How to Choose and Install Deadbolt Lock

deadbolt lock

Deadbolt locks are a smart and durable choice for those of you who are looking for a more cost-effective way to secure your home or business. Furthermore, with just a little handy work and a couple of inexpensive bits, you will find the install process fairly easy as well. 

Below, we have a detailed outline of the different deadbolts available as well as what you will need for that quick and easy install. 

Deadbolt Locks Types

Knowing what is available to you will only help you find what you are looking for faster. There are a few different styles of deadbolts out there and each one serves a common purpose, protecting you and your belongings. They also come with a template that you will put on the door, making installation even easier. 

However, some do offer more security, protecting your home or business from common ways intruders break-in. Some designs even offer remote ways to access your deadbolts with smart apps and keyless entry. 

Single and Double Cylinder Deadbolts

Single and double cylinder deadbolts are the most commonly used designs in home and business security. Both are internally mounted and is what we will be sharing with you in the install instructions below. 

Single-cylinder deadbolts are designed with an exterior key mechanism accompanied by an interior thumb-turn mechanism, allowing you to unlock it from the inside with ease. These are best for an easier exit without the need for a key. 

Double cylinder designs are made with both interior and exterior key mechanisms, making this a more secure option for doors that are close to openings such as windows or vents. Although popular, they do have a drawback in the safety zone. 

Due to the double cylinder’s double-sided key access, exiting during an emergency can present difficulty, more so than the easy access turn-knob of the single-cylinder design. Therefore, you want to make sure that you and your family have a backup key, which should be placed in a secure and easy to remember the location in case of an emergency. 

Keyless Entry and Smart Locks

What makes these deadbolt styles favorable is neither of them requires keys and like the single and double cylinder designs, they are mounted internally when installing. These tend to be more popular with businesses, offering quicker access with keypads, security systems or smartphones. These offer quick access for multiple users and can sometimes track who enters and when. 

Keyless entry designs come equipped with a keypad and can be manual or digital. Digital styles usually need electricity or are battery operated. Moreover, both offer easy to change code options. Updating codes regularly prevents your security from becoming compromised, which is also ideal for businesses that have multiple people coming and going at any given time. 

Smart lock deadbolts are managed with smartphone apps or are directly connected to your already existing security systems. Working with these types of access controls offer you a more customizable approach to your deadbolt security, turning your phone or other devices into a remote control. 

Rim and Vertical Deadbolts

Rim and Vertical deadbolts are simple to install but tend to be a bit larger. Both styles are mounted to the inside face of the door as well, which isn’t hidden well and maybe more of an eyesore than you are willing to deal with. However, they do offer stronger security and automatic locking mechanisms. 

Rim deadbolts lock as the door shuts, assisting those who tend to forget to lock the door behind them. Just don’t forget your key on the inside; these can be pretty expensive when acquiring a locksmith. You can also set aside a special place for an extra key, which is ideal with any lock. 

Vertical deadbolt designs are placed at the top of the door, preventing intruders from prying it open with crowbars or other similar objects. Some horizontal designs can be compromised using these prying techniques. 


Although strong and not easily tampered with, Mortise designs are a bit outdated. The install process requires more drilling, which can weaken the door’s structural integrity. 

Tips for Choosing a Deadbolt Lock

be safe at home

With the many designs available, you will want to investigate what works best with the door you are going to install it in first and foremost. Understanding which each one offers also allows you to choose accordingly. 

Deadbolts also come in different grades, 1 being the strongest. Although you will pay a bit more for those rated at a 1, you’ll sleep better at night knowing your belongings and family are more secure. 

It is also suggested that installing a strike box strengthens the deadbolt against blunt force. Strike boxes work by redirecting an impact from the door jamb and dispersing it into the door, allowing it to take on more pressure without coming apart from the frame. This is just another layer of protection that can be added to your deadbolt. 

Another thing to look at when purchasing a deadbolt is the design of the faceplate. Most doors are made out of wood, making the rectangle faceplate idea. It is easier to chisel out the recess where the faceplate sits and it is stronger than a round design is when setting it in a wooden door. Round designs need more chiseling and this can cause issues when setting the lock into place. 

Round designs are best used with metal doors as they are less likely to chip and warp around the faceplate. When choosing your design, this is a very important factor to consider as it can drastically affect the overall install process and lower the deadbolt’s security function, making it easier for intruders to pry or force open your door. 

How to Install Your Deadbolt

The following is the install process is for those that are choosing a single or double cylinder design with a wooden door. We outline what you will need and how you will use it to install your newly purchased deadbolt lock. 

Getting ready: What you need for the install

  • Safety glasses
  • 1-in Wood chisel
  • Combination square (you can use a regular style ruler if it is all you have)
  • Drill (battery or cord operated)
  • Extension Cord (if using a cord operated drill)
  • Drill bits
  • Hole saw kit
  • Screwdriver


  • You will want to tape the given deadbolt template to the door 6 inches above the doorknob center using the combination square or ruler to measure. If using a ruler, you will need to mark in and up using caution that you are on the inside of the door. If you are on the outside, you will notice a bevel, which can cause interference with proper measuring.
  • Using the same distance from the hole center to the edge of the door as the doorknob, you will use your 2-⅛ in hole saw to drill out the deadbolt cylinder hole. Once the pilot bit makes it through, remove the extra wood from the hole drill. Put the pilot bit back in, finishing the hole.
  • Making sure that your drill is square, use your 1-in hole saw to drill the bolt hole at the center of the door edge.
  • Next, mark out the profile of the faceplate. You will get a perfect alignment by entering the bolt set in the door.
  • Using your chisel, remove just enough material that the faceplate sits flush with the door.
  • Install and secure the deadbolt. You will line up the holes with the proper drill bit and then secure the deadbolt with the required screws.
  • After installing the deadbolt into the door, use a soft wax or marking grease at the tip of the bolt to mark where it will enter the door jamb. This will create a mark to work off of for the strike box.
  • Take the strike box faceplate and outline it on the jamb. Use your 1-inch hole saw to drill out the hole for it to fit, overlapping holes.
  • Just as you did with the bolt and lock, chisel a recess for the strike plate to fit into the jamb. Using your screwdriver, tap in the plate evenly so you don’t warp it, making sure it fits flush before securing it. Also, make sure you drill pilot holes to secure the screws. This will prevent any splitting in the door jamb or door.

*NOTE: There is usually a small space behind the jamb, therefore, take your time and do not over drill your screws. This can cause warping and throw off the whole deadbolt alignment, ruining the work you just did. 

In Summary

The hardest part of installing your deadbolt will be figuring out which one to purchase. You can find a plethora of designs at your local home improvement or hardware store and speaking with a customer service representative is always a good place to start. 

Although we shared install instructions on the two most common designs, any of the above mentioned will assist in helping make sure your home and business are more secure; it all just depends on your needs. 

David is the Owner of RedRocks Locksmith, and his passion is to provide quality and honest service helping keep the company’s customers in Colorado safe and secure while offering the latest and most advanced solutions that can be found on the market.