Single Cylinder vs Double Cylinder

Mortgage and Lending with Investment Properties

Deadbolt locks are a great way to secure your property against intruders. While regular locks can be hammered, jimmied or picked to gain entrance, good quality locks will often deter burglars from gaining entry into your property. The cylindrical lock has gained widespread acceptance over the years and become a standard for both residential and commercial applications. These locks come in two main types: single cylinder vs double cylinder.

Single Cylinder vs Double Cylinder

This article highlights the differences between the single cylinder and double cylinder door locks. It features the benefits and drawbacks of the two types of door locks for when you’re thinking of installing a new lock or changing your current lock.

Single Cylinder

Single cylinder locks are more common than double, but this trend is starting to change. As the name implies, single cylinder locks have one cylinder while double cylinder locks have two. Doors fitted with a single cylinder lock is locked or unlocked using a key from outside the premises but they don’t require a key to lock or unlock the door from within the house in case you lose your key. Instead, a single cylinder will have a thumbturn-style lever.

Single cylinder locks are efficient and economical. They’re not only cheaper than their double cylinder counterparts but also easier to install. It goes without saying that they’re also more convenient as you don’t need a key to operate the lock from the inside. A simple thumb-turn allows you to lock or unlock the door from the inside. This is a nice feature if you don’t know of many locksmith tips and tricks.

Double Cylinder

Double cylinder handle sets, entry knobs or deadbolts require a key for gaining access to or locking the door from both inside or outside of the property. That means they don’t feature a thumb-turn mechanism.

So why would you purchase a double cylinder lock and forego the convenience of a single cylinder alternative? Well, the main reason is enhanced security. This is particularly true for doors that have adjacent windows that are within arm’s reach or those that have glass panels on the side. An intruder could easily unlock a single cylinder door by reaching inside from an adjacent window or breaking the glass to unlock the door manually. As such, you can eliminate these problems by investing in a double cylinder lock.

However, the double cylinder design has a few drawbacks. In the event of an emergency such as a fire, occupants will be unable to exit the premises through double-cylinder locked doors if they don’t have the correct keys. This is often an avoidable cause of injury or death in house fires. Mitigating this risk involves leaving the key near the keyhole or locking the deadlock only when there are no occupants in the premises.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about updating the locks in your home, it’s important to consider single cylinder vs double cylinder locks for door locking mechanisms. Both types of door locks have their own benefits and drawbacks so it comes down to preference. Also, be sure to look for a mark of certification as not all deadbolts meet industry standards.


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