6 different types of locks and when you should use them

Different types of locks

Locks are one of the most important inventions in human history. They allow people to leave their properties unguarded, safe in the knowledge that criminals can’t just walk in and take all their belongings.

Not all locks are created equal, though. While they all provide some level of security, some are better than others.

In this post, we take a look at the different types of locks out there which you should consider for your home. Check them out below.

Knob locks

Knob locks are simple locks where the locking cylinder is inside the door handle. Most knob locks have round, bulbous handles with plenty of space inside for all the mechanisms.

Unfortunately, knob locks aren’t particularly strong. Criminals can force them with basic tools, like hammers and wrenches, meaning that you should only use them for interior doors. You will need to change locks if you have knob locks for your exterior doors with the help of a locksmith.


Padlocks are another simple type of lock but, again, they are not particularly secure. Unlike other locks, padlocks are portable, meaning that you can easily install them on your outbuildings or use them to secure your bicycle. However, they are not appropriate for high-value items. Criminals can easily cut through them or use a screwdriver to remove the surrounding fitting.

Padlocks are usually keyed or combination. Most come with a metal loop that you pass through a hole on the object you want to secure. Inside the padlock is a barrel that twists when paired with the right key, locking the metal loop into place.

Deadbolt locks

Deadbolt locks are among the best defences against break-ins and burglary, which is why they are so commonly seen on external doors. These locks rely on the turning of a knob to move a bolt into place and don’t use springs. Deadlocks are effective because they can resist battering, boring and picking with knife-like tools.

Single-cylinder deadbolt locks are the simplest. Users activate these one-sidedly, using a key. More advanced models feature thumb turn bolts that you can also lock from inside with a key.

Mortise locks

Mortise locks are another robust lock type for external doors, favoured by your local locksmith. They typically come in light and heavy models, depending on the application.

Mortise locks extend a considerable distance into the door frame. This feature helps to prevent prying and gives the lock more strength when in the locked position.

On the inside, mortise locks are a complex system of gears and mechanisms, housed inside a cylindrical body. You may also come across box-shaped mortise locks which protrude several inches into the door frame and fit with multiple bolts.

Generally, mortise locks are considered the safest of all commonly-available locks. You typically find them on apartment doors (to keep residents safe in shared spaces), commercial doors, and glass entry doors.

Cam locks

Cam locks are considerably less secure than either mortise or deadbolt. However, they are also simple and inexpensive, so they have many applications, including drawers, mailboxes and server cabinets. In some cases, you may find them on front doors but this is rare due to their security flaws.

In furniture, cam locks are cylindrical and usually set into the wooden frame. They comprise a rotating metal tube connected to a cross-bolt that locks drawers into place.

Euro profile cylinders

Sometimes called DIN cylinders, Euro profile cylinders are in common use across Europe. They come in both single- and double-cylinder versions and rely on a screw running through their centre to hold them in place.

Unfortunately, because these locks only have one point of contact with the object they secure, they are easy to snap off. Installers must fit them correctly to minimise opportunities for compromise.

In summary, not all locks are created equal. Be sure that you select the one that works best for your situation.