Consumer Reports Pushes Door Locks to Their Limits, Finding Lack of Security

January 15th, 2020 by Kyra Thompson

“Most break-ins are committed by criminals who come right through the front door, according to Department of Justice statistics,” says Consumer Reports (CR) author Daniel Wroclawski in an article highlighting the best and worst door locks, as tested by the magazine’s engineering team.

As a way to help consumers find the most durable locks, CR conducted tests on several dozen and provided a list of the top five picks and four “models to skip,” based on a rating system.

The CR lab conducts drilling, picking, kick-in and reinforced box strike plate kick-in tests, according to the publication.

The kick-in test is conducted by slamming a 100 lb. steel battering ram against a locked door eight times, raising the ram higher with each repetition or until the lock fails. CR test engineer Misha Kollontai said the main cause of failure in the brute force tests was most often the short screws used to attach the strike plate, which he added is easy and not too expensive to reinforce for a significant increase in resistance.

The drill test evaluates how well a lock withstands an “attack” from a cordless drill, while the picking test assesses the internal mechanisms of the lock.

The overall results of CR’s lock testing are “unsettling,” according to the resulting Buying Guide evaluation on the publication’s website.

“Many of the deadbolt locks tested by Consumer Reports lack the level of protection you might want or expect,” reads the page. “In our labs, a few well-placed kicks or a couple of minutes under assault from a cordless drill were all it took to defeat almost every lock in our ratings.”

However, there were a few that outshone the others and CR listed these briefly, highlighting brands that made the list, such as August, Medeco, Schlage and Yale.

Organized by category these are CR’s top five picks:

  1. For Best Standard Door Lock, CR picked Yale’s premier single-cylinder YH82, saying that it held up well against kick-ins and received the highest score of any standard deadbolt for drilling. However, other locks were more resistant to picking.
  2. For Best High-Security Door Lock, Medeco Maxum 11*603 was rated as the strongest across all categories. It rated excellent for drilling, withstood kick-ins and was difficult to pick.
  3. For Best Electronic Door Lock, testers picked Schlage Touch Keyless FE375 CAM, for its excellent resistance to picking, kick-in and drilling.
  4. For Best Smart Lock, Yale Assure YRD256-CBA-619 was chosen for a very good resistance to drilling and kick-ins and because it’s virtually “impossible” to pick since there is no keyhole, writers declared.
  5. For Best Retrofit Smart Lock, CR chose August Smart Lock Pro AUG-SL-CON for its excellent rating in convenience.

CR also provided a list of the “Worst Door Locks” based on their susceptibility to picking, drilling and kick-ins. Included on that list were:

  1. LockState LS-DB500R-SN
  2. MiLocks DKK-02SN
  3. MiLocks ZWF-02BN
  4. Weslock 671

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