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On twitter, the cofounder of GDGT Ryan Block comments:

Surprisingly difficult to find a list of expert-recommended consumer locks, padlocks, etc. Lots on defeating security, but few suggestions.

So I'm curious, what are the key criteria to consider when considering purchasing a new consumer grade lock or padlock, deadbolt and the like. Some examples of things that might be important are "look at the lock and see if it shows structure XYZ, which is a prime sign that the lock can be "bumped" ..." or perhaps "consumer padlocks should have ABC feature, because it signifies ...".

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proximity of a window to the door? –  Malfist Jan 9 '13 at 16:21

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Your key requirements should realistically depend on what your home insurer requires. If they specify a particular type of lock in order to meet a requirement / get a lower premium etc, then that is the type of lock you should fit.

Often apartments or managed properties will have a minimum requirement or a preferred supplier.

All locks do is delay a thief - certain types of locks will delay a thief more than others, but if someone wants to get into your property they will be unlikely to worry about the lock unless it is a very weak one. They will simply kick in the door or break a window.

Of much greater importance, if you are worried about break-ins, is to fit a door which has a strong wood or metal core, with multiple anchor points around the frame activated by a deadbolt lock, and ensure the frame is solidly affixed to the structure of your property.

(As an aside, this is why lockpicks are now legal in the UK and various other countries - only lockpicking enthusiasts, locksmiths, law enforcement and spies use them. Burglars use a brick, crowbar or their foot)

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The lock/deadbolt isn't going to stop anyone from getting into your house. Each is rated to some degree by how long it takes to pick.

Most can be drilled, but in general, any window can be kicked in with minimal force. Do you have a back door /glass door/ cheap garage door? If so, those are your weak points.

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Here's a suggestion: Make sure your door and frame are properly installed and REINFORCED before even considering installing any lock that is above consumer grade. The frame on your h*me depot door will break in half with no where near as much force as you think it would take. your $200 mul-t-lock dead bolt will be rendered useless.

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