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What is a Deadbolt Lock?

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A deadbolt is one of the most common locking mechanisms for both entry and exit doors in residential settings throughout the country. A deadbolt lock can come with a number of different features that are intended to thwart thieves, who have mastered the art of cutting, drilling or jimmying a deadbolt out of the door jamb.

The Basic Deadbolt Lock

  • Single or double cylinder lock. This is a choice homeowners must make with the basic deadbolt lock. With a single cylinder lock, the deadbolt is opened by a key from the outside but is opened from the inside by a twist knob. Homeowners interested in additional security can go with the double cylinder deadbolt. This requires a key to both enter and exit the home. The benefit is that someone cannot reach in – perhaps from a nearby window or glass sidelights – and open a locked door from the inside.

Security Features for the Deadbolt Lock

  • Get an ANSI Grade 1 lock. This is the most secure residential lock available. ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institute, which is accredited by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association. There are three grades available to let customers know about the safety and reliability of the product. ANSI is the most secure.
  • Look for a secure strike plate. The strike plate is a part of every door lock, and the spot where it is attached to the door frame is often a weak point in the door/lock system. However, there are strike plates that are available in heavy gauge metal and with screws of up to 3 inches long. That will guarantee that the strike plate is attached to the frame of the wall, and not the door jamb.
  • Longer deadbolts. The length of the actual deadbolt portion of the deadbolt lock can help to make a lock much more secure. The length that the deadbolt extends from the door edge is called the “throw”. A throw of at least 1-inch is recommend by lock experts. A longer throw makes it more difficult for thieves to enter the home by spreading the doorframe.
  • Bolts that resist saws. Another common way for a thief to defeat a deadbolt lock is to saw the deadbolt off. However, deadbolt locks are available with steel pins designed to spin inside the lock. That spinning motion defeats the back-and-forth motion of the saw.
  • More secure lock casing. Look for a deadbolt lock with a casing made of steel that is beveled. This accomplishes two purposes. First, the steel casing makes it much more difficult for a hammer blow to defeat the lock. Second, the beveling makes it much harder for pliers or wrenches to get a grip to try to twist the lock loose.
  • Bolts that resist drills. Another way thieves quickly get through a deadbolt lock and into a home is by drilling through the lock. However, there are deadbolt locks that come with steel chips inside the housing of the lock. The steel chips tear up the drill bit.
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