When you’re buying a door, the hardware should be one of the first things you think about. As pretty as a front door may look, it needs to serve the practical purpose of protecting your home or office against intruders.
That’s where handles and locks come in.
Collectively your door handles and locks are called entry hardware. They’re the first line of defense when it comes to stopping intruders from entering your home. However, your choice doesn’t just come down to security. If the hardware doesn’t match the door’s style, you end up with a misaligned mishmash that leaves a terrible first impression on anyone who visits your house.
You have some important door hardware choices to make. Here we cover everything you need to know about locks, handles, knobs, and finishes so you can choose the PINKYS handle and lock set that’s best for your door.
Door Hardware Explained
Every door comes with hardware. These are the little bits and pieces that combine to make the door work as it should. For example, the hinges are crucial pieces of hardware. Without them, your door doesn’t swing. And even with them, the door can be less secure if the hinges are poorly installed, or they don’t fit your door.
Beyond your hinges, you have door locks and handles. The nature of this hardware varies depending on your stylistic choices. Some doors come with classic deadbolts. Others are operated using keys, with no bolt to be seen. And some more modern doors offer keyless entry that uses electronic technology incorporated into smart locks to offer protection to your home.
Whatever the case may be, all of these things that aren’t the door itself fall under the door hardware umbrella. And when it comes to locks and handles for exterior doors, making the right hardware choices makes all of the difference for style and security.
The Types of Door Locks and Handles
Lever handlesets combine a long handle with a deadbolt lock designed to prevent access into the property. They’re among the most common door lock and handle combinations because they’re flexible enough to install on most doors. These handles are also easy to use as you pull the lever down to release the deadbolt, assuming you’ve unlocked the door beforehand.
The majority of these handlesets come with a keyed deadbolt, which naturally means you need a key to unlock them. If your key fits the front door hardware, you can open and enter the door. If it doesn’t, you’re not getting in.
When it comes to design, lever handlesets are available both as two-piece kits that keep the lock and handle separate and one-piece sets that pull all of the hardware together to enable a simple installation. The classic look of these sets, combined with the familiarity, makes them a popular choice for most people who want to combine security with a traditional aesthetic.
Thickness and complexity are the hallmarks of a mortise handleset.
These locks come with a wider deadbolt than those used in typical door handlesets. This thicker deadbolt means mortise handlesets are commonly the door lock of choice for commercial applications. However, they see some residential use, particularly in multi-occupant apartments that require another layer of security beyond each apartment’s front door. For example, the big security door you need to go through to get into the apartment building may have a mortise lock, with the doors into each apartment featuring another type of lock.
Mortice handlesets usually offer keyed entry, with many having an emergency egress feature. This feature allows you to turn the handle and the deadbolt at the same time, allowing for a quick escape. Due to their complexity, the installation of these handlesets is best left to the professionals.
Knobs and Knobsets
A door lock set doesn’t have to come with a handle. Some come with a knob, which you grip and turn to release the latch so you can open the door.
Doorknobs are popular because you have more choice with the design than you do with other locksets. If you want a simple and sleek knob, there are plenty available. If you prefer something more ornate for your entry set, knobs can come with many different types of appealing designs and finishes.
Like standard door handlesets, knobs can come in combination or separate varieties. With the former, a keyed deadbolt is built into the knob, allowing you to turn both at the same time. These types are often used for garages, with the keyhole being in the middle of the knob. Separated knobs and locks allow you to pair your knob with a deadbolt, giving your more choices.
While often stylistically brilliant, door knobs come with a potentially fatal flaw. The need to grip the handle tightly to turn it presents challenges for those who have conditions that affect their grip, such as arthritis. As such, a knob may not be the best choice for an entry door into an older person’s home.
Thumb Latch Handlesets
These handlesets combine keyed entry with a thumb-operated latch. The key releases the door’s deadlock, with the latch releasing a secondary smaller lock. Some people prefer these types of handlesets because they offer an extra layer of security. There are also versions that come with the latch alone, which is useful for interior doors where the user requires privacy but doesn’t want a deadbolt blocking access.
Again, these sets are available both as one-piece handle and lock combinations and as more complex handlesets in which each piece of hardware is separate from the others. Though convenient, they require a certain degree of coordination to operate the handle and pressure-sensitive thumb latch simultaneously.
What You Need to Consider When Choosing Your Door Lock
There’s always a balance to strike between security, style, and budget. As much as you may want a heavy-duty lock for a residential property’s door, that lock will look out of place or be unwieldy. On the flip side, having a basic single-cylinder lock may not do the job because a thief can “bump” the lock’s tumbler, granting them easy access into your home or workspace.
