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Most doors can be defeated so a good lock is key

Recommended door locks from Consumer Reports' tests

Published: December 30, 2015 12:50 PM

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A lot has been said about sprucing up the entrance to your house to improve its curb appeal. But when choosing a new door and lock, make sure you’re not also creating an attractive target for break-ins. In Consumer Reports past tests of entry doors, most eventually failed when our testers used a battering ram, regardless of what the door was made from. That means the lock you choose can be the key to your safety.

To be safe and secure, Consumer Reports recommends you do the following:

  • Use a lock with a 1-inch-long dead bolt and a reinforced-metal box strike.
  • Install the lock with 3-inch-long mounting screws to lodge in the framing beyond the doorjamb.
  • Do the same with the door that leads from the garage into the interior of your house.
  • Any dead-bolt lock is better than the common key-in-knob variety, which can easily be opened with a credit card.

The dead bolts we tested are single-cylinder and operate with a thumbturn. High-security locks have hardened cylinders, unique pin configurations, and other defenses. Our testers spent weeks prying, hammering, picking, pummeling, and drilling. Here are three to consider.

Medeco Maxum 11*603

High-security lock. Medeco Maxum 11*603, $190. It costs significantly more than a standard door lock, but this high-security winner excelled in all our tests, resisting picking, kicking-in, and drilling admirably

Standard door lock. Kwikset 980, $30. This standard door lock topped our tests. It came with a sturdy strike plate and resisted all of our assaults—including picking and kicking-in—except for drilling.

Connected door lock. Schlage Camelot Touchscreen, $200. This top-rated, app-enabled connected door lock withstood our simulated kick-in test admirably, but a cordless drill disabled it in two minutes.

A caution. Double-cylinder dead-bolt locks need a key to open whether you’re inside or outside. Homeowners like them because a burglar can’t simply break the glass and reach in to unlock the door. But some municipalities ban them because they may make it harder to get out in an emergency. Be sure to check the requirements with your building department and, if you install one, always leave a key within arm’s reach of the interior lock.

—Adapted from Your New Home, published by Consumer Reports

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