Don’t Install a Door Chain Guard

For additional security some people will recommend or install a chain guard or a sliding bar lock and this is for a few reasons – they’re cheap, easy to install and allow for communication with your visitor. Don’t fall victim to this logic.

Door security is needed.
Chain guard on left. Sliding bar lock on right.
  1. They’re easily bypassed. If the intruder can disable your primary lock or kick the door in enough to make the primary lock ineffective these little lock guards aren’t stopping them either.
  2. They are definitely easy to install. Why? Because they use 3/4” screws to attach to the door and door frame. The small screws do not provide much resistance when force is applied to the door. In addition, the screws are attached in the same direction the force would be applied to the door, providing virtually no resistance
  3. Easy to communicate with visitors is the best reason to not have one of these. Once you’ve cracked your door to a potential intruder, you’ve now removed all barriers between you and the intruder and making it easier for them to shoot, stab or get even better leverage to apply force and pop the sliding bar lock off the door.

What you should use instead is a one-sided deadbolt and a peephole camera.

You need to reinforce your door.
One-sided deadbolt

The one-sided deadbolt is installed about 6” above your existing deadbolt and works just like it with the exception that it can only be locked from the inside and nothing visible on the outside.

It should be installed with at least 3” long screws and a strike reinforcement plate. The 3” or longer screws will be long enough to catch the studs framing the door opening and will make it much harder to come loose with brute force alone. A typical strike plate only has room for 2 screws. A strike reinforcement plate is a metal plate that acts as the strike plate but has 2 or more additional screw holes which allows for additional attachments to the studs.

A peephole camera works just like a typical peephole but has a camera with a screen large enough to be seen several feet away. This prevents you having to get right up to the door to look through the small eyepiece and keeping you safely away from the door in the event they want to attack when they think you’re close.

You don’t have to use my recommendations but do not get a chain guard or sliding bar lock and depend on it for security. Even a security bar like the Buddy Bar would be better than a chain guard.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Install a Door Chain Guard

  1. As someone who has experienced break-ins, I agree with you 110%.
    I am too short to use most peepholes, so I don’t answer my door if I’m not expecting anyone.
    Everyone that lives with me has a key, and everyone else knows they have to call me or they get to stand on my porch.

    I only respond if I know someone is coming over, and I keep some kind of noise going the entire time I’m awake.

    When I do have a peephole I can reach, I am very quiet when I appraoch and I do not say anything until I see who it is.

    If it’s a service person I ask to see ID and work orders before I open my door.

    I dream of the day I can install one of those Ring doorbell cameras.

    This may seem paranoid to some, but those who have had their space intruded upon are nodding. The double deadbolt is a must for me as well, and I have one that I install wherever I live if there isn’t one there already.

    You just cannot be too careful, and those little slide locks are absolutely not good enough.

    Than you for this information. I don’t feel like an alarmist anymore 🙂

    Gwendolyn J

    1. They do have peephole cameras that have a screen on them that is about 2 to 3 inches wide. It allows you to stand away from the door and see who it is on the screen instead of being right up against the door. This one by Brinno actually records when someone knocks or activates the motion sensor. But there are also ones that just have the screen without the recording capabilities.

  2. The one sided dead bolt looks like an awesome product and very well made. I like that it is totally invisible to the other side of the door. I used to buy the chain guards until about 7 years ago,had an incident similar to what you said with an intruder breaking right through and fast too. Since than I have relied on dead bolts and security cameras. 

    1. Exactly. Unfortunately, the chain guards only protect you against people who don’t mean you harm anyway. The safest thing in that situation is not to open the door at all. 

  3. This is so educational and informative. When I make my own home I want to be aware of all these details. I must start filling in all these notes for the future. I am also noticing that robbery is something that hardly happens around me (only because its a gated area) so robbery has always been out of my mindset. Not good. :/

  4. Hi Bill

    I totally agree with you. I live alone and I used to have a pathetic chain lock on my door and it was useless but when a guy installed my deadlock for me- (yes I’m a girly girl) I felt so much safer. I’m getting older now and do not feel like tuning into my self-defence skills these days although who knows, I might if I had to. Having a deadlock is awesome

    1. The deadbolt is definitely safer than the chain guard. It doesn’t matter who installs it as long as it’s there. I installed one in my mother’s house and I felt better after it. 

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