered than a solid wooden frame. While solid doors are more expensive, they’re also much stronger and nearly impossible to break down.

Avoid doors with windows in them

Take a few seconds and think about all the doors you’ve seen with windows installed in them. Even my own back door has a series of smaller windows, any of which could be broken to allow the thief to reach in and unlock the door. No matter how secure your lock may be, it doesn’t do any good if the thief can unlock it the same way you can. Avoid investing in doors with windows. If you need to see out, install a peephole.

Reinforce your doors

Your door is the most common way to get into your home. Why isn’t it also the most secure? By investing in proper deadbolts, you can make your home much more difficult to break into. Remember, most thieves aim for the easiest target. A strong door, combined with a proper home security system, can protect your home from thieves and avoid headaches like having your laptop with your term paper stolen just three days before it’s due.