Nostalgic people in small towns often fondly remember the days when they never felt the need to lock their car or house doors – a time when one could leave your car keys in the ignition without fear of someone stealing the car. Today, in most places, it is unheard of to leave your home unlocked. Today, people are very concerned with safety and security, and locking our doors when we leave is now something we do automatically. Are those locks really protecting our homes as much as we think they are? Or does locking our door do nothing more than create an illusion of security?
Kwikset is one of the two lock manufacturers whose products dominate the American market. Along with Schlage, these companies’ products are found on approximately 95% of American homes. However, because it is significantly less expensive than the comparable Schlage model, the Kwikset 660 deadbolt is Kwikset’s largest seller and can be found on a remarkable 80% of residential doors. This is excellent news for Kwikset. For the owners of those locks, the news is not so good.
The standard Kwikset 660 Single Cylinder Deadbolt lock looks very much like other locks of its kind. However, it is what is inside the lock that counts, and you cannot tell a good lock from its outward appearance. Here are some interesting facts about the Kwikset 660:
This is the lowest grade you can get. Grade 1 represents the highest level of residential security, grade 2 represents mid-level residential security, and grade 3 represents basic residential security.
A good quality lock will be made of a hard metal, and the lock housing, which is the area that surrounds the cylinder plug, will be solid and strong. Kwikset 660’s lighter, hollow housing makes the lock more vulnerable to forced entry.
The amount of play of the cylinder (how much it will turn when locked) is called cylinder tolerance. Locks are made by machine, and there is always a little space between the cylinder and the housing. Better locks have less space, while cheaper locks have more space. If the cylinder barely moves at all when it is locked, then the lock has a high cylinder tolerance and will be harder to pick. Locks with low cylinder tolerance are easier to pick because there is more room to insert the pick, and more play in the parts.
Like most standard locks, the Kwikset 660 has 5 tumbler pins. Each pin matches up to a notch on the key, and the size of the pin and the depth of the notch must match in order to release the lock. Thieves use lock picks and bump keys to move the pins and defeat the lock without the key. Manufacturers sometimes use security pins, which have odd shapes that make the pins harder to move without the actual key. The more security pins the lock has, the harder it is to pick. The Kwikset only has two security pins.
A drill-resistant plate is a piece of hard metal that lays on top of the lock housing. It is extremely strong and does not allow a drill to easily penetrate it. This protects the screws and other parts that hold the lock together. With no drill-resistant plate, the Kwikset 660 is easy to quickly drill.
If you find that you have a Kwikset 660 standard deadbolt on your door, we recommend that you replace it. Look for a lock that has an ANSI/BHMA grade of 1, has as many security pins as you can find, is made of hardened steel or other extremely hard metal, has a solid housing, and a really good drill-resistant plate. Schlage makes an excellent standard deadbolt at a reasonable price. Or, you can opt for true high-security locks, such as the Medeco Maxum, the Mul-T-Lock Hercular series, or the Assa 6000 series. These locks are more expensive, but they provide significantly better protection.
Because there are so many different types of locks, and levels of quality, it is hard to know what is right for your personal situation. The best way to ensure you are investing the right amount of money in the right product is to consult with a qualified locksmith. They can look at your home, discuss your budget, help you find the right solution, and make sure to install it correctly. I called a locksmith in Fort Lauderdale when I moved into my new home, and I was really glad I did!