Best Cabinet Locks

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

20 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
112 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best cabinet locks

Last Updated November 2019

Thousands of children are injured each year by ingesting cleaning products. Protecting your family is important, but it’s not practical — or even possible — to put every household chemical or sharp object you own on an upper shelf. Cabinet locks are an inexpensive way to keep hazardous items out of your child’s reach. These useful tools attach to the doors of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets so your child can’t access the items inside.

Obviously, cabinet locks aren’t an alternative to supervising your child.  But they’re a lifesaver when a child is a few steps ahead of you or you have to prepare dinner or you just need a few uninterrupted moments. Some cabinet locks must be installed with drills and screws; others stay in place using magnets, adhesives, or cords. Different cabinet locks work best with certain cabinet styles, sizes, and closures.

If you need some help deciding which cabinet locks are right for your home, keep reading, and check out a few of our favorites, too.

Some customers use cabinet locks to keep pets out of cabinets where trash or food is stored.

Key considerations

Attaching options

Screws: Old-school cabinet locks could only be installed one way: by drilling into the inside of your cabinet door and holding the locks in place with screws. This method is extremely secure, but it leaves holes in your cabinet door long after your child’s baby stage has ended. Manufacturers still sell this style of lock, with a number of different locking mechanisms, but they also offer locks that don’t leave lasting marks on your cabinets.

Adhesive: Some locks attach to cabinets with powerful adhesive pads. You simply remove the liner, stick the pads in the right spot, and let them set. You must measure carefully when using this style because most must be placed in a precise location to catch and lock, and you only get one shot to stick them in the correct place. These locks are usually the least expensive, but they must be checked regularly because the adhesive can weaken over time.

Cord: A number of cabinet locks consist of a cord that loops and tightens around the cabinet pulls so the doors won't open. This style doesn’t require drilling or adhesive, but it only works with certain types of side-by-side pulls. Additionally, some loops may not span pulls that are spaced too far apart.

Locking mechanisms

Cabinet locks secure your items in a number of different ways, from latches to magnets to loops.

Latch: Classic cabinet locks use a spring-loaded latch and catch to physically prevent the door from opening. These locks are affixed to the inside of the door and catch either on the interior frame or on a strike plate you attach. To open them, you press down on the latch so that its tip is free of the frame or catch.  Most of these locks are attached with screws or adhesive.

Magnet: Some locks use magnets to hold your cabinets shut. Plastic fixtures containing magnets are attached to the inside of the cabinet either with screws or adhesive. Magnetic locks must be opened with a magnetic key every time you want to open the door unless you disable the device.

Push tab: These locks span cabinet, microwave, and other types of double doors to keep them shut. A user must press buttons on both tabs simultaneously to open them. This style typically attaches with adhesive.

Loops: These plastic or cord locks hold a pair of cabinet doors together. They include a sliding mechanism to keep the loop or hook tightly fastened. This style only works with pairs of cabinet doors that are close enough together that the cord can reach both pulls. They don’t require adhesives or drilling to install, but they can be inconvenient because you must remove the entire mechanism to open the cabinet.

EXPERT TIP

Consider leaving one kitchen cabinet unlocked and fill it with colorful plastic cups and bowls. Your child may enjoy exploring this space so much that they forget about the others.


Staff  | BestReviews

Cabinet lock features

Disabling switch

If you only need to use your locks temporarily, such as when babysitting or when grandchildren stop by, consider installing locks that can be disengaged. Some advanced cabinet locks can be disabled when your tiny visitors leave and relocked when they return. This feature is mostly available on magnetic cabinet locks.

Low profile

Many cabinet locks are designed so that they can’t  be seen outside the cabinets, a win/win for toddlers and parents. Subtle locks don’t detract from the look of your kitchen or bathroom, and they don’t attract the attention of children, increasing the chances that they won’t be tempted to try them.

