Types of Residential Locks

Entry lockset

Entry lockset

There are several different types of residential locks for homeowners to choose from, and each one has its own advantages. Several factors may need to be considered to determine which particular lock is best for any specific entryway. For instance, an exterior entryway will typically use an entirely different type of lock than an interior doorway. Although there are many different kinds of residential locks, there are four main types of locks that are most commonly used: padlocks, deadbolts, knob locks or levers. Since each situation is unique, if there is any question about which is best, talking to a locksmith can help you choose the right lock for the circumstances.


Padlocks are typically used to lock cabinets or outbuildings. Padlocks can be either keyable or non-rekeyable. The key of a rekeyable lock can be changed to match another key such as the one that opens the residence. A key retaining padlock is one that when it is open the key cannot be removed. And a non-key retaining padlock means the key can be removed once the lock has been opened. When purchasing a padlock you will most likely wan to purchase one which has a shrouded shackle as this will protect the lock from being cut with bolt cutters.


There are three different types of deadbolts: single sided deadbolt, double deadbolt, and the lockable thumbturn. A single deadbolt has a key cylinder on the outside and a thumbturn inside. These are very commonly used in homes, especially on exterior doors. This type of lock has one weakness in that if there is another way into the home the door can be opened from the inside. The double deadbolt has a key cylinder on the inside as well as the outside. It can only be locked or unlocked using the key. These are far more secure than the single deadbolt, but in the case of a fire or any other type of emergency situation can pose a problem. Locksmiths suggest that if they are used on the primary entryway of a residence the key should be left in the inside of the lock at all times. The lockable thumbturn has a thumbturn on the inside that can be locked using the key. So the thumbturn can be used inside to unlock the lock just like a standard deadbolt. Or the key can be used to lock the thumbturn in place. This way the thumbturn can be locked in place using the key if the family is going to be gone for awhile. This provides more security since even if someone gained access to the inside of the house, they deadbolt could not be unlocked without the key.

Knob Locks

The locksmith may install this lock on outside doors that also have a deadbolt. Most suggest that a knob lock should not be used as the sole security for external entryways. This is because the lock is inside the knob and not on the door. It is too easy to break off the door knob to gain entryway into the residence. They do work well and are more secure when used along with a deadbolt, especially for the primary entryways of the home.

Lever Handle Locks

This type of lock is typically used for inner doors. The handle is pushed down in order to open the door and gain access to the area behind the door. These types of locks are many times preferred because once they are unlocked; they are easier to open than the regular door knob which must be turned to open. A locksmith can install lever handle locks so that they prefer left or right handedness. These locks are frequently used in situations with handicapped individuals need easier accessibility.

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