Lock Chain

Why Buying a Cheap Lock Online Might Cost You More

Imagine arriving home after a long day to find your front door shattered and belongings missing. The culprit? A flimsy lock that couldn’t withstand a determined break-in attempt. This scenario, unfortunately, isn’t uncommon.

Having a secure home is essential for our peace of mind. It allows us to relax knowing our loved ones and valuables are protected.  While cheap locks might seem like a quick way to save money, skimping on security can backfire.  In the long run, you may end up spending more on repairs, replacements, and potentially stolen items.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

Cheap locks skimp on security: They use weak materials, and simple mechanisms, and lack features like bump-proofing and reinforced shackles. This makes them easy to break or pick, defeating their purpose.

False sense of economy: While cheap upfront, these locks lead to hidden costs. They break or wear out faster, requiring frequent repairs or replacements.

Increased risk of break-ins and stolen belongings: Cheap locks fail to deter thieves, leaving your valuables vulnerable. Replacing stolen items can be a significant financial burden.

Potential for higher insurance premiums: Some insurance companies offer discounts for properties with higher security standards, which cheap locks often don’t meet.

Invest in peace of mind: A high-quality lock provides superior security and the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is well-protected.

Consult a locksmith:  A locksmith can assess your security needs and recommend the right lock for each application, ensuring you get the best value for your money. They can also identify security weaknesses beyond just locks.

The Problem with Cheap Online Locks

While cheap online locks might seem like a good deal, they often fall short in crucial security aspects. Here’s why:

A. Low-Quality Materials:

Flimsy Construction: These locks are frequently made from thin, easily cut sheet metal or weak plastics. This allows a determined intruder to break through the lock with minimal tools or force.

Brittle Components: The internal components of cheap locks, like springs and levers, are often made from inferior materials. These components can wear out quickly or simply break under pressure, rendering the lock inoperable.

B. Simple Mechanisms:

Flimsy Construction: These locks are frequently made from thin, easily cut sheet metal or weak plastics. This allows a determined intruder to break through the lock with minimal tools or force.

Brittle Components: The internal components of cheap locks, like springs and levers, are often made from inferior materials. These components can wear out quickly or simply break under pressure, rendering the lock inoperable.

C. Lack of Features:

Bump-Proofing: Bumping is a lock-picking technique that exploits weaknesses in the lock’s cylinder. Many cheap locks lack bump-proof mechanisms, making them highly vulnerable to this method.

Reinforced Shackles: The shackle is the U-shaped part of a padlock that goes through the hasp. Cheap padlocks often have thin shackles that can be easily cut with bolt cutters. Higher-security padlocks will have thicker, reinforced shackles that are much harder to break.

Weather Resistance: Exposure to the elements can damage a lock over time, especially if it’s made from cheap materials. Locks without proper weatherproofing can become rusty or stiff, making them difficult to use and potentially compromising security.

The Hidden Costs of Cheap Locks

A. Repair or Replacement Costs: A False Sense of Economy

While cheap locks may appear to save money upfront, their low quality often translates into a short lifespan. Here’s why:

Flimsy Materials: Cheap locks are frequently constructed from weak materials susceptible to bending, breaking, or corrosion. This makes them easy to pick or force open, rendering them useless.

Poor Workmanship: The manufacturing process for cheap locks often cuts corners, resulting in loose parts, imprecise mechanisms, and weak pins. These imperfections can lead to malfunctions and lockouts.

Increased Wear and Tear: Due to their inferior materials and construction, cheap locks wear down faster with everyday use. This necessitates more frequent repairs or replacements.

In the end, the constant fixing or replacing of cheap locks negates any initial savings. Investing in a well-made lock, although it may have a higher upfront cost, will prove more cost-effective in the long run.

B. Damaged Belongings: The True Price of a Security Breach

The primary function of a lock is to safeguard your belongings. When a cheap lock fails, it leaves your possessions vulnerable to theft. Here’s how:

Easier Entry for Intruders: Cheap locks are notoriously easy to bypass, using tools or techniques readily available online or even common household items. This makes them a low hurdle for even opportunistic thieves.

