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How We Test Door Locks

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1How We Test Door Locks Empty How We Test Door Locks on Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:08 am


<p>The deadbolts, <strong>electronic locks</strong>, and <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>smart locks</strong></a> that enter labs get kicked, picked, and drilled into oblivion.</p><p><br></p><p>For the kick-in tests, test engineers built a custom jig that allows them to swing a 100-pound steel battering ram at a replaceable section of door with the deadbolt installed. They repeat the test eight times, at increasing heights, or until the lock fails. The models that fail—and at least half do—then go through another test round with a reinforced box strike plate installed on a new lock sample. Again and again, experts have found that this basic do-it-yourself upgrade improves security for any lock.</p><p><br></p><p>For the drilling test, we evaluate how well each lock can withstand attack from a cordless drill. And for the picking test, we assess the internal mechanisms of each lock to see how easily they can be picked.</p><p><br></p><p>All models, including <strong>smart locks</strong>, receive a score in each of the four break-in tests, allowing you to easily compare each lock’s strengths and weaknesses in the face of a physical breach. The only exception is retrofit smart locks. These locks replace only the interior side of your existing deadbolt, essentially adding smarts to the lock you already use. As a result, a retrofit smart lock’s resistance to kicking, picking, and drilling is entirely dependent on the deadbolt it’s paired with.</p><p><br></p><p>Both types of smart locks also get additional testing. We investigate features such as smartphone alerts, remote locking and unlocking, geofencing (the ability to <strong>automatically lock</strong> or unlock the door based on your phone’s location), voice control, shareable electronic keys, logs of who comes and goes, and even tamper alarms. Our testers factor these features into our ratings for ease of remote access, convenience, and security add-ons. We also run through the wireless setup process to see how difficult it is to connect the locks to a smartphone, putting ourselves in your shoes.</p><p><br></p><p>For More Check Our Door Lock &amp; Smart Lock Ratings</p><p>What We Found</p><p>Very few locks we rate earn a high Overall Score, and some locks prove to be far more susceptible than most. Below are a few key takeaways.</p><p><br></p><p>Drills Easily Open Most Locks</p><p>With all except one lock, which is classified as high-security, even an ordinary cordless drill can disable the cylinders in 2 minutes or less. Our drill test on the Medeco Maxum 11*603, which has hardened cylinders, ruined the lock but denied access. So you’d have to replace the lock but not the contents of your home.</p><p><br></p><p>Parts Are Often Inadequate</p><p>All locks come with a strike plate that attaches to the doorjamb. But as we’ve reported in the past, many of these come with short screws that catch only the jamb and not the framing of the house. The kick-in resistance of most locks improves dramatically when we replace a stock strike plate with 3-inch screws and a box strike, which you can buy online for as little as $5. “We think manufacturers should include beefier hardware with their locks,” says lock test engineer, David Trezza. “A lock should be secure without consumers having to buy an aftermarket part.”</p><p><br></p><p>New Technologies Don’t Solve Old Problems</p><p>We find <strong>keypad-operated door locks</strong> to be convenient. These models allow you to create access codes for temporary access to guests and contractors; you can delete the codes when access is no longer needed, without having to change the lock or call a locksmith. This process is even easier with smart locks, most of which allow you to create and delete electronic keys from your smartphone. But many of these <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>high-tech locks</strong></a> are still susceptible to physical break-in tactics, such as drilling and picking.</p><p><br></p>

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