J&J Security Services Decodes the Language of Locks and Security Hardware

With technology continuously evolving, it’s hard to keep up with understanding exactly what certain security terms mean. When looking to upgrade your locks and security system, it is best to research each device’s purpose and how they function. It may seem tedious and complex at first, but fortunately most locks use one of six mechanical functions.


  • Deadbolts are used for added security, usually combined with a mortise lock (defined below). It often unlatches with one operation and is installed on doors that are push or pull. Most have an external cylinder which moves the bolt, and a thumbturn or key cylinder on the inside.

  • Electrified locksets are fairly simple, and are used with cylindrical or mortise locks. When this lock system is used, the outside lever is locked but the inside is not, allowing occupants to leave from the inside. This is ineffective in the event of a power failure, and will negatively affect security.

  • Padlocks are not permanently attached to anything else, and can be used for various different entryways. Padlocks come in two varieties: keyed and combination, and does not become unlocked without either, ensuring maximum security.

  • Rim latch locks can be customized, with a rim cylinder on one side and surface mount latch lock on the other. Used frequently in apartment complexes, these automatically lock after opened. They ensure safety as they lock the door behind you so that locking the door is never forgotten. Rim locks are mounted on the inside of the door and run completely through the door into a locking mechanism. They are held in place by screws, and are used on commercial doors and entry glass doors.

  • Mortise locks are similar in function to rim locks, but come in several different lengths and screw into mortise hardware mounted within a door. They are held in place by a set and screw, using a cam to control the locking.

  • Cam locks are usually the locks found in filing cabinets and mailboxes. They come in different lengths and can be used with other locking mechanisms depending on necessity.

  • Lever handle locks are used often in commercial settings. Easier to open than knob locks, they have a push down handle that allows easier access for a person with a handicap.

  • Knob locks are the more recognizable and commonly found locks, and are found throughout homes or are a primary source of security combined with a deadbolt. They are not the best option for external security, as the lock is found in the knob and not the door, making it easier to be broken off with force.

  • Jimmy proof deadbolts are usually found on apartments and double doors. They are a surface mount and require the least  amount of door modifications, and are not able to be opened with force. The lock is attached onto the inside of the door, and installation only requires a hole to be drilled through the door.