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Identifying different types of door lock

When calling a locksmith it is important to know what type of lock needs fixing or replacing. Use our visual guide below to identify your particular lock type.

What are the different types of door lock? Use our guide to help identify what particular type of lock you need fixing or replacing when calling a locksmith.

uPVC Door Locks

Find out more about : uPVC Door Locks, Lock Cylinders, Yale Smart Locks

Wooden Door Locks

Find out more about : Wooden Door Locks, Rim Cylinders, Yale Smart Locks

Composite Door Locks

Find out more about : Wooden Door Locks, Rim Cylinders, Yale Smart Locks

Aluminium Door Locks

Find out more about : Lock Cylinders, Rim Cylinders

Images © Aldridge Security

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Door Lock - Cylinder

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From the different types of locks, deadbolts are the ones most commonly used for front doors. They are generally accepted as being more secure than the standard spring lock because they cannot be opened unless a key is used to rotate the lock cylinder to the open position.

They usually comprise two subtypes:

  • Single cylinder,
  • Double cylinder.

Single cylinder locks use a key on the outside and a thumb turn on the inside.

On the other hand, double cylinders require a key both on the inside and the outside.

Euro Profile Cylinders

Types of locks - eurocylinder lock

As you may guess from their name, these locks are most common in Europe. In fact, European locksmiths agreed on a standardized lock over a century ago.

These locks are divided into three different categories:

  • Single cylinder – only operable on one side with the use of a key,
  • Double cylinders – a key can be used on both sides,
  • Thumb turn – a key-operated locking cylinder on one side and a thumb turn on the other.

Cam Locks

You may have seen cam locks already, but you never gave them enough importance. They are largely used for securing filing cabinets, for example.

The interesting fact is they can rotate to 90 or 180 degrees. They can also be set-up to rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise.

Additionally, based on their length, they can be combined with a variety of tailpieces so that multiple locking mechanisms interact one with the other.

Digital Locks

Digital security locks have been used in hotels and cars for a while now. However, only recently have they started to be more widely used for households.

They can be opened or closed either by using a pin code or a swipe card. Another advantage they present is that they are easy to ‘rekey’, since the lock mechanism doesn’t need to be changed.

Code Locks

This type of locking where a sequence of numbers or symbols is used to open the lock is still a favourite nowadays.

One of the main advantages is they allow over 10,000 combinations, so it’s highly unlikely for someone with bad intentions to simply guess your code.

However, if you have more than a few of these locks, keeping track of all the associated codes can turn out to be a difficult task.

Mortice Locks

You can find these locks in homes of all ages in Europe. Mortice locks are the ones requiring a hollow (called the mortise) to be cut into the door where the lock will be fitted.

Mortice locks are are durable, dependable, and are available in a variety of sizes.

An old mortice lock may display problems and issues that are difficult to diagnose, so you will most likely have to resort to the help of a specialist in the event of an issue.

Smart Locks

yale smart locks

These are the newest types of locks with the most features. This new technology can connect to the Internet and can be remotely activated with ease.

Smart locks no longer require a key or a thumb turn, as everything can be activated through the push of a button on your smartphone. Additionally, they can integrate with your smart home ecosystem, thus offering increased comfort and convenience when compared to a regular type of lock.


These are probably the most common types of locks out there. They are used in a wide array of situations and offer basic security for goods and properties. The first laminated padlock was patented in 1924.

There are two different types:

  • Combination padlocks require a specific number sequence in order to unlatch the locking mechanism,
  • Key-based padlocks require a key to be opened.

types of locks - padlocks

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