Best front door locks

Consumer Reports magazine: June 2011

Many of the dead-bolt locks we tested don't provide the level of protection you might expect. A few well-placed kicks or a standard cordless drill was all it took to defeat every lock except the Medeco Maxum 11WC60L, $190.

Those test results are especially unsettling because forcible entries, such as kick-ins, are the most common type of home break-ins. And 67 percent of respondents to our national survey count on dead-bolt locks to help keep their homes secure. But any dead-bolt lock is better than the common key-in-knob variety.

The only flaw we found in the Medeco lock was its brass finish, which tarnished. We tested the brushed-nickel finish of the same lock; it scored Excellent.

We spent weeks prying, hammering, picking, pummeling, and drilling locks, and few scored well. A handful proved far more susceptible than most.

All locks come with a strike plate that attaches to the door frame. But as we've reported in the past, far too many of those are flimsy. Except for the Assa M80, $95, the kick-in resistance of most locks improved dramatically when we replaced the strike plates with a Mag High Security Box Strike, $10. You can buy it, or its equivalent, at home centers and online. But we think a lock should be secure without your having to buy another part.

With all except the two locks classified as high-security, even an ordinary cordless drill could drill out the cylinders in 2 minutes or less. Our tests on the Assa and Medeco, which have hardened cylinders across the product line, ruined the locks but denied access—so you'd have to replace the lock but not your home's contents.

The iTouchless Bio-Matic BM002U, $250, is the most expensive lock we tested. It opens by fingerprint, passcode, or key. But while it claims "maximum protection for yourself and your loved ones, " it was among the easiest to defeat. We liked the convenience of the Baldwin Prestige 93800-001, $34; Kwikset 99800-087, $28; and keypad-operated Kwikset 99090-001, $100. All can be rekeyed for temporary access to guests and contractors and then rekeyed again, when access is no longer needed, without having to change the lock or call a locksmith. Yet all of those locks succumbed too easily to our prying/wrenching test.

Lock Jaw Security Lock Jaw Security 1001 Door Security Device, Polished Brass
Home Improvement (Lock Jaw Security)
  • An affordable solution to protecting the home against intruder invasion
  • When engaged prevents lock picking or bumping and as well as use of unauthorized keys
  • Universally designed to fit most single cylinder deadbolts
  • Easily installs in 5 minutes permanently or in seconds temporarily
  • Simple safe and secure
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Safety 1st Safety 1st Secure Mount Deadbolt Lock
Baby Product (Safety 1st)
  • Fits deadbolts less than 2-1/6 wide that protrude less than 1 from the door
  • Keeps child from opening a deadbolt lock
  • No adhesives or drilling required
  • No permanent damage to the door
Master Lock Master Lock 5400D Select Access Key Storage Box with Set-Your-Own Combination Lock, 1-Pack
Home Improvement (Master Lock)
  • The product is key storage lock/shackle
  • Key storage door pivots open smoothly & remains attached to lock body for convenient operation
  • The product is manufactured in china
  • Portable Lock Box features a 3-1/4in (83mm) wide metal body for durability.
  • Large internal cavity prevents jamming, even when holding multiple keys
  • Set your own 4-digit combination for keyless convenience and increased security
  • Protective weather cover prevents freezing and jamming
  • Molded body and vinyl coated shackle prevent scratching
Schlage Schlage BE365VCAM619 Camelot Keypad Deadbolt, Satin Nickel
Home Improvement (Schlage)
  • The product is Sat NI Keypad Deadbolt
  • Easy and simple use kit
  • The product is manufactured in China
  • Keyless entry provides enhanced security
  • Easy one tool installation
  • Compatible with 1-3/8-to-1-3/4-inch thick doors
  • Codes are easily added or deleted right at the keypad using the lock s unique 6 digit programming code
  • Includes 9-volt battery, 6 digit programming code, and two 4 digit user codes pre-set at the factory
Safe Beginnings Child Proof Deluxe Door Top Lock
Baby Product (Safe Beginnings)
  • Easy to install
  • Fits standard doors
  • Does not fit doors thicker than 1 3/8
  • May not work on very tall doors
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