While we often make sure that our doors are secure, windows are left behind — and yet, they pose a threat to our safety. That is, of course, unless you install locks in your windows. But which ones.
There are many types of window locks on the market, starting with the most basic ones like key locks, latches or lock pins all the way to smart locks or control devices, window locks can make a house a safer place.
But before you can choose a lock for your windows, you have to know a bit more about all of them. Plus, there’s much more to discover when it comes to locks. So, if you want to stay informed before you go shopping, read on.
11 Different Types of Window Locks
1. Lock Pins
The pin lock is another simple form of locking your window. However, it works best for double-hung windows. It goes from one sash to the other to prevent intrusion. They won’t prevent true force, but it’s great to keep you safe against burglars or similar intruders.
You can also have it attached to the frame and have a chain with it as well. It’s good as a way to keep the children in and keep them safe from falling out as well. They are not too complicated to install, but you should always follow the guidelines from the manufacturer.
2. Keyed Locks
One of the most basic window locks is a key lock. Some windows come with a pre-installed lock, but you have to opt for it in most cases. If you don’t have one, but you would like to get it, you would have to install it on the inside.
It works well for most windows since the system is simple. It mounts on the frame of your window, and it works well, as long as you don’t lose the key. It’s one of the best options for very big doors, sliding doors, but also single-hung or double-hung windows.
3. Folding Latches
This latch is particularly suitable for awning windows, for example, or casement windows as well. To install them, you would need to put them on your frame. It generally locks windows that are hung on the top.
Once you install it, you would put the lock down — “fold” it, in a way — to close your window and secure it. To open the window and unlock the door, you would just have to reverse the process.
4. Sliding Locks
Sliding locks are probably one of those locks you are already familiar with. They are easy to use and simple to install, so many people choose them instead of the others. The sliding pin is in a track, and it pulls across the window to prevent opening.
There are two options when it comes to these types of locks. One is to use a lever-powered sliding window lock, which means that you would turn the lever to lock your window. The other is a thumbscrew-powered sliding window lock, which means that you have to twist the button to lock your window.
There are even options with keys, but that just makes it more complicated because you can easily lose a key. Still, if this is an option you like, you can definitely opt for it.
5. Vent Locks
Vent locks are an excellent option if you want to have the option to just open the window a little bit and keep it that way. They are not that common, but they work well and offer more options than previous window locks.
For example, if you want to open the window just a bit, the pin would stay on the window and prevent it from fully opening. But, if you wish to open it all the way, you can just push the pin on your vent lock.
This type of lock can be installed on your window frame sash, and it’s quite easy to install and use.
6. Window Latches
Latches are another simple form of window locks. You have probably seen them or even used them before. However, they can be added to windows with ease if you don’t have one already.
A window latch would reside at the top of your sash and then connect windows or a window together or with another part. The window needs to be closed for this to work. You can install it on double-hung windows, but also single hung windows. It’s not the most high-tech solution, but because of the simplicity, it works for most homes. One clear benefit of this lock is that you don’t have to remember where your key is to open it.
All you have to do is pull the latch and open your window.
7. Hinged Wedge Locks
This lock is perfect for double-hung windows, so if that is what you have in your home, this could be the right locking solution. With it, you have several ways of using it. For example, you can install it above the sash and have it keep your window secure until you push the lock and get the window completely open.
At the same time, you can put it higher up, and you will have a half-open window which can be opened further if you push the lock in.
8. Lag Screws
If you’re on a tight budget, but you still want to stay safe when it comes to your windows, then lag screws are a great and affordable lock. Of course, lag screws work best for double-hung windows, but it’s still a good option.
To install it, you would need to drill into the window, under both sashes and then insert the lag screws. This form of locking the window allows you to open your window, but also keep it locked, so you can have both ventilation and safety at the same time.
9. Swivel Action Locks
This is a bit more advanced type of lock as it has a catch which is self-locking. For example, if your window is already closed, it can’t be opened. This type of lock works the best with double-hung windows, as many of the locks on this list do. Of course, you can ask a professional whether it would work for your specific windows.
You can open a window with this lock by simply turning the lever from side to side to release it. It’s generally not expensive and can easily be installed.
10. Window Opening Control Devices
Now we arrive at some more complex devices for window locking and opening, These devices, in particular, are useful to keep your kids safe indoors and keep your window open just enough — to control how much it can open.
It’s great when you have to open the window to let some fresh air in, but you have restless kids that like to try everything. So, you can set it up so that they can’t possibly push through while the window stays open.
Fortunately, these devices work well for most types of windows, so you can install them no matter what type you have in your home. Of course, since the device is more complicated than your regular window lock, it needs to abide by certain standards, or it doesn’t work well.
So, make sure that you check that out before buying one of these.
You can’t easily turn this off — so your kids probably won’t be able to do it. It needs two steps to turn it off. As soon as you close the window again, the entire system will restart, and your window will be secure again. This means that you don’t have to turn it on constantly, just turn it off when you need to and the system will do the rest.
