Time to get a new lock on your front (or back) door? Or time to upgrade? Go to your local hardware store or better, a locksmith, and you'll see scads of locks. Which one should you buy? Get familiar with the following terms, ask questions and compare prices.
- Warded: Inside this lock are wards that require a specifically shaped key to match the wards. BUT, a half-trained burglar can open these locks with a skeleton key.
- Pin tumbler: Pins inside the mechanism match the inserted key and align to let you open the lock. The pins are made of at least two pieces.
- Wafer tumbler: The pins consist of one piece each.
- Disc tumbler: Inside are rotating discs, and this is the hardest to pick of the four types of mechanical locks just described.
- Don't buy a lever tumbler type, as this is the easiest to pick.
- A deadbolt increases security when added to the knob lock.
- Single cylinder: The most familiar, this has the key for the outside and the turnable knob-handle on the inside.
- Double cylinder: Instead of that turnable handle you must use a key. This makes the device a bit more secure, but then you must make sure you don't lose the key or have it in sight of visitors (who may take it). These are considered fire hazards by some and may violate building codes in some municipalities.
- Vertical: resistant to being pried open
- "Punch" in the secret code and you're in. There are many varieties of electronic locks.
- Obviously, you don't need a key, (but they usually have one as a backup) but make sure you don't forget the code.
- "Smart locks" are sometimes configured with your smartphone.
- Smart locks offer a number of cool features such as the option to give temporary codes so that a dog sitter or repairman can enter your house. The code being entered can also be programmed to turn on lights.
- Remote locking is another available feature, so that you can do this while away from home if you think you forgot to lock the door.
- Another possibility is that of the door automatically unlocking as the system recognizes your approach (via your smartphone that's connected to the lock).
- Another app allows you to view who's at your door. Imagine hearing a knock at 2 a.m. that awakens you. Whip out your phone and see who's there.
- Some of these systems replace the innards of a standard deadbolt, but there are other systems that don't require this. These devices fit over the deadbolt.