Choosing the right door lock involves assessing factors like your lifestyle, security needs, and what type of door hardware you currently have. Basic keyed locks might be straightforward, but some might consider upgrading to a combination or keypad locks, which use passwords or numeric codes. Another option is a smart lock, which lets you use a mobile app to unlock it.
"A smart lock saves you the time and hassle of having to provide access in an emergency situation if you aren't home, and also prevents you from being locked out—even if you don't have your phone, anyone with the application synced to your lock can let you in," says Chicago real estate developer and broker Bill Samuel of Blue Ladder Development.
We researched dozens of door locks in a variety of styles and evaluated them based on durability, security, ease of use, and value. Our overall winner for a deadbolt lock is the Medeco Maxum 11TR503-19 for its highly protective design that resists all types of threats. Meanwhile, our top pick for a keypad lock is the Schlage Camelot Electronic Keypad for being easy and convenient for most people to use. Both have Grade 1 ratings from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which is the gold standard for residential safety products.
Here are the best door locks, backed by our research.
Best Overall (Keyed Deadbolt)
Medeco Maxum Residential Single Cylinder Deadbolt
Resistant to picking and drilling
Easy to rekey
Includes strong strike plate
Though this lock isn't cheap, it won "Best Overall" for being extremely protective against break-in tactics like drilling, bumping, picking, and force. And because it's made by Medeco and not one of the smaller companies, you're likely to find many locksmiths to help you install it and, if needed, service it. Medeco keys are also protected by patent, so they can't be copied without your consent; there's a card system that allows authorized users to make their own copies. The company also maintains a huge master key system, thanks to the different angles, cuts, and positioning used.
It comes with a steel strike plate with long screws that get secured into the frame, and the bolt is made of hardened steel that the company says is "virtually impossible" to saw through using a hacksaw. Even the screws are steel, offering additional protection, as do hardened inserts within the lock that discourage drilling attempts. The deadbolt lock is popular in the satin nickel finish and is sometimes available in others such as brass and bronze.
Type: Deadbolt | Material: Solid nickel | ANSI/BHMI Grade 1?: Yes
Best Overall, Runner-Up (Electronic Keypad)
SCHLAGE BE365 CAM Camelot Keypad Deadbolt
19 unique codes available
No wiring needed
Dead battery requires key backup
Battery is hard to change
An electronic keypad lock is a nice middle ground for someone who doesn't want to deal with keys but isn't ready to move on to a smart lock. This electronic deadbolt meets ANSI Grade 1 security standards and comes with a backup key as well. You can easily and quickly set up to 19 codes for different people, which can be helpful if you're hosting houseguests or need to grant access to a housekeeper, babysitter, or contractor. If you're going on vacation or want to ensure that no one can enter your home unexpectedly, you can switch the keypad to "privacy mode."
The keypad is backlit, so it's easy to see even in the dark, and the numbers are etched on silicone so they won't rub off after being exposed to snow and rain. The lock runs on a 9-volt battery, and there's an indicator to let you know when it's getting low. Changing the battery is tricky, but it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. Installation is easy, since you only need a Phillips head screwdriver, but you can call a locksmith if that’s more comfortable for you. Overall, this earned a spot as a top pick for its convenience, ease of use, and high ANSI security rating.
Price at time of publish: $131
Type: Electronic deadbolt | Material: Silicone | ANSI/BHMI Grade 1?: Yes
Best Smart Lock
Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi Smart
Six ways to gain entry
Micro USB port offers backup power
Great for exterior and interior doors
Alexa pairing isn't always smooth
Wi-Fi bridge could be better
This smart deadbolt lock offers six ways to open it, one of which is a backup key. (The hole is hidden below the exterior panel.) There's a fingerprint option, Bluetooth detection (the lock opens as you approach, which is great if your arms are full of stuff), numeric code entry, a smartphone app, and a "magic shake" capability (also through the app). If you're worried about random people seeing you enter your code, the keypad allows you to add random digits before and after your actual number sequence to throw them off.
The Wi-Fi bridge is tricky to set up properly, and you may need to move your router closer to the door for it to work. The auto-open feature also doesn't always work smoothly. Still, there's a low-battery indicator, and once you see it, you still have 1,000 more times to open the lock before it loses power. In a pinch, you can recharge it from the outside by using a micro-USB cable, although you might not be carrying one each time you leave home. If you have any problems with your lock, you can contact Ultraloq’s customer service. Overall, this is a convenient deadbolt that’s easy to install on exterior and interior doors around your home.
