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There are essentially two different types of door locks in the marketplace today, the conventional lock and the smart lock. The conventional lock is basically a lock and key mechanism whereas the smart lock includes this but there is an added feature that uses electricity and even the internet. Both types can be used to secure the home but the onus is on the homeowner decipher their option based on security, affordability and sensibility.

Three types of conventional locks are discussed below:

1. Spring Latch Lock – This type of lock has minimal security, it is the cheapest in terms of affordability and it is the easiest to install. Known as a slip bolt lock, this lock has a spring-loaded latch that fits into the doorframe. A device that can easily fit into the keyhole other than the key, can be used to release the pressure on the spring to unlock the door, making it a very vulnerable lock.

2. Single Deadbolt Lock – This type of lock is a little stronger than the spring latch lock and slightly more expensive. It has a deadbolt lock which effectively bolts a door to its frame and only a key or a knob can open the door. To open the door from the outside, a key must be used but on the other side of the frame, i.e. the side that is inside the home, it is fitted with a knob that must be manually turned. The bolt itself is made of solid steel, bronze or brass.

3. Vertical and Double Cylinder Deadbolt Lock–These types of locks offer more security and are more expensive than the locks described above. The vertical deadbolt ensures that the door cannot be pried open by intruders and the double cylinder deadbolt cannot be opened from either the outside or the inside without a key. The only issue with a double cylinder deadbolt is that it may go against the safety and building code of your apartment so this may have to be investigated before it can be installed.

Smart locks on the other hand, replaces the keyhole with RFID, keypad or biometric as entry methods. These doors may have advanced features implemented via the Internet to remotely unlock doors and keep access logs.

1. RFID – This stands for Radio Frequency Identification which means that the door lock interacts with a card similar to a credit card, to unlock. Most hotels use this type of lock where the card is placed either in a slot or swiped near an electronic box on the door to open from the outside. Once inside, you can turn a knob on the door so no one else may enter using a card with the access code for that room.

2. Keypads – Most keypads are numeric and a pin number is required to open the door. Countries like South Korea and Japan use these for their home. An intruder would have to know the pin number for them to open the door.

3. Biometric – The lock would only be unlocked with biometric data such as a fingerprint. Some phones and computer devices use this feature. The biometric data such as the fingerprint will have to be programmed into the system so that it knows who can open the lock.

All in all, locks cannot prevent intruders into the home, it can only deter them. Conventional locks are more cost-efficient but smart locks are more convenient. The vertical lock is the best option if choosing a conventional lock and the biometric option is the most secure feature of the smart lock.

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