Sliding glass doors are a modern convenience that many homeowners enjoy. They provide easy access to the outdoors and can make a home feel more spacious. However, they can also be vulnerable to theft or burglary, which is why it’s important to secure them with a good lock.
There are many different types of sliding glass door locks available on the market, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Keep reading to learn more about 11 of the most popular types of locks for sliding glass doors.
Mortise Sliding Door Locks
Mortise locks are one of the most common types of locks used on sliding glass doors. They are installed in the door frame and have a bolt that extends into the door itself.
The body of this type of lock sits inside the door frame, which makes it invisible and difficult for someone to tamper with it from the outside.
A sliding door mortise lock is made up of three parts:
- lock body
- strike plate
The lock body is installed on the door frame, while the strike plate is installed on the door itself. The handle is attached to the lock body and can be rotated to engage or disengage the lock.
Mortise locks are available in a variety of security ratings, including Grade 1, 2, and 3. These gradings are given by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) after the locks are put through a series of tests to determine their resistance to tampering and forced entry.
Grade 1 locks offer the highest level of security and are ideal for high-traffic areas. Grade 2 locks are a good choice for most homeowners, and Grade 3 locks are suitable for basic security needs.
Mortise locks are available in both keyed and keyless versions, but most sliding glass door locks of this type are non-keyed. This means that they can only be locked or unlocked from the inside.
This type of lock is very secure and can be difficult to break into. However, they are also expensive and require a lot of installation labor.
Further, not all sliding doors can have a mortise lock installed on them. If you’re unsure, I recommend reaching out to an expert lock installer to see if a mortise lock will work for you.
Keyed Sliding Door Locks
Keyed locks are easy to use and provide a decent level of security. And if you want to lock or unlock your sliding door from outside, you will need a keyed lock.
There are many different types of keyed locks, but the most common type is a cylinder lock.
This type of lock has a cylindrical piece of metal that rotates when the key is turned, which engages or disengages the locking mechanism.
Some sliding door locks will allow you to add a cylinder, but that’s not always the case and you may need to buy a keyed lockset that has a cylinder pre-installed and comes with handles.
Keyed sliding door locks are made up of three parts:
- lock body
The lock body is installed in the door frame, while the cylinder is installed in the door itself. The handle is attached to the lock body and can be rotated to engage or disengage the lock.
Like mortise locks, cylinder locks are available in every security rating.
However, keyed locks tend to be easier to bypass than mortise locks, and an experienced lockpick could get through your sliding glass door quickly if a keyed lock is your only line of defense.
For that reason, I recommend using a keyed lock in conjunction with other security measures, such as security bars (which I’ll talk about later in this article) or a door alarm.
I would also recommend not leaving the house through the sliding glass door because this would make it impossible for you to activate your secondary lock.
Installation of keyed locks is relatively easy and you should be able to do it yourself in a matter of minutes. Be sure to check that the lock you choose will fit your door and keep in mind whether your door is left or right-handed when installing the keyed lock.
Two-Bolt Sliding Glass Door Locks
This popular type of lock has two bolts (hence the name) that slide into the door frame and the door itself to secure the door.
This type of lock is very secure and is difficult to break into. However, they rarely come with the door and can’t be used as primary locks.
Two-bolt locks are available in keyed and keyless versions, but most sliding glass door locks of this type are non-keyed. This means that they can only be locked or unlocked from the inside.
Two-bolt sliding glass door locks are made up of these parts:
- lock body
The lock body is installed in the door frame, while the bolts are installed in the door itself. The handle is attached to the lock body and can be rotated to engage or disengage the lock.
Two-bolt locks are available in every security rating, and they greatly increase the security of your sliding glass door when used with another style of lock.
Here are the benefits of using a two-bolt lock on your sliding glass door:
- they are very secure and difficult to break into
- simple to install and work on most sliding doors
- prevent sliding doors from being lifted off their tracks
Installation of two-bolt locks is relatively easy and doable as a DIY project for most people.
