Locks come in many sizes and shapes but primarily serve the same function -- offering security for property, belongings or documents. Determine the amount of security required and consider how the lock will perform in an emergency before purchasing a lock.


There are two basic types of padlocks: keyed and combination types. Key types can be rekeyable and non-rekeyable. A non-rekeyable padlock opens with a key that cannot be changed. Keyed padlocks can also be key retaining or non-key retaining. Turning the dial according to the correct number sequence opens a combination padlock. The dial on the combination padlock can be a single dial or multiple dial lock. Either type of padlock can be purchased with a shrouded shackle, which helps prevent the lock from being cut off.


Deadbolts come in three basic types: standard single sided, double deadbolt and lockable thumb turn. A standard single sided deadbolt uses a key on the outside and a thumb turn on the inside of the door. This common type of deadbolt is often found on the front door of a home. The double deadbolt has keyholes on both the outside and inside, which means you must use a key to both open and lock the door. The lockable thumb turn is the most versatile of the deadbolts. It has the thumb turn on the inside but can also be locked using the key. If you use a key to lock the deadbolt, the thumb turn alone cannot unlock the door.

Cam Locks

Cam locks are mostly found in filing cabinets. They come in different lengths but mainly display variations in the metal piece on the back, called the tailpiece or the cam. The cam works with the locking mechanism to lock and unlock.

Knob and Lever Handle Locks

Knob and lever handle locks are found in a doorknob or an interior lever handle. A knob lock on the front door of a house is usually accompanied by a deadbolt lock. The security of a knob lock is low because the knob can be broken off. The lever handle lock is typically found inside a home or business. This type of lock is featured on a handle that the user pushes down, rather than on a knob that must be held and turned. The security of this lock is the same as that of the knob lock, but the handle design is more accessible for those with disabilities.

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