Photo of a locksmith installing a deadbolt lock on a home front door

Why you need a deadbolt lock for strong Home Security

In this article we will cover what a deadbolt is, versus a latchbolt, why it’s stronger. And the importance of using it with a strong door and frame. How it really boosts your home security by making your doors solid and hard to break through.

The Two different types of bolt locks and how they work

Latch bolts and deadbolts are the two most common types of bolt locks used for home security. Latch bolts function on a spring mechanism, whereas dead bolts function on a manual key or thumb turn.

Latch Bolt/Spring Bolt

latch bolt type lock pictured alongside a strike plate, showing angled surface

Latch bolts, also known as spring bolts are a very common type of bolt inside locks. They are very often found on doors, and work with a spring loaded mechanism. The bolt is held in place by a spring pushing against it, keeping it extended.

When you close a door, the angled surface of the bolt runs along the strike plate and gets pushed back into the door. This compresses the spring. As soon as the door is fully closed, there is now space in the strike plate for the bolt to open again, and the spring pushes it, locking the door in place.


  • Convenient, fast to use


  • Lower security than a deadbolt, can be opened easier with a flat tool



Deadbolts are another type of bolt, commonly found on doors requiring higher security such as front doors. Unlike a latchbolt which is kept in place by a spring, the deadbolt is kept in place by a manual rotating mechanism. This means it is not possible to open it with a flat tool by sliding between the door and the frame.


  • Better security, not possible to simply open with a flat tool


  • Less convenient, doesn’t automatically lock and requires manual action

Why is a deadbolt is more secure than a latchbolt/springbolt?

Since the deadbolt relies on a key or a thumb turn to roll through the door into position, it cannot be “jimmied” open with a flat tool like a credit card or knife blade. However, this means it must be used in combination with a solid door and a reinforced strike plate. The strike plate is the metal part on the door frame that receives the bolt from the door frame.

Because a deadbolt can only be opened by turning the lock, many intruders will resort to forcing the door open through blunt force. A weak, flimsy door made of soft material or even hollow, will give way easily and crack at the lock.

A stronger, more solid door wont break nearly as easily, requiring significantly more force. However, if the strike plate is not very strong/thick, or it is attached to a weak frame, that side will give way instead. So you must use a deadbolt in combination with strong door, a reinforced strike plate and an equally solid frame.

Potential drawbacks of a deadbolt

The biggest downside of using a deadbolt is that it is doesn’t unlock automatically and must be twisted. If your deadbolt is key-activated from both sides, rather than a thumb turn on the inside, it can present a hazard if there is a fire.

It is recommended to keep a key near, or even inside the lock from the inner side, so that anyone trying to escape a fire can easily open the lock and not suffer burn injuries or death.


Deadbolts are far more secure for your home than latch bolts. They should be used on all vulnerable doors/entry points such as front, back, and side doors. Ideally you should also use it on any internal doors into your garage, as the garage can be a conduit to the rest of the house. However you must be aware of the fire hazard in case you cannot open it from the inside, and make sure everyone know where the key is close by.

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