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There is a case to be made for using deadbolts even more than we already we do. The majority of burglaries occur during daylight hours, when residents are busy with work or school. What can you do to safeguard your home and valuables? Protection starts with a quality deadbolt.
At BestReviews, we want to help you find a deadbolt that makes you feel secure whether you’re at home, at work, or out and about. We examined the market’s top deadbolts for quality, security features, and price. After rigorous research, we were able to identify the best five deadbolts available. Please see the matrix above for in-depth information about each of our favorites.
When deciding which products to endorse, we never accept free samples from manufacturers. Instead, we conduct our own expert interviews and field research. Our goal is to be your go-to source for accurate, reliable product recommendations and reviews.
If you’re ready to make a deadbolt purchase, you can click on any of the links at the top of this page to find out more information about those products. If you’d like to learn more about deadbolts — the types you can buy, the features they offer, how much they cost — please continue reading this shopping guide.
Here’s a brief look at the different types of deadbolts you can buy.
This is the most common type of deadbolt. It requires a key, but it can be opened from the inside of your home without a key.
You will need a key to unlock a double-cylinder deadbolt from both the outside and the inside. As such, it’s not the most handy type of deadbolt to use.
It’s estimated that a home burglary occurs every 13 to 15 seconds.
While this type of deadbolt operates on the outside the same as any other, on the inside there is simply a thumb turn to lock and/or unlock it.
This type of deadbolt does not necessarily need a key to operate. In most cases, you will use a digital code or a fingerprint to lock and/or unlock it.
The actual hardware of the bolt should be made of hardened steel with a one-inch diameter. The collar should be properly tapered and free-spinning, and the connecting screen should be made of solid steel at least a quarter-inch in diameter on the inside. There should be no exposed screw heads.
FBI statistics for 2013 show that there were 1.9 million burglaries in the U.S. resulting in $4.5 billion in property loss. Of those burglaries, 59% were successful because of forced entry.
As technology blossoms, the deadbolt has advanced in many ways. Buyers can now choose between an “old-style” deadbolt and a keyless deadbolt that employs a numerical code and/or fingerprint technology.
Which should you choose? That depends on the level of security you want. A deadbolt is a deadbolt, of course, but a deadbolt with keyless entry or fingerprint access adds a layer of security.
It’s akin to opting for two-factor authorization on your computer or mobile device. While not necessary, it keeps you that much safer.
Burglars can gain access to a home by drilling a precisely placed hole above the deadbolt. However, this can be prevented by using a heavy-duty deadbolt.
There's a tendency to view deadbolts as “basic” hardware. But there's a lot more to the deadbolt than meets the eye. Keep these features in mind when selecting a deadbolt for your home.
Ease of installation and use are important considerations when choosing a deadbolt. You don’t want to have to deface your door just to make your new lock fit. And once it’s installed, you don’t want a lock that’s tricky to use. Check user reviews before purchasing a deadbolt to minimize your chance of buying a dud. The five deadbolts in our matrix, above, are all top contenders.
Single-family detached homes are often targeted by burglars because there tend to be more access points and hiding places at this type of residence.
Not every deadbolt fits every door. Measure your door (including its thickness) and read the specs carefully before purchasing a deadbolt. The specs should include helpful information about which type of doors the lock will fit.
Aesthetics can be as important as any other feature — especially if the lock is going on your front door where everyone will see it. Deadbolts come in a whole catalog of styles and colors, including black, white, gold, and silver.
Students tend to own the latest technology, and as such, they are the group most vulnerable to burglary. Elderly folks are the second-most vulnerable group due to the perception that they have more prescription drugs in their homes.
While there are certainly exceptions to the rule, the price you pay for a deadbolt depends on the type of deadbolt you choose.
In this price range, you won’t find many keyless deadbolts. If you’re looking to spend under $50, count on getting a single-cylinder, double-cylinder, or single-sided deadbolt.
You’ll still find some low-tech deadbolts in this price range, but they employ more features and/or have above-average aesthetics. The majority of deadbolts in this price range are keyless deadbolts with a numeric keypad or touchscreen.
It takes a thief less than one minute to break into your home. One of the first things thieves try to do is find your hidden “extra” key. Take this option away from them by not leaving an extra key outside. Leave one with your neighbors instead.
There are some numerical code keyless deadbolts in this price range, but you will also find biometric deadbolts (those with fingerprint readers) for $200 and up.
How much you spend on a deadbolt for your home is a personal decision. Your security depends on the money you put into it, but at the same time, you don’t want a manufacturer to prey on your vulnerability and convince you to pay more than you need to.
The priciest of deadbolts have the most features and often include fingerprint readers. These can cost more than $200.
A crowbar used on a lock will provide enough force to bend the door frame or push the strike plate through the door.
A strike plate is a metal plate on the jamb of your door. The deadbolt extends through a hole in the strike plate when activated. You can make your deadbolt even stronger by reinforcing the strike plate with additional metal.
Numerical codes are harder to copy than keys, and in addition to that, they can be changed easily.
To prevent your lock from being easily picked, keep it well-lubricated and consider installing it upside down.
FBI statistics tell us that the average dollar amount of the items stolen from a home ranges from $2,000 to $5,000.
Q. Can I use my own numerical code?
A. Yes. Just as you would create an access code for your smartphone or tablet, you can create an access code for your deadbolt. In some cases, you can even create a temporary code for a visitor or handyman and delete it when you no longer need it.
Q. Do deadbolts have connectivity with my smart home products?
A. Some of them do. This means you can lock and unlock your door from the comfort of your couch or when getting out of the shower. There are even some deadbolt locks that work with Alexa.
Q. What if I forget the code?
A. All is not lost. Depending on the lock itself, there are master keys and master codes that can help you through this problem.
Q. Do I have to use keyless entry with a deadbolt?
A. Certainly not. There are plenty of deadbolts available that don't include the latest in technology. But utilizing a code or fingerprint adds just that much more safety and security, meaning more peace of mind for you.
Q. Can a deadbolt be added to a sliding glass door?
A. Yes. While many people provide extra security to a slider by placing a 2x4 or broomstick behind the door, that's not really all that safe. You can be much safer using a deadbolt.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.