(This post was originally published on Aug 7, 2018 and updated on Mar 31, 2020.)
The goal of this post is to help you select the best door jamb reinforcement for your home. To do that I will review the many do-it-yourself products that are available claiming to actually do just that.
We’ve noted before that since most break-ins occur thru the front door (nearly 3 per minute in US) the best door security is found in a reinforced door frame. This is something that we concluded in a previous article.
Alarms and security cameras are helpful, but don’t address the root issue; door-frame-failure. Self-protection and dogs are wonderful, but are better off as last resorts. We discussed that in greater detail here.
Remember, you can have the most expensive, strongest deadbolt available, but your door casing is the main problem. It is constructed from soft wood and placed in-between wall studs. Until your deadbolt throw is locked into metal that is securely anchored into a wall stud, it’s nearly useless.
The devices we will explore vary in price from as little as a couple dollars to well over $100. And the reasons for these variations will serve as the schematic for our review. However, these products all have certain things in common:
- They claim to secure your door frame from impact failure.
- They claim their product will fix a broken door jamb.
- They are larger than the original strike plate.
- They have at least four screws holes.
- And their screws are long enough to secure to the wall stud.
Let’s get started. We’re looking at:
The Security Deadbolt Strike Plate
SIZE AND EFFECTIVENESS
This is where the problems begin with this solution to door jamb failure. Unlike the one above, these products typically measure between 6 and 7 7/8 inches long with one hole for the deadbolt throw. With one hole, they can’t be any longer than that because they would interfere with the door handle strike plate installed underneath on the frame. The smaller the size the more concentrated the force is from the intruder’s impact on your door.
This is your least expensive approach to securing your home from being broken into in the way in which we are discussing. Of course, the price is in direct correlation to the size of the product, which we previously discussed.
On balance, this is likely the easiest item to install that claims to solve brute force attacks on entry doors. But again, that correlates to the size which is a weakness.
As far as I could tell, these are manufactured in chrome and polished brass only. As much as I tried, I could not locate a paintable white powder-coated finish anywhere.
Some of these had our minimum four screws holes, but most had six. As you can see, the one pictured above actually has nine. But several of the reviewers said you’ll have to get better screws.
It is good that there are more screws which means more anchors in the wall stud. However, because of the size of the plate they are very close together.
This category is important because if in fact a product does secure the door jamb, then the force from the would-be intruder will disseminate to the rest the door assembly. You could then see damage or failure to the door itself or the door jamb on the hinge side. No security deadbolt strike plates that I found included any items to address these issues.
These are made and sold by a wide variety of companies. So it’s impossible to give a country of origin for each one. However, most of the items to follow in this review are sold by the inventors and just a handful of retailers.
Our overall rating for the security deadbolt strike plate is 2 1/2 stars, and this is as high as it is largely because of the price and ease of installation. This product will certainly do a much better job than your standard strike plate slowing down burglars attempting to crash in your door, but it certainly doesn’t meet all of my expectations for door security. (See my 5-Point Expectation Grid in the beginning of this article.)
The Jamb Shield
Armor Concepts (makers of Fix-a-Jamb) offers a variety of DIY door security products to meet consumer needs. For this review we have chosen their Door Armor MAX Plus Combo Set (which includes The Jamb Shield) as it appears to be their most comprehensive DIY package for single entry doors.
My preference is their Door Jamb Armor Set, but they suggest having a professional install this product; removing it as a DIY consideration. I really appreciate their honesty about that. (Shout out to Billy Joel!)
SIZE AND EFFECTIVENESS
Immediately this product begins to shine with its Jamb Shield measuring 46 inches. At nearly 4 feet, the brute force impact is going to be spread out all along the wall stud just inside the door casing. The chances of a burglar gaining entry through door frame failure are quite unlikely.
The company actually has a lifetime warranty that guarantees if your door is ever kicked in they will replace the product for free and pay up to $500 toward your homeowner’s insurance deductible.