Increased Risk of Damage: During a break-in attempt, cheap locks are more likely to be damaged beyond repair. This can necessitate not only replacing the lock but also repairing the surrounding door or frame.

If a theft occurs due to a cheap lock failing, the financial repercussions can be significant. Replacing stolen items, especially valuables, can be a major setback.

C. Increased Insurance Premiums: The Security Tax

Many insurance companies provide discounts on homeowners’ or renters’ insurance for properties with higher security standards. These standards may include specific lock types or certifications. Here’s why using cheap locks might impact your premium:

Security Standards: Cheap locks often don’t meet the security benchmarks set by insurance companies. These benchmarks may specify the lock’s strength, durability, or resistance to picking.

Signaling Risk: By using a cheap lock, you might be unknowingly communicating to your insurer that your property is more susceptible to break-ins. This can translate into a higher insurance premium to reflect the perceived increased risk.

By investing in a higher-quality lock that meets industry standards, you might qualify for a discount on your insurance, offsetting some of the upfront cost.

Investing in a Quality Lock: The Long-Term Benefits

A. Enhanced Security:

Standard locks can be vulnerable to force or manipulation. A quality lock, however, provides superior resistance through:

Sturdier Materials: High-quality locks are made from robust materials like solid steel or boron carbide, making them significantly harder to break through with physical force.

Complex Mechanisms: These locks employ intricate pin tumblers or disc mechanisms that require a specific key profile for unlocking. Picking such locks becomes significantly more difficult, if not impossible, for someone without the right tools and expertise.

Drill Resistance: Many high-security locks come with features like hardened plates or sacrificial inserts that make drilling attempts ineffective.

B. Peace of Mind:

Knowing your home is secured with a quality lock offers a significant psychological benefit. You can relax and enjoy peace of mind, without constantly worrying about break-ins or unauthorized access.  A well-secured home environment can improve your sense of safety and well-being.

C. Potential Insurance Discounts:

Some insurance companies offer discounts on homeowner’s insurance premiums for properties equipped with high-quality locks. These locks demonstrate a proactive approach to security, potentially reducing the risk of break-ins and associated claims for the insurer. By investing in a quality lock, you might see a return on your investment through lower insurance costs.

Choosing the Right Lock:

When it comes to securing your property, the type of lock you choose matters significantly.  While there’s a vast array of locks available, navigating the options to find the perfect one for your needs can be overwhelming. That’s where consulting a professional locksmith comes in. Here’s how a locksmith can benefit you in choosing the right lock:

Expertise and Experience: Locksmiths possess in-depth knowledge of various lock mechanisms, their strengths, and weaknesses.  They can quickly assess your security needs based on the type of entry point (front door, garage, shed) and recommend locks that provide the appropriate level of security.

Matching Lock to Application:  Not all locks are created equal. A heavy-duty deadbolt is ideal for a front door but overkill for a garden shed.  A locksmith can ensure you get the right level of security for each specific application, preventing wasted money on unnecessary high-security locks for low-risk areas.

Security Vulnerability Assessment:  A skilled locksmith can go beyond just recommending locks. They can also identify potential security weaknesses in your doorways, windows, or overall security system.  This comprehensive approach helps address security gaps you might have missed, fortifying your overall protection.

Recommendations for Advanced Systems:  If you’re interested in upgrading your security beyond traditional locks, a locksmith can introduce you to advanced options like smart locks or keyless entry systems.  They can explain the benefits and drawbacks of each system, helping you choose one that aligns with your security needs and budget.

In short, consulting a locksmith empowers you to make informed decisions about your security. Their expertise ensures you get the right locks for the job, maximizing security and giving you peace of mind.


