Mechanical Lock Upgrades For Home Security

July 2, 2019
Your challenge: locate renovation projects, contacts and influencers that will send customers to you

Residential security is rapidly changing, with the players, technology, and distribution methods in flux.  This article discusses recent developments and where to find current information on mechanical components for home security.  We’ll also cover strategies for steering customers from big box stores to your own shop.

Thousands of homeowners spend hours each week watching Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, and home remodeling shows on HGTV. Suddenly, they need a new open kitchen. The old hardware colors and styles usually don’t go with the new interior color schemes.  Off to Home Depot, where homeowners are bewildered by finish, function, latch faceplate, backset, and style.

To get the homeowner, designer, or general contractor into your shop, two things need to happen. Careful marketing in your area can make the renovator aware of your services.  When they do come in, your team needs to help them find the functions, styles, and colors they like – at competitive prices, and with friendly professional installation not readily available the big box store.  Many brands have two different Grade 3 residential locks; a cheaper version for the big box stores, and a better quality version for the lock trade. 

Targeted marketing can be simple, but needs to be persistent.  Like everything else, return on your invested time and money is the critical issue.  Every house with a dumpster is a hot prospect.  Remodel contractors really like to know skilled installers. Furniture, carpet, and fabric stores have designers working the showrooms.  Each residential open house has a real estate agent present who knows of recent sales. Personal relationships with these influencers bring customers to your door. 

Community newspapers cover your local service area.  You can feature your extensive lock catalogue selection, free professional advice, installation service, and low prices in local paper ads and your website. You can download colorful sections of catalogues, showing available functions, styles, trim options.  You can offer to print out a sheet of finish colors to help them with selections. You actually do have some advantages big box stores can’t offer.

Hardware distribution continues to go through serious market disruption.  Major players like Best, Sargent and Corbin Russwin are focused on commercial markets.  The Yale Residential Division and California-based EMTEK® (specialty knobs and levers) handle ASSA ABLOY’s North American residential market focus, with Medeco® providing higher security deadbolts and key control options.  Spectrum Brands now owns Kwikset, Weiser, and Baldwin (as well as Black & Decker).  Master Lock, Hager, Cal-Royal, Omnia, and Schlage are serious OEM players in this market as well. Here are some updates on what’s available in the market.

EMTEK is a California-based ASSA ABLOY company that produces a wide variety of door and bath fixture hardware.  Pull handle entry door hardware, deadbolts, tubular hardware, mortise, multi-point, and a variety of lever styles are available.  EMTEK products are distributed through local hardware channels, plus bath and fixture specialty stores.  More Info:

Yale® residential (ASSA ABLOY) products are available through a number of distribution channels including  Best Buy, Lowes, and traditional locksmith supply distribution.  Sales staff at big box stores are unlikely to understand that Yale offers three different residential lines.  Your advantage is that you can explain the difference between Grades 2 and 3, functions, installation details, and available finishes.  And, you can do a professional installation for the customer as well.

The Yale Edge series is the budget (big box store) Grade 3 model, with the New Traditions being a heavier Grade 3 upgrade. The YH series upgrades to Grade 2.  All three tubular latches have adjustable backset.  Deadbolts and pull handles are also available in popular finishes. More Info:

Medeco offers a substantial residential upgrade with the UL437 Listed Maxum deadbolt for customers who want maximum defeat resistance in a reinforced opening.  The product is available with Medeco3 patented keying system.  Medeco also offers Key-in-Knob cylinders, designed to retrofit cylindrical locksets, padlocks and deadbolts.   More Info:

Baldwin is a well-known Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of residential and decorative hardware. Distribution channels include selected specialty hardware outlets, big box stores, and traditional locksmith supply channels.  The company has been long famous for its forged decorative hardware, and is now part of the Spectrum Brands system that owns Kwikset and Weiser.  Many Baldwin products are seen in historic restoration projects.  More info:

Kwikset pioneered the easily-installed tubular lock. The company went through a number of transitions, but has remained a dominant force in the residential market they helped shape.  Baldwin, Kwikset, and Weiser were recently acquired by Wisconsin-based Spectrum Brands. Residential products are currently manufactured in North Carolina, Texas, Mexico, and in China.[1] Products are distributed on-line, in big box stores, and through traditional lock supply channels.

Kwikset’s new adjustable through-bolt assembly allows horizontal and vertical accommodation of existing holes when replacing pull-handle entry door sets.  This compensates for variations in previous mounting patterns.  Tubular deadbolts and latches are adjustable for backset. SmartKey™ provides drill, tamper and bump resistance, and allows the owner to do rapid on-door re-keying.  More info:

Weiser is an Ontario-based company, also owned by Spectrum Brands. The Company shares the sidebar equipped SmartKey technology with their sister companies Kwikset, and with some Baldwin products.  Although Weiser is not promoted in the U.S., products are still available from some of your traditional lock supply channels.

