Smart security starts with sturdy locks, but even those can fail under the stress of a determined intruder. If you’re looking to beef up your home’s security, door security bars and devices are an easy-to-use, budget-friendly option for any home.
Types of door security devices vary in style, construction materials, and price. The one you choose will depend on your lifestyle, your security needs, and your budget. For this guide we’ve gathered several different types of high-quality options to help you choose the best security device for you and your home.
When shopping for a door security bar, one of your first questions will probably be, How tough is it? We found the Buddybar Door Jammer to be one of the toughest devices out there, but it’s pricey and it can also be tough on your doors if you’re not careful.
Made of 16-gauge steel, this door bar is one of the sturdiest we’ve found. It can hold up to 2,560 pounds of force, putting it miles ahead of its 350-pound competitors. (One video demonstrated the strength of Buddybar by using it to jack up a pickup truck. We don’t recommend it for that purpose.)
Easy-Lock Tension Lever
While you’ll have to fiddle with push-button adjustment on most other security bars, the Buddybar is designed with a lever lock, similar to what you might see on a tension-mounted baby gate. Lift the lever to release the tension and lengthen the bar, then lower it to ratchet the tension for a snug fit between your floor and door handle.
No Plastic Parts
The BuddyBar is made entirely of steel and rubber, so you won’t have to worry about pieces snapping off, like you might with some of the less expensive bars.
At over 8 pounds, the Buddybar isn’t a security device for travel, and if you have trouble lifting, you might have a difficult time setting it up.
A truly durable bar like this one will set you back over a hundred bucks, but we think its top-notch quality justifies the steep price tag.
Tough on Doors
Remember how this bar can jack up a one-ton truck? Well, if you’re not careful, it can also jack your door right off its hinges. Use caution when using the Buddybar, and make sure it’s not too tight or you might damage your hinges or your door handles.
The Nightlock Door Barricade works like a vertical doorstop near the base of your door. It’s made of solid aluminum, and it’s a great choice if you don’t want to mess around with trying to jam a bar under your doorknob. But it’s a more permanent door security solution, so it does require some installation.
Good for Hard Floors
Unlike traditional door security bars that can slip on a hard floor, the Nightlock Door Barricade base plate is screwed into the floor. The vertical barricade rail slides into the base plate, creating a barrier that prevents the door from opening.
Available in Multiple Finishes
We like the variety of color options available for the Nightlock, including bright brass, brushed nickel, and dark bronze.
Easy to Install
To install the Nightlock, you only need to screw in three screws. You can use the screws that come with it, or you can beef up security even more by purchasing three 3-inch #14 steel screws. You’ll probably want a power screwdriver to do the job.
Because the base plate for the Nightlock has to be screwed into the floor, it’s not a good option for renters or travelers.
Only for Swing Doors
The barricade is designed to prevent your door from swinging open, so it won’t work on sliding patio doors.
Because of the Nightlock’s design, you need to make sure you have at least a half-inch of clearance between the bottom of the door and the floor. You might also have some trouble with the device if you have thick carpeting, because you’ll need enough clearance on either side of the base plate to slide the rail in and out.
If you don’t have a ton of cash to spend on beefing up your home’s security but you still want an added layer of protection, the Master Lock Security Bar provides extra reinforcement at a low price. It doesn’t rank as high in quality as our other top picks, but it could be a deterrent and buy you some precious time in case of an attempted intrusion.
Adjustable for Sliding or Swing Doors
You can easily remove the Y-shaped yoke on the Master Lock bar to make it fit securely into the track of a sliding patio door, and vice versa—no tools required.
Easy to Use
The pivoting ball joint on the Master Lock ensures the device has full contact with the floor even if you don’t line it up perfectly.
At less than twenty bucks, the Master Lock is a great option if you’re on a tight budget or you just need an inexpensive, temporary solution.
The Master Lock only weighs about 2.5 pounds, making it easy to handle and store when not in use.
Reports of a Loose Pin
Some users say that the metal spring-loaded pin used to adjust the length of the bar may loosen and allow the bar to collapse and fail.
While the bar itself can withstand up to 350 pounds of pressure, the most common complaints we heard were about the hard plastic yoke and foot. Users say these pieces can fail under pressure or break if dropped.
Some Missing Foot Pads
The Master Lock is advertised to have a padded foot, but several reviewers said their product didn’t come with a cover for the hard plastic foot. The hard plastic can scratch and damage floors, so we recommend contacting the company if you receive a product without padding.
If you want a door jammer that will fit snugly to virtually any size sliding or hinged door, the Guard Dog does double duty. It adjusts between 25 inches and 41.5 inches, with forty different height settings at quarter-inch intervals in between. Its design is similar to the Master Lock, with a pivoting foot and a plastic, Y-shaped yoke at the top, but it is significantly more expensive.
The DoorJammer Portable Door Security Device is made of lightweight aluminum and it’s compact, making it ideal for travelers. It’s easy to use—just slide the lip under the door, then screw the foot down until it makes snug contact with the floor.
When it comes to kids, security is just as much about keeping them in as it is about keeping bad folks out. Unlike other devices that can be easily pushed aside by a curious toddler, the Ideal Security Patio Door Security Bar has a child safety lock that prevents a child from lifting it and getting out. The bar is designed specifically for sliding patio doors, but be careful when using it—users say it can accidentally fall down into a locked position and lock you out.
Many door security devices require you to stoop and bend to get a good fit, so they can be harder to manage as you get older. The LineBacker Door Bar installs across your door at waist level, so it’s perfect if you have difficulty kneeling. With 16-gauge steel, the bar is one of the strongest on our list, but at only 6 pounds, it’s still light enough to manage. Keep in mind that the Door Bar Pro is a slightly more expensive option, and it requires installation.
Can I use door security bars on my windows?
It depends on the size and type of window. If you have a wide window that slides horizontally, then a sliding door bar jammer will work as long as it fits. We don’t recommend using a bar jammer on a window that lifts vertically, because the bar will be standing on end and could fall out easily.
Can I use door security bars to secure my doors when I’m not home?
Door security bars are designed to be locked from the inside. You can secure them before you leave the house, but you’ll have to exit through a door that doesn’t have a security bar, like your garage door.
How do I prevent my door jammer from sliding on my floor?
Make sure that both the foot of the door jammer and the floor are clean and free from debris. This will create more friction between the surfaces and keep the foot from sliding. Double-check the bar’s positioning to ensure the foot is in full contact with the floor and the yoke is placed firmly under the door’s handle.
Why do I need security bars if I already have good door locks?
If you’ve lived in your home for a while, chances are good that you’ve probably given out some keys for babysitters, housekeepers, house-sitters, or dog walkers. Landlords and handymen also have keys to apartments and rentals. Using a door security bar guarantees that when you’re home, the only people coming through the door are people you choose to allow in, even if they have keys. A security bar is also just a good way to add an extra layer of protection to exterior doors.
Are there other ways to give my entry doors more security?
One of the weakest points on any exterior doorframe is the strike plate, or the place where the deadbolt goes into the frame. Replacing the screws in your strike plates with 3-inch screws is a great way to increase your door’s security. Another smart option is to install a reinforcing kit like the Strikemaster II to prevent kick-ins and forced entry.
How We Chose the Best Door Security Bars
To evaluate the best door security bars and devices, we studied the best products available, weighed user reviews, and compared each device. To learn more about how we write reviews, check out our methodology.
Written by Alexia Chianis
Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more