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Front Door Locks: Know Your Options

Front Door Locks: Know Your Options

Homes are designed to be our havens after long open air hours. Unfortunately, these supposed sanctuaries sometimes double as a bullseye for criminals. Although burglary rates have been on a steady decline in the past decades, reports show that home burglary occurs every 25.7 seconds in the U.S.

So it is about time home and business owners understand the critical roles different types of front door locks play in ensuring privacy and deterring trespassers.

Thankfully, several secure lock options for doors hardware are on the market. So, if you are wondering about the different types and styles for your front door, the essential features of reliable entry door locks, or the best options for maximum security, we’ll address these concerns in the article below!

Types of Entry Door Locks

Let’s see some of the different front door lock types;

Knob Locks

These are the most common types of locks to secure homes or businesses since the 1800s. They mostly feature a more secure keyed entry lock system with stainless steel or other stronger materials and a lock cylinder placed inside the knob instead of the door.

A knob lock works as brilliantly to secure an office as a bathroom. However, most people use them on interior entrances as they are less secure than other exterior options. Practically, they are a lot easier to break into, so they are not always the best option for entries.

Deadbolt Locks

Although there are several types of exterior door locks for securing entry to a house, deadbolts are the most used. It can also be ideal for interior entrances, regardless of the position of the hinges.

It is known as a deadbolt lock because it has no spring-loaded mechanisms inside to work the bolt like other options– ergo, the term “dead.” Deadbolt’s history dates back to the 1800s when banks started using locks with keys to protect safes.

Mortise Locks

These are designed to require more room to operate correctly, so they have been used on the exterior entrances of businesses and commercial properties since the eighteenth century. However, many homeowners still use them to secure their homes, as older homes already had the mortise front door locking mechanism when they were on the market. 

The older versions of the mortise featured a pull handle to unlock the door – pulls that eventually gave way to doorknobs in recent versions.

The intricate parts of mortise locksets installed inside the door, including the lock cylinder and the cam, guarantee reliability. Its extreme strength and durability make it the best lock option for business owners’ front doors

Euro Cylinder Locks

Even though Euro cylinders are more common in Europe (as the name implies), some homeowners in the United States still use them on patio or interior double entrances. 

Unfortunately, its features are not as strong or durable as other front door locking mechanisms, yet most homeowners still choose them because they are easy to install and use. But then, the self-contained locks and easy installation process do not make it the best bet for your exterior entrances.

Electronic and Smart Locks

Homeowners and the owners of condos or renters of apartments often prefer electronic and smart locks because of their ease of use.

Though often used interchangeably, these two types of entry door locks are different. The smart lock is controlled by wireless communication and requires an authorized device to lock and unlock. In contrast, an electronic option is often controlled by inputting a code on a keypad. 

Homeowners should note that there can be an issue with both options when the electricity goes out. So, there should be a backup key control option for those cases.

Fingerprint and Retinal Scan Door Locks

Fingerprint and retinal door locks provide that state-of-the-art type of security with the keyless feature, allowing only individuals with fingerprints programmed into the lock to gain access. These entry door lock types “open” when a person places their forefinger flatly on a fingerprint sensor that recognizes their fingerprint pattern like a smartphone lock.

With the retinal scan locks, users input a biometric scan of their retina in the lock system, and to gain entry, real-time retina scans must match the programmed scan. As the most advanced type of entry door, these are predominantly for secure facilities managing manufacturing, medical, or government secrets.


Padlocks are the most recognized lock, dating back to the Roman Era from 500 BC to 300 AD. They have been used for securing many things, from exterior entrances to sheds, garages, and bicycles, and for extra security at homes and businesses.

They are often used in factories and other businesses with different primary security measures for the extra layer of protection. Though padlocks have evolved over the past few decades, these different types of front door locks have maintained their integrity and durability.

Grading Scale of Door Locks

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) have tested and graded many entry door locks for their security. The grades are from tests that depend on the following factors:

  • Operation 
  • Strength and durability
  • Mechanics 
  • Overall security 
  • Material quality inspection
  • Fit and finish 

The lock grade depicts the number of times locking and unlocking can be performed, and there are three primary grades.

Grade 1, which rates locks at 800,000 locking cycles, is the strongest and most expensive commercial-level lock.

Grade 2 is rated at 400,000 cycles and is often found in most exterior door locks in homes and department stores. The strength of grade 2s depends on several factors, including the kind of door they secure and the lock material.

Grade 3 is not as strong as grades 1 and 2, with only 200,000 life cycles. These locks should only be used to secure interior entrances, as they are easily “picked” open with a screwdriver or any other tool.

Entry Door Designs and Types of Locks

Here are some types of locks for different styles of entry doors.

Solid Steel or Fiberglass Entry Doors

Solid, glass-less entry doors require a good Grade 2 or higher deadbolt with hardened pins and a stable door knob key lock.

Front Doors with Decorative Glass or Sidelights

If you have entry doors with glass or sidelights, try a double-cylinder deadbolt requiring a key to open the lock from the inside and outside. However, this locking mechanism for front door has a significant downside – difficulty in use. You must have a key even if you need to exit your home in a hurry. That is why most building codes require a single-cylinder deadbolt.

Ultimately, a good deadbolt and locking handle set will protect your family against forced entry.

Lock Styles and Finishes

Several style and finish possibilities exist for you, from traditional to practical and aesthetical. The locks are available in polished silver, brass, bronze or black finishes. Plus, you may even get variations in “oil-rubbed bronze” or “distressed” finishes that depict an original weathered look.

Most of the different types of locks for front door feature three basic types: knobs, levers, and handle sets, and for entry doors, these styles often include a standard or decorative deadbolt.

Are Expensive Exterior Door Locks Worth the Price?

Most expensive entry locks are worth the price as they are more durable even after constant exposure to seasonal weather changes. 

The cheaper alternatives often experience erosion of the cylinder tumbler, causing a malfunction in the locking mechanism, key break-offs, or other significant issues. 

Generally, getting higher-quality locks are advisable when there is an increased chance of intrusions or robbery.


There is an extensive boutique of lock options for entry hardware and just as many factors to consider for a new entry door lock. 

Fortunately, you can find the lockset that matches your style, quality, and preferred functionality at United Porte’s online doors shop.

Our professionals are also available for consultation and installation of these locks for increased security and aesthetics.


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