Door hardware can secure your home and add beauty and convenience. Learn about types of door hardware and their functions and finishes to choose the best for you.
When shopping for door hardware, there is some basic information you need to know.
Look for designs that resist attempts to defeat an entry lock, such as picking, bumping, prying and drilling.
When deciding which type of lockset best suits your needs, consider the following points:
Electronic locks provide security and convenience. Rather than relying on a key for operation, you use a numeric keypad, touch screen or keychain remote. You can also find biometric locks that read your thumbprint. Most models include keys for backup and many offer no-touch, automatic locking after a set period of time. Look for locks that let you create temporary access codes that you can send to guests or service providers. Some electronic locks detect the presence of a registered smartphone or key fob and unlock with a touch.
Electronic locks that integrate with home security or home automation systems — sometimes called connected locks — give you even more convenience and functionality. Depending on the hardware and the system, you can:
Some electronic door locks sound alerts when someone tampers with the lock or attempts forced entry.
Door knobs are a common version of keyed entry hardware, offering traditional design and operation. They feature a latch that disengages when you turn the knob. Locking the knob prevents the latch from being disengaged from the outside without a key. The inside portion of the knob has a thumb turn to lock and unlock the door. Some models feature easy-to-use push-button locking on the inside and locks that disengage when you turn the inside knob.
You can find knobs in several different shapes, allowing you to give your doors a bit of individuality.
Door levers are designed for easy operation — they don't require the grasping and twisting motion of knobs. Pushing the lever down disengages the latch. As with knobs, locking the lever prevents the latch from being disengaged from the outside without a key. The inside portion of the lever has a thumb turn or push button that allows you to engage the lock. Some models disengage the lock when you manipulate the inside lever, offering a simpler means of exit.
Door levers are left-handed, right-handed or universal. To determine which you need, look at the door from outside the house or room. If the hinges are on the left, look for a left-handed or universal lever. If the hinges are on the right, you need a right-handed or universal model.
Deadbolt locks create a second locking point for your door when paired with a locking knob or lever, giving you an additional measure of security. A deadbolt is either a single-cylinder or a double-cylinder model.
Some knob and lever sets include deadbolts.
Single-sided deadbolts operate only from the inside. They may have a blank faceplate on the door exterior or no exterior surface at all.
Handlesets add a bold, decorative touch to an entry door. They include an exterior handle, a thumb-operated latch and a matching deadbolt. A knob or lever operates the latch from the inside. You can find handlesets with right-handed, left-handed and universal levers. The included deadbolt may be single- or double-cylinder, depending on the model. Manufacturers may offer matching, non-functional (dummy) handlesets to complement the functional hardware on a double door. If you're replacing a handleset, look for adjustable models that make it possible to use the existing installation holes in the door.
Mortise locks include a latching knob and a deadbolt. They provide a classic look, but in addition to boring holes for the lock and the latch elements, you must also cut a pocket — the mortise — into the door for the body of the mechanism.
Other types of door hardware are available to improve security:
Door hardware is available in finishes to match or help define your home decor. Polished brass finishes work with many home styles, and you can find pewter and brass finishes designed to provide an antique appearance. Look for brushed metals for a contemporary look and chrome hardware for modern appeal. Some finishes are designed to change their appearance with wear.