When it comes to protecting your home, having a deadbolt is one of the most important steps you can take. While no deadbolt is fail-safe, a good one makes it much more difficult for potential burglars to enter your home. Whether the deadbolt is the only security system for your home, or an additional layer of protection, finding the right deadbolt that is secure (without being too obtrusive) is important.
Deane Biermeier, a licensed carpenter and contractor, as well as a member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board, advises, “First, remember that a deadbolt is only as good as the material that it locks into. You don't have much protection if your deadbolt is fastened to a flimsy door frame. Once you have a good deadbolt, use extended hardware screws to penetrate the framing lumber behind the door jamb."
"Look for Grade 1 security certification on deadbolts. These generally have anti-drill metal, which makes drilling out the locking mechanism difficult—but not impossible—and anti-pick key-pin configurations.”
Schlage B60N 619 Single Cylinder Deadbolt
Grade 1/AAA ratings
Extra reinforcement for highest security
Includes reinforced strike plate
Several finishes to choose from
Few complaints about difficulty installing the lock
Handful of customers received lock without installation hardware
If you're looking for the best security for your home or business, then our top choice, the Schlage B60N 619, is for you. This extremely sturdy but basic single-cylinder deadbolt has the highest ratings of grade 1 from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and AAA from Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA), meaning that it's certified as having passed many rigorous tests of its security, performance, and durability. It's further reinforced for extra security, including resistance to attacks executed by kick-in, lock pick, crowbar, saw, wrench, or hammer.
You can install the lock easily on any door that's 1-3/8 to 1-7/8 inches in thickness and that has a backset (the distance between the edge of the door and the center of the deadbolt) of 2-3/8 or 2-3/4 inches. A handful of buyers did have difficulty in getting the screws installed straight, however. The deadbolt includes not only the strike plate (the metal plate with a receptacle for the bolt that affixes to the doorjamb) but also a reinforcer that fits behind the strike plate to make it even stronger. The hardware includes 3-inch screws, which are recommended to protect against kick-ins or other brute-force attacks on the door.
This lock comes with two keys. Like most single-cylinder deadbolts, it operates with a key on the outside of the door and a thumb-turn on the inside of the door. It's available in several different finishes to complement various styles of decor, including satin nickel, bright brass, aged bronze, bright chrome, matte black, and antique brass. Note that a few customers received the deadbolt with the installation hardware missing, so be sure to check your lock as soon as you receive it.
Price at time of publish: $40
Type: Single-cylinder | Grade: 1/AAA | Adjustable for Door Thickness: Yes | Keypad: No | Smart: No
Kwikset 660 Single Cylinder Deadbolt
Can re-key it yourself
Several finishes to choose from
Easy to install
Only rated grade 3
If you don't need the utmost protection and you're watching your budget, then the Kwikset 660 is a great option. This single-cylinder deadbolt is rated grade 3, which means it provides basic security against break-ins from kicks, lock-picking, or other attacks. It installs easily into doors that are 1-3/8 to 1-3/4 inches thick, and it adjusts to fit a backset of either 2-3/8 or 2-3/4 inches. Kwikset's SmartKey Security includes the ability to easily re-key the lock yourself; no need to call a locksmith or even remove the lock from the door. This is a useful feature not found in many budget deadbolts.
The Kwikset 660 comes with two keys. It's available in several different finishes, including satin chrome, antique brass, satin nickel, and Venetian bronze. While it's not a high-security deadbolt, this lock is more than sufficient for the average home, and the ability to re-key it yourself is a definite plus. Plus, it requires only a screwdriver for installation.
Price at time of publish: $17
Type: Single-cylinder | Grade: 3 | Adjustable for Door Thickness: Yes | Keypad: No | Smart: No
Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt
Several options for locking/unlocking the door
Can store up to 100 codes
Grade 1/AAA rating for security
You can use the Schlage Encode like a regular single-cylinder deadbolt; unlock or lock it from the outside with your key and use the thumb-turn to lock or unlock it from the inside. But with smart lock, you have other options. Work the lock by entering a code on the touchpad, which lights up so you can easily see it even in the dark—you can set up to 100 access codes for friends, pet sitters, kids, or others who need to access your home regularly—or control the lock remotely with Schlage Home app or Key by Amazon app downloaded into your phone. You can even use voice commands if you have Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. It also works with the Ring system for doorbells and door cameras. The lock works from your home's Wi-Fi; no need for a smart hub or separate accessory.
