According to FBI statistics, residential properties are more likely to be burglarized than businesses, and 63% of all burglaries result from forcible entries.1 With statistics like that, it’s essential to have apartment locks you can trust.
Defender Security Lock: Effective and Affordable
The Defender Security Lock boasts an affordable price and strikes the perfect balance between temporary and permanent use. Installing it takes just four screws, which means uninstalling it leaves only four small, easy-to-fill screw holes behind. Even better, it can withstand up to 800 lbs. of force, and there are no keyholes to be picked.
We reviewed the top locks on the market, keeping your varied security needs in mind. The Defender Security Lock may be the best overall pick, but read on for insight on specific needs like portability, keyless entry, smart locks, and deadbolts.
The small and discreet–but effective–Defender works much like a door blocker. When it’s in the locked position, it rests in a slot and can withstand up to 800 lbs. of force. To unlock it, you slide it up and swing it out.
There are no keyholes that can be picked, and unlike a swing latch or chain, it doesn’t allow your door to open even a crack, so it can’t be tampered with. At under $10, it’s also easy on your wallet.
It fits most exterior doors, but it’s probably not a great choice if your apartment door fits snugly in its frame, as you might have to chisel out a chunk of the frame to get the security lock to fit. Our research showed that some of these locks come with rough, sharp edges that might require some filing down.
Users also say that the lock loses functionality if you’re using it to lock the door several times a day for more than a year.2
Low price tag
Force rating up to 800 lbs.
3” screws included
Not durable with frequent use
2. Addalock Portable Door Lock: Best for Convenience
Known as the “original portable door lock,” the Addalock is the easiest, lowest impact item on our list. It works like a door blocker, but it’s held in place at the existing strike plate on your door, so there’s no drilling or changing out hardware.
Like the Defender Security Lock, you’ll need to make sure there’s enough room between the strike plate on the door frame and the edge of the door itself for the Addalock to slide through.
Most complaints from customers were about this lock not fitting their entrance doors, so it’s worth the extra time to ensure a good fit.3
If you like the idea of a hands-free, keyless door lock for your apartment, then the 3rd generation August Home Smart Lock is the easiest way to get it. A total of 252 Amazon reviews mention its easy installation.4
If you have a single-cylinder deadbolt on your door (keyhole on just one side, not two), you simply upgrade it with the August Smart Lock by replacing your standard thumbturn with the battery-operated smart device.
The bluetooth lock lets you lock and unlock the door using your phone’s bluetooth connection, and if you have it synced to a Wi-Fi-connected hub like an Echo or Google Assistant, you can even operate it remotely.
Keyed and keyless locks
Doesn’t work on all deadbolts
More Door Locks That Are Worth a Look
We like how secure these door locks are, but their installation is a little more involved than our top picks. Keep in mind that either of these locks can also be used in tandem with the other top locks on our list.
The Kwikset Single-Sided Deadbolt has a thumbturn on the inside for you, and a solid blank plate for everyone on the other side of the door. It sends a clear signal to intruders that there’s no picking your lock, since there’s no keyhole to pick.
It’s ANSI grade 3 rated, which isn’t the highest quality, but it’s designed to work with most standard strike plates. It’s an ideal choice for shared rental properties that need to be locked off from other tenants.
5. Kwikset Single Cylinder Traditional: Best Deadbolt
If you want to lock up your belongings when you’re away from your apartment, the Kwikset Single Cylinder Traditional lock is as sturdy as they come. It has an ANSI grade 1 rating, which is the highest rating for cylinder locks (it’s usually only found in commercial construction).
The SmartKey feature lets you rekey your own lock if a key goes missing, and it makes the lock resistant to bumping and picking. It’s a little pricier than standard deadbolts, but we think it’s worth the investment.
Things to Consider before You Buy
Before choosing a lock, consider whether your apartment security concerns are for when you’re at home or when you’re out.
If you want to feel safer while you’re in your apartment, adding an additional lock to your apartment door that works like a door jammer will do the job. If you’re worried about people using old keys to get in while you’re out, then a full lock replacement might be in order.
Can you change the locks on your apartment?
Permission to change the locks on your apartment depends on your lease. Some leases allow it, as long as it doesn’t cause damage, while others don’t. Before you make a lock change, check with your landlord or your local tenant resource center.
Do I have to call a locksmith to change the locks on my apartment?
It depends on the types of locks you have in your apartment building. Most door knob locks can be pretty easily changed as a DIY project, but mortise locks and electronic locks with a pin code are more complicated and will likely need a professional.
How much does it cost to change the locks on my apartment?
Again, it depends on the type of locks you need to change. Electronic door locks will involve more time, labor, and cost for materials, while knob locks are more common and will cost less. Expect to pay a locksmith anywhere from $30 to $300.5
If you’re locked out, check all possible entry points first for something you might have left unlocked. If you can’t open the door or a window, ask for help from a neighbor, landlord, or call a locksmith. Our favorite method for avoiding this scenario is to hide a key somewhere outside a neighbor’s home or apartment. That way you can always get it, but any intruder who finds it won’t know what door it goes to.
How We Chose the Best Locks for Apartments
Most apartment building dwellers want to avoid upsetting their landlords, so we looked for door locks that could be easily installed and removed with little to no trace. We watched a dozen installation videos to make sure the locks we selected are easy to install, and we read more than 100 customer reviews to ensure we chose the most secure, durable locks.
Amazon.com list price as of 1/3/20 at 12 p.m. MST. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.
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Written by Kaz Weida
Kaz is a journalist who covers home security, parenting, and community and child safety. Her work and product testing in the security and safety field spans the past four years. You can find Kaz in HuffPost, SheKnows, Lifehack, and much more. Her degree in education and her background as a teacher and a parent make her uniquely suited to offer practical advice on creating safe environments for your family. Learn more