As I noted in an earlier post, the deadbolt is the part of your lockset that keeps your door secure from intruders. The handle, either lever or knob, could be keyed but the latching mechanism is angled or rounded, which allows ease of being latched without turning the lever. This also allows ease of use for intruders gaining access For this reason, entry knobs or levers are usually sold or paired with a deadbolt.

There was an earlier post where I explained grades of locks and deadbolts. You can read it here for more information but basically locks are graded 1 to 3 with 1 being best for being able to withstand the most abuse, whether by use or attack and being pick-resistant. This is important when discussing deadbolts – if someone is attempting to break-in, the deadbolt should be able to hold up to the force or tampering.

As a side note, but just as important – if you’re putting a new dead bolt on an exterior door and that door is hollow core and not either solid wood or insulated hollow metal, get a new door with the new deadbolt. A wood hollow core door is just that, hollow, and only a piece of Styrofoam is in the core of that door and provides no resistance whatsoever. These doors can easily be busted through and the best deadbolt will not help.

This is a list of the best deadbolts for your front entry doors. These conventional, mechanical deadbolts are at least $60 less than the electronic deadbolts but provide security just as good provided you don’t mind using a key.

Best Overall Deadbolt

For just plain security, the Schlage B60N Single Cylinder Deadbolt is the one.best deadbolt locks It is an ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 certified deadbolt with a keyed exterior and a thumbturn on the interior. It doesn’t have the re-key ability of the Kwikset but because it is a certified Grade 1 deadbolt is just as pick-resistant as the Kwikset.

The Schlage deadbolt comes with a reinforced strike plate making the door harder to be kicked in. It has a hardened steel bolt to make it more resistant to sawing and cutting than the typical bolt. It fits door thicknesses from 1 3/8″ to 2″ thick and is frequently purchased with the August Smart Lock Pro for the convenience aspect. Has a lifetime mechanical and finish warranty and comes in 11 different finishes. This lock in polished brass finish goes for about $30 at Amazon and about $40 on Homedepot.com.

Best for Doors with Glass or Sidelites

With doors with glass or an adjacent sidelite you would not want a deadbolthome depot deadbolt locks with a thumbturn on the interior – too easy to break the glass and access the thumbturn. In this case you would want a deadbolt that was keyed on both sides or a double cylinder deadbolt. The Schlage B62N Double Cylinder Deadbolt is the best one for this scenario. Has the same lifetime mechanical and finish warranty and same selection of finishes as the single cylinder version. Because it is keyed on the interior the August Smart Lock Pro or something similar cannot be used. This lock in polished brass finish is sold for about $45 at Amazon and about $40 on Homedepot.com.

This lock is not recommended on doors that do not have glass or adjacent windows. In the event of a fire you would want to be able to quickly unlock this door and looking for a key rather than flipping a thumbturn could waste valuable seconds.

Best for landlords or Airbnb types

The Kwikset 980 Single Cylinder Deadbolt is an ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 types deadbolt lockscertified deadbolt with a keyed exterior and a thumbturn on the interior. This Kwikset deadbolt has their patented SmartKey re-keying system which takes the expensive locksmith out of the re-keying process and allows the homeowner to perform this themselves.

Rental homeowners find the re-key feature very beneficial. It fits the standard door preps and will fit the standard exterior door thickness of 1 3/4″. Has a lifetime mechanical and finish warranty and comes in 5 finishes. This lock in polished brass finish goes for about $20 at Amazon and about $30 on Homedepot.com.

For even more security

For additional security use a door latch strike plate like the Prime-Line Armored Strike. This strike plate is more secure than the standard strike plate that comes with most deadbolts. It comes with six 3″ long screws (those buying this have reported using 4″ screws for additional strength) for attaching to the wood stud running vertical next to the door frame.

… One More Thing

Not one of these deadbolts are pick-proof, bump-proof or tamper-proof. Only the one-sided deadbolt is. Most of these come in Grade 3 but because there are no parts exposed to the exterior of the house, durability is not as big of a factor. It will not prevent an intruder from gaining access but provides one more obstacle as a deterrent. This deadbolt cannot be seen from the exterior, however there are some that come with an exterior plate such as the Schlage B81 or Kwikset 667. These can only be locked from the inside and cannot be accessed or locked from the outside but while you are home, it will provide one more level of protection.

The one-sided deadbolt is much more secure than the chain guard or sliding door guard. Most doors do not come ready for an additional hole for a one-sided deadbolt, therefore you would need to prep the door yourself or have someone do it. This should only be a 2-hour process, at most, but I believe it to be worth the additional security.