The Encode is easy to install, with no need for wiring. It fits standard door thicknesses of 1-3/8 to 1-3/4 inches and is adjustable to fit a backset of either 2-3/8 or 2-3/4 inches. And its smart features aren't all it has going for it: It's rated ANSI grade 1 for security and AAA by BHMA, so you can have peace of mind that your home is protected. Built-in alarm technology alerts you if the lock is tampered with. The lock comes with one key and all the hardware required for installation. You'll need to provide four AA batteries, however. The Encode is available in four different finishes and two choices of trim. While it is relatively expensive, we feel its excellent performance and many great features make it worth the price.
Price at time of publish: $300
Type: Single-cylinder | Grade: 1/AAA | Adjustable for Door Thickness: Yes | Keypad: Yes | Smart: Yes
SCHLAGE BE365 CAM Camelot Keypad Deadbolt
Easy to install and use
Several finishes to choose from
Some complaints that the lock doesn't work well in extreme weather
You won't need to fumble or search for your keys with the Schlage Keypad Deadbolt, although you have that option as well. This unconnected (it's not a smart deadbolt that can be worked remotely with an app) keyless deadbolt has a backlit keypad where you can enter your code to unlock the door. The device comes with two 4-digit preset codes and has the capacity to store 19 unique codes at a time. You can easily create new codes at will, which makes this a great lock if you are installing the lock on a rental door, you have frequent guests, or you often have workers access your home, such as a dog walker or cleaning crew.
This commercial grade 2 lock is easy to use. To open the door from outside, just enter your code on the keypad and then turn the thumb-turn lever. To lock the door from the outside, press the "Schlage" button and then turn the thumb-turn lever. Inside, you work the lock merely by turning the thumb-turn lever, as with any standard deadlock. The Schlage Keypad Deadbolt installs easily with no wiring necessary. It's powered by one 9-volt battery, which is included. This deadbolt fits any standard pre-drilled door. It comes with one key. There are several finishes to choose from, including satin nickel, aged bronze, bright brass, satin chrome, and antique pewter. A few customers have claimed that the lock doesn't always work well in very hot or very cold temperatures, though, so keep that in mind if your area experiences them often.
Price at time of publish: $145
Type: Single-cylinder | Grade: 2 | Adjustable for Door Thickness: Yes | Keypad: Yes | Smart: No
Best Smart Retrofit
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
Easy installation over existing single-cylinder deadbolt
Provides numerous methods of working the deadbolt remotely
Can set automatic lock/unlock function
Requires frequent replacement of the batteries
The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock lets you easily turn your existing standard single-cylinder deadbolt into a smart deadbolt without the need for any separate smart home hub, as it connects to your home's Wi-Fi. Once installed, you still have the option of using your original key to work the deadbolt, but you can also control it via the August app, by virtual assistants, including Google Assistant, Apple Homekit and Siri, and Amazon Alexa, from your phone, or through your Apple watch. You can set it to automatically lock within a specified length of time after leaving home and to automatically unlock as you approach the door when returning home. You can also use the August app to provide virtual keys to visitors or others who need access to your home, and you can monitor the lock's activity remotely.
As this device fits over your existing deadbolt—it works with single-cylinder deadbolts from most common brands, including Schlage and Kwikset—the security depends on the existing deadbolt. However, you'll gain added security thanks to the August lock's ability to notify you if the door is left unlocked, if there is an attack on the door, or if someone uses the app to enter or exit your home. The device runs on two CR123 batteries, which are included, but some users have noted that the batteries do need to be replaced frequently. The August Smart Lock is available only in silver or black.