At $99.00 this package is a bit on the high side, particularly if all you received was the Jamb Shield and the accompanying screws. But when we add the items are included just below, we will have to make a reassessment.
Additionally, as of this writing they have a 60-day return policy.
Armor Concepts claims that “just about anyone” can install this product in under 30 minutes. I’m just not buying that, but it’s not a race. My thinking is since the warranty is based on correct installation, most people will take their time to get it right and make it nice. The job is not rocket science, but there is a lot that is expected to fit into the spaces between your door and your door jamb.
Here’s area where these folks shine. You can get their products in white, aged bronze or satin nickel. This is a bonus. A number of good products in this niche do not offer different options. Although, white or paint-able should suit most needs.
The Jamb Shield has 7 screw holes which may be enough, but is far less than some others.
This is the reason we highlighted this package. It comes with:
- Jamb Shield. There are a couple set backs to the Jamb Shield. First is the fact that the 90 degree bend sometimes causes the entry door strike to not engage. Meaning, you have to manually turn the door handle to close your door. Second, often the entry door does not close as tightly as it did before installation.
- 2 Hinge Shields. These are essentially reinforcing your frame on the hinge side of your door just as the Door Jamb Shield does to the other side.
- 2 Door Shields. Now that the door frame is impact proof, the weak spot becomes the actual door itself where your deadbolt and door handle throws are. The Door Shields are meant to keep your door from splitting around your locks. I am not a fan of the Door Shields and do not actually think they are helpful. Additionally, they increase the space needed between the door and the jamb.
- 1 Pry Shield. This is meant to protect your door from being pried open.
This “additional items” is hard to rate. On the one hand, it’s nice to have extras, and the areas they are addressing with these additional products are important. However, I again cannot imagine getting all of this on your door without removing the door and planing it. And that is if it is a solid wooden door. If it’s metal, you’ll have to ask them what to do.
Per their website, we find that Door Armor is made of galvanized steel. They say that even though it is much more expensive than cold rolled steel, they use it because it is far more resistant to rust. Additionally, they have a heat-sealed powder coating that we look for in all of these products.
And finally, you can’t miss their boldly displayed Made in the USA logo.
Being familiar with the issue of door-frame-failure, I expected Armor Concepts to have that solved. And they do. But the average homeowner is better off with a Jamb Shield and screws, and a much deeper discount.
As you might guess, I’m giving them 4 stars and a link to their site, if you want to check out their products.
The StrikeMaster II Pro
Safe Homes International (makers of the original StrikeMaster II and the French Double-Door kit) is another door security company that offers a variety of products. We will compare their latest design, the StrikeMaster II Pro kit, to the competition.
SIZE AND EFFECTIVENESS
The StrikeMaster II is 48 inches. With to 4 foot pieces of hardened steel that fit together to make one unit, the stress of brute force impact will easily dissipate into the wall stud making the door practically impenetrable.
The kit comes with a lifetime guarantee that your door frame will not break and the company will issue a “refund for the full purchase price of the StrikeMaster II Pro” if a homeowner experiences “door frame failure” following the proper installation.
At $89.95, this package seems like a steal when you consider the quality advances of this product. For a comparison, their original product, which is now repackaged and sold as the StrikeForce, is most comparable to their competition. And it sells for just $54.95.
Presently, they are offering a free shipping on all their orders in their Amazon store.
Two-piece construction makes the product stronger, thinner and much easier to install. Additionally, it has a built-in adjust-a-tab that makes sure your door seals tightly when closed.
As with the other door reinforcement products, I don’t care for the “estimated 30-minute installation time.” Plan to spend more time!
The only color that is available is white. It does however, come with instructions for painting to match your door jamb.
The StrikeMaster II comes with 13 screws to secure your door frame. That’s nearly double the Jamb Shield.
This is the reason we highlighted this package. It comes with:
- Adjust-a-tab. As previously mentioned, this is actually part of the StrikeMaster II and is designed to ensure a snug fit when your door is closed.
- Built-in Strike Plate. This is another patented advancement over all other products that allows your door to close with more ease.