Categories: Deadbolts

13 Comments

Bruce · January 3, 2019 at 7:08 am

Hello.Your home is your sanctuary and protecting it is of ultimate importance. Regular door locks are never enough and dead bolt  are extremely good in general. The problem I have seen is no matter how good your deadbolt may be the real problem is the door frame. A wooden door frame, usually provided in residential homes, is still the weakest link in a door.The newer systems that provide some sort of camera and better yet an alarm that notifies you in multiple ways  where ever you are is the way to go. Security is number one in most peoples mind  and will become  more relevant as crime statistics continue to rise.

    Bill · January 4, 2019 at 12:51 am

    You are correct. Wood frames are the weakest link when you have a good deadbolt. You can bypass the frame with a reinforced strike that is screwed to the stud. Or you can get a hollow metal frame, won’t look as nice but harder to damage than a wood frame.

Gomer Magtibay · January 3, 2019 at 6:47 am

I clicked on the links provided and discovered they are sold via Amazon. Honestly, I admire products that are US made or manufactured in continents like America or Europe than those coming from China. I apologize for this prejudice over Chinese made products, I am only speaking based on my experience, that deadbolt locks that we bought with “Made in China” labels are very poor in quality.

There’s just one thing that worries me with high quality deadbolt locks like these: There are times that we lost our keys and we have to destroy the lock by kicking the door. High quality locks like these are hard to destroy. Do you have any tips on what to do in times like I lost my keys? Can I do something without trying to kick or destroy the door?

    Bill · January 4, 2019 at 12:51 am

    If you had a smart lock that normally wouldn’t be a problem but if you were to have one of these conventional deadbolts you could call a locksmith or you could try to pick the lock

Ellen · December 30, 2018 at 2:13 am

As a former detective I can tell you that a solid wooden door and a heavy duty dead bolt is a huge deterrent for intruders and/ or cops who want to kick in your door. I also think solid wood doors with limited decorative glass is also a deterrent due to the noise factor and possible injury to anyone who wants to break into your home. Do you think investing more in a solid door and a durable deadbolt is better than investing in RING or other surveillance systems?

    Bill · December 30, 2018 at 8:39 am

    A solid door without glass is what you want. If you want to see out get a door peephole. A durable deadbolt will also help. See my post here on the best ones to get. RING or other type systems are also an added benefit however, those won’t prevent a break-in if they’re determined. Get a good Grade 1 deadbolt and a reinforced strike with screws that go all the way to the studs for best results.

Edwin IBU · December 27, 2018 at 9:44 pm

 Deadbolt is the part of your locks which  secures your door from intruders.  Normally locks are graded from 1-3 where grade 1 is the best in ability to withstand the most threat and abuse  for attack or use and being pick-resistant.

Doors are actually important because a hollow door wont help much even if u had the best graded deadbolt.

The deadbolts listed are great for determent of intruders with lengthy durability. This review is great to help with decision making on the best deadbolt by demand.

Solomon · December 27, 2018 at 9:41 pm

Do you have any recommendations for smart coded locks with deadbolts? As I am looking to change both the doors and locks to my safe room. Also preferably a Grade 1 lock since I have seen from your previous post that they’re the best and they have the most resistance.

    Bill · December 28, 2018 at 4:17 am

    This keypad Grade 1 deadbolt lock from Schlage will work for that application. Should also invest in a reinforced door strike for added security on a safe room.

Nuttanee · December 27, 2018 at 9:38 pm

Very informative post. Kwikset 980 looks very ideal for me. The other day I swap my purse and forgot to put the keys in the new bag. My husband assumed that I have the keys so I automatically locked us out lol. Got so frustrated, we tried everything, surprising just a simple credit card, we were able to pick locked our way inside! Omg what is this? I will tell my landlord to get me this set this is un acceptable. Lifesaver! 

    Bill · December 28, 2018 at 3:55 am

    I’m happy I could provide helpful information. 

Daniel · December 27, 2018 at 9:33 pm

I must say that this article is great Bill. This is exactly what I need and I will definitely order one deadbolt lock as soon as possible. I had a bad experience with robbery past year and I see that those ones are great when it comes to security. I hope that it will be shipped until Christmas.

charles39 · December 27, 2018 at 9:31 pm

Security is a priority for everyone  rocks that can  offer that while they looks elegant on your door that is very nice dead bolt rocks are the best for both security and elegance on your doors . thenkyou for this information it means a lot to most of who are looking for locks to install on our doors

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