Price at time of publish: $229
Type: Single-cylinder | Grade: Not applicable | Adjustable for Door Thickness: Not applicable | Keypad: No | Smart: Yes
BRINKS 2718-119 Double-Cylinder Deadbolt
Resists most forms of attacks on the door
Lock may feel loose
If you need the security of a double-cylinder lock, then we recommend this grade 2 deadbolt from BRINKS, thanks to its sturdy construction that resists most forms of attacks, including kick-ins, picking, bumping, and sawing, as well as prying. The lock is easy to install and fits all doors 1-3/8 to 1-3/4-inch thick, and the 4-way adjustable latch fits any 2-3/8 or 2-3/4-inch backset. Before purchasing, though, be sure that your city's ordinances allow double-cylinder locks in residences, as some do not.
Like all double-cylinder deadbolts, this one requires a key to lock or unlock the door from both the inside and the outside. If installing the lock at your home, you might want to consider leaving a key in the inside portion of the lock for safety should there be an emergency that requires you or your family to flee the house quickly. This reasonably priced lock comes with two keys. It is only available in a satin nickel finish. A few buyers did complain that the lock felt "loose" when being locked or unlocked, and a handful of others had trouble with their key not fitting into the lock easily, but we still feel that most people will be pleased with the price and performance of this basic double-cylinder deadbolt.
Price at time of publish: $24
Type: Double-cylinder | Grade: 2 | Adjustable for Door Thickness: Yes | Keypad: No | Smart: No
Best Rim Deadbolt
PRIME-LINE SE 15361 SEGAL Deadbolt
Easy to install
Adds additional security
Available in three finishes
Edges of the lock may be sharp and need to be filed down
Rim locks are one of the oldest styles of door locks. Unlike a standard deadbolt, which installs so that the bolt protrudes from inside the door to latch in a strike plate that's positioned in the center of the door jamb, a rim lock is installed on the outer surface of the door, with a bolt that slides into a matching strike plate on the outer surface of the door jamb. Rim locks are often used as secondary locks on front doors but can also be used as a door's main lock. This single-cylinder deadbolt is constructed of bronze alloy and is designed to prevent the lock from being picked or forced.
The lock installs fairly easily on wood or metal doors that are 1-3/8 to 2-3/8 inches thick. It comes with a flat strike and an angled strike, so you can install the one that best fits your door. All other hardware is included, as well, along with two keys. The lock is available in brass, chrome, and bronze finishes. If your lock comes with sharp edges, as a few buyers have noted, then you can easily file them down before installing the lock.
Price at time of publish: $110
Type: Single-cylinder | Grade: Not applicable | Adjustable for Door Thickness: Yes | Keypad: No | Smart: No
Best With Fingerprint Recognition
Eufy Security E130 Smart Lock
Opens within one second at touch of finger
Can store up to 50 people's fingerprints
Can be control through an app
Available in two finishes
Fingerprint recognition may not work consistently, or for all people
The Eufy Security Smart Lock can be opened in four ways: use your key, tap in a code on the keypad, use the Eufy app via Bluetooth, or merely touch your finger against the lock, which recognizes your fingerprint and unlocks the door in just one second. However, the manufacturer notes that fingerprint recognition might not work well on very young children or elderly adults. The lock stores your fingerprints in its own chip, not in the cloud, so your information is safe from hackers. Note that this lock does not work remotely via Wi-Fi or virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa unless you also purchase the optional Wi-Fi Bridge. And while a few customers have had trouble getting the lock to consistently recognize their fingerprints right away, most users find that the lock responds almost immediately.
This grade 2 single-cylinder deadbolt locks itself automatically should you fail to lock it yourself. It can store up to 50 people's fingerprints and up to 100 different passcodes. The Eufy security app allows you to track the lock's activity, so you can see when the door was opened or closed. It installs on most standard doors and can withstand extreme weather conditions. It requires four AA batteries, which are included. It also comes with five keys, but note that these are not easily replaced, nor is it easy to re-key this lock. The lock is available in black or nickel finishes.
