Having trouble deciding which one’s the winner in the double cylinder deadbolt vs single comparison? In this post, we’re going to help you make a choice by talking about what both of these types are, what advantages they provide, where they work best and how you can choose them for your home.

Let’s get started.

Double Cylinder Deadbolt VS Single: What Are They?

Before we start our double cylinder deadbolt vs single comparison and talk about where/when they work best, let’s first take a look at what both cylinder lock types actually are.

Single Cylinder Deadbolt

A single cylinder deadbolt is basically the type of door lock in which one side has a key slot whereas the other has a pre-made knob or spindle that can be used to lock/unlock the door.

Single cylinder deadbolts are quite commonly used in homes. They are used in kitchens, bedrooms and, especially bathrooms. With these types of locks, you don’t have to worry about having a key to lock/unlock the door from the inner side. You can just twist the spindle and that’s pretty much it.

However, since these types of locks do come with a keyhole on the other side, you can open it from the outside should the need arise.

Double Cylinder Deadbolt

As compared to a single cylinder deadbolt, the main difference in the double cylinder deadbolt is the presence of a keyhole at both sides of the lock, instead of just one. As far as structural differences go, this is about the main and biggest aspect that we can point out in our ‘double cylinder deadbolt vs single’ comparison.

With the double cylinder deadbolt, you need to have a key if you want to lock or unlock the door whether from the inside or the outside. Due to this, they are not used very commonly in places that have to be frequently accessed and locked i.e., such as bathrooms, changing rooms and the like.

Now that we’re done defining both these types, let’s move to look at some of their benefits and drawbacks.

Double Cylinder and Single Cylinder Deadbolts: Benefits and Drawbacks

Double Cylinder and Single Cylinder Deadbolts: Benefits and Drawbacks

For the next part of our ‘double cylinder deadbolt vs single’ comparison, we’re going to be looking at some of their benefits and drawbacks. Both of them are good in their own regard, but they also have their downsides.

Benefits of Single Cylinder Deadbolts

Let’s start with the benefits of single cylinder deadbolts.

1.  Convenience

One of the main benefits that you can enjoy with single cylinder deadbolts is the convenience.

With just a twist of the knob/spindle, you can secure the lock in place. You don’t have to go through the hassle of taking out a key, bending down, finding the hole, putting the key in and then turning it. You just need to turn the knob and click! That’s it. It takes less than a second.

Imagine having to take a bundle of keys off a peg whenever you had to go to the bathroom. That is what single cylinder deadbolts save us from having to do.

This is, by far, the biggest point that the single cylinders score over their double counterparts in the double cylinder deadbolt vs single comparison.

2.  Accessible and Usable by Everyone

Using a single cylinder deadbolt is easy for everyone – whether it’s an elderly person or a jumpy 7-year-old. Since the locking mechanism only requires a twist of the knob, it’s neither difficult nor time-taking for anyone.

Plus, since they don’t require a key to be inserted in the slot, they can also be easily used in the dark. For example, if the power goes out, you can still find the little spindle with your hand and turn it easily. But, if there is a double cylinder door knob installed instead…it’s going to take some time.

3.  Inexpensive and Cost-Effective

Single cylinder deadbolts are also cost-effective. Since they are affordable, you can buy them in bulk for installation on different doors in your home. Single cylinders start off as inexpensive as $10 – $20 and can go to $80 – $100.

Drawbacks of Single Cylinder Deadlocks

Drawbacks of Single Cylinder Deadlocks

Of course, in our double cylinder vs single cylinder deadbolt comparison, we have to stay fair and unbiased. With single cylinders, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There are some disadvantages…which we will be discussing now.

1.  Less Secure

As compared to a double cylinder door lock, a single cylinder is comparatively less secure.

Take an example.

Suppose you have a single cylinder lock installed on your front door. You also have a small glass pane on the door as well, which is big enough for a person to put their arm through but not big enough to give them entry.

An intruder could simply break the pane, reach in, twist the lock open and enter your home. This won’t be possible if you have a Schlage double cylinder deadbolt in place (or any deadbolt from a reliable brand, for that matter).

Similarly, since single cylinders have a spindle at one end, they can be picked more easily than double cylinder deadbolts.

2.  Safety Hazard

This is also something that we have to mention as a drawback in our double cylinder deadbolt vs single comparison.

With double cylinder deadbolts, a key is necessary for locking/unlocking the door. But this is not the case with single cylinders. Due to this, small children (and even intelligent pets) can turn the lock on their own and get out on the road or the hallway (if you’re in an apartment building) etc. This can be dangerous.

Benefits of Double Cylinder Deadbolts

Now that we’re done with the benefits and drawbacks of single cylinder deadbolts, let’s move on to discussing the same about double cylinder ones.

