The American National Standards Institute grades and certifies locks based on strength and durability. The Institute certifies locking mechanisms as Grade 1, Grade 2, or Grade 3. Grade 3 locks are lower-grade locks that can be found on common residential structures. These locks have few tumblers, use lower-grade materials, and can be picked relatively easily. Grade 2 locks use additional tumblers, better materials, and are harder to pick. Grade 1 locks are the highest security locks available.
What makes a high security door lock high security?
Lock security has many factors:
- Is the lock easy to pick? Locks are put under a battery of pick tests to determine whether they are easy to pick. Higher-grade locks are harder to pick. Having more tumblers generally makes the lock harder to pick.
- Is it susceptible to use of a “bump key?” The bump key is one of the most common attack techniques. With a bump key, an individual uses a torsion bar to apply slight pressure and inserts a shaved key. The attacker bumps the key in an attempt to get the tumblers to rise and stick at the proper levels. Higher-grade locks are highly resistant to these attacks.
- Is it physically durable? Other common attack techniques involve overpowering the lock, by either drilling into it and attempting to rip it out or by simply applying excessive torque to the lock and breaking it. Heavy duty locks are more resistant to these types of attacks.
What types of high security door locks are available?
Conventional high security door locks look just like any other lock from the outside. They are deadbolt locks that operate via keys.
High security electronic locks are also available. Most of these locks use pass codes and fingerprints to ascertain the user’s identity. These locks require strong frames and strike plates to be effective, but can be a valuable tool when very high levels of security are required. They can be expensive.
What else should I consider when buying high security door locks?
Remember that no lock is invincible. A dedicated individual with the time and resources to proceed through a lock will do so. A quality lock can help to thwart casual thieves, make entry into a particular location more difficult, and provide resistance against harsh attacks.
Individuals seeking to use a high security door lock should remember to reinforce the door and reinforce the doorframe. With common household doors and thin wooden frames, it is common for standard locks to withstand pressures that damage the door and frame, enabling entry for the intruder. For a strong door lock to be effective, it needs effective support.