5 Best Door Locks for Apartments and Renters

We selected the top door locks that are easy to install without angering your landlord or risking the loss of your security deposit.
Written by | Updated January 7, 2020
Best Overall
silver door reinforcement lockDefender Security Lock
  • 4-screw installation
  • Easy to use
  • 4-screw installation
  • Easy to use
Best for Convenience
red addalockAddalock Portable Door Lock
  • No-impact installation
  • Portable
  • No-impact installation
  • Portable
Best for Keyless Entry
August Smart Lock 3rd GenAugust Smart Lock
  • Fits existing deadbolts
  • Hands-free operation
  • Fits existing deadbolts
  • Hands-free operation

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. 

Compare the Best Apartment Door Locks

Price
Drilling Required
Lock Type
Best Overall
Best for Convenience
Best for Keyless Entry
Best Price
Best Deadbolt
silver door reinforcement lock red addalock August Smart Lock 3rd Gen Kwikset 667 Single-Sided Deadbolt w/Exterior Plate in Polished Brass Kwikset 99800-0097 980 Single Cylinder Traditional Round Deadbolt Door Lock Set featuring SmartKey Security in Iron Black
Defender Security Lock Addalock Portable Door Lock August Smart Lock Kwikset Single-Sided Deadbolt Kwikset Single-Cylinder Traditional
$17.99 $29.95 for 2 $149.99 $13.22} $43.38
Yes
No
X
No
X
No
X
No
X
Door jammer Door jammer Smart deadbolt Deadbolt Deadbolt
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon Viiew on Amazon

Data effective 1/3/2020. Offers and availability subject to change. See full disclaimer.

5 Picks for Best Apartment Door Locks

1. Defender Security Lock: Best Overall

Best Overall
silver door reinforcement lock

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

Pros

  • Low price tag
  • Easy installation
  • Force rating up to 800 lbs.
  • 3” screws included

Cons

  • Sharp edges
  • Not durable with frequent use

2. Addalock Portable Door Lock: Best for Convenience

Best Convenience
red addalock

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

Pros

  • Portable design
  • Easy installation
  • Low price tag

Cons

  • Doesn’t fit all doors

3. August Smart Lock: Best for Keyless Entry

Best Keyless Entry
August Smart Lock 3rd Gen

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.

Pros

  • Keyed and keyless locks
  • Bluetooth functionality
  • Easy installation
  • Reliable
  • Customer support

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Doesn’t work on all deadbolts
  • Requires batteries

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.

4. Kwikset Single-Sided Deadbolt: Best Price

Best Price
Kwikset 667 Single-Sided Deadbolt w/Exterior Plate in Polished Brass

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

Best Deadbolt
Kwikset 99800-0097 980 Single Cylinder Traditional Round Deadbolt Door Lock Set featuring SmartKey Security in Iron Black

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.

FAQs

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

How do I secure my apartment’s sliding door?

There are a wide variety of sliding door locks and door security bars you can purchase to secure your sliding door, and many don’t require drilling holes. 

What do I do if I’m locked out of my apartment?

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. 

Check out our full methodology for more about how we review products. 

Related Pages on SafeWise

Sources:

  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, “2018 Crime in the United States
  2. Amazon, “Defender Security Lock Customer Reviews
  3. Amazon, “Addalock Customer Reviews
  4. Amazon, “August Smart Lock Reviews
  5. Home Advisor, “How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Locksmith?

Disclaimer

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.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

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

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  • homenow.io

    good point about not only keeping a back-up key but keeping it by a neighbor