1.   Highly Secure Against Intruders

In our double cylinder deadbolt vs single comparison, the enhanced security provided by these locks is probably the biggest factor that tilts the weight in their favor. Since double cylinder deadbolts can only be locked and unlocked with a key, they are a lot tougher for intruders.

a. Highly Secure Against Intruders

We mentioned above how single cylinder deadbolts can be opened if someone happens to get their hands inside i.e., through a pane or pet door etc. However, this won’t be an issue if you have the best double cylinder deadbolt installed.

2.   Not a Safety Hazard

This is something we’re mentioning particularly in relation to the drawback we mentioned about single cylinder deadbolts in our ‘double cylinder deadbolt vs single’ comparison.

Basically, with double cylinder deadbolts, small children won’t be able to sneak out of the house without their parent’s permission. And this applies, to a greater degree, to intelligent pets as well.

Drawbacks of Double Cylinder Deadbolts

From a fair and unbiased point of view, the drawbacks of double cylinder deadbolts balance out their benefits…if not outweigh them.

1.   Can be Time-Taking and Hassle-Some

Since double cylinder deadbolts need a key in order to be unlocked from either side, they need you to carry one at all times. Even when you’re inside your home, you will have to keep the key at hand so that you can lock the door whenever you want.

Plus, inserting the key and then turning it can be a tad more time-taking than just twisting a spindle. While this difference in time may not be felt for the first couple of times, it can get noticeable when you have to unlock and lock the door frequently throughout the day.

2.   They Are Not Legal Everywhere

If you’ve ever heard someone asking “are double cylinder deadbolts legal?”, it’s not without reason. These types of locks are not permissible to use in certain places due to their potential of becoming a risk in case a fire breaks out in the building.

This is, by the way, yet another factor that we should mention in our ‘double cylinder deadbolt vs single’ comparison. Double cylinder deadbolts can be a very high-risk security hazard in cases of emergencies. While single cylinder locks can be opened by simply turning the spindle, their double cylinder counterparts require a key. Looking for a key in the midst of an emergency e.g., a fire or earthquake is neither safe nor practical.

b. They Are Not Legal Everywhere

If, after reading these drawbacks, you’re feeling a little uneasy with all the double cylinder locks installed around your house, don’t worry. You can convert double cylinder deadbolt to single by simply rekeying them. It’s easy.

That wraps up the main part of our ‘double cylinder deadbolt vs single’ comparison.

Where to Use Double and Single Cylinder Deadbolt Locks?

Now, let’s talk about where both of these types of locks can be a suitable fit. Remember, you can only use double cylinder locks if you happen to live in an area where it is not prohibited by law. If it is, then you’ll have to stick to single cylinders.

Where to Use Double Cylinder Deadbolts?

Double cylinder deadbolts are, due to their drawbacks, suitable only for such places that have to be locked/unlocked unfrequently. For example, they can be used for the front door, since they are secure and they can provide better safety against intruders. Plus, the front door is (in a lot of homes) locked properly only at night, which means that you will have to mess around with the keys (honestly, it’s not that much troublesome but…we’re making a point) only once or twice a day.

Where to Use Single Cylinder Deadbolts?

Single cylinder deadbolts are good for virtually every door in your home that does not directly lead outside. For example, the kitchen’s inner door, bathroom doors, bedroom doors and laundry room doors are some spots where single cylinders can be fine.


And that locks up our post. (Lame one, but we’re trying.)

Hopefully, at this point, you have the necessary facts at hand to decide the winner in the double cylinder deadbolts vs single comparison.

But, truth be told, there’s actually no ‘winner’ in this scenario. Both types of locks are great and both have their own uses. You just have to use them at the right spots.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.   What is a Single Cylinder Deadbolt?

A single cylinder deadbolt is a type of lock that has a key slot at one end and an attached turning spindle at the other. This ‘spindle’ works as an irremovable key on the inner side.

2.   What is a Double Cylinder Deadbolt?

A double cylinder deadbolt is a door lock in which both sides have key slots. In other words, you have to use a key regardless of whether you want to lock the door from the inside or the outside.

3.   Why Would You Want a Double Cylinder Deadbolt?

Double cylinder deadbolts are more secure than single cylinders. They are also safer since they can’t be easily opened by small children.

4.   What Type of Deadbolt Should I Get?

It depends on the door on which you want to install the deadbolt. For your front door, use a double cylinder. For bathroom and bedroom doors, go for single cylinders.

5.   What is the Most Secure Lock for a Front Door?

Double cylinder deadbolts are better for front doors since they provide better safety. If you can, it can be a good idea to have both i.e., a double cylinder and a single cylinder deadbolt on the front door.

6.   Are Double Cylinder Deadbolts Safe?

Yes, double cylinder deadbolts are safe. They provide good protection against intruders, but they can be a safety risk in emergencies like fires etc.

7.   What is the Point of Double Locking Your Door?

The point of double locking your door is to make it hard for burglars and intruders to get inside your property.

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