For a good middle ground, look for a lock that offers both a thumbscrew and a deadbolt. The deadbolt provides most of the protection, with the thumbscrew staying locked in place separately. If someone cracks the deadbolt, there's another layer of protection to fight through.
It’s also a good idea to check the lock’s grade. A Grade 3 lock offers higher security than a Grade 1 lock, though that security comes at a higher cost.
For now, check out PINKYS’ range of door handlesets, which include sets that combine thumbscrew and deadbolt locks.
Have you ever looked at your existing locks and thought they seemed out of place compared to the rest of the house?
Other people will see that too. And there’s only so much you can do with a stylistically misaligned lock by applying different finishes to make it match the house. Ideally, your lock will match the look and feel of the property.
Lines and shapes are your key concerns when choosing a lock style.
The handle should mesh with the front entryway’s lines and shapes as much as possible. For example, if you have a big iron door, a door knob with a deadbolt may be a better choice stylistically than a lever handleset. But if you have a simple wooden door, an ornate iron or steel door knob will look strange and out of place.
Ultimately, your own sense of style influences your handle and lock choices. At PINKYS, we offer handle and lock sets in the lever, knob, and several other styles.
This consideration is pretty simple:
If the handle and lockset don’t fit your entryway, you create a security concern.
Door handing and door size are the two things to consider when fitting a lock. For handing, look at where the door’s hinges are situated. Your handle and lock usually go on the opposite side. For example, if the hinges are on the left, you need a right door lock.
As for door measurements, we look at the steps for getting an accurate measurement below.
Exterior or Interior Door?
You don’t need the most extravagant locks in the world for interior doors. The locks are difficult to install, and you’re unlikely to want to have every door be a barrier when you’re wandering around inside your home. Even so, you may want simple locks for some doors, such as the bathroom or bedroom doors.
Exterior doors are the first line of defense for your property, meaning you should invest in a stronger lockset for these doors. However, your front door, in particular, also influences a person’s first impression of your home. It’s here where the balance between style and security comes into play. You’ll usually invest more in an exterior lock, both stylistically and in terms of safety, than you would an interior lock.
The ease of installation matters if you intend to fit the lock yourself. For example, replacing existing locks with new locks should be fine, assuming the locks are similar.
However, fitting a more complex lock, such as a mortise handleset, requires a professional touch. Bringing a professional into the equation means you’re spending extra money. Still, you can feel more confident that they’ll do the job well.
Keyed vs. Keyless Locks - The Pros and Cons
To key or not to key, that is the question.
It’s a big question, too, because there are marked differences between locks that require keys and those that don’t.
With a keyless lock, you usually need a fob, key card, or unique code to open your door. These locks use complicated technology to enhance security, which may make them attractive if your building is a repeated target for intruders.
Keyed locks are more familiar.
You put a key in, turn, and the lock pops open. But that basic description doesn’t do justice to the strength of keyed locks, especially the more modern varieties.
You have to make a choice between the two. And we’re going to help you make that choice by weighing up the pros and cons.
- Keyed locks typically cost less than keyless locks because they don’t use complicated electronics.
- When it comes to style, keyed locks are the better choice because you have a huge range of options.
- A heavy-duty keyed lock is exceptionally difficult to crack.
- Installation of keyed door hardware is usually simpler than fitting an electronic keyless lock.
- If you want multiple people to have access to the building, you need to create a separate key for each person.
- Some people don’t like carrying keys around, especially if they live minimalist lifestyles.
- There’s always a chance you lock yourself out or lose your keys, which means a costly appointment with a locksmith to open your door.
- You don’t have to carry bulky keys around with a keyless lock. You’ll have a fob or key card for some, with others letting you tap in a keycode to enter your property.
- If you have a smart lock, you can control who accesses the property by creating custom or personalized cards and codes.
- DIY installation isn’t usually possible with a keyless smart lock. You’ll usually need to call in a professional to handle the job for you.
- You're limited when it comes to style with a keyless lock.
- Keyless locks are more costly than keyed ones, which often makes them an impractical choice for general residential use.
- If you forget your pin or lose your card, you’re locked out and have a serious problem on your hands.
Choosing a Finish for Your Handle and Lock
A beautiful finish makes your handle look unique and ensures it meshes well with your home’s entryway. But the wrong finish leaves you with a handle that looks weird and out-of-place compared to the rest of your home’s exterior.