Price at time of publish: $170
Type: Single-cylinder | Grade: 2 | Adjustable for Door Thickness: Yes | Keypad: Yes | Smart: Yes
Kwikset 980 SmartKey Single-Cylinder Deadbolt
Easy to re-key
Treated with Microban to kill surface germs
Handful of complaints that lock failed within a year or two
The Kwikset 980 series deadbolt is a grade 1 option that is very secure for peace of mind; it can withstand attempts at picking, bumping, kicking, and other common methods of attack. It installs easily on any standard door, and the latch has an adjustable backset of 2-3/8 to 2-3/4 inches to fit all standard door preparations. The deadbolt comes with two keys, which you can re-key yourself, if desired, without the need for a locksmith. That allows you to re-key multiple deadbolts to use the same key or to easily change the key should one be lost or stolen.
We also appreciate that the deadbolt is treated with Microban to kill germs that linger on the lock or thumb-turn, an unusual feature that could potentially cut down on colds or other illnesses. Plus, unlike many other deadbolts on this list, the Kwitset 980 is available in a variety of finishes, including satin nickel, matte black, antique brass, polished chrome, and Venetian bronze. It's very reasonably priced, as well. While a few customers complained that the lock didn't last as long as they expected or it became difficult to turn the key, this is generally a highly-rated deadbolt that should serve you well for many years.
Price at time of publish: $25
Type: Single-cylinder | Grade: 1 | Adjustable for Door Thickness: Yes | Keypad: No | Smart: No
Our favorite deadbolt is the Schlage B60N 619, which is a single-cylinder lock with the highest security rating of grade 1/AAA. It comes with a reinforced strike plate for even better security, and it’s available in several stylish finishes. But if budget is a concern, then the Kwikset 660, which is a grade 3 single-cylinder deadbolt that can be re-keyed easily without the need of a locksmith. It’s also available in several different finishes.
What To Look for in a Deadbolt
There are two basic cylinder types: single and double.
Single-cylinder deadbolts like the Kwikset 980 SmartKey are by far the most common type. These locks require a key to open them from the outside but have a thumb-turned latch on the inside of the door that can be quickly and easily opened.
Double-cylinder deadbolts, such as the BRINKS 2718-119, require a key to open them from both the inside and outside of the door. These can be useful in situations where a door has glass panes, as the double-cylinder lock prevents a burglar from smashing a window and then reaching in to unlock the door. However, many cities prohibit the use of these locks on residential buildings due to the danger of a person being unable to escape in a fire or other emergency.
Keyed or Keyless
The traditional deadbolt requires a key to lock or unlock the door from the outside. However, today there are many deadbolts that are key-optional. When it comes to keyless deadbolts, there are two types: smart deadbolts and unconnected deadbolts.
Smart deadbolts can be opened with a regular key but also have the option of locking or unlocking the door remotely with an app or using a touchpad or keypad on the lock’s face to gain entry to your home. Many work with various virtual assistants, such as Apple Siri, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa. The Schlage Encode Smart Deadbolt is one such lock, offering numerous great features to improve the lock's function.
Unconnected deadbolts, also called keypad or keyless deadbolts, offer the option of using your regular key to work the lock but can also be locked or unlocked by entering a numerical code on the lock’s keypad. These deadbolts differ from smart deadbolts because they do not require Wi-Fi or an app to use them. We recommend the Schlage BE365 Keypad Deadbolt.
Most deadbolts carry a grade of 1, 2, or 3, which indicate the lock’s level of security. These grades are assigned by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The grades are based on extensive tests of the lock’s ease of use, durability, resistance to lockpicking or forced entry, how well the finish holds up, and the strength of the trim.
- Grade 1 deadbolts are the most secure type. These locks are ideal for businesses and residences needing the highest level of protection.
- Grade 2 deadbolts are not tested quite as rigorously as grade 1 locks and generally reflect that in their lower price. These locks are mostly for residential use.
- Grade 3 deadbolts are mostly used as secondary locks on doors requiring extensive security measures. A grade 3 deadbolt cannot withstand the kind of abuse that a grade 1 or grade 2 lock can survive.
Another grading system that’s becoming much more common is the one established by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA). This grading system assigns letter scores of A, B, or C to deadbolts in three categories: security, durability, and finish. The best deadbolts are graded AAA in this system. Our top choice of deadbolts, the Schlage B60, is rated grade 1 by ANSI and AAA by BHMA for the highest security rating.