- Door Edge Pro. This is meant to reinforce the door itself now that the frame is secure. Keeping your door from splitting around your locks.
- 6 Additional 2 1/2 inch and 6-1 1/2 inch screws. The first six are meant to attach your hinges through to the stud on the wall side and the second six to better secure your hinges to your door. These replace the traditional 1/2 inch screws.
It appears that the folks at Safe Homes are not farming their manufacturing out to China anytime in the near future. There is presently no confusion as to where their products are made.
This product is the hands-down the best. For just under $90, you can have the latest in door jamb reinforcement with the StrikeMaster II Pro. And with their StrikeForce package for just under $55 on their website, you can have what their competitors sell.
The Door Security Pro XL
Door Security Pro offers a 72″ Deluxe Door Security Kit. I chose this kit because of two reasons:
- I wanted something with ITEMS INCLUDED.
- The 72” contains their Door Security Pro XL which they try to steer homeowners toward.
SIZE AND EFFECTIVENESS
As I just mentioned, this package includes the Door Security Pro XL. It is an impressive 72” inches long…until you do a little further investigation.
I read, “Patent Pending Two Piece Design,” which really confused me until I found the only review of the product on Yelp.
“The product is no longer 72″- it is now shipped as 2 smaller 36” inch pieces which do not have the same strength. (I own 2 of the previous full length models and liked them enough to come back.)
“When calling to the company to inquire about the change and possibly a return- I was handled by a terse customer service rep who… (It goes on pretty negatively. You can read that part for yourself on Yelp if you’re interested.)
“Very poor service and badly labeled product would offer you 2 reasons to find another solution and a different company to buy from.”
Now that’s just one customer out of who knows how many. But they do make the point about the actual length of the product.
It appears that you flip the two pieces until you get the proper distance between your deadbolt and door handle. At this point, it seems smarter to just go with the 48” model (which is $20 less 🙂 ). However, I will let you decide if the company agrees. The image below is from their website.
At $149.00 this package is little overpriced when compared to some other products. Particularly, after we discovered that the XL is two pieces.
As you can see, this review seems to be going downhill fast. However, if we switch to the 48” Deluxe Door Security Kit, which would be my suggestion, the price is $129.95. Much better, but still a little on the high side. And they do have an unconditional money back guarantee return policy of 30 days.
Their claim, “Very Easy to Install – Anyone Who Can Use an Electric Drill Can Install This Product in About 15 Minutes,” is a bit too optimistic.
As I said before, I’m not saying it can’t be done. But you’re dealing with putting screws through a shimmied frame into an immovable wall stud. If not done carefully, you can pull your door jamb too far. So my advice is not to hurry. Take an hour and do it right.
This product has been white-powdered coated. I’m assuming then that it can be painted the color of your door frame. It does not come in any other colors like bronze or nickel.
The 72” has 14 screws; 7 for each piece. The 48” has 9 screws which will definitely get the job done.
This package comes with:
- 3 – 3″ Long Hinge Reinforcement Screws. The purpose of these is to replace one screw from each of your hinges in order to anchor your hinges to the wall stud.
- 2 Door Lock Guards. These are meant to sandwich the locks so the door cannot split apart when force is applied.
There is actually a third piece to this invention that connects uniquely to the door frame. So that when the door is closed it prevents someone from sliding an object in near the lock and prying the door open.
- 1 T-25 Drive Bit. This is a nice little addition so that you have the proper bit to fit the screws that are included.
The product is made of the less expensive cold rolled steel rather than galvanized. Galvanized is more resistant to rusting. Though I’ve found no one suggesting they’ve experienced any corrosion with the Door Security Pro.
They are made in the USA and even make a point that their steel is sourced from the United States.
