Front Door Locks – What You Need to Know

Front entry handleset with keypad deadbolt

Regardless of the reason – because you want to update to a modern look, upgrading to a more secure lock other than the one that came with your house or the kids just keep losing the key, there could be many reasons that a homeowner would want to change their front door locksets. There are many types of locks – from knobs or lever type to a traditional keyed or electronic lock, sometimes called a keyless door lock. Some type of door locks might be available in only 2 or 3 colors or finishes and other types of door locks could be in as many as 8 or 9 finishes. Be aware of that as you shop because if you are dead set on a particular color or finish to match your door it might limit your choices.


Entry knob with single cylinder deadbolt showing interior thumbturn

First and foremost, above all else, the purpose of a front door lock is to keep the people and possessions inside your home safe from outside elements. In addition to the lever or knob, there is also a deadbolt that is packaged with the lever or can be bought separately, however the style and color can still be matched with the lever. For an extra layer of security, some homeowners have added an additional deadbolt, it is a one-sided deadbolt and none of the parts can be seen from the outside. This is beneficial because even the best traditional keyed deadbolt can still be thwarted but the one-sided deadbolt cannot.

Lock Quality

All front door locks, locksets and deadbolts are graded, either 1, 2 or 3. Technically, any grade lock can be used in a residential application provided it is a cylindrical lock but with residential deadbolts, Grade 2 is typically used. Grade 3 costs less than grade 1 or 2 those are usually used in commercial applications. Also, grade 3 locks are usually more decorative for use in residential applications than grade 1 or 2 locksets which are usually used in commercial buildings. The grading system was developed by BHMA (Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association) for locks where they are tested for number of cycles, finish durability and impact resistance among other criteria. More information can be found here.


Kwikset Obsidian Deadbolt Keypad

Accessibility, in this case, refers to if the lock can be opened with a key, code or a smartphone app using Bluetooth. Some locks come with both a key and an electronic means of operation. This is in case the code is forgotten and your smartphone or the lock is out of power. And if you have children, the code or smartphone app is more likely a better option than the keyed lock due to kids always losing their key but will rarely lose their phone.

If you are buying new front door locks or any door locks for a residence that you will be selling or renting you might want to think about using levers throughout instead of a knob. Most public and commercial spaces by now have changed their locks to levers due to the American with Disabilities Act. Levers, not knobs, are easier to use for those with a physical impairment.

A Lock for All Types

As you shop online for front door locksets for your entry door you will see that there are multiple choices. Sometimes, with so many options it can seem overwhelming, especially if you are not prepared with the information to make a knowledgeable selection. With so many options in the marketplace for front door locks, the information provided here on is to help in your selection process and make all the options seem less daunting.

7 thoughts on “Front Door Locks – What You Need to Know

  1. Thanks for taking out time to write this article about front door lock information as regards this are most time best known to professionals in the industry.

    Among all the factors listed I find security and accessibility as the most important fastors, they are the basic reasons why we have door locks in any building. other factors might include aesthetics. 

    Hoping to get more write-up from you


  2. Good day,

    Thank you for the article and sharing this informative information on locks for the home.

    I will certainly pass is article to my sister and brother they both own a house and would probably 

    Benefits from this information.  I live in an apartment, but I am wondering can these type of locks be

    Used in an apartment door?  How safe and how much damage can an intruder do to the lock? 

    One day soon I will purchase my house-a CONDO to be exact. You mention on your article 

    that Grade 3 is commonly for houses and Grade 1 and 2 for commercial. Grade 1 and 2 included 

    Apartment doors?

    Thank you for the article.

    Very best on your online business endeavors,

    Lady Esther 

    1. Typically apartments and home builders use grade 3 because those are the cheapest. Unfortunately, they are also easiest to pick and as such are less secure. Good news is apartments are moving to adding a one-sided deadbolt that cannot be picked due to it not having a cylinder. 

  3. You mention that most homes use the locks that are graded at the level of three, and more commercial property opt for the higher grades, but can you get your home’s security upgraded to 1 and 2 locks if you want to?

    I only ask as we live in a city area, and we would be very interested in improving the main door lock system on our urban property?

    1. You can remove the grade 3 lock and replace it with grade 2 or 1. You might need to get a separate adjustable latch however, because grade 2 locks usually come with a latch set at 2 3/4″ and the residential locks are usually at 2 3/8″. Measure from center of lock to edge of door.

  4. Hi – thanks for sharing this informative article. I have been thinking of changing my mother’s front door lock, as she is getting on a bit, and obviously I am worried about her safety and security. I am a bit overwhelmed with the choice! That is a good point you make about having a lever rather than a knob, and I will look into that. All the best, Diane

    1. If your mother is getting on in years a lever is probably the best way to go. If she’s like mother, who has pretty bad arthritis, it is easier for her to use a lever than grasp a knob.

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