There’s many different door lock types available in the UK market. From my 20 years experience as a locksmith I have found that often this can leave home owners confused. I will explain in depth all the current popular door lock types available in the UK at the moment. I will discuss their suited door application, different variants, popular brands, and the functions of each type of UK door lock.

Mortice Locks

Mortice locks are door lock types commonly known as lever locks. These locks come in various shapes and sizes and use a key like the one pictured below. Most mortice locks are either 2, 3 or 5 lever. This refers to the number of levers inside the lock that the key aligns to allow the lock to open. The more levers inside the lock the harder it is to pick open. Some mortice locks have anti pick levers. An anti pick lever has a notch or multiple notches in it that are designed to jam the bolt when you attempt to pick the lock open.

The two common variations of mortice lock are sash lock and dead lock. A sash lock has a latch attached and is designed to be used with a lever door handle or a doorknob. This allows the latch to be retracted. A dead lock is a mortice lock without a latch. No handle is needed when using a deadlock as it doesn’t have a latch.

Commonly Found.

Predominantly mortice door locks are found in wooden doors. Although these can also be found in older aluminium doors.


The most common sizes for both deadlocks and sash locks are either 3 inch (76.2mm) or 2.5 inch (63.5mm). There are also 2 inch mortice locks available and 5 and 6 inch horizontal but these are not as common.

British Standard Mortice Locks

The standard you should be looking for in a mortice lock is BS3621. This is the code for an insurance approved mortice lock. To achieve BS3621 the lock must be a minimum of 5 levers. It must have anti drill plates on both sides of the lock and some form of anti pick levers. The minimum bolt length for a BS3621 mortice lock is 20mm. This means when the key is turned to lock it, the bolt must protrude at least 20mm.

Popular Brands

  • Chubb (Now Union)
  • Union
  • Era
  • Yale
  • Legge

Euro Cylinder Door Locks

As the name suggests, euro locks are found all over Europe and not just in the UK. Also known as cylinder locks and pin tumbler locks. Although there are a lot of different brands and sizes of euro locks all these locks are the same shape. These locks work completely differently to mortice or lever locks.

These door lock types work using a pin system and has a different style of key. These keys are commonly referred to by the public as Yale keys, but this is factually incorrect. Yale locks do use the same type of key in most cases as euro cylinders, but Yale is a brand of lock rather than a lock type. All the most common traditional euro locks are either 5 or 6 pin locks. Some newer types of anti snap locks have more than 6 pins.  The more pins inside a cylinder lock the harder it is to pick. The better quality euro locks will have anti drill pins and anti pick pins. This makes the lock a lot harder to drill and pick open. Some locks will have one anti drill pin at the front to protect the pins behind, and some will have anti drill pins all the way through the lock. Usually, the minimum number of anti pick pins would be two, but this can also be every pin inside the lock.

Euro locks work by using pins and springs rather than levers. Usually there are a row of springs at the bottom of the lock and 2 rows of pins sit on top of each other. When the key is inserted, it pushes down on the top pins, which in turn pushes down on the bottom pins. When the key pushes the pins into the correct position it creates a small gap between the top and bottom pins. The point in which they split is referred to as the shear line. The bottom pins become trapped in the locks casing whilst the top pins remain in what is known as the plug or core. The plug is the part that turns with the key. Once the plug is turning this engages the centre of the euro lock called the cam. It’s the turning motion of the cam that locks and unlocks the door. The most common application for a euro lock is to be connected to a multi point lock. I will explain multipoint locks in depth a bit later.

Where are euro locks commonly found?

Euro locks are by far most found on upvc and composite doors. But can also be found on metal and aluminium doors. These are also found on some wooden doors. In fact, just about every type of door can be used in conjunction with a euro lock.

What standard to look for.

SS312 diamond standard is the highest current security grade for euro locks. These locks are known as anti snap locks. These locks are designed to combat a very popular break in method in the UK called lock snapping. A lock doesn’t have to meet SS312 diamond to be classed as an anti snap lock, but this is the most rigorous test and the standard I would recommend you look for when upgrading your security.

Popular Sizes measured in millimetres.

  • 30×30
  • 35×30
  • 35×35
  • 40×35
  • 40×40
  • 45×40
  • 45×45
  • 45×50
  • 50×50
  • 40×55
  • 40×60
  • 35×55
  • 35×50

Popular euro lock brands.

Night latches and Yale locks

Night latches are door lock types often referred to as Yale locks. This is because the original night latches were made by Yale. Nowadays though all the major lock manufactures make their own versions of a night latch. Most but not all night latches are self locking, meaning when the door is pulled shut they lock automatically without the use of a key. The key is then needed to open the lock again from outside.

