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Mortise Locks vs. Cylindrical Locks – What's the Difference?

Mortise locks and cylinder locks are popular solutions in the door security space. They offer great security in residential, commercial, institutional, and critical facilities. Two of the most common commercial construction locks are mortise and cylindrical locks. Choosing the best among the two can be challenging for new facility owners. To make the job easier, we created this comparison mortise lock vs cylindrical lock guide where you can easily learn the basics and key differences between mortise locks vs  cylinder locks. Scroll down further to know more!

What Is A Mortise Lock?

Mortise Lock with lever

A mortise lock is a type of locking mechanism installed within the door's body (or mortise). It comprises intricate internal components and a robust construction, making it a preferred choice for heavy-duty applications. Mortise locksets often include a deadbolt, latch, and other security features, providing a comprehensive solution for residential and commercial settings.

Mortise locks are known for their durability and reliability. The installation involves creating a pocket (mortise) in the door, allowing the lock to be seamlessly integrated. Mortise locks are commonly found in wooden or metal doors and are favored for their ability to withstand significant wear and tear.

Key Features of Mortise Locks

  • Mortise locks offer a high level of security thanks to their complex internal mechanisms and sturdy construction.
  • These locks are designed to withstand heavy usage, making them suitable for commercial and high-traffic areas.
  • Mortise locks come in various designs and styles, allowing for customization to match the aesthetic of different spaces.

What Is A Cylindrical Lock?

Cylindrical Lock for home and commercial use

On the other side of the security spectrum, we have cylindrical locks. Cylindrical locksets, or tubular locks, are more straightforward in design than mortise locks. They are surface-mounted, with the cylindrical lockset housed in the door. This type of lock is commonly found in residential settings and is known for its ease of installation.

Cylindrical locks consist of a latch mechanism and a cylindrical-shaped lockset that protrudes from the door. While they may offer a different level of security than mortise locks, cylindrical locks are cost-effective and suitable for applications where high security is not the primary concern.

Key Features of Cylindrical Locks

  • Cylindrical locks are generally more budget-friendly than mortise locks, making them a popular choice for residential use.
  • The surface-mounted installation makes cylindrical locks easy to install, making them a preferred option for quick security upgrades.
  • Cylindrical locks are commonly used in residential settings due to their simplicity and compatibility with standard doors.

What are the components of a Mortise Lock?

  • Mortise locks are made up of a lock chassis with an integrated latch bolt, operable trim (either levers or knobs), and roses or escutcheon plates beneath the trim.
  • A mortise cylinder is prepared into the door face for keyed functionality.
  • To extract the cylinder for re-keying, conventional cylinders merely require the removal of the lock face.

How to install a Mortise Lock?

  • Mortise locks need a mortise (or "pocket") in the door edge to accommodate the full lock body.
  • The face of the door also requires trim and cylinder holes.
  • Different lock functions may necessitate different holes in the door's face.
  • Because face preps and latch bolt placements differ amongst lock manufacturers, locks may not be switched out.
  • They are simple to install; however, setting up the lock feature or changing the handling may necessitate a few more steps.

How much do Mortise Locks cost?

Mortise locks are generally more expensive than cylindrical locks.

What are the benefits to Mortise Lock?

  • Mortise locks can be utilized in a variety of settings, including new and retrofit construction.
  • The majority of mortise locks are Grade 1. Mortise locks are more durable than cylindrical locks due to their shape.
  • Some features include integrated deadbolts for added security.
  • Code-compliant integrated deadbolts need only one operation to retract both the latchbolt and the deadbolt when departing.
  • Because several bore holes (one for the cylindrical lock and one for the separate deadbolt) are not required, using locks with integrated deadbolts can also assist with the strength and integrity of the door.
  • Mortise locks can withstand decades of usage and are an excellent choice for commercial grade doors, especially when a higher level of security is required.

What are the components of a Cylindrical Lock?

  • A lock chassis, a separate latch bolt, operable trim (either levers or knobs), and roses behind the trim comprise a cylindrical lock.
  • The cylinder is housed within the lever or knob for keyed functions.
  • Traditional cylinders need the entire disassembly of the lock to extract the cylinder for re-keying.

How to install a Cylindrical Lock?

  • For cylindrical locks, a cylindrical hole drilled into the face of the door for the lock chassis is required, followed by a separate opening in the door's edge for the latch bolt.
  • Because of how the prep is manufactured, cylindrical locks are also known as "bored locks" at times.
  • The majority of lock operations are included inside the same door preparation.
  • Except for arranging through-bolt holes for trim support, preps are the same among lock manufacturers.
  • They are simple to install and do not generally need any additional set-up steps on the lock itself.

How much do Cylindrical Locks cost?

Cylindrical locks are generally less expensive than mortise locks.

What are the benefits to Cylindrical Lock?

  • Cylindrical locks may perform a wide range of lock operations.
  • They can be utilized for interior or exterior construction, new or retrofitted.
  • They are available in a variety of grades.
  • Grade 1 cylindrical locks are designed for heavy traffic/high abuse environments.
  • Grade 2 cylindrical locks are designed to handle light to moderate traffic.
  • Residential locks are classified as Grade 3.
  • If desired, a second bored deadbolt might be attached to the door IF permitted by building regulations.
  • Aside from individual housing unit entrance doors, a few instances exist where a separate deadbolt and lockset are permitted on the same door.
  • It should be noted that high-use and high-abuse situations such as schools, hospitals, and sports stadiums can wear down even the best cylindrical tyres.

The Bottom Line!

The choice ultimately depends on your specific security needs, budget constraints, and the aesthetic requirements of the space. Whether you opt for the robust security of a mortise lock or the simplicity of a cylindrical lock, understanding the differences between these two types will empower you to make an informed decision for the safety of your home or business.

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