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Different Door Lock Functions

What is your top priority when looking for a door lock set? Security? Ease of access? Durability? Doors and door locks have different lock functions intended for specific use. Customers should determine which function they need before deciding which door lockset to get. This post outlines the different locksets and explains where they’re best and most often used.

Door lock functions can have exterior or interior applications specially designed for different levels of security. A certain lock might be perfect for rooftop access, but it might not be useful for a storage door for example, even if you want the same type of security. Here are the most common door lock set functions to help you decide.

Privacy Lock

Privacy locksets are commonly used in bathrooms, bedrooms and offices. You can retract both the inside and outside knobs (or levers), unless the outside knob is locked by a button in the inside knob (or lever). Therefore only authorised people can enter the room, making the privacy lock set ideal for secure meetings and conferences as the inside knob (or lever) is always retractable for egress. The lock also has a slot on the outside for emergency access. 

Passage Latch

Passage latches are almost the same as privacy locksets, except they don’t have locks. The inside and outside knobs (or levers) are both retractable anytime and it doesn’t require keys or any locking mechanism. Technically, the purpose of this latch set is simply to hold the door within the frame. Passage latches are perfect for rooms that don’t require privacy and can actually be dangerous if it locks and traps someone inside, like halls and access or egress doors. This allows for easy evacuation in case of an emergency.

Classroom Lock

As the name states, classroom locks are commonly used in classroom doors because it is retractable on both sides unless the outside knob (or lever) is locked. You can lock or unlock the outside knob (or lever) with a key. But unlike the privacy lock sets, they don’t have a button on the inside. The inside knob (or lever) is free to operate for egress, and only the outside knob (or lever) can be locked and will need a key to be opened. This ensures that authorised people can always gain access to the classroom, and a teacher can keep it locked from the outside at the end of the school day or whenever there’s no one inside, to keep property safe inside or to discourage students loitering inside during school activities.

Door Lock Set

Entrance Lock

The entrance lock set is primarily used on the front door of a house. This is because the inside knob (or lever) is free for egress and you can unlock it from the outside using a key. Both the inside and outside knob (or lever) can operate the latch unless the door is locked from inside. If customers are looking at door locks for their residential property, an entrance lock is ideal for this. 

Door Lock Set

Stockroom Lock

Stockroom locks are always locked and require a key for access every time. The inside knob (or lever) is free for egress, but the outside knob (or lever) is always locked. This lock function is perfect for commercial establishments for a stronger security for your goods. It automatically locks when the door is closed. It is a great option for workplaces with high safety requirements such as manufacturing or Government facilities. These locks look identical to the classroom example above. 

Door Lock Set

Deadbolts and Door Lock Sets 

Deadbolts have long been the standard for homes and businesses. Deadbolt locks are activated by a key and can be operated from the inside with a thumb turn. 

What is a deadbolt?

A deadbolt is a type of lock that can only be accessed with a key. It’s made from steel or brass that usually comes in a circular shape.This lock is also heavier compared to the other type of locks and can’t easily be knocked off unless you pry it off or cut through the strike plate. Deadbolts are strong enough to resist kicks. This is perfect to install in solid woods, steel and fiberglass doors.

Deadbolt vs. Latch bolt

A deadbolt lock is usually installed as a secondary lock for your door. But unlike the latch bolt, it doesn’t have knobs (or levers) for egress and requires a key to operate it. You usually see deadbolts used in addition to a latch bolt. Deadbolts also don’t have a spring compared to the latch bolt. Unauthorised people can’t force it open with a knife, blade, or a card like what you usually see done in movies when you lock yourself out. A combination of deadbolt and latch bolt is commonly used especially for high traffic rooms to secure them at the end of the day. Deadbolts provide strong security for homes or establishments.

Fail Safe vs. Fail Secure

Some establishments use electronic lock types for high-tech safety and security. These locks have fingerprint scans, access codes or cards for access. 

What is fail safe?

Fail safe unlocks when power is removed. Power is applied to keep it locked during a typical day and requires a key to unlock it. During a power outage, it automatically unlocks to let the people out of the room. This is perfect for offices, lobbies and other entry points where most people pass during a normal business day. Fail safe locks can also be installed in fire rated and life safety doors so people can easily get out of the establishment in case of emergency.

What is fail secure?

Fail secure locks are almost the same as fail safe locks–they both require a key to access them. But in contrast with fail safe, fail secure stays locked when the power is interrupted.

It’s often used in IT rooms or other restricted areas where intensive, continuous security is needed. However, since it’s kept locked during emergencies, you might need an emergency key in case you need to access important files during power outages or if someone is accidentally trapped inside. Fail secure locks are perfect for metal, steel and strong room doors.

Appropriate Doors and  Lock Set Functions

Different door locks have different functions suitable for certain door types. Whether you’re currently starting on your establishment construction or just working on some renovations, here are some tips to help you smartly pick the right locks for your doors.

Assess your security level

You can’t put the same lock on all your doors. Bathrooms don’t require thief-resistant locks as long as the privacy lockset is strong enough to hold the door locked when in use. For residential front doors, you might want to install a deadbolt along with a latch bolt for stronger security. Check your doors and evaluate which rooms need restricted or controlled access. Locksets that require a key for access are usually used in commercial buildings and offices. 

Determine the door type

When choosing a lock, it’s not just about what looks good. Door types improve the security alongside the locks. A classroom and storeroom lockset are usually appropriate for stainless steel doors. For wooden doors, privacy and entry locksets are commonly used. You might also want to make sure your doors are strong enough to handle heavy-duty locks. Deadbolts and high quality locksets are nonsense if your door can easily be kicked or forced open.

Door lock Safety Standards

Countries use different safety standards. Depending on where you’re currently residing, you want locks that comply with a specific standard for intensive security. 

The British Standard Institution (BSI) has standard codes depending on the door lock functions.

  • BS3621 – for thief-resistant locks and is relevant to types of locks where a key is required on both sides of the knob (or lever).
  • BS8621 – for locks that require a key for entry but not for exit.
  • BS10621 – for locks that can only be locked through the outdoor knob (or lever).

In Australia, door manufacturers like Spartan Doors comply with the safety standards of the Security Construction and Equipment Committee (SCEC). The SCEC uses a Security Equipment Evaluated Products List (SEEPL) where all approved products are listed and include different levels a lock can be used.

  • SL1 – for low threat areas
  • SL2 – for medium to low threat areas
  • SL3 – for medium threat levels
  • SL4 – for high threat level areas

Before purchasing a door lock set, assess your door type and your required level of security. These codes will help you have the safety and security you need to protect your home and investments. 


Whether it’s for your worksite or work place, choosing the right lock set for your door is a crucial step for maintaining both safety and security. If you’re still undecided contact Spartan Doors to help you decide.

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