What is an Entrance Lock?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

An entrance lock can refer to any lock on a door entrance. This could be a sliding door that leads to a backyard, a front door of a home, or a lock in front of an office. There are a couple of different types of these locks, and preference for them may depend on type of door, appearance desired, and needed security.

Some entrance locks call for a key to be inserted into the entrance side of the handle.
Some entrance locks call for a key to be inserted into the entrance side of the handle.

Most of the time an entrance lock is open or locked with a key, but sometimes this is not the case. There can be doors that open only by inputting a security code or personal identification number (PIN). In hotel rooms, many times the entrance operates by inserting a card into a nearby space, and this a called a key card. This same method of opening doors could be used in businesses that require certain levels of security to enter various part of the building. Key card entrance could be at doors marking an entrance or they might be at many different doors or sections of a building.

Some entrance locks are easier for burglars to break into than others.
Some entrance locks are easier for burglars to break into than others.

Less technical approaches to the entrance lock have been in existence for a long time. Some of the simplest call for the key to be inserted into the entrance side of the handle. When properly inserted and turned in the right direction, the lock on the other side unlocks easily, or with difficulty if the lock or key are in poor repair. Simple door handles are easy to find, and many can be uncomplicated to install if the latch fits easily into the latch plate. Without this feature some cutting of the door or adjusting of the plate may be necessary for a good fit.

Sliding doors usually have an entrance lock that accepts a key. On the other side there is a single handle, which when pushed up or down locks or disengages the lock. Many people add additional safety elements to sliding doors, since they are notoriously easier to open without a key. There are small bars, screw on devices and other things that provide a second defense against burglars. Of course, sliding doors are usually made of glass, and though heavy, it is still more fragile than most metal or wooden doors.

Another type of entrance lock people mention is not attached to the handle of a door. This is the deadbolt, and sits higher up on the door providing an extra level of security. Many people have two locks on their doors, which may or may not be opened with the same key.

The deadbolt is one of these two locks, and like security devices on sliding doors, it helps to provide extra resistance against break-ins. People may also add chains to the inside of their door, but these can prove problematic if a person with a right to enter the home can’t get in because the door is chained. Also, the chain cannot be closed from the outside. To engage it’s necessary to leave the home by another exit.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


Animandel - In reference to your question about whether all locks are created equal, the answer is no. I have seen security demonstrations given by members of the police and fire departments.

The demonstrators hit the door locks with large hammers and other heavy objects. Some locks were able to hold up against greater force than others. Also, some locks were more difficult to pick or pry open.

However, price is not always the determining factor of how good a lock is. Sometimes you are paying for the way the lock looks rather than the way it protects against break-ins.


Animandel - A better quality lock by itself is not adequate security against a break-in. The lock is just part of a more intricate system that includes the door and the door frame. A great lock on a poor constructed or poorly installed door is a waste of money.

With sliding glass doors, make sure you have security glass in combination with a quality frame and good sliding door lock. Otherwise, a burglar can break the glass and enter your home without having to touch your expensive lock.


I have often wondered whether all deadbolts and entrance door locks in general are created equal. Should I pay the extra money for more expensive locks or will the less expensive ones do the same job and leave me more money to do something else with to boot?

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