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What kind of deadbolt should I buy?

Updated on April 11, 2015

Weiser Smart Lock / Kwikset Smart Lock

This may be most often recommended by employees at major department stores but it’s worth considering other options. Weiser Lock, and Kwikset are both the same company, and their new Smart Lock can be easily identified by the small slit next to the keyway. It’s one of the biggest brand-name locks so you’ll hear a lot about it. But here’s some things you won’t hear unless you talk to a locksmith.

Pros:
Easily rekeyed – this lock comes with a built-in function that allows you to rekey this lock yourself without removing it from the door.

Inexpensive – one the least expensive locks you can buy.

Not easily picked – this lock is difficult for most people to pick open.

Cons:

Inconsistent – This lock has been known to stop working. The over complexity of it’s self-rekeying feature causes some problems and can cause your lock to “forget” your key.

Easily broken – It’s difficult to pick this lock but it’s very easy to break this lock. A flat screwdriver, or even a similar key can easily force this lock open.

Has to be replaced – If your lock does forget your key or you lose your keys, you’ll come across more problems than usual. When a locksmith does show up to let you into your place, he will most likely have to break your lock and it will have to be replaced.

Electronic Deadbolt / Keyless

Electronic deadbolts have a lot of appeal. New technology and the promise of one less key on the keychain. They are offered from many different manufacturers and can come in many different styles.

Pros:

Keyless – No need to dig your keys out of your pocket when entering your home. A quick number combination or fingerprint placement and you’re in. There are even Bluetooth phone apps that will unlock your door as you approach.

Easily changed – Save money on changing your locks and quickly change your own combination. No more keys to cut for renters, also you can pass your combination onto visitors so they can let themselves in and out without you having to be there.

Cons:

Batteries – Despite claiming to be keyless, you should always keep a spare key for the lock on your keychain. Batteries can run out on you, and you’ll find yourself locked out.

Inconsistent – Fingerprint scanners are a new technology and haven’t been mastered yet. As well, with any electronic mechanism there is a chance of failure. It won’t be as reliable as a standard mechanical lock.

Door marking – Some keyless deadbolts require extra holes to be drilled in your door. Others have a large surface and may cause the door to fade or wear out unevenly. When finally replacing the unit you may have a hard time covering up the previous one.

High security / Key restricted

Top of the line when it comes to your deadbolt. If you’re passionate about locks or security this is your answer. With fascinating keys and locking mechanisms these locks serve function and class.

Pros:

Security – High security locks claim to be unpickable. Or at the least you’d have to be an expert with a lot of time to get through it. Drilling the lock is not an option a lot of the time, with parts in place to prevent drilling. Even the non high security key restricted locks are difficult to pick.

Key restriction – Knowing that no one has a copy of your key without your knowledge is a privilege not many have. Proof of ownership is required to copy a key and your locksmith should have records of every cut that has been cut.

Cons:

Expensive – The lock itself can be $100-200 each. As well, you should get a locksmith to professionally install the lock. Keys are much more expensive too. It can be almost $20 per key.

Over secure - It’s hard to claim this as a con, but if you lose your key or break a key and have to call a locksmith to open your place, he’s going to have to destroy your lock. Which was already expensive. So keep a good eye on your key.

Standard Deadbolt

Your basic pin tumbler deadbolt lock. Most likely what you have on your door right now.

Pros:

Inexpensive – The cheapest of the deadbolts. Standard keys, cheap to duplicate and cheap to maintain and replace as well.

Customizable – They come in many different finishes and shapes. As well, there are keyless Bluetooth smartphone attachments that you can attach to the inside of the deadbolt while maintaining the simplicity and inconspicuous nature of a basic deadbolt on the outside.

Reliable – There’s a reason these are the most popular deadbolt. As long as you don’t install the cheapest of the cheap locks this lock will last you a long time. These locks are very easy to maintain. They’re simple and cheap for a locksmith to open, fix, or replace as well.

Cons:

Pickable – This lock is easily picked and it's what most locksmiths, enthusiasts, and criminals would practice on.

Key control – You could have several keys out there for this lock without knowing. Stamping “Do Not Copy” on your keys doesn’t help in most cases. You may have to rekey this lock often to ensure security.

My choice

This wouldn’t be a very good comparison article if I didn’t state my favourite choice. I would personally recommend getting a mid to high quality standard deadbolt. LSDA brand is a brand you can purchase from locksmiths, as well Emtek is a good brand of deadbolt you can buy from hardware stores. Spend at least $30 on a deadbolt, and consult your locksmith on quality.

If you want to upgrade to keyless, try something that bolts to the inside of a standard deadbolt. Then the outside of your lock remains unchanged, and the inside of the lock has the motor and receiver on it. You activate this via Bluetooth or from an app. Brands like August Lock, Sesame Lock (from Candy House), or Lockitron are a good choice.

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