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Should I have deadlocks on my doors?

Updated on February 6, 2013


Cylindrical Deadlock
Cylindrical Deadlock

Key inside and out

When we think of a deadlock, usually the standard round style deadlock which throws out a long bolt comes to mind. The double cylinder cylindrical deadbolt is the most common around the world. Some building codes in different countries may not allow deadlocking from the inside and so your deadlock might have a turn-snib on the inside instead of a key lock.

While there are many different types of deadlocks available , there are 2 main functions available for deadlocks. They are Key lockable from the inside and always free to open from the inside. Free to open deadlocks can be opened with a turn-snib or similar opening device.


Double Cylinder Security Deadlock
Double Cylinder Security Deadlock
Rim Deadlock
Rim Deadlock

Double Cylinder for Glass Doors

There are pros and cons for both inside key lockable and turn-snib style deadlocks. Often the particular situation of the deadlock should be considered individually for their different circumstances.

A double cylinder deadlock requires a key to open the lock from either the inside or outside. You might want a double cylinder deadlock if there is a glass panel next to the front door that could be broken and a hand put through to open the door. A security gate will also require a double cylinder for the same reason.

Insurance companies discovered double cylinder deadlocks were good when thieves break in through a window. The door can still not be opened without a key, making the thief’s’ job much harder to get large items out of the house. Many insurance companies insist double cylinder deadlocks are fitted before you can get contents insurance. Further if you are broken into and the thieves find a deadlock key inside your house and open the door, the insurance company might not accept your claim.

What happens in an Emergency?

The problem with double cylinder deadlocks is, what do you do in an emergency when you have to get out quick and cannot find the key? One of the most common emergencies is a fire. A fire can happen very quickly and it can cut off your access to your keys. Unfortunately this is a reality and does happen. Most counties have building codes for public buildings, especially where many people are inside a building. Hotels, backpackers, night clubs and shopping centers have all been in the news lately showing people killed in fires because of deadlocked doors. The most recent was a fire in a nightclub in Brazil where 234 people were killed in a fire because they could not get out deadlocked doors.

While it is more serious in a public building your own front door on your home potentially could block your exit in an emergency situation. Elderly people especially are at risk if keys for a deadlock cannot be found.

Brazil Night Club Fire

The best of both worlds - Inside Deadlocking and Turn-Snib

There are some deadlocks such as the Lockwood 001 dead-latch which is both a deadlock and has an escape snib. The Lockwood 001 can be fully deadlocked when you are not at home. When you return home and unlock the door, the Lockwood 001 automatically releases the deadlocked inside handle, making for an easy exit in an emergency.

It makes good sense to have a lock that can be both a double cylinder deadlock and a single cylinder lock with a snib. In the end it is a decision we all have to make up our own minds on, unless building codes or insurance companies demand a certain functionality for our doors.

Comments on Deadlocks

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    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      You got a great collection of hubs. What interesting is that, they are all for everybody's safety. Keep it going brisbanelocksmit.

    • Brisbanelocksmith profile image

      John Magee 5 years ago from Brisbane, Qld, Australia

      Hi Kaelene,

      Yep, you want to make sure there is always an exit in case of an emergency. You want to keep the baddies out, but not put your safety at risk.

    • profile image

      kaelene 5 years ago

      I think I would rather bee able to get out if there is a fire!