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What is the difference between a cylinder lock and a mortise lock

A qualitative lock is one of the best ways to provide your house or office with proper security. Choosing one might be quite hard, considering the number of options available. Some of the most common lock types are cylinder locks and mortise locks.

Both these mechanical locks have been used for years and they’ve proven to be secure and reliable. People choose them for both commercial and residential purposes. At first glance, it might seem that these locks are really similar. However, they actually have a lot of differences in many aspects. Today let’s discuss what each of these locks can offer you and decide which one suits your needs more. So, keep reading to learn more.

Pros and cons of mortise locks

First of all, let’s discuss what a mortise lock is and how it works. This type of lock consists of a cylinder, spindle, latch, strike plate, handle, etc. The mechanism is pretty complex and it requires a professional installation. It takes up a lot of space, so the technician will have to cut a big hole inside your door to fit it. Just like with any other mechanical lock, you’ll need to turn the key to activate the locking mechanism. Then you’ll need to press the handle and the latch will retract.
What are some of the advantages of mortise locks?
  • First of all, they offer a high level of security. They are stronger than most mechanical locks. Plus, they’re installed inside your door which makes it much harder to break with the help of brutal force.
  • Mortise locks come in various sizes and appearances. So, you can always choose one that goes well with your exterior.
  • Mortise locks are quite durable. They’re suitable for commercial buildings, as they can withstand many cycles of opening and closing.
mortise lock
The main disadvantages of mortise locks are their price and the complexity of installation. It’s way more expensive than a cylindrical lock.
mortise lock

What is a cylindrical lock

Above, we discussed the pros and cons of a mortise lock. Now, let’s talk about a cylinder lock and its features.
This type of lock is widely used for residential buildings. Its locking mechanism is pretty simple. It has a lock cylinder with pins inside. When you insert the correct key and turn it, the pins get aligned and you can unlock the door. This mechanism is not as bulky as the one in a mortise lock.
There are two types of cylinders – single and double. The first type has a keyhole on one side and a tumbler on the other. The second type requires a key on both sides. The double one is considered to be more secure. However, a single-cylinder one is way more convenient in case of an emergency, as you don’t have to look for a key.
key in cylinder
key in cylinder

Pros and cons of cylindrical locks

Just like any other lock, a cylindrical lock has its own benefits and drawbacks. So, let’s discuss some of them.
  • One of the biggest advantages is the simplicity of the locking mechanism, so it can be easily adjusted. You can always use residential locksmith services to rekey your lock or provide it with additional pins to increase security.
  • A cylindrical lock is a perfect option for you if you’re on a budget. It is less expensive than the mortise lock and the installation process is not as time-consuming.
  • If you want to provide your house with a master key system, these locks can be easily configurated.
cylindrical lock with keys
Their biggest disadvantage is that they're quite vulnerable to lock picking and lock bumping. However, this issue can be resolved by adding extra pins to your lock cylinder. Also, you can provide your house with a security system. It may scare off criminals, so they won’t even try messing with your locks.
cylindrical lock with keys

Are mortise locks more secure than cylindrical locks

Both these locks will provide your house or office with decent security. However, mortise locks are still considered to be more secure. They’re much harder to break or pick than cylinder locks. A mortise lock is mounted deep inside your door, so it’s almost impossible to open it using brutal force.
Also, these locks are more durable, so they’re less likely to get worn out fast. With proper maintenance, they’ll be providing your house with the highest level of security for years.
However, don’t forget that mortise locks are way more expensive than cylinder ones. So, before choosing which one suits your needs more, consider all these factors we described above.

Summing up

It’s extremely important to provide your building with a reliable lock. Thankfully, today there are myriads of options you can choose from. Some of the most widely used locks are mortise locks and cylinder locks. Both of them have their pros and cons. We hope our little guide will help you understand their working principles and it’ll make it easier for you to decide which lock suits you best. If you need any locksmith services in the future, Sure Lock & Key will gladly provide them for you.

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