Night latches are made up of two parts. The outer cylinder is known as a rim cylinder and the internal lock body is known as the back set or latch. A rim cylinder is a pin type lock like the euro lock we described earlier. The internal function of these pins is in fact the same. The only real difference is on a rim cylinder is the pins and springs are opposite way around. Usually, the springs are at the top and the two rows of internal pins are underneath. This means the key goes the opposite way up to euro lock. A quarter turn of the key is normally all that’s needed to open a night latch. Once the key is removed the latch springs back to normal ready to auto lock again.

Most night latches locks are either 5 or 6 pin locks and can come with or without anti drill and anti pick pins. Some night latch variants allow for the back set to be double locked. This means once the door has been pulled shut, the key can be inserted and turned 360 degrees. This will deadlock the latch. This is particularly good if you have glass in the door. This prevents the handle of the back set been pulled to release the lock if the glass is smashed.

Where are night latches found?

The main application of a night latch is a wooden door. These can be found on upvc, composite and metal doors although this is much less common.

Night latch security standard.

As with mortice or lever door lock types the standard to look out for is BS3621. This ensures that the lock is insurance specification. It’s important to check your insurance, as most policies will specify more than just a night latch be fitted to the door to comply.

Popular night latch brands.

  • Yale
  • Era
  • Union
  • Chubb
  • Sterling
  • Bird

Multi Point Locks

Multi point locks are extremely common door lock types in the UK. claimed in 2023 that 66% of people selected multipoint locks when looking for home insurance.

A multi point lock is a full length locking strip fitted in the edge of the door. These have many different designs but usually consist of either hooks or bolts that lock into the frame. Most insurance companies will insist on a multipoint lock that locks in a minimum of three places. An example of this would be a hook at the top, one at the bottom and a deadbolt in the middle.

All the most common multi point locks work in conjunction with a euro cylinder. The euro lock is inserted through the multipoint lock. It’s the cam of the euro lock that I mentioned earlier the does the locking and unlocking of the multipoint lock. To operate a multipoint door lock, the handle is lifted to make the hooks or bolts come out and move into the door frame. The key is then turned in the euro lock which moves a piece inside the multipoint lock. It’s this piece moving inside the multi point lock which then locks off the handle. This means the hooks or bolts can now not be retracted from the door frame. When the key is inserted and moved in the opposite direction this then releases the handle. This allows the hooks or bolts to retract back inside the multipoint lock once the handle is depressed.

Not all multipoint locks will need the handle to be lifted. There’s also a variation called a key wind. To operate a key wind lock, the key is inserted into the lock and turned twice to wind the bolts into the frame. This action is then revered to wind the bolts back out again.

Multi point lock standards.

The official tests for a multi point lock are PAS24 AND PAS3621

Commonly found.

Multipoint locks can be found on just about every door type. They are most popular on upvc and composite doors. They can also be found on wooden and metal doors too.

Popular multipoint lock brands

  • Yale
  • Era
  • Lockmaster
  • Mila
  • Fuhr
  • Winkhaus
  • Fullex
  • GU

Smart Locks

There’s no doubt there has been a rise in smart locks coming to the market over the past few years. However, this door lock type has not been the shake up to the lock industry I expected to see. Most people love technology as it brings with it a lot of convenience. It seems people are happy at least for now to put their faith in old school mechanical locks. I’ve only had a handful of calls where people are enquiring about smart locks.

What is a smart lock?

Smart locks are door lock types designed to replace your existing mechanical locks. There’s lot of different designs available. Some use apps to unlock or proximity sensors and some use fingerprint technology.

Smart locks can allow for monitoring who’s coming and going, often allowing you to track users by using an app. They allow the ability to issue virtual keys to users and temporary keys that expire on a selected day. Temporary keys can be a great idea for people running such things as Airbnb’s. Smart locks can also eliminate the need for keys, meaning no more lost keys. It also eliminates the need to change locks as you can just remove a user if you don’t want them to have access to the property anymore.

Most but not all smart locks also have a key override. The key is normally inserted into a lock hidden behind a cover. This is used when there is an issue with the lock such as a dead battery or technical fault.

Ultion Smart Lock

Where are smart locks found?

Smart locks can be found on all types of doors. Usually, doors are not pre set up to have smart locks installed. This means the door and current lock system need to be adapted to suit your chosen smart lock.

Smart Lock Standards.

Sold secure has launched a new standard SS504 for smart locks used in domestic buildings.

Popular Brands

  • Brisant
  • Yale
  • Igloohome
  • Nuki


I hope you found this guide useful. I put this UK door lock types post together using 20 years of locksmith experience. One thing I would like to point out is that so many locks I see are either fitted incorrectly, fitted to the incorrect security standard or are not suitable for the type of door they are fitted to. If you’re not sure about your home security I would recommend using a trusted locksmith. Using the wrong type of door lock or fitting the lock incorrectly will drastically increase the chances of being burgled and could void your home insurance. Trying to save a few pounds now could cost you massively in the future.



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