Choosing a Deadbolt

What is the best reasonably priced door lock?

Yep. “You get what you pay for.” The adage holds true for many products, and especially for deadbolts.

They come in three qualities: Grade 3 is the builder standard for residential, Grade 2 is for light to medium commercial, and Grade 1 is heavy duty.

The better—and more expensive—ones are engineered to withstand the various ways thieves try to thwart a lock. For example, basic deadbolts are two pieces held together with two bolts that thread from the inside half into the exterior half. If you tap the exterior deadbolt face, which is just a thin sheet of metal, with a hammer, you can see the dimples where the attachment bolts terminate. Merely drill a bit into those dimples, and the twisting action of the bit will back the bolts out, and the lock will fall right off the door. Locksmiths do this when they can’t pick the lock.

I’ve tested and evaluated most of the locks on the market in search of the most secure, mid-priced residential deadbolt because it is a critical component of door security. The inexpensive, $20 to $30 lightweight locks bend when force is applied, and are easily compromised when hit with a hammer, torqued with a pipe wrench, drilled, or by lock bumping.

But high-security locks like Medeco and MultiLock are $200 and up.

The Grade 2 ones I trust most are Kwikset’s UltraMax lock (780 series) at $75 retail, Schlage’s B560 series that runs about $90, and locksmiths have a Grade 2 from LSDA—Locksmiths Distributors of America for about $70.