If you’re trying to boost your home security, one of the first places to look is at your windows. In fact, almost 30% of burglars enter a home through an open or unlocked window.
Wondering what you can do to make your windows a little safer? You’re in luck. Here’s our guide to aftermarket window locks, including a list of top product picks.
1. Momentum Brands Sliding Window Lock
These small aluminum clips are easy to install and compatible with most traditional side-sliding windows. The setup requires no tools—you simply turn the clip’s thumb screw at the edge of the window track to stop the window from opening. If you’re looking for an easy solution on a budget, these clips should work nicely.
This two-pack window wedge can be adjusted on a loop strip to open to the desired distance. Installation does not require tools or nails—just a strong Velcro strip that adheres to the window above the internal sash. If anyone tries to open the window, the wedge will stop them in their tracks. And, because the device requires no holes in the window frame, it’s a good option for renters who aren’t allowed to make modifications to their windows.
For use on sash and sliding windows, the self-locking BurglaBar hinge is powerful. The lock is made from transparent plastic, so it’s one of the more discreet options on this list. It attaches directly to any clean window or sliding glass door, and the hinged arm can be placed up or down to allow for the window to open fully. Several customer reviews praise the BurglaBar for its durability, so if you want an option that lasts, this could be your best bet.
The Prime-Line Sash Lock can only be opened by a key, making it extra secure. It’s constructed of die-cast zinc, and it attaches the window frame with sturdy screws. The system—which can be installed on either vertical or horizontal windows—works well with various window materials, including aluminum, wood, and vinyl, but it will require a more involved installation process. It’s also recommended that the corresponding key be stored nearby, ensuring that it’s easily accessible if you ever need to make an emergency exit through the window.
Similar to the chain-lock system common on front doors, the Canzak Window Restrictor Cable limits how far a window can open. Installation may require a drill, but the process is straightforward—you’ll simply screw one end of the cable device to the window frame and the other end to the window itself. While this cable-style lock can be used on any window type, it’s one of the few that are compatible with casement windows. Additionally, as the lock is keyed, the advice to keep the key nearby in case of emergencies applies here, too.
The base of the Safety 1st ProGrade Window Lock fastens onto a window frame, and the device’s moveable arm can be locked to prevent the window from opening more than a few inches. A green and red indicator shows when that locking arm is open or closed, letting you easily verify whether the window is secure. And while you will need tools to screw the base onto your window frame, the added security is worth the effort.
The Windo Bully lock system, which you may have seen on TV, is a highly reliable product, as evidenced by its stellar reviews. It’s similar to the Cresci Window Wedge mentioned above—the tape-lined locking mechanism sits on the windowpane, preventing the window from opening its full distance. Additionally, though the little device can withstand 300 pounds of pressure, it’s easy to remove from the inside, giving you total control over when the window can be opened.
This steel, brass-plated vent lock is designed for vertical sliding wood windows—either single or double hung—and older windows that often don’t work with traditional window locks. Once mounted on the frame, near the bottom of the upper sash, the sliding stud stop can be used to keep the window from opening fully. It’s a simple but effective solution.
No one is immune from a household property crime: there were nearly 1.6 million burglaries in the United States in 2015, with the average loss totaling $2,316 per burglary. Even if you regularly use your windows’ built-in clasps to fasten them shut, your home could be vulnerable—most standard latches can easily be forced open with a bit of pressure.
Secondary aftermarket window locks are the answer to this dilemma. If used properly, they can help protect your home against costly intrusions.
Which Rooms Need Window Locks?
Every window in a private home needs securing. Burglars may not be deterred by second- and third-story windows, as items you’d typically have in your yard—ladders, patio furniture, trash cans, grills, trees, or even a child’s playhouse—can provide easy access. Basements windows, too, are often overlooked by homeowners, but they’re easy to access and often allow would-be burglars to stay hidden.
How Do I Install Aftermarket Locks?
There’s a wide range of aftermarket window lock styles out there, so the exact setup will vary depending on the product you pick. However, most aftermarket locks are designed for easy installation, so you’ll likely be able to tackle it in an afternoon. Carefully follow the installation instructions included with your aftermarket lock, or consult an online resource like Home Depot’s project guide to get a general idea of how to perform a variety of window lock installations, including keyed systems and ventilating locks.
Top Aftermarket Window Locking Products
From bars to track locks to cables, here’s a roundup of the top aftermarket window lock options for homeowners.
Other Window Security Measures
In addition to setting up an aftermarket lock or two on your windows, there are a few other steps you can take to increase your home’s security. First, check your yard for anything that could be used to climb up to a window—trim tree limbs away from the house and make sure all ladders are locked away. Install some bright motion sensor lights around your main windows, too, as burglars generally stay away from bright lights. Finally, clear away any shrubs or woodpiles near basement windows; if left as they are, thieves could use them as cover.
Though the thought of an intruder coming into your home through your window is alarming, take comfort knowing that you can reinforce your window security. Check out some of the products listed here to help ensure that your home is as safe as it can be.
*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend products. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen products.
Written by Hillary Johnston
A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more