While cheap locks might seem like a tempting option upfront, their shortcomings can lead to significant costs down the road. From constant repairs and replacements to stolen valuables and potential hikes in insurance premiums, skimping on security can be a false economy.

Investing in a high-quality lock, on the other hand, offers a multitude of benefits. Superior materials and complex mechanisms provide enhanced protection against break-ins, giving you peace of mind and a sense of security. Additionally, some insurance companies reward proactive security measures with discounts.

Don’t be fooled by the immediate appeal of a cheap lock. For robust security and long-term savings, consider consulting a professional locksmith. Their expertise can help you choose the right locks for your specific needs, ensuring your property and valuables are well-protected. Remember, a quality lock is an investment in your peace of mind and the safety of your loved ones.

Bonus Section: Red Flags When Buying Locks Online

When shopping for locks online, it’s important to be aware of potential red flags that might indicate a low-quality product or a scam. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Suspicious Deals: If a lock’s price seems too good to be true, it probably is. High-security locks use quality materials and engineering, which are reflected in the price.
  • Unknown Brands: Stick with reputable brands known for their security products. A brand with no online presence or customer reviews is a cause for concern.
  • Unclear Product Descriptions: A detailed description should outline the lock’s security features, materials, and certifications it holds. Vague descriptions or a lack of technical specifications might indicate a low-quality product.
  • Generic Images: If the only images of the lock are generic or stock photos, it’s difficult to assess the product’s true quality. Look for retailers that provide clear, high-resolution photos of the actual lock.
  • Unrealistic Security Claims: Be wary of exaggerated claims about a lock’s impenetrability. No lock is completely unbreakable, and reputable brands will focus on the lock’s specific security features.
  • Poor Customer Service: Before making a purchase, check the retailer’s customer service policies. Look for clear return options and responsive communication channels.

By keeping these red flags in mind, you can increase your chances of buying a high-quality, secure lock online.

Frequently Asked Questions

It can be. Cheap locks often use weaker materials and simpler mechanisms, making them easier to pick or break.

Fancy doesn’t always equal security. Look for features like high-security pins and bump-proof mechanisms.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but a good quality deadbolt can range from $50 to $200.

Lock picking is a real threat, especially for cheap locks.

Frequent replacements, locksmith visits due to breakage, and the potential cost of stolen belongings if the lock fails.

Yes, they often have simpler mechanisms and weaker materials.

Solid brass or steel for the body and high-security pins made of strong materials.

More pins generally make it harder to pick. Aim for at least 5 pins for good security.

Bump-proof locks have mechanisms that resist a specific lock manipulation technique.

Not always. Cheap materials can rust or corrode, making them easier to break.

While it seems cheaper initially, you might need to replace it more often.

They can wear out faster and may need replacing more frequently than high-quality locks.

You could be liable for replacing the lock and losing valuables in the robbery.

Some insurers offer discounts for homes with high-security locks.

They can, with better durability, fewer replacements, and potentially lower insurance costs.

Absolutely! A secure home gives you peace of mind and protects your belongings.

Knowing your home is well-protected reduces worry about break-ins.

Some insurers consider security features like locks when determining premiums.

Reduced stress, feeling safe, and a potentially lower chance of break-ins.

Feeling secure in your own home is invaluable and can be worth the investment.

They are security experts and can recommend the right lock for your needs.

Yes, they can assess your door and recommend a lock based on security level and budget.

They can identify areas beyond just locks that might need improvement.

They should offer options at different price points based on your needs.

Absolutely! Locksmiths can install and advise on various security systems.

Solid-body material, a high number of security pins, a bump-proof mechanism, and a strong deadbolt.

Yes, there are deadbolts, knob locks, padlocks, and more, each suited for different applications.

Deadbolts extend a bolt deeper into the door frame for better security.

Smart locks offer convenience but may have additional security considerations. Research their pros and cons.

Look for reputable brands with a history of quality and security.

Read online reviews from trusted sources to see what other customers experienced.

Check for certifications from independent organizations like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

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