What to Look For When Shopping for Home Security Locks

The most basic line of defense for your home is your door locks, which is probably why it is also the most easily overlooked home security feature. Just because they are not flashy and don't come with a monthly subscription fee doesn't mean that they aren't an important part of securing your home. Imagine how easy it would be for a burglar to enter a house without locks. The thought of a house without locks seems silly, but research by mortgage broker Ocean Finance has found that over half of new homeowners do not rekey or change the locks when purchasing a house. Given how easy and inexpensive it is to make copies of keys, it's reasonable to assume that there might be extra copies of your house keys floating around, either with the previous homeowner or their trusted neighbors and friends. That thought is enough to make even the least paranoid among us nervous. That's why we have compiled this list of the top things to consider when purchasing new locks.

Rekey vs. New Locks

The first thing to consider is whether or not new locks are necessary. If the locks are robust enough for your needs (we'll get into different lock grades a little later), then it might make more sense to rekey rather than replace. The cost varies depending on the complexity of the locks and whether or not you hire a locksmith. In general, costs start around $20 per lock to rekey.

Lock Grades: Which offers the most security for my home?

If you decide that you don't like the look of your current locks, or that rekeying isn't for you, remember this when shopping: not all locks are created equal. Most major lock manufacturers have their products tested by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) for grading on lock performance. They test operation, strength, cycle, security, material evaluation, and finish. Grading is based on how many lock/unlock cycles you can expect your lock to complete before wearing out. The grading breakdown is as follows: Grade 1: 800,000 cycles Grade 2: 400,000 cycles Grade 3: 200,000 cycles

Smart Lock vs. Traditional Key Lock

At first blush, it seems like a no-brainer to purchase a smart lock for your home. After all, you'll never be locked out of your house as long as you have your smartphone or remember the access code, right? Not exactly. These locks are susceptible to online hackers or software bugs. Both are problems that do not exist with traditional locks. In fact, recently a smart lock company accidentally bricked hundreds of its own smart locks through a botched software update. That being said, smart locks still have their benefits, like the ability to allow access to your house from miles away without hiding a key or leaving it under the mat. On the whole,however, smart locks are easier to hack than traditional locks are to break because you don't need proximity to the lock to gain access. In summary, your home security starts with your lock and a good lock can offer peace of mind and protection for you and your family. Take the time to know what your individual needs are and choose the solution that will work best for you.