The 5 most common types of locks . - Blog | Handles Inc.

The 5 most common types of locks.

The most common types of locks are:

  • mortice locks
    • lever
    • cylinder
  • Electric locks
  • Surface locks
  • Smart locks
  • Magnetic locks

1) Mortice locks

Mortice means to “cut into” these locks are cut into the door, mainly lever and cylinder types

  1. lever

A lever lock involves a series of levers (small shaped plates about 2cmx2cmx2mm thick) usually between three and five, that must slot into the correct place for a bolt to be released. The key for this lock type is shaped and pushes the levers into the correct position for the door to be opened

  1. cylinder

The Cylinder is located through the lock case and secured by a retaining screw through the face of the lock case. The key rotates a cam which in turn drives the deadbolt in the lock case into a prepared keep in the frame of the door thus securing the door in place.

Two of the biggest draws to cylinder locks is the customization options available and the varying levels of security options offered. Complex masterkeyed systems can be put in place to give the correct access to everyone in need. Or something as simple as deciding to place thumb turn knobs on the bedroom doors while still having keys on the external doors. The possibilities are endless. 

2) Electric Locks

Electric locks are used mainly when the door is far away or in apartment blocks.

An electric lock is a lock that can be opened by means of electricity, this usually means pressing a button on your intercom or a stand alone button found on a remote control. most electric locks still have an integrated cylinder to open the door manually by key in the event of a power outage. This also allows electric locks to be part of complex masterkeyed systems.


A surface lock is used when the door thickness is not enough to allow the lock to be morticed into the door. This was very common in the early part of the 2000 century when doors used to only be 30mm thick, the rim lock was widely used.

Today we use surface mounted electric locks for security on external gates to protect the entire house.

4) Smart LOCKS

Smart locks are locks that must receive a specific set of instructions from an authorized device for it to be locked and unlocked. These instructions are usually transmitted wirelessly, and they adhere to wireless communication protocols. THESE ARE often used in conjunction with smartphones or other connected devices.

5) Magnetic locks

An electromagnetic lock, magnetic lock, or maglock is a locking device that consists of an electromagnet and an armature plate. Typically, the electromagnet portion of the lock is attached to the door frame and an armature plate is attached to the door. The two components are in contact when the door is closed. There are two types of Mag lock, fail safe and fail secure.

Failsafe means the lock opens when the power supplied to them is lost.

Fail secure means the lock remains locked when the power supplied to them is lost.

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