A Quick Guide On Lock Functions

Source: I Dig Hardware


There are a lot of different lock functions, in fact some catalogs may list up to 50 types of functions! That’s a daunting bit of research for a home owner, and even architects and hardware consultants bump heads on the ways a lock will be used. Thankfully, when it comes down to it there are about 6 primary mechanical lock functions that account for most locks. Combine that with a little bit of deadbolt knowledge and you’ll be able to better discern the type of lock you need.

Passage Sets

  • This function is used where a door lock isn’t essential and immediate egress is needed. There isn’t a key cylinder and there’s no way to lock the passage set.

Privacy Sets

  • Privacy locks are best for restrooms or dressing rooms. The reason for this is that you can lock it from the inside using a push button or thumb turn. The lock can be unlocked from the outside using a special tool, but for the most part the user will have a sense of privacy. A few other models such as a hospital privacy exist where both sides have a thumb turn.

Storeroom Locks

  • This type of lock is used when the outside lever should be locked at all times. This application is typically used for storerooms, mechanical rooms, and electrical rooms where panic hardware isn’t an issue. Storeroom locks can only be opened by using a key to turn the latch and open the door. The inside lever doesn’t have any keying and is open for immediate egress. A door closer is a good option to insure that the storeroom door will close and lock no matter what.

Office Locks

  • This lock is best used where unauthorized use of the lock is less of an issue, such as an individual office or a closet that doesn’t need constant security. The lock can be opened by a key on the outside, or secured by a thumb turn or push button on the inside.

Classroom Locks

  • This lock allows the user to leave the lever locked or unlocked. The locking function is only controlled on the outside lever while the inside functions as a passage lever. These locks were originally designed for schools to prevent students from tampering with the lock. Since then newer security locks for classrooms have been developed while these are still used in suites and combined offices.

Classroom Security Locks

  • These locks can be locked from both the inside and outside. This extra security measure has been implemented so that a teacher can secure the door in the event of a school emergency, and some school jurisdictions even require this by law. These locks aren’t restricted to classrooms, they can be used anywhere key-control of the outside lever is controlled from the inside.


  • Sometimes an extra level of security is required. Deadbolts can be combined with a mortise lock or may be used on its own. If the door is for egress than it must unlatch with only one operation under code, with some exceptions for residential units. This makes deadbolts a perfect combination for doors with push/pull hardware. Usually a deadbolt will have a cylinder that can be controlled on the outside with a key, and a turn latch on the inside.

Make sure to check out a few of these great locks from Schlage and Kwikset!

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