What Are The Functions of a Deadbolt? - The Hardware Hut
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Front Door, Hardware, Door Lock
Front Door, Hardware, Door Lock

What Are The Functions of a Deadbolt?

When ordering an entryset, deadbolt, or sideplate set, you will be asked for the function of the deadbolt. Your choices typically are single cylinder or double cylinder. Here’s how to decide which you should use.

The Two Cylinders

Schalge Century Deadbolt Aged BronzeThe most common option is single cylinder. This means that the deadbolt has one cylinder with a key on the outside. On the inside, there is a turn piece. To lock or unlock the door from the inside, you pivot the turn piece. To lock or unlock the door from the outside, you insert the key and turn.

Schalge Deadbolt Antique BrassThe other option is double cylinder. This lock has two cylinders, one for each side. To lock or unlock from either side, you’ll need a key. Usually you’ll see a double cylinder on a door that has glass in or next to the door. You wouldn’t want someone to break the glass and reach in to unlock the door.

Additional Thoughts

Double cylinders are a little more of a challenge. If there is an emergency and you have to exit via only the door with the double cylinder, you won’t be able to without a key. You’ll also want to double check the building codes in your area to be sure that a double cylinder is allowable. Somewhere you may normally see a double cylinder is on a storefront. These doors are typically unlocked during business hours, and you wouldn’t want anyone other than an employee locking the door with the turn piece while business is open.

Emtek Single Sided Deadbolt Stainless SteelA few deadbolts are also available as a function called single sided or thumbturn only. These include basically a turn piece and latch bolt only. Typically, you wouldn’t drill the hole all the way through the door, and there would be no way to get in from the outside if the door is locked. You might see this option on a second story balcony or a delivery/receiving entrance to a building.

Now that you have the knowledge on the different functions and when to use them, you’ll be able to make the right choice for your situation.

About the author
In 2002, Johnny Quinn joined TheHardwareHut.com in Customer Service. He and his husband own three properties they rent as part of their retirement plans. When not in the office, you might find him in an airport heading out on a fun adventure. He's been to Italy, Australia, and Peru with plans of heading to Thailand next.