Why Do I Need A Deadbolt?

by | Jul 27, 2020 | Locksmith

Deadbolt Locks Are Widely Considered To Be Crucial To Home Security.


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Homeowners commonly ask us as a Houston locksmith, “Do I need a deadbolt lock?”. The short and easy answer is almost always yes! Deadbolts provide many advantages in regards to security that other solutions such as a simple spring-latch inside a doorknob or lever don’t.

The longer answer involves discussing what a deadbolt lock is, and the “why” of it. At Guardian Safe & Lock, we’re proud of how well we inform people about this very opaque trade. That’s why today, we’ll go over deadbolts in greater detail and hopefully help you realize why deadbolts aren’t just important, but essential.

What Is A Deadbolt Lock?

Deadbolts are locks designed purely for security reasons, as compared to latch locks like what’s found inside of a doorknob. Everyone’s seen an old movie or heard a story of a door getting opened with a credit card or other flat piece of material. Deadbolts are designed to prevent this.

As they’re not spring-driven like latches, deadbolt locks require the lock cylinder to spin in order to draw the bolt back. You can’t push on it like you can a spring-loaded latch and have it move, it is extended and then in place. 

Unlike latch bolts, which are curved to automatically operate as they push against a latch plate; deadbolts are longer and solid pieces of metal. A deadbolt is a bolt that is extended and locked into a “dead” position. You can not force the bolt over like you can on a spring-loaded latch.

Thus, making it impossible to pry the door away from the frame like you can with a spring latch on a knob or lever. Doesn’t mean impossible to get in, but impossible to get the bolt out of the way without completely damaging the frame beyond usability. 

Deadbolts are also longer than latches, usually extending at least 1” into the jamb behind a metal strike plate. While latch-locks are convenient, they rely on nothing more than a spring to ensure the operation of the latch. In addition to this, deadbolts come in four major varieties that can be applied to different doors to further increase security. 


These varieties include a single cylinder, double cylinder, renter’s, and electronic deadbolts.


  • Single-cylinder deadbolts are the most common, and most likely what people picture when they think of a deadbolt. These bolts have a lock cylinder on the exterior of the door, and a thumb-turn on the inside. This ensures easy operation from the inside as only a thumb-turn must be rotated to engage the deadbolt, while only opening with a key on the exterior.


  • Double-cylinder deadbolt locks are designed to provide more protection on doors near windows or with glass inserts and feature two lock cylinders on both the interior and exterior of the door. This prevents thieves and burglars from simply smashing a nearby window or the glass in the door itself and turning the thumb-turn of a single cylinder deadbolt. With a double-cylinder deadbolt lock, you need the key to function both sides of the door.


  • Renter’s bolts are primarily used in buildings like apartments or rental homes, but can also be installed anywhere a normal deadbolt would be. A renter’s bolt is a deadbolt with no exterior cylinder, only driven by a thumb-turn on the interior side of the door. This essentially makes a lock fully pick and bump proof, as there’s no way for someone from outside of the door to override it. They’re commonly installed to ensure privacy for renters inside of a rental property, but again can be applied on nearly any type of door.


  • Electronic deadbolts are a modern invention, only really gaining mainstream popularity in the last decade or so. This type of deadbolt usually functions similarly to a single-cylinder deadbolt, but with the added convenience of an electronic keypad or touchscreen. These can be activated using a PIN or button to cause an electric battery-powered motor to drive the bolt opened or closed. These electronic deadbolts also usually have a keyhole on the exterior, to allow you entry into your building even if the batteries die. At this point, they function as a standard single-cylinder deadbolt until the batteries are reinstalled to continue electronic operation.


  • Smart lock deadbolts are an even more recent invention, making their debut only a few years ago. These types of deadbolts operate just like an electronic deadbolt except that you can control certain functions with your cell phone or a wireless device like an iPad. Usually, these types of smart lock deadbolts have an app that you download from the manufacturer and they can connect from anywhere to your wifi on your home network. Once they have a connection to your home network via the appropriate app then you can control many different functions of the lock via your device. Some of them can set schedules as to when you would like the door to remain locked or open, or even remotely unlock your door. You can even give away one-time user codes via text message to give entry to a guest remotely.


Why Are Deadbolts Necessary?

houston locksmithThe FBI regularly reports crime data and statistics for the entirety of the United States of America. They classify burglary as “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft”. Under this definition, the term “structure” also includes “an apartment, barn, house trailer, or houseboat when used as a permanent dwelling, office, railroad car (But not automobile), stable, or vessel (i.e., ship).” The use of force isn’t a factor in determining a crime fits this classification. In 2018, the bureau’s most recent report at the time of writing, there were an estimated 1.2 million burglaries in America. This number accounted for over 17% of all estimated property crimes. Over half were involving forced entry situations.

As we’ve covered earlier, deadbolts provide both very strong protection against forced-entry burglary situations as well as quieter attempts to subvert the security of your home by methods such as lockpicking and key bumping. This durability is again due to the solid construction of the bolt, and the fact that when engaged it relies on the strength of the jambs of the doorframe.

This means you should ensure that your door, its hinges, and the jambs of your door frame are strong enough to resist force being applied to them. There’s no point in installing a deadbolt on a weaker door only to have the door or frame buckle and shatter while the deadbolt does its job.

Conversely, even if you have a good door and frame, a shoddy or poor-quality deadbolt can and will fail under pressure. There’s not much reason to spring for cheaper options in regards to locking hardware, as the failure rates tend to go up as the price goes down, even on deadbolt locks.

While there are definitely ways to increase security beyond a deadbolt, deadbolt locks are usually the first step in ensuring peace of mind in any home.

What Else Can I Use To Increase Home Security?

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As security specialists for all of the Houston Area, Guardian Safe & Lock has many products that can help to build the effectiveness of home security. Whether you need a Woodlands locksmith for a home or a commercial locksmith in downtown Houston, our trained and licensed locksmith technicians are ready to help build the integrity of your property’s security.

We provide the entire area of Houston security cameras and access control systems you can rely on to keep watch over your property while away. We also sell and deliver Houston gun safe models that are proven to reinforce the security of your most precious possessions. Our technicians also stock and install devices such as reinforced strike boxes to increase the effectiveness of deadbolts against the use of force.

When you need a more secure home or business in Houston, Texas; Guardian Safe & Lock is your solution. We’ve been trusted by the city for a decade now, and our reputation for quality, reliability, and service speaks for itself anywhere our customers can post to. Give us a call at 832-534-8687 if you need deadbolts installed, or any other security and lock work completed!

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