With the understanding that the lockset is what keeps the doorway secure, and not just the lock, we turn to the subject: The Best Door Locks – Home Security?
In this article we will discuss:
What is the American National Standards Institute? What is the ANSI/BHMA grading system? What is a lockset? Why is a deadbolt so important? What is lock bumping? What is key control all about? What is quick core change? What are the best door locks? What is more important, your home or your shop/office?
What is the American National Standards Institute?
The American National Standards Institute, ANSI for short, is a private, nonprofit membership organization.
What do they do? They advance voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems with a goal to enhance global competitiveness. (That’s a mouthful.)
How they do it? They accredit qualifying SDOs (Standards Developing Organizations) to work together to develop the standards and assessment systems.
The BHMA (Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association) is the only accredited SDO to develop and maintain performance standards for locks and other builder’s hardware.
What is the ANSI/BHMA grading system?
This system for deadbolts ranges from 1 (the highest grade) to 3 (the lowest grade). It factors in longevity of the lock, toughness, and latch length.
- Grade 1 is used where the toughest, most secure locks are needed. It is tested to withstand 1 million opening and closing cycles, has a 1-inch latch bolt (tongue), and can withstand 10 strikes of 75 pounds of force (150 foot-pounds).
- Grade 2 is a mid-grade lock. It is tested to withstand 800,000 opening and closing cycles, has a 5/8 inch latch bolt and can withstand 5 strikes of 75 pounds of force (120 foot-pounds).
- Grade 3 is similar to #2 in that it is also tested to withstand 800,000 opening and closing cycles and has a 5/8 inch latch bolt. However, it can only withstand 2 strikes of 75 pounds of force (90 foot-pounds).
What is a lockset?
A lockset is all the hardware used to lock a door. Whatever it takes to access (or stop someone from accessing) the space on the other side of your door is your lockset.
I recently saw an expensive, keypad lock on a hollow door of an unoccupied house. That deadbolt will hold up to a brute force attack, but the door will not!
Every piece of metal, particularly the strike plate, is potentially a weak link in your lockset. For more info read: What is the Best Door Jamb Reinforcement?
Why is a deadbolt so important?
The importance of a deadbolt is that it cannot be picked with a knife or other such object. For that reason it is a “dead lock” and can only be moved to the open position by rotating the key, or the thumb turn on the inside of the door (as is the case of a single cylinder deadbolt).
What is lock bumping?
Lock bumping is taking a key that fits a lock, but is not cut for it, putting it into the face and bumping it to bounce the tumblers. For the instant they bounce, the key is quickly turned and entry is gained.
It is generally estimated that 90% of all residential and commercial locks in use are susceptible to bumping. This includes many that claim to be bump-proof. The reason for this is the use of pin tumblers.
Lock bumping is also done with a pick or snap gun. (These can be purchased online for less than $50.) The gun is used to fire the rod up against the lock pins all at one time. For an instant, the cylinder is free and able to turn.
The way your normal cylinder lock works is that bottom pins (red ones) are cut different lengths. The driver pins (blue ones) have springs forcing them into the cylinder which keeps it from turning, or locks it.
What is Key Control?
Key control is when the blank keys that your keys are cut from, are NOT available to the public, don’t match your neighbors, and are held under tight restrictions.
Have you ever had a spare house key made? That was possible because the store had blanks. Think about that. How many blank keys do you think there are to your home all over your city or county?
When I was a teenager, another teen in the apartment complex took his apartment key and filed it down. He bragged about having access to all the other apartments in the complex. He was able to that because everyone in the development had keys cut from the same blank. There was no key control!
High security organizations work with someone that does two things to practice key control.
- They have a patent on their keys. This way there is control over who makes key blanks.
- They manage a restricted distribution. This allows them to know who has the blanks and who cut what keys. The local big box hardware store is not in that loop.
What is quick core change?
What are the best door locks?
The best locks are going to be grade #1, 100% bump proof deadbolts. And if they have keys, they need quick core change and to be from a company that practices key control.
Here’s what we found:
The first two have no key hole, so there is no bumping.
I like these locks by Lockey. I especially like the fact that it is old school and completely mechanical. That alone removes some issues consumers are having with smart locks, as you will see below. But try as I might, I could not find an ANSI grade for it.
Schlage Touch series has reviewed great on build.com and amazon. However, they only use a grade 2 rated lock which for me is a big let down.
Also, since 09/08/2016 they have installed an anti-drill plate which rightly caused some poor early reviews.
To get a grade #1 Schlage, you have to move up to their Connect Touchscreen deadbolt with alarm or the Schlage Sense Smart deadbolt. However, both of them have suffered poor customer reviews.
I love technology. And I understand the flaws that come with early releases. But when it comes to my family’s security, I am not willing to chance it.
On March 19, 2018, The Ambient reported,
Researchers at the excitingly named Implementation Security and Side-Channel Attacks Lab at Ben-Gurion University, writing in the less impressive sounding Smart Card Research and Advanced Applications journal, tested 16 smart home devices.
The report has kept the identity of these smart home devices secret, or risk opening up owners of these devices to serious threat. But shockingly, of the 16 devices tested, flaws were found in 14.
“It only took 30 minutes to find passwords for most of the devices, and some of them were found only through a Google search of the brand,” Omer Shwartz, a project researcher, told Digital Trends.
“Once hackers can access an Internet of Things device, like a smart home camera, they can create an entire network of these camera models controlled separately,” he continued
It seems that leaving your security to smart devices is an idea that is a bit ahead of the tech. For now, smart defense wins out over smart devices.
Another way to keep your lock from being picked or bumped is to use rotating discs like we see in the Abloy Protec2 deadbolt.
Abloy does not use pins or springs, practices key control and provides a life-time warranty. However, a single cylinder Abloy, with shipping, will run you $600.
The final solution to bumping is programmable side bars. BiLock, which was developed by Australian Lock Company, has this type of mechanism.
I found their tech to be fabulous. They build grade #1, quick core change deadbolts and they have patents on their keys.
What is more important, your home or your shop/office?
Many well-known brands will advertise a grade 2 lock to you as “Graded Best in Residential Security, Durability, and Finish.”
What I don’t understand is, why is it the “best” for home, but not the best for work? I would much rather you steal my insured stuff from a dark warehouse than to break into my home where my loved ones are.
It is for this reason that I want my house as secure, if not more, as my place of work. How about you? Do you agree my assessment? Leave me a comment and I promise to get right back with you.
And remember, being prepared means living without regret.