High-security deadbolts are further certified by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) as being able to withstand more sophisticated attacks, including forcing, drilling, prying, sawing, lock-picking, and lock bumping, which involves a special key being inserted into the lock and then bumped or tapped to cause the lock’s pins to drop and unlock the door.
Most deadbolts are made of steel, often with brass inner workings. The Prime-Line Segal SE 15361, however, is a rim deadbolt made of a solid bronze alloy. Many manufacturers offer their deadbolts with a variety of decorative finishes, including matte black, satin nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, chrome, or satin brass. Note that the lock’s strength comes from the steel it’s made of; the finish is merely a decorative touch to make the lock look nicer in your home.
The strike plate is the metal “box” in the door frame that accepts the bolt from the lock. The best deadbolt in the world is useless if the strike plate is weak, damaged, or improperly installed, as a weak strike plate will easily succumb to a kick from a would-be burglar. The same is true of the door frame; if your door frame is weak, then it potentially will succumb to a hard kick despite the presence of a deadbolt.
Many deadbolts are sold with a matching strike plate. These are generally heavy-duty metal, such as steel, and include long heavy screws. If you are installing a new deadbolt but not replacing your strike plate, make sure the existing strike plate is strong and without any warps, wear, or other signs of damage. For the best security, strike plates should be attached with 3-inch heavy-duty screws sunk fully into the door frame.
Some deadbolts, including the Kwikset 660, allow you to “re-key” the lock. This involves inserting the current key into the lock, followed by a special re-keying tool, and then the new, blank key. In this way, you can easily change the working key without having to actually replace the lock. Re-keying your deadbolt is a good way to increase security when moving into a new home or after losing your keys. If your home has multiple deadlocks, re-keying is a way to create one key to work all of them, thus minimizing the number of keys you need to carry.
What grade deadbolt is the best?
There are two main grading systems used for deadbolts, one issued by ANSI and one by BHMA. Under ANSI’s grading system, a grade 1 deadbolt is the best. These deadbolts are certified as passing the most rigorous tests of security and durability. Grade 2 deadbolts are not quite as secure and, thus, are less expensive. Grade 3 deadbolts are even less secure and are mostly used as a backup.
The BHMA grading system uses letter scores of A, B, and C in three categories: security, durability, and finish. The highest score is an A, and the lowest is a C. Thus, the locks with the highest grade under this system score AAA.
How long should a deadbolt last?
Like any mechanism with moving parts, a deadbolt does eventually wear out, thus reducing its ability to withstand brute force, lock picking, and other methods of defeating the lock. The lifespan of a deadbolt depends greatly on how often it’s used—the busier the lock, the faster it will wear out—but as a general rule, a deadbolt should last for many years and possibly decades. You’ll know it’s time to replace your deadbolt if it’s rusted or damaged, you can no longer turn it, it has excessive wiggle or the key feels loose, or you’ve lost all of the keys.
Can a burglar get through a deadbolt?
Yes, a persistent burglar can defeat some deadbolts, particularly if the strike plate or door frame is not sturdy. A good kick may be all that’s required to break through a door in these scenarios. Doors with glass panes can be defeated by breaking a pane, reaching through the opening, and unlocking the deadbolt from the inside. Or a large doggy door might also be all that’s required for a burglar to access your deadbolt from the inside. However, most burglars are looking for a quick, silent, and easy entry and aren’t going to take the time or expend the effort required to defeat a quality deadbolt properly installed in a strong door with a sturdy frame.
Can a deadbolt be picked open?
Again, the answer is technically yes, but in reality, few burglars are going to take the time to pick your lock. However, the best protection against such a scenario is to choose a grade 1 deadbolt, which is much harder to pick than a lower-graded option.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Michelle Ullman, a writer specializing in home and garden products. She has been writing for The Spruce since 2020, covering a wide range of home improvement products, including power and hand tools, painting supplies, landscaping tools, and tool organizers. To choose the best deadbolts for this article, she consulted dozens of customer and third-party reviews and websites and considered each product's insulating abilities, ease of use, durability, and price point. Deane Biermeier licensed carpenter and contractor, as well as a member of The Spruce’s Home Improvement Review Board, offered further input.