Julian Roberts, Technical Services Director at UAP summarises the main types of door lock and explains what to look out for to ensure homes are as secure as possible.
Maximising security is a priority for all those responsible for managing and maintaining homes. But with so many door locks to choose from, it can be challenging to know where to start. There are many factors to consider ranging from cost and aesthetics through to the type of door and overall level of security needed.
The most common external door locks fall into five categories each with various features which could make a significant difference to home security. Here, we summarise each one and offer guidance on making the right choice.
Euro cylinder locks
Euro cylinder locks are one of the most popular. They are usually fitted to uPVC doors but can also be used on composite and aluminium doors. They come in two different shapes and can be single, double, or thumb turn cylinders.
To maximise security, property managers should check the cylinder’s star rating. A 1-star cylinder may mean the lock is resistant to drilling, picking and bumping, but will not have passed lock snapping tests. Commonly used by burglars, lock snapping takes a matter of seconds and requires no special skills or tools.
To maximise security, opt for a 3-star rating as this proves the cylinder has been subjected to additional testing, including snapping.
Multipoint door locks
Usually found on uPVC or composite entrance doors, a multipoint system will have between three and seven locking points making it harder for thieves to pry open the door from the top or bottom.
Many doors that comply with the PAS 24 standard feature multipoint locks. Although individual components such as the lock are critical to a door’s performance, PAS 24 tests the whole doorset. By testing and assessing the security performance of doorsets as well as window types, PAS 24 ensures products will resist opportunistic attacks from burglars.
If a multipoint lock is used for a property with multiple occupants, a thumb turn cylinder should be fitted to ensure residents can easily exit in the event of an emergency.
To provide an extra layer of security and convenience, smart locks are now a popular choice. These provide keyless entry usually via a smartphone App, fob or keypad. There are various types to choose from and not all offer the same level of safety so it’s important to read up on the manufacturer and its credentials.
The more advanced smart locks follow years of research and development to maximise performance. This has resulted in products offering advanced security encryption. That means the fob codes can’t be stolen by intercepting the signal in the same way that thieves target keyless cars.
To ease installation, advanced technology has introduced smart locks requiring no complex wiring making them as simple to fit as any multipoint lock. A wireless unit, which fits easily to a door frame, connects to a control unit and is used to power the lock. Residents can either use a USB wire with a plug or a power pack to charge the lock via this system. If there was a power cut, a charged lock can operate for up to four weeks without a power supply.
Another benefit of opting for an advanced smart lock is that it offers more design flexibility. The latest versions can be installed on timber and composite doors and with a range of door handles, including lever on rose.
Available in various styles and types, mortice locks are for wood or timber doors and fitted in the door edge. A 5-lever mortice deadlock, kitemarked to British Standard BS-3621, offers a higher level of security than its 3-lever counterpart. You can tell if it is a 5-lever lock as this should be engraved on the internal faceplate.
Rim automatic deadlatch
This type of lock is commonly found on glass panelled or wooden front doors, particularly on period properties. Commonly referred to as a night latch, it is mounted to the door’s inner surface and automatically locks the door when it closes unless kept ‘on the latch.’ There are various types available, including the standard, deadlocking, auto deadlocking and double-locking night latch.
Deadlatches are easy to use but to maximise security, it may need to be paired with another lock such as a 5-lever mortice deadlock.
Making the right choice
When improving home security, taking the time to research the most appropriate door lock is vital. Although design and cost considerations are important, these factors shouldn’t comprise safety. Making sure a lock is as secure as possible will provide priceless peace of mind now and in the future.