Buying Guide

Types of Door Locks

Types of Door Locks
Description Feature/Benefits Recommended For
lever handlesets Lever handlesets feature a deadbolt and thumbturn. Models are available in full-plate and two-piece options. Designed for exterior front entry doors.
entry door knobs Entry door knobs are the most common types of door locks. Affordable, secure and simple to install. They are available in many different styles — from round to egg-shaped — and various finishes to match you style. Designed for exterior doors.
entry door levers Entry door levers feature an easy-to-turn handle. Easy to use because they require less force to rotate, even when your hands are full. Many models are ADA compliant, since it is not necessary to grasp the lever to operate. Designed for exterior doors. Great for those with accessibility needs.
deadbolts Deadbolt locks provide maximum security for your front door. Models are available with single- and double-cylinder functions. Most external doors are pre-drilled for deadbolts, making installation easy. Designed as extra security for exterior doors. For use in combination with a door knob/lever lock.
electronic door locks Electronic door locks use an electronic keypad instead of a key. Provide greater control over access to your home. Entry can be gained by entering a numeric code on the programmable keypad without the need for a key. Installation is similar to other types of locks for doors. Designed for exterior doors. Great for those with accessibility needs, since they do not require a key.
Smart Locks Smart locks are keyless locks. Convenient keyless entry systems enhance the basic functionality of a traditional lock. Unlock using a numeric code on keypad, a key fob or remotely using the manufacturer’s app and your smartphone. Designed for exterior doors. Great option for homeowners who need to grant remote access to relatives, guests or service workers.
sliding door locks Sliding door locks add extra security to sliding doors. Cost-effective and simple to install. Available in a variety of styles to coordinate with existing decor. Designed for exterior sliding doors.
privacy door knobs Privacy door knobs are locks for the doors in your home. Prevent surprise entry. Not for high level of security needed for exterior doors. Privacy door knobs have a push-lock or twist-lock on the inside of the room. In cases of accidental locking, these unlock from outside of the room using a coin or stiff push-pin. Designed for interior doors, such as bathroom and bedroom doors.
Lock Grades and Ratings
A person removing the key from the lock on an open front door.

Deadbolts provide the highest level of front door security. To ensure your door locks provide solid home security, choose locks and deadbolts that are pick-resistant and bump proof. Good locks use mushroom pins or pick shields to prohibit thieves from using picking tools to pry the lock and enter your home. 

When shopping for types of door locks and handles, also consider the lock’s grade and ease of installation.

Most lock manufactures have their products tested by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) for grading on how their locks perform. They test based on operation, strength, cycle, security, material evaluation and finish. 

Lock grade is the number of lock/unlock cycles you can expect your lock to complete before wearing out. It’s a reflection of the durability of the internal door lock types, not the amount of security they provide.

Locks that are Grade 1 offer the highest level of strength and security.

  • Grade 1: 800,000 cycles
  • Grade 2: 400,000 cycles
  • Grade 3: 200,000 cycles

Tip: Some exterior door locks are designed to automatically lock when the door closes. To ensure you don't get accidentally locked out, shop for a lock that does not have this feature or read the manufacturer's directions to determine how to disable this feature as needed.

Choose the Right Lock to Fit Your Door
The edge of a door with brass-colored door knobs.

Before purchasing a lock, measure your door’s backset, cross bore and thickness to ensure you find the right fit.

  • Backset: The distance between the edge of the door and the center of the lock hole. Usually, the backset measures 2 3/8-inches or 2 3/4-inches. 
  • Cross (or edge) bore: The small hole along the edge of the door frame, usually measuring about 1-inch in diameter.

Tip: Exterior doors are typically 1 3/4-inches thick, while interior doors measure 1 3/8-inches thick.

Door and Lock Handing
An illustration describing how to determine if a door is right-handed or left-handed.

Determine the “handing” of your doors before shopping for door locks. Handing describes whether the door is designed for right-handed or left-handed people. 

Finding the lock handedness is a bit different than how you determine door handing for purchasing doors. To see whether you need a right-handed lock or a left-handed lock, stand on the outside of the door. Notice where the hinges are; it doesn't matter if the door swings toward or away from you.

  • If the hinges are on the right, you have a right-handed door. You will need a right-handed (RH) lock.
  • If the hinges are on the left, you have a left-handed door. You will need a left-handed (LH) lock.

Most types of locks for doors will work on both types of door handings. These locks are labeled as "reversible handing" or "universal handing" and can be installed on either side of the door.

Benefits of a Single Key
A key inserted into a door lock.

Many people like the convenience of using the same key for all of their exterior doors.

When purchasing more than one lock, look for packages that have the same “key alike” number on the package. Alternatively, our store associates can key all of your locks to work with the same key. You can also purchase a rekeying kit to swap out pins and springs yourself.

Depending on the manufacturer, some models feature self-rekeying technology that permits quick and simple rekeying using an included tool.

Door locks are designed primarily for functionality, but in addition to providing security, their appearance is a consideration. Look at pictures of different door lock types to find models that match your style. Shop online for all types of door locks and other door hardware. The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.