Price at time of publish: $219
Type: Smart deadbolt | Material: Zinc | ANSI/BHMI Grade 1?: Yes
Best Retrofit Smart Lock
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
Slow to calibrate
If you like the idea of a smart lock but don't want to go through the hassle of swapping out your lock, consider a retrofit model like this one from August. Installation is easy, although it may take a few tries to calibrate the lock and get it visible on your network. Once it's fitted with your current deadlock, it works with other systems like Alexa and Apple's HomeKit, although you'll need to set up the August app first. If you lose your phone, you can immediately disconnect and reset your lock through a special URL on the company's website.
The lock's app, which can work with face or fingerprint identification if desired, has many convenient features. These include remote lock and unlock, the ability to grant temporary guest access, and "DoorSense," which uses geo-fencing to determine your arrival and unlocks the door as you approach. You can also set it to auto-lock either after you enter or within a set period of time (up to 30 minutes). If you tend to have visitors who are less comfortable with technology, August also sells a separate numeric keypad. In a pinch, you can still use your original keys, too. At over $200, it is on the more expensive side, but it’s worth it for its ease of installation and use.
Price at time of publish: $230
Type: Biometric (retrofits to existing deadbolt) | Material: Metal | ANSI/BHMI Grade 1?: Depends on current lock
Best for Front Door
Kwikset Cameron Keyed Entry Door Knob
Easy to rekey
May need to purchase extra hardware
This stylish set has a satin nickel finish and is a good-looking choice for a front door. It includes a door knob with keyed entry and a matching deadbolt. You'll also get a smart key that allows you to rekey the lock quickly and easily without the help of a locksmith (a handy option when your teen loses their keys yet again). The set initially comes with two different keys for the knob and deadbolt, but you can easily rekey them to be identical if it's more convenient.
Kwikset designs its locks to withstand potential intruders, thanks to steel balls placed in front of the key face to resist drilling and a side-locking bar rather than the typical pin tumbler, which is more susceptible to bumping. The set is covered by a lifetime warranty, and the company has an excellent customer service team. The lock can be installed on either the right or left side of a door, but note that for the right side, you'll need to purchase a special tool to reverse the orientation. (Otherwise, you'll be putting keys in with their teeth pointing down.) That can make installation difficult, but the process should still come together quickly.
Price at time of publish: $51
Type: Keyed entry door knob, deadbolt | Material: Metal | ANSI/BHMI Grade 1?: Yes and no; deadbolt is Grade 1, knob is Grade 2
Best Keyless Touchscreen
Yale Assure Lock SL Key-Free Touchscreen Door Lock
Easy to install
25 unique codes available
No smart features
Needs 9V battery to revive if dead
This touchscreen lock is for those who want a complete keyless entry with no keyholes whatsoever. It runs on AA batteries, and you'll get a warning light indicating when they're low. Should you return home to find them completely dead, there's a handy hack: You can simply hold a 9V battery to a contact point at the bottom of the lock for a temporary power boost (although you may not always be carrying a 9V battery when you leave home). You lock the door by simply tapping the keypad.
This lock installs in minutes by swapping out your existing deadbolt (only a screwdriver is needed) and fits in a 54-millimeter hole. You can create up to 25 different numeric PIN codes, and there's a handy voice assistant to walk you through the process. Although this version isn't equipped with WiFi or any smart capabilities, Yale sells additional modules if you decide you need an upgrade.
Price at time of publish: $179
Type: Keyless deadbolt | Material: Zinc | ANSI/BHMI Grade 1?: No; Grade 2
Best Single-Sided Deadbolt
Schlage Single-Sided Deadbolt
Easy to install
Some may dislike the traditional look
May need to purchase extra hardware
This single-sided deadbolt, which can only lock from inside your home, has no exterior plate on the outside. These are called "half-deadbolts," since they don't extend completely through the door, as opposed to single-sided deadbolts with smooth exterior plates that don't have keyholes. It has a high-security rating (ANSI Grade 1).
This lock comes in eight different finishes—such as antique brass, satin nickel, and aged bronze—so you can match your existing locks. It is easy to install by yourself and has solid construction. However, the included screws are sometimes too long, so you may need to purchase the correct size at your local hardware store. Still, at under $50, this is also a reliable and affordable pick for those on a budget. Keep in mind that it has the traditional look of the deadbolt, which doesn’t appeal to everyone.