If your window didn’t come with an installed system, you should make sure that it ends up properly installed; otherwise, it won’t work. This type of lock is more of a protection for your children than against criminals, but even in that case, it works pretty well.
11. Smart Locks
Finally, we arrive at the latest tech for window locking — smart locks. They are, obviously, electronic, and you won’t need to always keep a key around to operate them — a clear advantage over some other locks.
To operate this type of lock, you would need a code. Of course, some of these locks can be operated through a phone, so you can easily do this on the go. The smartphone ones are particularly useful because you can share the code with someone in your family, especially if they come over and need to open a window. This is good because you don’t have to actually tell them the code and make your home unsafe — in case an intruder overhears.
Generally, these locks are found on doors, but there are also the ones for the windows. There are sensors as well, which can help you monitor the lock and the window, and thus the safety of your residence, whenever you want to.
Why Do You Need a Window Lock?
Windows are probably the last thing you think of when you consider the safety of your home. The doors tend to be the star, but the fact is that most intruders won’t just stop if your door is locked — no, they will likely try the windows.
And windows tend to be weak — just think of that fragile glass. Still, most intruders will try to stay quiet and open the window another way. If you have no security on it, you might as well have no security at all.
You want to avoid having a weak link in your security system. Once an intruder opens the window, they will easily open the doors, and your items will start to disappear.
At the very least, securing your windows will give you peace of mind. As a bonus, having a lock can be a deterrent. Most intruders will not try too hard if they know that the next house may provide easy access.
If you place locks on the most accessible windows, it’s highly unlikely that a burglar will look for items that can help them get in. Most will give up.
Window locks do more than just keep your home safe. They keep your kids safe too. For example, you can have simple locks that kids can’t unlock on your higher windows and prevent any accidents this way.
Which Type of Window Lock Is the Best?
You are probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices when it comes to window locks and wondering which one might be best. The answer will depend on your needs, windows, and many other factors.
First, think about your frames. What are they made of? Vinyl and wood are common, but they generally need different locks or installation processes. The lock should be compatible with the frame material. Next, the lock of your window will depend on its style. As you’ve seen with types of locks, some of them don’t work that well for certain windows.
Sliding windows will generally work best with a bolt lock. You may also consider a push lock. If you have the awning windows, you will benefit from many different locks. For example, you can use key locks, sliding locks, lock pins, etc. This is a common type of window which makes the locks more available.
Double-hung windows would work with most of the lock types, as you were able to see. So, pick one that suits your lifestyle and budget best. Casement windows, on the other hand, work best with push locks, but you can consider other locks for this type of window too.
Where Should You Install Window Locks?
Window locks are useful, but you don’t have to have them on every window in your home. It can end up costing a lot more than you expected, and it’s often unnecessary.
So, when looking to put locks on your windows, try to put them on the windows that are the most accessible to intruders. The most accessible windows are usually the ones closest to the ground. If you have basement windows, you can put locks on those too. Even bathroom windows, if on the first floor, should be locked.
However, if your main reason for putting locks on your windows is to protect your children from falling out, you may need locks on more windows. Still, you can limit them only to the places where your children spend most of their time.
If you’re putting the locks on for both reasons, then you should put them on the most accessible windows and add one or two at higher floors (if applicable) to the rooms where your children spend more time.
Can You Install Any Lock on Any Window?
Not all locks will work for all windows. So, you have to be careful when shopping not to purchase locks that are not compatible with your windows. For example, certain locks work only for double-hung windows.
If you have awning windows, your choice widens, but you should still take many things into account and consult a professional when picking the lock.
How to Pick a Lock Grade?
Another important thing to pick, next to the type of the lock, is the grade of the lock. Some of them are safer, while some of them are less safe, and your choice will depend on multiple factors. The quality of these locks will vary as well. There’s a certified program that determines the grades of these locks and the strength of them as well.
Starting with the first grade, these locks are highly safe. The safety, of course, comes with a high price as well, so you might not opt for them if your budget is tight. But, they are really safe and certified as such. These are usually best for commercial properties, like companies, banks, etc.
The second grade of locks is a medium level of security, and it’s generally used in homes. The price is medium too, so they might be more accessible for you.
Finally, the third grade of locks is the least expensive and the least safe one. It’s the most basic form of security, but they are good to use next to other locks — the second-grade ones, for example — for more safety.
When purchasing windows, you have to ask about these grades. If you want to install a lock on windows that didn’t come with one, you have to be very careful and choose a lock that fits your window. This is why it’s best to do your research and then consult someone with expertise in the field.
As you can see, there are many different window locks. Making your windows safe is important, especially because intruders tend to try to open them and because your children could fall out of them.
Naturally, not all of your windows will need locks, so you can decide where to put them and stay on budget. Make sure that the lock is installed well, and that allows your windows to function properly while still keeping them safe.
Related: How to Fix a Sticky Lock