Two-bolt locks make great secondary locks and I recommend using one on top of a mortise lock to increase the security of your sliding glass door.
Loop locks are very popular as secondary locks for sliding glass doors. This type of lock has a metal loop that is inserted into the doorframe and the door. The lock is then engaged by rotating the loop.
The lop lock is made up of these parts:
- locking bar
- mounting plate
The mounting plate is installed on the door jamb and the locking bar is installed on the sliding door.
The keeper is attached to the locking bar and can be rotated to hold the loop in place. Pulling the locking bar up will secure the door and allow you to open it.
These types of locks are usually very durable because they are made of hardened steel, and installation is straightforward and easy.
Loop locks aren’t considered as secure as the two-bolt lock, but they are still an affordable added layer of security for your sliding glass door.
Sliding Door Track Locks
Track locks attach to the top and bottom of the sliding door track and prevent the door from being opened. These simple locks are easily installed without the need for drilling or screwing.
The lock is made up of these parts:
- lock mechanism
Track locks are fixed on the rail of the sliding door to prevent the door from being opened when engaged.
They are very affordable and easy to install (all you need is a thumbscrew), making them a popular choice for added security. They come in both keyed and keyless versions, depending on the level of security you’re looking for.
Some of the biggest benefits of sliding door track locks are:
- very easy to install
- a fast and cheap security solution
Note that track locks are less secure than most other locks and should not be used as your primary lock.
For added security, you can use several track locks on the lower and upper tracks of the door to create more resistance to force.
Surface-Mounted Hook Bolt
These types of locks work with most sliding doors and can be used as secondary locks for added security.
These locks can be mounted above or below your existing lock. They’re made of hardened steel and are available in keyed and keyless versions.
The surface-mounted hook bolt lock is made up of these parts:
- inside lock body
- hook bolt
- outside body
The inside lock body with its hook is installed on the sliding door. The outside body is attached to the door frame. The keypad is on the outside of the door.
When the door is closed, the hook bolt is attached to the inside of the door and locks the door. The keypad can be used to unlock the door with a password that you choose.
One of the biggest benefits of using a hook bolt lock is that they are very affordable and can be installed in minutes without any special tools.
And having a keypad to unlock your sliding glass door is a major benefit if you want a keyless solution for your security needs.
However, this type of lock can be prone to failure and it’s not a smart lock. Thus, it can’t connect to wifi or Bluetooth.
If you’re not in need of a keyless solution, but still want to access your sliding door from the outside, I recommend sticking to a keyed patio door lock over a hook bolt.
Sliding Door Barricades
Sliding door barricades prevent your sliding door from moving by using the strength of your floor to provide resistance.
For this reason, I consider this type of lock to be reliable and a great option for those who are looking for extra security, say for their apartment.
Installation is easy, but it does require the use of tools.
Sliding door barricades are made up of these parts:
- floor bracket
- wall bracket
The barricade is the part that goes in front of your door. The floor bracket attaches to the floor and the wall bracket attaches to the wall.
Once the brackets are attached, you can place the barricade in front of your door and it will prevent your door from moving.
This is a great, affordable option for those who are looking for extra security in their sliding glass door, but it only works for doors that have a sliding panel on the inside track.
This type of lock also doesn’t protect the door from being lifted out of its track, so I recommend having a secondary lock for added protection.
It’s also worth noting that this type of lock requires bending to operate, so it may not be the best option for anyone with mobility issues.
Automatic Sliding Door Locks and Smart Locks
Automatic locks for sliding doors are newer to the market and are operated by a sensor. Some of them can be integrated with smart home features for added convenience.
The lock is made up of these parts:
- control unit
The sensor is mounted on the door frame and the actuator is mounted on the door. The control unit is placed in a location of your choosing that is easily accessible to you.
When you approach the door, the sensor will detect your presence and unlock the door. The actuator will then engage the lock to keep the door secure.
If you want, you can also set up the lock so that it will automatically relock when the door is closed.
