How the Most Common Door Locks Function

There’s countless types of lock types that are commonly used today – some of which are based on incredibly ancient technology. Since door locks were built in ancient Egypt millenia ago, they have evolved exponentially – however they usually operate according to the same basic principals. Here’s a guide to how the most common door locks function, as prepared by the expert door lock installation team here at DKNY Locksmith.

Pin and Tumbler Locks

These common locks have a series of spring loaded pins that are housed within cylinders. When a key is inserted in, it presses the springs down, aligning the lower and upper pins on a track that’s called the shear line. When the shear line is fully clear, the key can easily turn. When the wrong key is inserted, it will be misaligned at at least a single pin, blocking the shear line and preventing the tumbler from properly turning.  

Tubular Locks

These unique pin and tumbler locks have a circular key. There’s a rectangle shaped notch on the key that matches a similarly shaped hole on the lock. Tubular locks are usually found on objects that are left in place for long periods of time like vending machines, ATMs, or display cabinets.  

Mortise Locks

These locks are installed into mortises, a type of pocket cut inside doors. Mortise locks usually use simple latches but sometimes they use high security deadbolts. They offer massive levels of durability and security.  

Rim Locks

These locks are usually found on older houses, but aren’t commonly found in newer homes. This is some of the oldest lock technology that can be witnessed today, and are usually mounted directly on the surface of the door. These locks usually use a rudimentary latch, with ward obstructions inside the keyhole that block the wrong key from being used.  

Electronic Locks

This newest lock technology utilizes an actuator to bring the mechanical lock parts in place using a small motor – that’s in turn activated through an electrical impulse, which is triggered by a keypad code, an electronic card reader, or a remote token sensor. The lock remains shut until it receives the proper electrical signal. However, manual bypasses are available in order to maintain your security in the event of power loss.