Cal-Royal is a major family owned import player with a complete line of residential and commercial products.  Founded in 1983, the door hardware is manufactured in established Taiwan and South Korean factories. These products qualify under the Buy American Act, and are installed in multiple federal and public projects. When you call Cal-Royal, you can actually talk to real people who are incredibly friendly.  A 390-page on-line catalogue provides comprehensive technical information, designed for the lock professional.  Regional distribution centers in Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and Georgia provide rapid delivery. The products are currently sold direct from Cal-Royal to the lock shop.

The Cal-Royal company offers low cost and a number of innovative products and hardware upgrades to make your shop competitive with retail and on-line competition.  Tubular locks come with a 4-way latch package – ready to install in both backsets, as a drive bolt, and with round or square corner faceplates. Popular finishes and lever styles are available as well as a wide range of cylindrical and tubular products, designs, and finishes. More Info:

Hager has been a respected name in the hardware industry for more than a century.  The company began in a St. Louis blacksmith shop in 1849 by immigrant Charles Hager.  This company is a rare success story of six family generations building a solid business based on quality and character. For example, during the dark depression years of the 1930s, the company kept employees at work part time so everyone could survive.

In addition to its famous hinge lines, Hager provides locks, electric lock assemblies, door controls, and exit devices from its Montgomery, Alabama plant, and warehouses.  A broad line of Hager residential products begin with the budget 2300 and 3300 series Grade 3 tubular locks. The 2500 series Grade 2 Cylindrical, the 3700 interconnected lock, and the 3200 Grade 2 deadbolt fill out the residential product lines. Grade-1 products can be found at Lowes Hardware, while hardware dealers and traditional lock supply channels serve the trade. More Info:

LockeyUSA offers an extensive line of mechanical pushbutton keyless locks for doors and cabinets, in addition to their electronic deadbolts.  Residential products include knob and lever style deadbolts and passage locks, as well as patio door locks. Another specialty for LockeyUSA is pool safety, with a range of mechanical gate locks. More Info:

Master Lock has been long known for the wide variety of padlocks.  The Milwaukee area company was founded in 1921 by locksmith Harry Soref to build his revolutionary laminated padlock design.[2]  The 1972 “Tough under fire” Super Bowl ad quickly moved the company to a household word.  In recent years Master acquired American Lock, and has developed residential lock and electronic products as well. Although high labor costs drove much production to Mexico and China, it is reported that more than 100 jobs have been returned to the Wisconsin area in recent years.

The residential lock lines offer a considerable variety of Grade 2 and 3 hardware.  The Grade 3 tubular locksets come with the handy 4-way latch assembly that allows both backsets, as well as drive bolt, with square or round corner 1” face plates. A couple of unique products are the Nightwatch® key lockout feature, and the Grade 2 deadbolt with built-in combination lock.  Some residential locks are seen at big box stores, and are widely available through standard lock supply outlets.   More Info:

ONMIA is a Cedar Grove, NJ, company founded by Alberto Comini in 1964 to provide upgraded decorative hardware at moderate prices. The company currently offers a large variety of decorative trims favored by architects and designers.  The extensive lever collection is made in Italy while the locksets are built in the U.S.  These decorative levers are available in tubular, mortise, and with trim available for other multi-point locks. Grade 1 mortise locks and Grade 2 deadbolts are also available with standard 2 3/8, and 2 ¾” backsets.  Distribution channels include traditional lock supply sources as well as authorized contract hardware dealers.  More Info:

Schlage, a division of Allegion, has maintained a strong position in residential hardware with a reputation for quality.  The “B” series deadbolts are rated Grade 1.  “F” series levers are Grade 2 rated while the “J” series are Grade 3.  Pull handle sets, interconnected locks and a wide variety of knobs, levers and escutcheons give a broad selection.  Products are distributed through virtually all market channels. More Info:

Other Brands include the Brinks push pull twist residential lockset, available from Ace Hardware and several other outlets. Hardware is rated Grade 2 with knobs (that meet ADA requirements), levers, deadbolts and residential pull handles.  More Info: “” Delaney Hardware of Cumming, GA, designs and manufactures decorative residential and commercial door locks, builders' hardware, bath accessories, and hinges. Products are distributed through authorized hardware dealers. More Info: “” 

LSDA branded locks are sold through LSDA and IDN. A good selection of residential knob, lever and deadbolt hardware is available on the website.  More Info:

Country of Origin is a complicated issue.  To remain labor-competitive, from the mid 1970s, manufacturers turned to Mexico, Taiwan, Korea, and now China and S.E. Asia for labor intensive manufacturing. In researching this article, we observed remarkable similarities between many of the lock designs and parts. In recent years, we’ve seen components sourced from around the world (including USA), and assembled just about anywhere. The best we can ask for is a level playing field, and locks that work.

Cameron Sharpe, CPP wrote for Caterpillar and Honeywell before working 25-years in hardware and electronic access distribution. [email protected]  

About the Author

Cameron Sharpe

Cameron Sharpe, CPP, worked 30 years in the commercial lock and electronic access industry. Contact him at [email protected].