Price at time of publish: $37
Type: Single-sided deadbolt | Material: Brass | ANSI/BHMI Grade 1?: Yes
Best Strike Plate
Battalion Box Strike Plate
Works with multiple locks
May need to purchase extra hardware
We love the heavy-duty metal and generous length of this strike plate, which is about 5 inches long. Depending on your existing door jamb, you may need to use a hammer and chisel to carve out space in your mortise hole during installation, but the extra security is worth the effort. If your deadbolt is unusually long (more than 1 inch), this plate might not be appropriate. Still, it’s versatile enough to work with various locks and provide extra protection.
This plate includes basic screws that aren’t the best quality, so we recommend purchasing more durable screws from your local hardware store. For maximum security, you should install it by using heavy-duty screws at least 2 inches long. There are also 4 screw holes for added reinforcement, whereas many strike plates that come with locks only have two.
Price at time of publish: $17
Type: Strike plate | Material: Steel | ANSI/BHMI Grade 1?: No
Our top pick is the fuss-free, yet highly secure, Medeco Maxum 11TR503-19, which is made from high-quality nickel. It is easy to service and comes in lots of different finishes. We also love the Schlage Camelot Electronic Keypad, because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require any wiring.
What to Look for in a Door Lock
Unlike a latch bolt, which is spring-activated and can lock automatically, a deadbolt must be locked either with a key (usually from the outside) or with the action of a hand (usually from the inside). Deadbolts are more secure than latch bolts and should be used on exterior-facing doors.
Make sure your lock has an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) grade before you install it. Grade 3 locks, which are common for residential homes, are not are secure as grade 2 or grade 1 locks. If you are concerned about security, choosing a grade 1 or 2 lock may help put your mind at ease.
Some locks give homeowners the ability to create new keys themselves through a quick and easy process using a proprietary master key that comes with the original lock. That can be useful if you have kids who are always losing their keys or if you're a landlord who needs to rekey locks when tenants move in and out.
A strike plate (also called a "box plate" or a "door strike") is a piece of metal that attaches to the door frame and keeps things secure by giving the latch or bolt a place to rest. Many locks come with their own strike plates, but they are often too short or not sturdy enough. Adding your own heavy-duty strike plate is a nice way to fortify an existing lock and make it less vulnerable to kick-ins. Look for one that's about 4 inches high, with 4 screw holes. The screws themselves should be heavy-duty metal and at least 2 inches long.
Which door lock should you choose?
The door lock you choose is highly dependent on your lifestyle, your security needs, and the people using the lock. Keyed locks are straightforward, and high-quality ones offer lots of protection. If you have many people coming in and out of your home, kids who often forget their keys, or a vacation rental property with a high turnover, you might consider a keypad combination lock or a smart lock. Some of these options are hybrid models that can be used either with an app or by typing in a passcode or placing a fingerprint. (Those who are less tech-savvy might prefer the last two options.) There are also retrofit models that will turn an existing deadbolt into a lock with smart capabilities.
What is the most secure door lock?
"Keyed locks are often used on exterior doors, since they provide the most amount of security," says Joshua Haley, founder of Moving Astute, a nationwide relocation service. For additional personal security, some people choose to install a single-sided deadbolt, which can only lock from the inside. "If you're looking to install a lock that can't be picked, look for a bolt that only locks from the inside and doesn't have an outside keyhole," says Glen Bhimani, CEO and founder of BPS Security, a security firm in San Antonio, Texas. You can also use these locks for additional doors you don't need to worry about unlocking from the outside, like an extra door leading from your kitchen to a deck. For maximum security, look for locks that have ANSI Grade 1 ratings.
How easy is it to install a door lock?
This depends on how handy you are and how complicated the lock's mechanism is. To suss it out, read reviews online, or inquire at your hardware store. "Most door locks use screws or bolts to secure them in place, so you will need a drill and an Allen wrench or a screwdriver to install them. It is also important to make sure that the holes in your doorframe are large enough to accommodate the screws or bolts on the lock," says Haley. If you're having difficulty, you can often reach out to the company's customer service team or search YouTube for extra help. Some people prefer to hire a locksmith or handyperson for peace of mind. If you're ordering online but want your lock installed by a local locksmith, make sure they're willing to service your chosen brand—some might not work with locks made by smaller, lesser-known companies.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Lexi Dwyer has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019. For this round-up, she aimed to include a mix of different lock styles and price points and judged them based on perceived durability, security, ease of use, and value. For additional insight, she consulted Chicago real estate developer and broker Bill Samuel of Blue Ladder Development, Glen Bhimani, CEO and founder of BPS Security, a security firm in San Antonio, Texas, and Joshua Haley, founder of Moving Astute, a nationwide relocation service.