Magnetic keys

Magnetic locks may sound dubious at first, but we’re not just talking about refrigerator magnets. Cabinet locks that seal using magnets can’t be yanked open by brute force. They come with keys made of powerful, rare earth magnets and won’t open otherwise. This can backfire if you misplace the key, but many lock sets come with more than one key. Some manufacturers will replace your keys for free; others make you pay a pretty penny for a new one. Some parents find they can open the locks in a pinch with other neodymium rare earth magnets.

Straps

When it comes to appliances like stoves, microwaves, and refrigerators, securing doors from the inside isn’t an option, but that doesn’t mean your toddler should have access. Some locks include flexible straps that can easily keep doors from opening. Check to make sure the adhesive other attachment devices won’t damage your appliance’s finish.

EXPERT TIP

Renters who aren’t permitted to drill into cabinets can use locks that affix with adhesive.


Staff  | BestReviews

Cabinet lock prices

It’s challenging to compare cabinet locks in terms of quality. The best locks are the ones that work in your specific situation, meet your family’s needs, and keep your child safe.

Latches: Cabinet locks that use spring-loaded latches and catches are the least expensive, ranging from $1 to $1.50 per lock. This style works with most cabinet doors, but the locks must be installed using screws or adhesives. Latches with straps and dual push tabs usually run about $3 per lock. These work well for cabinets, but they may also be used to lock appliances. This style requires two free hands to open.

Loops: Cord locks with a tightening toggle cost $1.50 to $2.50 per lock. This style requires no tools or adhesives for installation, but they only work on certain types of closely spaced door pulls.

Magnets: Magnetic locks are the most expensive at $3 to $4 per lock. This style is very secure, but it requires screws or adhesive pads for installation. Additionally, you’ll need to use a magnetic key any time you want to access the cabinet. 

EXPERT TIP

If you have the time, you can choose and install cabinet locks before your baby is born.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Measure carefully. Whichever style of lock you choose, measure your cabinets, door clearance, and overhang carefully to be sure your chosen type of lock will work.
  • Don’t open cabinet locks in front of your children. If you do, they might figure out how to defeat the device.
  • Install your cabinet locks with as little wiggle room as possible. You want to avoid pinching little fingers.

Other products we considered

If you don’t see what you’re looking for in top picks, we have a couple other options for you. Older toddlers may be both intrigued and distracted by the EUDEMON Invisible Button Cabinet Lock. This sneaky device features a decoy button to attract your toddler’s attention. Theoretically, children will lose interest once they see the button doesn’t work. The lock opens with pull-and-release tabs on the sides. We also like the look of the Adoric Child Safety Locks, which can be used to secure cabinets designed without door pulls. Simply use adhesive to attach the knobs to each side and close the two-step latch. Keep in mind that this locking device can only secure gaps of one inch or less.

Cabinet locks can’t be used to secure entry and exit doors to your home. Look for baby doorknob covers to babyproof exterior doors and any interior doors you don’t want your child to open.

FAQ

Q. When should I start using cabinet locks?
A.
Many pediatricians talk to new parents about childproofing at their baby’s six-month checkup. Most babies don’t move much during their first six months, but they can start crawling anywhere between six and ten months of age. And once babies can crawl, they can reach and move the bottom of your cabinet doors for a peek inside. Babies are more likely to explore cabinets once they’re walking, which starts around one year, and cabinet pulls or door edges are at eye level. But there’s no guarantee it will take that long, and when it comes to chemicals and babies, you’re better safe than sorry.
 

Q. Which lock style is the most secure?
A.
All styles are secure. Baby products undergo extensive testing and are quickly recalled if problems are discovered. Over time, some customers do report the adhesive pads separate from the locking structure, but most last quite a while. Locks that stay in place using screws are more secure than those using adhesive, but only you can decide whether drilling holes in your cabinets is worth it. Remember that cabinet locks are not a substitute for supervision. They are a deterrent and a safety precaution.
 

Q. When can I remove the cabinet locks?
A.
There are no hard and fast rules. Some parents remove cabinet locks when their child’s oral fixation passes, around age three. Others keep locks on until closer to age five, since cleaning products and other chemicals are harmful to skin and not just when swallowed. You know your child best, but don’t make any major changes before consulting your pediatrician.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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