For example, you may have an ultra-modern home with sharp edges. In these cases, a lever handle with a sleek black finish is often the best choice. You could opt for a door knob with a brass finish, but its rounded edges will look strange when stacked up against the rest of the house.
Of course, the opposite is true for homes that have ornate iron doors. A black handle may look okay, depending on the door’s style. But you’ll often find that a brass or bronze finish suits the overall aesthetic better.
At PINKYS, we offer door handlesets in the following finishes:
In the case of the latter option, we use the oil to create a weathered and attractive bronze look for a handleset that features modern locking technology.
You can find all of our door handles and locksets in the PINKYS collection so you can see which finish suits your home best.
How to Measure a Door to Fit a New Handle
You need to know that your handleset will fit your door before you buy.
If you use imprecise measurements when fitting your handle, you create vulnerabilities. A thief can easily jimmy a lock open if it doesn’t sit flush with the door or if the handleset has gaps that they can lodge their tools into.
Happily, you don’t need a ton of equipment to measure a door for a lock. As long as you have a measuring tape, you’re good to go. Assuming you have one, follow these simple steps to measure your door for its new lock.
Start With Thickness
Thickness is the easiest thing to measure for your door. Just open the door and measure the edge.
Though this is a simple task, precision is key here because the differences in door thickness are slight. Most U.S. residential doors are either 1 3/4 inches or 1 3/8 inches thick. That’s a minuscule difference, so measure multiple times to ensure you’re confident in the number you come up with.
If you have a non-standard door, you may find that yours is even thicker. Again, multiple measurements ensure you don’t make a mistake. You’ll often find that newer homes have thicker doors, with older ones being thinner.
Measure the Boreholes
Every door has a pair of boreholes:
- Cross bore
- Latch bore
Open your door and look at your lockset. The big hole the set sits in is your cross bore. Your handleset needs to match this bores size, or you need to cut a new cross bore, before you can fit it. If you can’t find a handleset to match the cross bore, you may need to replace your door.
Now, look into the cross bore.
You should see a hole drilled into the cross bore, which is your latch bore. The lock’s latch slides into this hole once you’ve fitted your handleset into the cross bore.
Most standard latch bores have a 2 1/8-inch circumference, though this isn’t a given. You have to measure at least twice to check that the lock you but fits your latch bore. For cross bores, the dimensions vary depending on your door and the type of lock you had previously. Again, repeated measurements are the key to ensuring you don’t end up with a lockset that doesn’t work.
Measure the Back Set
The door’s back set isn’t a physical piece of hardware. Instead, it’s the distance between the center of the door’s cross bore and its edge. Standard American doors tend to have back sets of either 2 3/8 or 2 3/4 inches.
However, you may run into challenges if you have a non-standard door. Older doors are often thinner, which makes their back sets smaller. More modern doors, or doors used in commercial buildings, are often thicker than standard residential doors. Measure multiple times because the differences are usually fractions of an inch, making it easy to make a mistake.
Check the Faceplates
The metal plate that sits flush against your door’s edge is the faceplate. If you operate the door’s handle or lock, you should see a latch or lock poking through the holes in this plate.
Notice that we said “flush” then.
The faceplate has to sit flush against your door’s edge so that it doesn’t have any gaps. A gap between the door and faceplate is an open invitation for thieves to use their tools to jimmy behind the plate so they can get to your lock.
How do you know which faceplate to choose?
Look at the plate’s edges. They’ll be either rounded or square, with your choice of a new plate having to match these edges.
What are you looking for in a door lock?
You want to feel comfortable inside your own home, which means the lock has to be secure enough to stop intruders from breaking in. You also want peace of mind when you’re out and about, meaning the lock must be tough enough to withstand the tools that thieves use to gain access to homes.
However, you also want your look and door handleset to offer a sense of style. If you have traditional iron doors, you need handles that look the part and don’t clash with the door’s style. The same goes for those who prefer the modern touch, as an ornate handle won’t do the job when stacked up against the sharp edges and sleek design of a modern home’s frontage.
That's where PINKYS comes in.
We offer iron and steel door handle and locksets in several styles. You can find lever handlesets in the PINKYS range, with many including thumbscrews that give you an extra layer of security. If you’re looking for something more traditional, our range of door knobs combine a classic look with modern manufacturing standards to give you a lock that offers the best of both worlds.
Our wrought iron locks are specifically designed to offer the perfect balance between strength and style. Explore our selection of locks today, and you’re sure to find something that suits your door. If you have any questions, a member of the PINKYS team can provide the answers when you get in touch via our website.