Door chains are a popular security addition to exterior doors. They allow you to see and talk to someone without opening the door fully. However, a door chain is not an effective tool against forced entry. For the most part, it provides a false sense of security. So if door chains aren’t your cup of tea, or you want something that offers more protection, you can use one of the following products instead. By clicking on the name of the product or the picture you can see the product on Amazon with the current price, customer reviews and more.
A security swing bar lock is like a door chain without the chain. The swing bar lock consists of two main parts. A metal bar is screwed to the door and an interlocking peg is screwed into the door frame.
That means it works exactly the same way, but instead of a chain, it has a swing bar. It provides the benefit of speaking to someone without opening the door completely.
You can also open the door for ventilation without the fear of unauthorized entry or kids/ pets going outside through the open door. Unlike the door chain, kids find it hard to learn how to use a door swing bar.
Plus, a modern security swing bar lock such as Defender Security Swing Lock Bar is easy to install and does not leave scratches on your door, unlike a door chain. It can be repeatedly used and reinstalled on a different door.
The following video shows the easy installation and a security bar lock at work:
The Defender Security Swing Bar comes with only 3 screws. However, we strongly recommend using 6 long screws for installation. Long screws make forced entry much harder as they help the swing bar lock stay in place for longer.
The security swing bar is an impressive alternative for a door chain because its heavy-duty design is more resistant to brute force. A strong push can easily detach a door chain, or open the door wide enough for a forced entry. A swing bar will hold at least long enough that you can call the police.
Nonetheless, there are special tools and methods to unlock a swing bar lock from the outside, as you can see in this video. Although these were originally designed for use by the hotel staff, they are also used by burglars. This is why a swing bar should be an additional security measure, not the only one that you’re using.
Originally designed for sliding doors, this super popular lock can be used on any door, including outswing and inward opening doors. It consists of two pieces. One piece goes on the door frame/wall and the other goes on the door itself.
The main assembly has a cylindrical loop lock that you can slide into the catch to lock the door from the inside. For additional security, some people choose to install two of these locks: one at the top of the door and another at the bottom.
The only downside of these locks that we found (through reviews) is that the screws that come with the lock aren’t long enough to hold the lock securely in place. Something you might want to consider if buying this lock is purchasing longer screws. This door chain alternative along with long additional screws won’t cost you more than $20.
This door chain alternative doesn’t allow you to half-open the door to see or talk to someone, so that’s the main downside.
The following video demonstrates how this lock works:
Another great alternative for door chains is this childproof Home Security Reinforcement Lock. Unlike the other alternatives, this lock consists of a single piece. It is installed in the door frame and the latch firmly attaches to the door keeping it tightly closed.
Watch this video to see this lock in action.
This lock can endure about 800lbs of inward force so it is pretty secure against forced entry.
Once again, just like the other alternatives, you will need a trip to the hardware store to buy longer screws. Multiple reviewers have claimed that the lock is sturdy and easy to install but the screws that come with the lock are of inferior quality so make sure to get some extra in addition to the lock.
This is a miniature sliding barricade that attaches to the door frame. It is easy to install. It comes with all the screws and the key required for installation. The rubber pads that are included in the package are designed to protect the door from scratches and damage.
It is easy to use since it is a solid one-piece. It would be very difficult to break it using brute force. Unless the door falls apart and comes down with the frame (which is highly unlikely), it’s impossible to break in with this device in place.
We recommend using long screws to install it. That is if you think the screws that come with the lock are not long enough to keep it in place for longer. Plus, we wouldn’t recommend you install it too high. The height of the lock provides leverage to the applied force, making it more prone to falling out.
Here is a video of how to install this little “big thing” for security at the height you want.
Although you can see a little chain in this door lock, it is not the same as the traditional door chain. The main difference is that it is portable. That means you can take it with you and get that extra security for a hotel room door.
This lock doesn’t require installation. Simply attach it to the lock and clip the chain as an additional locking system. The downside (though not very important) is that you can’t choose what height you want to attach it to. It always goes next to the main door handle.
Another interesting use of this lock is for a toilet door. Many households (especially with kids) prefer not to have a lock in the bathrooms. This is because kids can accidentally lock themselves. So, if you have guests coming over, you can use this lock for extra privacy.
Although there is a chain, this alternative doesn’t function exactly like a door chain. You will have to open the door to see and talk to someone at your door if you are using this door lock.
Here is a video that shows how easy it is to use this portable lock.
It’s also a security product you can mess around with to make more aesthetically appealing. For example, you can paint it in the colour of your front door. It can also be used as a behind-the-door coat hanger thanks to its sliding pegs.
It is easy to install and only takes a few screws to be driven through. It comes with everything you need. And there are no bad reviews for the screws or the product, despite of numerous (mostly positive) reviews and ratings.
If your budget allows you to spend up to $80 on additional security for your front door, this is your best bet.
Here is a video to show how strong this device is and how to install it.
You can use it on your (inward opening) front door, garage door, or even sliding patio doors. It does not need any installation or tools. It is ready to use as soon as it arrives and completely portable.
Honestly, we are not so sure about using this in a household with kids though. Kids tend to run around fast! So this may be a tripping hazard.
As far as storing it goes, it has a tiny loop on the side that you can use to hang it in a coat closet when not in use.
Here’s a short video on how to use it effectively:
The door braces like the security bars work well with inward swinging doors only. The door braces that accommodate doors that open out are unheard of. As mentioned above, a door jammer that is fixed on the floor provides maximum security against forced entry. There is no amplification of force because of it being at the very bottom of the door.
The following video shows how strong this little piece of equipment makes your front door against brute force.
Similar in function, but a different product is the Door Jammer/Brace. This jammer might be preferable to you because it doesn’t need to be screwed into the floor. It is portable and can be put away when not in use or used on a different door.
Consider it similar to a door brace or a door jammer. The difference between the two is that the door brace works at the space under the door whereas this simple device is installed at the strike plate.
This security device, like all other door chain alternatives, works well against kick-in and other forced entry efforts.
Keep in mind that the sturdiness of the door frame is the most important factor after all. There is no use in adding extra locking systems and door jamming devices if your front door frame can’t hold against brute force.
Read our earlier post about the Most Secure Front Doors. Couple any of these doors with any of the additional security devices mentioned here and you are good to go.
The following is a short tutorial on how to install this device and how it works.
10. Door Buddy
That makes it an alternative for a door chain. And you can remove it when you like since it doesn’t need any tools to install or uninstall. This product is mostly purchased by parents of small children and pet owners due to its convenient design.
Here is a short video of how to install a door buddy door latch:
Any of these locking devices (except for the door buddy!) will make the intruders job more difficult, if not outright impossible. For security purposes I highly recommend getting a security bar or a door jammer/barricade type device.
On top of that, don’t forget that the strength of your main lock, the door’s core and the door frame also plays a large role in how well it can withstand forced entry attempts. So I hope you’ve found this selection of door lock alternatives helpful and that you will select the one that fits best to your requirements.