The 72” XL is a bit of a letdown. But I’m guessing they were looking for an innovative way of addressing nontraditional door lock spacing. However, there’s no question that the 48” Door Security Pro successfully addresses the issue of door-frame-failure, and all by itself is a decent product. It would be an easier review if the company did not steer you toward the XL. However, it also suffers from the 90 degree bend that can cause the entry door strike to not engage and the entry door sometimes not closing as tightly as it did before installation as was mentioned about the Jamb Shield.
As to ITEMS INCLUDED, I’d like to see at least 3 more screws; one for each hinge. Also, I do like the anti-prying feature of the Door Lock Guard. To this point, I’ve found their shaping approach to be unique.
The PRICE is probably my biggest drawback. If they offered the 48-inch kit for under $100, I could get more behind it. For me, the solution is the 48-inch Door Security Pro Standard Kit (as opposed to the Deluxe). This kit sells for 99.99 and has only 1 Door Lock Guard. I did however post all three packages for you below.
The company could also use some work on their website. It is a bit difficult to navigate, if you want detailed product information and cost. But that’s not part of the review.
I am giving them 4 stars. With all the pros and cons I mentioned, this post is fundamentally about finding the best door jamb reinforcement and their 48″ Door Security Pro does do a OK job at that.
Prime Line is the maker of a ton of traditional DIY home products. I’ve chosen their Mega Jamb Reinforcing Kit as it falls with the family of the other products within this review of the best door jamb reinforcements.
At 48 inches, it is clearly long enough to dissipate the impact of a mule-kick or shoulder smash. So I would like to have seen some guarantee against door jamb failure. However, the only warranty I could find was against manufacturing defects for up to 1 year.
They actually have two prices: $67.07 and $54.76. The reason for this is that they include “door latch guards.” If your deadbolt backset (the distance from the edge of the door to the center of the bore hole for your lock) is 2 ¾ inches, you’ll need the more expensive kit.
It is a do-it-yourself product, however there are two kinds:
- The kind that anyone can do.
- The kind that “do-just-about-everything-yourself-people” do.
I would put this product in the latter column. To install, you need a reciprocal saw, a hacksaw blade, etc. You will also have to remove your trim and loosen your door frame.
If you’re not sure which category you’d be in with this product, the company has a very well-made video with an excellent DIY instructor that you can check out.
Like some others in this category, the only color they offer is white. But with the powdering you can always paint it once it is installed.
This jamb reinforcement has 5 screw holes which falls well short of the competition. This company does however provide 3 ½ inch screws to get the job done.
The kit comes with:
- Extra Screws – The actual number is a bit difficult to figure out. I downloaded their manual and it says 18 total. I went to a big box retailer and it said 16. Amazon shows just 1 in the image, and if you read under “product details” you find “Item Package Quantity 1.”
My guess, which is not something to bank on, is that there are 12 extras. In the video the instructor says to put 4 in each hinge; 2 into the door frame and 2 into the door.
Not being able to go to the site and confirm the number of screws is a big negative. On the other hand, 4 screws for each hinge is a big plus.
- 2 Door Latch Guards – These have been around for some time and I’m not a big fan. You notice from the image that they have small screws that attach them in 4 places to the inside and outside of the door. I prefer something that actually squeezes the door.
I could not determine any country of origin or the type of steel used for this particular product. That should be clear from an advertising standpoint.
This product would not be my first choice for straight-up security purposes. There are easier products to install with better items included for reinforcing the door locks themselves. And as with all the other large frame reinforcements, excluding the StrikeMaster II Pro, it also has the door closing issues.
However, for professional installation with repairing a cracked door frame, it would definitely be an option. By wrapping around the entire casing, it might cover and support better. But that is not the focus of this review.
So 4 stars it is. But remember, this door jamb reinforcement isn’t as simple to install as most others.
Well, I hope I’ve accomplished three things:
- That you understand the necessity of reinforcing the your door jambs.
- That you’re able to decide which product(s) best suits your needs.
- That you’ve learned that home security does not have to be outrageously expensive.
Remember, being prepared means living without regret.
Is there another door jamb reinforcement product I should add to my review?
Leave your comments, suggestions, or questions below. I promise I’ll get right back to you.