Deadbolt Vs. Latch Lock: A Comparison & Recommendations


When securing your home, you have many lock options to choose from and today we’ll compare two very popular options: deadbolts and latch locks. Both of these lock types have their unique features, which is why it can be challenging to decide which one is right for you. This article will compare the two and help you decide which one is the best choice for your security requirements.

What Is A Deadbolt Lock?

A deadbolt lock is a locking mechanism that consists of a bolt and a keyway. It requires a key to lock and unlock it. 

The bolt is inserted into the doorframe. More specifically, it extends into a strike plate on the door jamb. It is held in place by either a spring-loaded mechanism or gravity. The keyway and the key allow you to turn the bolt in order to secure the door. 

Deadbolt locks are considered more secure than other types of locks, such as latch locks. Apart from a classic cylinder deadbolt, they are also available with different security features, such as electronic keypads and fingerprint scanners.

Deadbolts are more difficult to “bump” open than latch locks, but they can be defeated by “jimmying”– applying force to the bolt to move it out of the strike plate. They are usually made of brass, bronze, or stainless steel and are available in various finishes.

One of the main benefits of using a deadbolt lock is that you need a key to open it from the outside. It makes them an ideal option for most exterior doors. However, there’s a difference between single and double cylinder deadbolts that you should be aware of: 

A single cylinder can be opened from the inside by turning the door knob/handle. In comparison, a double cylinder deadbolt requires a key to unlock from both sides. So a double cylinder can provide an extra layer of security if you have a glass door or a window near the door, since it can’t be opened by merely breaking the glass and turning the door knob.

Another benefit of using a deadbolt lock is that they are typically harder to pick than other types of locks. It is also a good option for homes with young children, as it’s more difficult to unlock than a latch lock.

Types of Deadbolt Locks

Single Cylinder Deadbolt 



This deadbolt has a keyway on the outside and a thumb-turn on the inside. The downside of using this type of lock is that the door can’t be locked from the inside, and it can be opened from the inside without a key. It’s also easier to lockpick.

The convenience factor of single cylinder deadbolts is that you don’t have to lock them from the inside to secure the door. You simply close the door and it’s “locked” immediately for anyone trying to get in after you. They’re also much more affordable than double-cylinder deadbolts.

Kwikset Single Cylinder Deadbolt is a good example of a single-cylinder. It costs around $15, and it’s one of the best-selling deadbolts on the market. It features a patented SmartKey Security re-key technology, which allows you to rekey the lock yourself in seconds without removing it from your door.

Double Cylinder Deadbolt


If you are looking for an extra level of security, you can choose a double cylinder deadbolt. This type of deadbolt has a keyway on both the inside and outside.

It requires a key to unlock both from the inside and the outside, providing an extra security level. Kwikset 985 Double Cylinder Deadbolt is a standard double cylinder deadbolt and costs around $60. 

What Is A Latch Lock?

Latch locks are simple locking mechanisms that consist of a latch and a strike plate. The latch is inserted into the doorframe, and the strike plate is mounted on the door. It requires a lever to unlock it. Latch locks are not as secure as deadbolt locks, as no bolt extends into the door frame.

Latch locks do not have a deadbolt but instead rely on a spring-loaded bolt that fits into a strike plate mortised (or cut) into the door jamb. The force of this spring keeps the bolt in place until either rotating the knob or lever releases it. You can also release it by depressing a button with an object like a key. The key turns the tumblers until they are all in line, which allows the pins to align and the bolt to slide back, opening the door.

These locks can be opened from the outside if enough force is applied to the knob or lever. This act is known as “bumping”. Latch locks can be made of various materials, including brass, bronze, and stainless steel.

Latch locks are typically used on interior doors, such as bedroom or bathroom doors. You can use them on exterior doors, but they should be used in conjunction with another type of lock, such as a deadbolt lock. One of the benefits of using a latch lock is that it is straightforward and ideal to use for children or seniors that are having difficulty with deadbolts. And they are on average less expensive than deadbolt locks.

Types of Latch Locks

T-Handle Latch Lock 



This latch lock is easy to use. It has a T-handle that you can use to turn the latch. The main benefit of using a T-handle latch lock is that it’s effortless to install and use. This type of lock is typically used in trucks, trailers, securing drawers, toolboxes etc. 

Buyers Products L8815 T-Handle Latch Lock is an example of an effective T-handle latch lock. It has a zinc die-cast construction with brass plating and it’s quite sturdy. It costs under $30 at the moment of writing.

Slide Bolt Latch Lock 



This type of latch lock is more secure than a T-handle latch lock. It has a slide bolt that you can use to turn the latch. The main benefit of using a slide bolt latch lock is that burglars find it more challenging to pick. However, the downside is that it’s more difficult to install.

RST-008 Combination Locking Bolt Lock is a perfect example of a slide bolt latch lock. It features a steel construction with a chrome finish. This combination lock is very versatile, and it can be easily installed on gates, shades, fences, cupboards etc. It costs around $20.

Deadbolt vs. Latch Lock: Which One is Better?

Each lock type has its own set of pros and cons. A deadbolt is typically seen as more technically sound because the bolt extends into the doorframe, creating a tighter seal and making it harder to pick. They tend to be made of more robust materials.

Deadbolts can also be locked manually, which is advantageous over latch-based locks. Latch bolts are typically made of weaker materials and are automatically locked. They’re easier to pick and less secure. However, they are generally easier to install and use than deadbolts for some people.

If you’re looking for a secure lock for exterior doors of your home, office, or business space, a deadbolt is a way to go. Latch locks are better for interior doors where security is less important. But if you want the added peace of mind that comes with knowing your door is locked tight, opt for a deadbolt either way. Whichever route you choose, make sure to install and use your locks correctly to deter would-be burglars.

The Most Effective Solution

To increase the security of your home or business, consider using a deadbolt in addition to your latch lock. The most effective solution is to use a deadbolt lock in conjunction with a latch lock. This way, you get the best of both worlds; the security of a deadbolt and the added security of a latch lock. If one fails, the other serves as backup.

Keyless, smart locks are another option to consider. They offer the security of a deadbolt lock with the added benefits of notifications and remote locking/unlocking via an app. Kwikset Kevo locks is one of the best in this category. However, as with all smart locks, the price is a bit on the high side as it costs around $250. But if you’re looking for a high-tech solution a keyless lock is the way to go.

Peter Boné

Chief editor of Security Latest with 5 years of real security work experience. I'm also a family man with wife and two sons. When I'm not turning homes into fortresses, the Boné family is usually on the Nintendo or on California's best hiking trails.

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