Window locks help secure your home and keep your belongings and family safe from burglars and intruders. While all windows come with some form of lock, there are many different types. If you're serious about security or if you live in a high-crime area, extra locks can help keep you safe.
Here’s what every homeowner should know and what we will cover:
- What Types of Window Locks Are Available?
- Do Certain Types of Locks Only Work With Certain Window Styles?
- Are There Child Safety Locks Available?
- Compare Window Locks
- What Is the Safest Window Lock?
- Can Locks Be Changed After Market?
What Types of Window Locks Are Available?
There are many different types of window locks on the market (1, 2). Here are the primary styles:
A window latch is a standard lock found on double and single hung windows. This simple mechanism connects the two sashes of the window and prevents either from moving. While latches do hold the sashes in place, thus effectively "locking" the window, the sashes are not a robust window lock and should not be the only lock on your windows at home.
Folding locks are found embedded in casement window frames. When turned down, folding locks keep the sashes locked, and when turned up, the lock is released. Folding locks are the standard mechanism that comes on casement windows upon purchase.
Window Pin Lock
Window pin locks are like chain locks for doors. One part of the lock attaches to the sash, the other to the frame. The parts are connected by a cable or a chain that prevents the window from opening very wide. Window pin locks are easy to install, but require a drill to attach the two ends. These locks are one of the few that can be used on casements.
Window wedges come in a variety of different forms. Some window wedges slide up and down, others are attached to the window with Velcro and can be adjusted as needed. Window wedges are put into place to stop the window from opening more than the homeowner desires. If the window wedge needs to be opened more, the homeowner can adjust from the inside.
Keyed locks require a key to open and close. Keyed locks are more robust than latch locks, and are frequently paired with latch locks to keep windows secure. Keyed locks are found on the side of the window and work on single and double hung windows as well as sliding windows.
Sliding Window Locks
Sliding window locks are moveable pins that screw into the sliding window track to prevent the window from opening more than the desired amount. These inexpensive, DIY locks are easy to use, available for sale at hardware stores and can be moved from one window to another as needed.
Do Certain Types of Locks Only Work With Certain Window Styles?
Not all locks can be installed on all windows. For example, many different types of locks work on double hung and single hung windows, but many of these locks will not work on casement windows. When shopping for locks, pay close attention to the type of window that is compatible with the lock (3).
Are There Child Safety Locks Available?
Child safety locks are usually found on single and double hung windows as well as slider windows. Safety locks limit the opening of the window to a set height. This allows a fresh breeze into the home but prevents the window from opening so far that children nearby are in danger of falling out. Child safety locks are a more attractive alternative to child safety bars, which are similar in appearance to security bars (4, 5).
Compare Window Locks
When comparing window locks, check the lock grades established by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI). The highest-ranking locks are Grade 1. These locks are considered highly secure, and among the best on the market. For homeowners who are especially worried about security, Grade 1 locks are the best choice (6).
Grade 2 locks are an intermediate level lock, and Grade 3 locks are the most basic, least secure of the locks. Homeowners simply looking for a way to keep windows in place, without worry about intruders, may be happiest with Grade 3 locks.
It's important to remember that the lock grade often corresponds to price. Homeowners on a budget will need to keep this in mind when determining which lock is right for them.
When selecting a lock for your window, it's also important to remember that not all locks are meant to serve the same purpose. For example, child safety latches are meant to keep children safe and may not provide the same level of window security as a keyed lock, which is designed to keep intruders out of your house.
While child safety locks are meant to be secure, keyed locks are meant to provide home security. Many keyed locks prevent the window from opening at all, while a child safety latch is designed to allow limited opening capability.
Homeowners seeking the best lock for their needs must research the intended purpose of the lock as well as the functionality of the lock.
Homeowners buying new windows and locks can seek guidance from their window contractor. Talk to your window contractor at the time of purchase to determine the best locks for your needs.
What Is the Safest Window Lock?
The safest locks are rated Grade 1 by ANSI. The safest lock for your home will depend on the type of window and what the lock is intended to do. Consumer research will help you find the best lock for your home (7).
Can Locks Be Changed After Market?
Yes, many different types of locks are installed after market. These locks help boost window security and keep your home safe. For more information about window locks, window security and window safety, talk to a reputable window contractor in your area, or visit a show room (8).