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6 Different Types of Locks for Sliding Doors

Close up photos of locks for sliding door.

We all need to be careful when it comes to our property and personal safety. This often means installing new locks and taking extra precautions to protect our valuables.

Burglary and theft statistics have gone down over the last 10 years, partially due to the availability of home security products. But that is not to say that the problem has been eradicated.

We still must do our due diligence to keep our homes safe, so they do not look attractive to someone that wants to take your iPads, phones, computer, gaming systems, tvs and jewelry. Having secure door locks, safe garage entryways, window locks, and sliding door locks are critical in keeping your home secure from theft and burglary.

An FBI study identified that 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. is the most common time for burglaries to occur and July and August are the most common months for break-ins, this could be because it is a popular time of year for vacations. The fewest burglaries occur in February.

Another frightening statistic is that a whopping 51% of burglars return to the scene of their previous crimes. While they may not break into the same home, they may hit the same community, especially if they got a good haul the first time.

Here are a few statistics from 2019 that may shock you and hopefully lead you to take added security measures:

  • 88% of burglaries happen in a private home
  • 77% are property crimes
  • Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the US and Canada
  • 3 out of every 4 homes will be broken into within the next 20 years
  • More renters experience home break-ins than homeowners
  • Only 13% of burglary cases are ever solved
  • Over 2,500 are stolen each day—this equal 2 care per minute

Check Your Home, Is It Safe?

A thief breaking into a house through the sliding glass doors.

According to a study by the FBI, in 2019 home burglaries occur every 13 seconds. Is your home safe? After reviewing the statistics below, you may want to do a walk around your home and check all the possible ways someone could enter your home from the outside.

Here are some of the most common ways that a burglar will enter an unprotected home:

  • 34% of burglars will gain entry through the front door
  • Going through a first-floor window is preferred by 23% of burglars
  • 22% go through a back door
  • 9% access the home through a garage entryway
  • 4% of burglars go through unlock entries such as a sliding door
  • 2% of not-so-smart burgers decide to enter from the second floor, I guess they like the challenge!

Many burglars feel giddy when they find a home with sliding glass doors as many people take great care to lock up their homes but forget to latch their sliding glass doors. Even if they are locked with the latch that comes factory installed, they are fairly easy to access. So, you should consider alternative locks to ensure your home is safe.

When Did Locks Gain Popularity in History?

Locks play an important role in history. As humans began accumulating property and goods, they needed a way to protect them. As early as the Middle Ages, 1100 to 1000 BC. They were first found in Ancient Greek writings; the Romans adopted locks but began making them with metal instead of the wooden bolts the Greeks created.

The Celts also began using locks, a smaller sliding style bolt that was positioned inside a wall or door and contained protruding holes that would “catch” on top of the bolt. Scandinavians in the Viking Era adopted the use of locks, many of these ancient type locks are still used and can be found on old farm buildings throughout Scandinavia.

Today our locks are much more sophisticated, but the purpose is still the same, to protect our valuables.

Are Sliding Glass Doors Safe From Burglars?

A locksmith fixing the lock of a sliding glass door.

Sliding glass patio doors are extremely popular as they let the sunlight into your home, but are they safe? The answer is “NO.” Burglars love it when they see a home with sliding doors, it is like an invitation to enter your home and take anything that suits their fancy.

Most sliding glass doors use latches, not secure locks like we use on every other door in the home. These are not a good safety feature and even the novice thief can easily open factory-installed sliding door latches.

Short of getting an alarm system that will alert a security team if the glass is broken or the entry is compromised, there are some options that are easy to use and install, even if you don’t have a lot of DIY skills.

There are many different safety locks on the market, it is just a matter of determining which option is best for you.

Safety Locks for your Sliding Door

There are many different types of locks to choose from, but one thing is certain, you should have an extra lock on your sliding glass door. Typically, the locks that come with sliding doors are not the most reliable locks and do not pose much of a challenge for an experienced burglar.

Here are some popular types of locks for sliding doors and the pros and cons:

Toledo Locks

Sliding Patio Door Lock : Security Hardened Keyed Bolt : Uses Yale Lock Keyway : White : Available Keyed Alike : by TOLEDO

These locks are heavy duty and will stop burglars from getting in.

Pros: They are HEAVY duty and resistant to bolt cutters and hacksaws. They are very versatile and can be used on folding doors, accordion doors, closet doors, and sliding doors. Toledo locks are also affordable and are easy to install with tools you already have at home. There are really no cons to this particular product.

