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Cheap Locks: The Good, Bad And Ugly

You know that phrase: “They just don’t make them, like they used too”? As far as locks are concerned, that phrase is very true and telling.

That’s not to say that the locks available today are of a lesser quality, than the ones built years ago. In fact many locks today, offer conveniences and benefits that were unheard of just a few, short years ago. But many manufacturers have sacrificed quality, in order to meet certain price points. When you buy a home for 200K – 400K, is your best choice to lock it, with a $10 cheap lock? Would you be surprised if that $10 cheap lock didn’t hold up against a physical attack by a burglar? Locks are more affordable than ever, but what have they cut back on, in order to make the cost so low. The answer is quality, and if you are sacrificing quality on cheap locks, your basically throwing your money away.

As locksmiths, we open a large amount of locked doors, on a daily basis. The easiest ones to open, are the ones someone bought from the hardware store. The tolerances and mechanics are loose, making it easy for us to manipulate them. Most of these locks are opened in less than a minute, without leaving a scratch. It makes you wonder, what’s the point? Most people will often ask for some kind of upgrade, after seeing how simple these locks are to open. The same goes for the hardware store deadbolts. Instead of being a solid piece of brass, with a large bolt and “throw”, their components are made from plastic and Die-Cast. Materials like that, are not enough to stop someone from kicking in a door (which is the main function of the deadbolt).

So where is the middle ground? The locks sold at locksmith shops can be expensive, because most locksmiths won’t sell and warranty the cheap hardware store locks. And the cheap ones at the hardware store won’t hold up and provide enough physical protection. Well, here is what one of our locksmiths did, which we found to be the best use of both types of locks.

His particular house only had three exterior doors. He equipped all three, with the high quality deadbolts from our locksmith shop. He then placed low quality knobs beneath them, in order to cut down on cost and matched them to the same key as his deadbolts. The reason for doing it this way, was because his main security is coming from the deadbolt, not the doorknob. By installing a really good quality deadbolt and making sure to lock it each day, the door is secure. The doorknob is only used as a secondary locking device and the main protection against physical attacks, falls on the deadbolt. We considered this a great compromise on price, without having to sacrificing his home security.

If you are interested in upgrading deadbolts, contact a Flying Locksmiths location near you and get pricing by email or over the phone!