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Dead bolts are defined as bolts engaged by turning a knob or key. Typically dead bolts are installed on the external doors of homes. A dead bolt is a locking device that cannot be moved to the open position except by moving the lock cylinder with the key. A dead bolt can make a door more resistant to entry without the correct key. Dead bolts come in three primary varieties such as:

  • Single Cylinder Dead bolts
  • Double Cylinder Dead bolts
  • Captive Thumbturn Dead bolts

Single cylinder dead bolts are found in most American homes. They use a key cylinder on the outside and a thumbturn on the inside to open or close the lock. The primary weakness of these dead bolts is if they are near a window, simple tools may be used to gain access and open the door using the thumbturn.


Contrary to the single cylinder dead bolt, the double cylinder dead bolt uses a key cylinder on the inside and the outside of the door to solve the issue of a possible break in. These have the clear disadvantage of always requiring a key to open the door from the inside if it is locked. This can pose a significant problem in a fire or other emergency situations.

Another type of dead bolt is a cross between the single and double, and is called a captive thumbturn dead bolt. It features a thumbturn on the inside of the door that works like a normal single cylinder dead bolt, except the thumbturn can be locked using a key so it cannot lock or unlock the door. This means in a residential situation, the thumbturn can be left in an unlocked position while people are inside the house, and it will operate exactly like a single cylinder dead bolt. After the thumbturn can easily be locked so that even if someone has access to the door from the inside, the dead bolt cannot be unlocked. This type of dead bolt provides maximum flexibility and security in most situations.

All dead bolts that we sell are re-keyable, however, products from some vendors are easier to re-key than others.

Most residences have standard security locks such as Schlage® or Kwikset®. Usually these brands are equipped with standard security cylinders, even in their grade 2 and grade 1 offerings.

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