Single Cylinder vs Double Cylinder Door Lock: Which Is Better?

If you are building a new house or renovating an old one, the locks you use will determine how secure the house will be. When it comes to door locks, it is not just about keeping the bad guys out; it is also about keeping yourself and other occupants safe.

There are two main options for door locks: the trusty single-cylinder lock or the de[endable double-cylinder lock. But which one is right for you? Let’s dive in and find out in this article.

What Is a Door Lock?

Before we go deeper into this comparison, it is important to understand the place and purpose of a typical door lock. It is a mechanical or electronic locking mechanism that secures a door and keeps people out when necessary, providing a sense of security.

As mentioned, single-cylinder and double-cylinder locks are two commonly used types of locks in residential and commercial settings. But which one works best for you? You have to understand how each one works to make an informed decision.

What Are Single Cylinder Door Locks?

Single-cylinder door locks have a keyhole on one side and a thumb turn on the other side of the lock. This means that you can operate the lock by turning the thumb turn on the interior of the door, and by using a key when you are opening it from the exterior side of the door.

These locks are relatively easy to install and are typically less expensive than double-cylinder locks. They are also a popular choice for residential settings because of how easy they are to lock from the inside, providing a quick and convenient way to secure the door, and a quick escape if there is an emergency.

However, one of the downsides of single-cylinder deadbolt door locks is that anyone can unlock them from the outside if they have a key, which can be a security risk. Nevertheless, it is still a good option if you want something simple.

Pros of a Single-Cylinder Door Lock

  • Easier to install
  • Less expensive, which is a major benefit
  • Can be locked from the inside using a thumb turn
  • Can be used in conjunction with a deadbolt for added security
  • Can be retrofitted to an existing door without having to change the entire lock system.
  • Its simpler design is less prone to mechanical failure

Cons of a Single-Cylinder Door Lock

  • Can be unlocked from the outside with a key
  • Not as secure as double-cylinder locks

What Are Double Cylinder Door Locks?

Double-cylinder door locks have a keyhole on both sides of the lock. You can conveniently operate them from both the inside and outside if you have the right set of keys.

This option is more secure than single-cylinder door lock options because once you lock it from the inside, no one can open it from the outside unless they have the proper key. You can even leave the key in the keyhole to prevent an intruder from inserting another key into the hole from the outside.

A double-cylinder deadbolt lock is a good choice for commercial settings because of its additional protection. However, one downside is that it involves a complex installation process and is a challenge to open when you need to make a quick exit, as a key is required to open the door from both sides.

Pros of a Double Cylinder Door Lock

  • More secure than single-cylinder door locks
  • Locks from the inside and outside using a key
  • Can be keyed to match other locks in the house for added convenience and security
  • Provides an additional top-notch security barrier for the intruders who try to break the glass to reach the thumb turn

Cons of a Double Cylinder Door Lock

  • Expensive
  • Challenging to open in the event of a fire

Comparison of Single and Double Cylinder Door Locks

Comparison of Single and Double Cylinder Door Locks

Single-cylinder locks and double-cylinder locks have several similarities and differences worth considering when selecting the right lock for your specific needs.


  • Single-cylinder and double-cylinder door locks have a keyhole to insert a key to lock or unlock the door
  • You can use both lock types in residential and commercial settings
  • In addition, both lock types work well with a deadbolt for an extra level of security


  • Single-cylinder locks have a thumb-turn lock on one side of the lock, while double-cylinder locks have a keyhole on both sides of the lock.
  • The simple thumb-turn locks on single-cylinder door locks allow you to lock it when inside but you must open it with a key when outside. On the other hand, you must use a key to open a double-cylinder door lock, whether you are inside or outside.
  • A double-cylinder door lock option is typically more expensive than its single-cylinder counterpart, whether you are buying or installing it.
  • A single-cylinder door lock is less secure than a double-cylinder door lock. You can unlock the former from the outside, but you must have keys for both sides for the latter before you can unlock it.
  • You can key double-cylinder locks to match other locks in the house, while single-cylinder locks usually have only one key.
  • Double-cylinder locks are difficult to open when there is an emergency, while a single-cylinder lock easily opens from the inside with a thumb turn.

When choosing between a single-cylinder and double-cylinder lock, you must consider the security level required for the house and the specific needs of the house’s location.

Single-cylinder locks are a good choice for residential settings where convenience and cost are important factors, while double-cylinder locks are a better choice for commercial settings where security is a top priority.

Factors that Affect Your Choice of a Door Lock Type

Factors that Affect Your Choice of a Door Lock Type

When choosing between a single-cylinder and double-cylinder lock, there are several factors you should consider:

1. Security Requirements

The main difference between single-cylinder and double-cylinder locks is the level of security each one provides. Since a single-cylinder door lock is not as secure as a double-cylinder lock, you should consider the double-cylinder option if you need extra security for exterior doors.

2. Cost

If money is not an option, a double-cylinder door lock is the better option of the two. It costs more to buy and install, while a single-cylinder door lock option costs considerably less to buy and install.

3. Installation

You can easily install a single-cylinder door lock in your home using DIY methods. Online videos and tutorials can help you install it because of its ease of use.

But you will need an expert install for the double-cylinder counterparts because of their complexity. Besides, it is too expensive to fiddle with, in case you accidentally damage it.

4. Convenience

It is more convenient to use a single-cylinder door lock than a double-cylinder option. You can lock a single cylinder lock from the inside by turning the thumb turn, providing a quick and convenient way to secure the door.

On the other hand, a double-cylinder lock requires a key to lock and unlock the door from both sides. If convenience is important to you, a single-cylinder lock may be a better option. The same applies when you think of an emergency.

5. Emergency


You will have a harder time using a double-cylinder door lock when in a hurry or in an emergency than using a single-cylinder lock.

If you want to install the lock in a house where you are likely to have an emergency, it is best to select an easier option and look for other ways to create better security.

6. Keyed Matching

One of the reasons people prefer the double-cylinder lock to the single one is the keyed matching. You can key the lock to match other house locks and make using them easier.

But while this aspect is typically convenient, you will find that it poses a security risk in the long run. If someone gets their hand on a matched key, they may have access to the other locks in the house.

7. Building Codes

Some local building codes may require double-cylinder locks for certain types of doors or buildings, such as those with a specific level of occupancy or with certain fire safety requirements. It’s always better to check the building codes before making a final decision.

Ultimately, choosing between a single-cylinder and double-cylinder lock depends on your specific needs and priorities. Therefore, consider all of the factors and choose the lock that best meets your needs.

Final Words

Single-cylinder and double-cylinder door locks are excellent options for any house, whether a residential or commercial building. However, your choice will depend on a few factors, and we have listed some of them to help you make an informed decision.

Also, check the similarities and differences to determine where each lock’s strengths and weaknesses lie. Compare them to what you want in a door lock to narrow the choice and help you select one. And if you have a big building, consider using both locks for different doors.

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