I spent weeks searching for the very best door locks for my two houses. No, I’m not a billionaire with homes all over the world, just a regular person, a teacher, who lives in a “normal” house most of the year and in my shipping container house during summer vacations. After my traditional house was broken into last year, I decided it was high time to get top-rated door locks for both places. Here’s what I found out.
Top Door Locks’ Prices, Ratings and Features
Unlike a lot of consumer items on the market, locks for residential homes do not follow the typical “more expensive means better” rule. In fact, some of the best, most secure locks are nowhere near the high end of the price spectrum. My own challenge was to find two locks, one for my standard home and one for my shipping container “vacation” hideaway.
I spoke with friends, co-workers, and neighbors to get the list started. Then, I dug in on Internet reviews and came up with six final candidates. In the end, I purchased two items from the following list, but any of them would be fine for my needs. I’m thinking of buying two other brands from the list just to broaden my experience with the different kinds of quality locks on the market. One will be for the one-room art studio I’m going to build in my backyard, and the other will be for a smaller shipping container home my wife is buying for her massage business.
Anyway, here are the “elite six” among the 50 or so door locks I researched. They’re not ranked in any particular order, so I didn’t number them:
- August Smart Lock Pro: Priced at just under $200, this smart lock works with any deadbolt you already have, so it’s not a “lock” in and of itself. But if you’re happy with your current lock and want to add an extra layer of security to the arrangement, this item is very easy to install, works with wi-fi, Z-wave and Bluetooth connectivity. That way, you can lock or unlock your front door from your phone, no matter where you are. You can let delivery people or family members in without having to give them a physical key. It even works with Alexa and has a special feature that tells you whether your door is completely, tightly closed and locked any time.
- ABUS 92/65 Monoblock Brass Padlock: This giant block of brass is covered with steel plating for an attractive look and corrosion resistance. It weighs 1.3 pounds and measures 2.4 by 3.1 inches, an imposing footprint for a lock like this. This is not a lock for standard homes but is ideal for sheds, container homes, and storage facilities of any kind. At $40, it’s top value and offers maximum resistance to all kinds of bolt-cutters.
- BRINKS Home Security 673-70401 Discus Lock 4 Pack: For around $40 you get four of these inexpensive by rock-solid Brinks padlocks. They’re all keyed alike and include a tough rubber jacket over their stainless steel frames. The shackle is full steel and the cylinder has four pins that are completely pick-resistant. The locks come with the famous Brinks lifetime warranty, weigh a half-pound each and come with four keys.
- Insta Bolt-On Lock Box 3240: For $110, this bolt-on item is not a lock but will protect any padlock you have from bolt-cutters. The box weighs a whopping 12 pounds and is easy to install and measures 10 by 7 inches. It’s a heavy-duty device built to last. If you want precise installation directions, the company offers a Youtube link so you can watch while you put it on your container. I included this item on the list of “locks” because you might want to get it as an add-on to any of the padlocks you already have or intend to purchase.
- Kwikset 980 Single Cylinder: You can unlock or lock the Kwikset with one finger, which is ideal for front or back door use in a standard home. It also comes with a full lineup of SmartKey tech, meaning you can re-key the lock whenever you wish and save a bundle on locksmith fees. Yes, it does not have a strike plate but is super-strong and can take endless abuse. A final plus: it fits all standard-size doors of residential homes. Priced at just over $55.
- LockState LS-DB500-SN: This is a smart lock that literally does it all. If you like locks on the “techy” side, the LockState offers one-time use codes, endless programmable features, a remote-lock/unlock capability that lets you control it from your car as you drive to or from home, a clever “auto lock” feature and full reversibility for left- or right-handed doors. Its imposing footprint of 3.5 by 6.5 inches looks nice on just about any door because of the smooth metallic exterior.
The Final Word on Locks
If you’re shopping for a lock, my two cents’ worth of advice is this: Remember that price and quality are not necessarily connected. You can get an awesome product for around $50. Of course, if you want all the bells and whistles that some of the smart locks come with, you’ll spend about $120 or so.
I opted for the ABUS 92/65 for my container home and the Schlage B660P for my standard home. In the end, I spent $200 total for the two locks. They were both super-easy to install and actually add to the look of the front door. The ABUS is huge, heavy and easy to see from a distance. I figure that’s an effective deterrent to potential thieves anyway. The Schlage has a sleek, modern look and is as solid as a rock. We have no more worries about break-ins with these two workhorse locks in place. I’ll post an update after we buy the additional locks for the studio and other container house.