'Consumer Reports' Tests Door Locks

7:06 AM, May 12, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (Consumer Reports)--Burglars break into more than half-million homes every year. The most common tactic is kicking in the door.

Consumer Reports just tested 19 deadbolt locks. Besides a kick-in test, technicians spent weeks sawing, picking, wrenching and drilling to see how secure locks are.

"If you have a standard lock like this, choosing any deadbolt is going to be a big improvement," says John Galeotafiore of Consumer Reports.

Several locks come with features like fingerprint access and keypad entry.  But Consumer Reports found many don't provide the protection they promise--even one that costs $250.

"Unfortunately, a few hard kicks or using a cordless drill in the right spot can get past most of the locks we tested," says Galeotafiore.

A significant problem--weak strike plates--says Galeotafiore.  "Most of the locks come with a strike plate like this that attaches to the door frame and the bolt goes into it. The problem is that they're very thin metal, and the screws are short, so it can't attach to the home's framing."

All too often the strike plates failed Consumer Reports' tests.

If you already have a deadbolt, Consumer Reports says there's an inexpensive way to strengthen it. Replace your strike plate with a heavy-duty one. The magazine recommends the Mag-High Security Box Strike that goes for $10.

Of all the locks tested, only one passed all of Consumer Reports' tests. It's the Medeco Maxum Deadbolt that costs $190.  It's the only one Consumer Reports tested where a drill couldn't get through.

Testers also recommend the Falcon Model D241 for $55.  While it isn't drill resistant, it did well in all of the other Consumer Reports tests.

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