Tuesday, March 28, 2017


There are a wide variety of reasons you would need a lock on your property. Of course, the obvious is that you want to keep undesirable people out. Secondly, you want to control who has access to your home, car or business. With that being said, there are many types of locks and keys on the market. Which one is best? What are all these things for? As burglars increase their skillset, the lock manufacturers also need to increase what they offering. Keep reading to learn a little more about different types of locks and keys that are available.


There are many different types of keys (too many to list). We will go through a few here to give you an idea.

Transponder Key

These types of keys are for your vehicle. Modern car keys come with a chip inside. When you place the key in the ignition, a radio signal is sent to the car that lets it know that the engine should start. These keys are popular because they are almost impossible to duplicate. The keys also come with additional security measures. In some cases, if the incorrect “code” is read by the car’s computer (because someone is trying to use a fake key to start the car) the car will shut down altogether. This is why cars that use transponder keys have lower rates of being stolen.

Double sided/Four sided keys

These are keys that have a set of teeth on one, or both sides. These are the type of keys you typically see used in homes. The keys on the key correspond with the grooves inside the lock, which allow the key to unlock the mechanism. Four sided keys are considered more durable, and the extra set of teeth on the key make the corresponding lock harder to pick.

Dimple Key

These types of keys have holes or “dimples” along the shaft of the key. These dimples match with pins that are inside the lock. When the dimples and pins are aligned, your key will work.

Skeleton Key

This is a simple type of key, and it is sometimes known as a passkey. This key is paired with “ward” locks, which are really no longer in use. Some old properties may still have skeleton keys to open their gates. But these types of keys (and locks) are easy to pick. This is why they are no longer in use.


If you have stayed in a hotel recently, most likely you were given a keycard. These cards are the size of a credit card, and there is a magnetic strip on the back. The strip is programmed so that you can gain access to your particular room. Keycards are also used in some offices. There is usually a card reader outside of the office access door. When you pass your key in front it will give you access to the premises.


There are also a wide variety of locks. Depending on what you are trying to secure, there are different locks available to help you.


These simple locks can be used for anything from locking your bike, to locking your locker at the gym or at school. These locks are not permanently attached to the item they are securing, so you can take the lock with you or attach it to something else. These type of locks can be open using a key, or a combination.


Most homes use a deadbolt on one or more doors. Deadbolts usually have a turn knob on the inside, and key access on the outside. When you turn the knob, a steel bolt will be driven into the door jamb (a steel plate should also be installed in the door jamb for added security). Deadbolts add security to your home, but there are some drawbacks. If your lock is located near a window pane, a burglar can break the window and turn the knob to gain access to your home. There are also dual cylinder deadbolts (that require a key from both sides), but these may not be the best choice in case of an emergency. This is because you would have to run and find your keys in order to be able to exit your home. For emergency evacuation, you want to be able to leave your property as quickly as possible.

Knob Locks

These type of locks are usually found in residential doors (hopefully used in addition to a deadbolt). Knob locks are found inside the door knob, with a knob to turn on the inside, and a key on the outside. These types of locks are extremely easy to break. Knob locks should never be the only security measure on the door. The reason these locks are so easy to penetrate is that the lock is found in the knob itself, not in the door. So if someone wants to gain access, they can simply break the knob off using a hammer or other device.

Lever Handle Locks

These type of locks are usually found on interior doors in commercial buildings. These handle locks are easier to grasp than knob locks, so commercial buildings use them as they comply with accessibility legislation. These type of locks are very sturdy, but they can be susceptible to “torque”. This is where extreme pressure is applied to the locks in an attempt to force entry. However, there are lever handle locks that have security mechanisms built in for just these situations. These are called clutch lever locks. If torque is applied, the lever itself will just continuously turn, instead of applying pressure to the internal lock mechanism.

The above lock and key types are just a cross section of what is available on the market. Your best bet is to discuss your options with a qualified locksmith in Elgin. If you are in the Elgin, IL area, a great choice is Ames Locksmith Service. Give us a call to discuss your options, we are happy to help!