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Door locks

5 Door Locks That Will Keep You Safe and 5 That Won't

Deadbolts that resist picking, drilling, and kicking

Most break-ins are committed by criminals who come right in through the front door, according to Department of Justice statistics. And even if you're diligent about always locking up, you need a good deadbolt to thwart thieves. 

"The bolt portion of the lock, called the throw, isn't the part that fails to hold up in our tests," says test engineer Dave Trezza, who runs Consumer Reports' lock testing. "It's other design flaws that allow burglars to break through a flimsy lock and gain entry."

Most locks use steel in the cylinder, which can be drilled open. The best locks use hardened steel or brass, and some reinforce the cylinder with hidden steel plates. You can still drill through a lock with these built-in enhancements, but it can make the process of drilling so slow that thieves give up and move on.

But the biggest design flaw that Trezza sees relates to the strike plate, the metal piece that holds the throw in a doorjamb when the door is locked. Too many locks come with short, 3⁄4-inch-long wood screws to secure the strike plate to the jamb. That makes it easy for someone to kick in the door until the screws tear out of the soft wood, allowing the intruder to gain entry.

After putting dozens of locks through a battery of tests, we've selected five of the best from our door lock ratings—as well as five you should skip.

Best Overall
Medeco Maxum 11*603

Medeco Maxum 11*603

The ultrasecure Medeco Maxum 11*603, $190, is the best lock in our ratings, hands down. This high-security lock couldn't be picked by our pros and has a hardened cylinder so strong that we were unable to defeat it despite using several drill bits over a 15-minute period. We were finally able to gain access by removing the screws, but that took another 15 minutes. That's a big enough deterrent that most thieves would give up and look for a different house. Plus, it's one of the few locks that comes with adequately long screws for the strike plate, right out of the box.

Skip: The iTouchless Bio-Matic BM002U, $300, costs $110 more than our top-rated Medeco, but the two couldn't be further apart. We found the iTouchless vulnerable to being drilled open and easy to kick in when the strike plate was installed with the factory screws. 

Best Budget-Friendly Lock
Kwikset 980

Kwikset 980

The Kwikset 980, $30, is a terrific lock for the money. It couldn't be picked by our pros, and despite the bargain price, it comes with long screws, which means the strike plate secures solidly to framing, which guards against kick-ins.

Skip: The Defiant Single Cylinder Deadbolt DL71, $11, looks like the top-scoring Kwikset 980, but our testers found it prone to being picked, and it's easily drilled open and vulnerable to kick-ins when installed with the factory screws.

Best Lock With Look of Brass
Baldwin Prestige 380

Baldwin Prestige 380

The Baldwin Prestige 380, $40, earns marks almost identical to the Kwikset. (The brands are owned by the same company.) Like the Kwikset, it comes with sufficiently long screws for the strike plate, which helped it stand up to CR's kick-in test. And it couldn't be picked. Unlike the Kwikset, this model is plated in brass and comes with a heavier gauge key.

Skip: The Prime-Line Segal SE 15361, $50, showed vulnerability in almost every CR test. It's prone to picking, drilling, and kick-ins, unless you take the time to secure the strike plate with longer screws. But for $50, you shouldn't have to. 

Best Smart Home Door Lock
Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm BE469NX CAM 619

Schlage Camelot Touchscreen...

Unlike lots of the smart home door locks we test, the Schlage Camelot doesn't sacrifice performance. It comes with long screws for the strike plate, helping it resist kick-ins, plus it couldn't be picked by our experts. It also allows you to program up to 30 unique entry codes, integrates into existing smart home systems, and works with the Amazon Alexa voice assistant.

Skip: The Yale Real Living Touchscreen Deadbolt YRD220-ZW-619, $275, has connected features similar to the Camelot but was easily drilled, less resistant to picking, and came with 3⁄4-inch screws for the strike plate, making it easy to kick in. 

    Best Smart Home Door Lock (If You Upgrade the Strike Plate)
    Yale Real Living Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt Stand Alone YRD240

    Yale Real Living Key Free...

    This keyless model from Yale can't be picked, because there's no cylinder. Instead, the lock is opened with smart devices or with a code. But it's also one of the only locks we've evaluated that stood up to being drilled. Unfortunately, short screws are included with the strike plate, but with 2-inch-long wood screws, this model aces our kick-in test. 

    Skip: The Baldwin Boulder AC Z-wave 8252, $400, is among the most expensive locks in our test. But unlike the higher-scoring Yale, the Boulder could still be kicked in, even when the strike plate was installed with longer screws. 

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      Paul Hope

      As a classically trained chef and an enthusiast DIYer, I've always valued having the best tool for a job—whether the task at hand is dicing onions for mirepoix or hanging drywall. When I'm not writing about home products, I can be found putting them to the test in the 1850s farmhouse my wife and I are restoring while raising our two young children.