Lion Locks

Lion Locks Sliding Door d Locks from Ebay.

Source: ebay

One of the best things about Lion-style locks is how easy they are to install.

Pros: There are no tools needed and no holes to drill. This makes them the perfect choice for renters, and they can be installed and removed easily. They are fastened using simple thumbscrews. They are installed in the door track to prevent the door from moving. They are very affordable and are often sold in packs of ten at any home store.

Cons: While it will protect those from the outside looking to get in, they can easily be removed inside, so if you are using this tool to keep kids and others inside, it can easily be removed. If not tightly secured, youngsters can remove them so if you have a pool, you may look for more secure options.

Security Bars

Ideal Security BK110W Patio Door Security Bar Child-Proof Lock, Adjustable 26-47 inches for Ventillation, Large, White

These are an extremely easy security option for sliding doors.

Pros: Security bars sit horizontally on the doorframe to block the door from sliding. When not needed, it can be lifted off the track and set on the other side of the door. It will block those trying to gain access from the outside but can be easily removed from the inside, which can be good and bad.

It is a great secondary lock; it is affordable and is difficult for toddlers to move. It is also adjustable sliding from 47” to 75”, so you can open the door partially when needed.

Cons: This is a pretty reliable option, but it can often loosen somewhat when jostled.

LockiT Double Bolt Sliding Door Lock

Lockit! stainless steel patio door deadbolt locks from Lowes.

Source: Lowes

You will need some tools including a drill to install this product.

Pros: The LockiT door lock can be placed anywhere on the doorframe, so if you have small children in the home, you can install it high up on the frame where they are unable to reach it. It is an affordable way to gain extra protection and will turn your sliding glass door into a high-security door.

The product contains all the hardware needed and instructions.

Cons: This is a somewhat permanent solution and does require a drill. So unlike other security solutions, you will need to take some time and use a drill for installation.

Mortise Locks

Prime-Line E 2199 Stainless Steel Mortise Lock - Adjustable, Spring-Loaded Hook Latch Projection for Sliding Patio Doors Constructed of Wood, Aluminum and Vinyl, 3-11/16”, 45 Degree Keyway, Round Face

Mortise locks are spring-loaded locks in steel or aluminum housing. You should be able to install with only a Philips head screwdriver or a drill if you want to make it easy on yourself. The lock is 1.125” in depth, .5” in width mth and 3.688 in height.

Pros: These are exceptionally durable locks and have a hook lock and a 45-degree keyway. They are fast and easy to install and will work on patio sliding doors made from wood, aluminum, and vinyl.

Cons: This is another permanent installation as you will need to drill or screw-in mounting holes, so if you intend to move the item, you will have a bit of patchwork to do to conceal the holes.

Security Pin

Defender Security U 9858 Sliding Patio Door Lock Pin, 2-5/8-Inch, Chrome Finish

This is probably one of the easiest and most cost-efficient solutions on the market. Security pins can also be used on windows.

Pros: Installing a security pin is about as easy as it gets. Drill a hole in the frame of the stationary door and the overlap of the moving door, install the steel pin through both holes making the door impossible to move.

Cons: The pin is attached to a chain, so in rare cases, the chain may break, but this still should not impact the safety of the door since the pin will stay in place.

Other Security Options

We previously mentioned having a professionally installed and monitored alarm system in place. And certain, if you have the budget for it, this is a great idea. You would have to be a pretty stupid burglar to continue to break in once the security alarm goes off.

In most cases, they will just move to a different home that does not have an alarm system.

I know many people that have security signs in front of their homes to deter possible burglars. There is no way to tell if they have a security system installed or even if it is activated, but if a burglar sees that and turns the other way, it has done its job, whether it is functional or not.

Some people are fearful that instead of disabling a lock on a sliding door, a burglar might just throw a brick through the glass and gain entry through the broken glass door. Some manufacturers make non-breakable glass. So, whether or not a burglar tries to break the glass, they are unable to do so. This type of glass is available for sliding doors as well as windows.

If you don’t want to go to that extreme, there is a safety film that makes glass harder to penetrate and holds shattered glass in place. This helps deter intruders but is also good in areas that experience severe storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

Remember burglars are lazy and they must do their smash and grab jobs quickly, they are not going to remain on your property if their entry is thwarted, they will just move on down the road to a home that is easier to enter.