This type of lock is a great option for those who are looking for convenience and added security. It’s also a great option for those who want to integrate their sliding door lock with their smart home system.
However, this type of lock is on the expensive side and may not be in everyone’s budget. It’s also best to leave the installation up to an expert, as these locks can be tricky to install.
Electromagnetic Sliding Door Lock
This type of lock is great if you need an electrically powered keyless solution for your sliding door security.
Electromagnetic locks aren’t made specifically for sliding doors. If you go for this option, you might have to get creative when it comes to installing them since they might not fit your door.
For the best results, go for a surface-mounted magnetic lock with a holding force of 1,000 to 3,000 pounds, depending on your security needs.
The lock is made up of these parts:
The base is the part that attaches to your door. The coil goes around the armature and when power is applied, it creates a magnetic field. This magnetic field holds the armature in place and locks your door.
This type of lock is a good, keyless solution that doesn’t cost too much. However, this lock won’t work if the power is cut, which can be a huge security risk.
For this reason, I don’t recommend this type of lock if you need a high level of security. And you should always use it with a secondary lock that doesn’t require electricity.
The security bar is versatile and simple to use. It’s a great option for those who are looking for extra security without spending a lot of money.
A fixed security bar is made up of these parts:
- main body
- pivot points
The main body is the part that goes across your door. The pivot points are located at the ends of the main body and allow the bar to rotate.
This type of lock works by placing the pivot points in the door track and then rotating the main body so that it’s in front of the door. Once the main body is in place, you can use a padlock to secure the bar.
There are also portable models that require no installation. You can simply place the bar in front of your door when you want to use it.
This is a good option for travel or even for securing hinged doors. The cheapest option is a simple wooden dowel, but beware that dowels are less secure because they’re more susceptible to shaking.
Overall, a fixed security bar will be the most secure version of this type of lock for slide door because it has these three advantages:
- allows for secure ventilation
- more convenient
- won’t fall out of place when shaken (therefore more secure)
If you’re looking for the most security with this type of lock, I suggest going for the fixed security bar. It’s a great, affordable option for those who are looking for extra security in their sliding glass doors.
While most child locks won’t keep out burglars, they’re still a great way to secure your sliding glass doors if you have young children in the house.
Most child locks are made up of these parts:
The slide is the part that goes up and down and locks the door. The latch is the part that secures the door in place and the mechanism is what allows you to move the slide up and down.
If you want added security beyond child safety, you can go for a child lock that is more heavy-duty.
These locks usually have a screw that needs to be turned in order to release the slide. This type of lock is more difficult for children to operate, but it’s also more difficult for burglars to get past.
According to the National Safety Council, over a third of child injuries and deaths occur inside the home.
And one of the easiest ways to prevent those injuries is by childproofing your home with devices like child locks. That’s why I recommend child locks for anyone with young children in the house.
How do locks for sliding glass doors work?
Different styles of locks, of course, have different ways of working, but most sliding glass door locks have a similar concept.
The basic way they operate is by a locking mechanism with a spring that is attached to the doorframe and when the door is closed, the locking mechanism slides into place and secures the door.
How do I open a locked sliding door from outside?
If you’re locked out of your house and need to get in through a sliding glass door, there are a few ways you can do it.
The most common way is to use a credit card or something similar to pry the door open. You can also try using a butter knife or hack saw blade to cut the rubber seal around the door.
Be careful to avoid damaging the door if possible, because it can be costly to repair or replace. If all else fails, you can always call a locksmith.
Now that you know the different types of sliding glass door locks, it’s time to choose the right one for your needs. Keep in mind the level of security that you need and the way your door is designed, because not all locks will work for every door.
Generally, you can get the best security by combining a mortise lock or surface-mounted key lock with a secondary lock like a security bar or loop lock.
If you’re still not sure which type of lock is right for you, I recommend contacting a locksmith. They will be able to help you choose the right lock for your needs and install it for you if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.