Ask Angie: Why use a deadbolt?

angieslist.comApril 4, 2014 


Angie Hicks


Dear Angie: What are the benefits of a deadbolt lock? — Kim G., Missoula, Mont.

Dear Kim: A deadbolt is a key tool to affordably reduce the odds that someone could break into your home through the door.

According to the latest FBI statistics, about 60 percent of 2.1 million burglaries in 2012 involved forced entry. Highly rated locksmiths tell our team that deadbolts represent a higher level of protection than a doorknob's pin tumbler lock, especially if:

■ The bolt is made of hardened steel.

■ The bolt extends fully into its door-jamb hole, which is reinforced with a metal strike plate.

■ Three-inch screws are used to secure the strike plate into the door-frame studs.

Depending on the type and class of deadbolt, the cost to have a locksmith provide and install the hardware can be about $200 or less.

Single-bolt systems require a key to open from the outside and can be locked and unlocked from the inside with a twist knob.

Double bolts require keys to open the door from inside or outside. Because of that, it's important to know that a double deadbolt can be problematic or downright dangerous if you need to escape a house fire or other emergency, unless you keep the key near the door or in the lock.

Be aware that sidelights or windows within doors can be broken to allow someone to twist the knob of a single-bolt system or use a key left near or in a double deadbolt.

If this is a concern, it might be wise to replace the door. Many exterior doors are designed with security features, such as reinforced glass or small windows placed to prevent a burglar from reaching in easily.

Here's Angie's list of lock-service tips:

■ Before you hire a locksmith, be aware that while most are reputable, some operate by taking advantage of people who are locked out of their homes or cars. Only a few states require that locksmiths be licensed, so it's important to check a company's online reviews and other recommendations.

■ When you find a reliable locksmith with reasonable prices, keep the company contact info handy in case you get locked out and need emergency help.

■ Also, I recommend that when you move into a new home, hire a reputable locksmith to change the locks because you can't be sure who has keys.

Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at

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