Mortise Lock vs. Cylindrical Lock: What’s the Key Difference and How to Choose?
Almost all hotel locks are mortise locks because mortise locks provide better security. However, some hotel locks use a cylindrical lock body for some room doors where it is not convenient to install a mortise lock body; but what is the main difference between a mortise lock vs. a cylindrical lock? How to choose?
Mortise and cylindrical locks are the most often used two types. They are often used for commercial and residential purposes, keeping your hotel or home safe.
And both locks on some doors may look similar. Still, they can vary widely regarding quality, security level, price, and operation. In this article, we’ll review what sets them apart and their advantages and disadvantages to help you decide which is right for you!
What is a mortise lock?
A mortise lock is a type of lock that can be fitted into the pocket of a door. The lock must be cut out and checked into the bag, usually created by cutting out a rectangular area from your door’s surface.
However, installing a mortise lock can also increase your home’s overall security because they’re harder to pick than standard cylindrical locks. Mortise locks are used for commercial and residential purposes.
Advantages of mortise locks
Mortise locks have several advantages that make them more attractive than cylindrical locks, including:
High Strength Security. Mortise locks offer a higher level of security on the market. They feature high-strength steel and can withstand more force than any other type of lock.
Aesthetically appealing. Mortise locks look better than cylinders in most instances. There’s no ugly bump reaching out from the side of your door jamb. Its smooth surface blends perfectly with other home or office interior design parts.
Less Maintenance. Mortise locks require less maintenance than the standard cylindrical lock. Instead of oiling or lubricating a mortise lock, wipe it with a soft cloth to remove dirt and debris. The only thing that may require oiling is the latch bolt due to frequent use, which only needs to be done every few years. You can check this mortise hotel lock maintenance article.
Durability: A mortise lock is more durable than a cylinder lock because it has a more robust construction. It can withstand heavy usage and even extreme weather conditions. The housing or faceplate of the deadbolt will be made from cast iron, making it less prone to rusting when exposed to moisture or rainwater.
Different size options (including standard and large-format versions) suit various door frames and openings without blocking any space inside your home or office.
Versatility: There are two main types of mortise locks—faceplate and backset mortise—that you can choose based on your needs and preferences. Faceplate mortise locks offer better aesthetic appeal since they conceal most parts inside the door frame through which wires pass.
Heavy usage. Mortise locks are built for heavy use and are not prone to failure if installed by a professional. Whereas most cylindrical locks can handle up to 2,000 cycles in their lifetime, mortise locks can withstand up to 5,000 cycles before they show signs of wear and tear.
A mortise lock comes with a deadbolt that is separate from its latch. This makes it easier to control who has access when you’re away from home or need access quickly in an emergency (such as unlocking your front door without having your keys). When used correctly, homeowners can keep intruders out while letting people into their homes if necessary.
Disadvantages of mortise locks
There are several disadvantages to mortise locks:
They were costly. A new lock can be higher than the cost of replacing an entire door, especially for high-security models.
They’re more challenging to install and rekey. Installation of a mortise lock requires excellent carpentry skills; this may not be the best option if you’re not happy doing essential carpentry work. Also, mortise locks generally require professional services for rekeying after installation or repair work.
It isn’t easy to rekey a mortise lock. You need to unlock the door, remove the lock, and replace it with another one; this process is not simple. Most homeowners don’t have the tools or knowledge needed for such work.
It is more difficult to repair them than cylindrical locks. This is because of how the latch and lock function in a mortise lock. The latch is part of the bolt, so if it breaks or bends, you must replace both pieces instead of just one, as in cylindrical locks.
They don’t offer an automatic locking option as cylindrical locks do.
What is a cylindrical lock?
A cylindrical lock is designed to be installed through the door with a knob or lever on either side that retracts the latch when turned or depressed. The cylinder is part of the lock responsible for locking and unlocking the lock and allowing its removal from the door frame.
The cylinder lock is one of the most popular locks today. This type of lock is very common as it can easily be installed on doors without customizing them as mortise locks. They can be easily fitted into existing doors without significant alterations by either party changing their existing doors or installing new ones.
Advantages of cylindrical locks
Cylindrical locks are easy to install and rekey, a plus for many. They’re also available in various finishes and key knob models for residential or commercial applications.
Cylinder locks are also considerably less expensive, so if you’re looking for an economical option that works well for your situation, this may be the way.
Installation of cylinder locks can be straightforward, but it can also be challenging depending on your particular situation—you may need additional tools and assistance from an experienced professional if you’re unfamiliar with this type of lock.
Cylindrical locks are available in single and double cylinders, depending on the security level of the doors you’re looking for. And since they’re an excellent solution for older homes, you’ll find that most cylindrical locks are interchangeable.
Cylindrical locks are easy to rekey. You can use the same key on multiple doors, even if they don’t have the exact lock mechanisms. In contrast, mortise locks require different keys with a unique tool for each door.
Cylindrical locks are available in many finishes and are commonly used for residential and commercial applications. They can be made with the cylinder inside (key in knob) or outside (key in deadbolt). This makes them versatile enough for most door styles, including surface-mounted or recessed doors.
Cylinder locks are also easy to replace. The parts of a cylinder lock are modular, so you can swap out what needs fixing instead of replacing the whole thing like you would with an entire mortise lock system.
Disadvantages of cylindrical locks
Cylindrical locks are not suitable for heavy-duty doors. The latch consists of two small metal bars that slide into the lock, and if they are not fully engaged (usually when you do not close the door properly), it can be pushed open by applying pressure to one side or the other. This is especially true with old cylindrical locks exposed to varying weather conditions and heavy use for decades.
Cylindrical locks are not as strong. They are much easier to pick and can be pushed open by hand when the latch is not fully engaged. This makes them unsuitable for heavy-duty doors and locking mechanisms that must be locked from both sides of a door.
Cylindrical locks are easily picked if you have the right tools, which means anyone with malicious intent could access your home or business premises if a cylindrical lock is installed on your door(s).
Key differences between mortise & cylinder lock
There are some key differences between the two types of locks, so let’s take a look at them:
Security levels difference
Mortise locks are more secure than cylinder locks. A mortise lock is fitted into a pocket in the door, while a cylinder lock sits on top of the door. This makes it harder to drill around or through the door to gain access. They have a wider chassis and a thicker door frame than cylinder locks.
In addition, they use a longer bolt assembly for added protection against forced entry.
The mortise lock comprises three main parts: the deadbolt, spindle, and latch bolt. The latch bolt has a “bob” on the end, preventing it from being pushed back into the door frame when locked. This eliminates any chance of prying open your door by inserting something small between the door and frame (like a credit card).
A cylinder lock has two components: the knob/lever handle (or push button) and the rotating cylinder core assembly. When you turn your key in this type of lock, it rotates both components to unlock them from each other.
Mortise locks installation
Mortise locks are more difficult to install than cylindrical locks. The main reason is that mortise locks require much time and effort, while cylindrical locks don’t.
Mortise installations are more complicated and require more professional tools to install. Because you have to cut the pocket in the door where the lock will be installed, it would help if you also drilled holes into your door, which requires a lot of precision when drilling holes into your walls and doors.
Cylindrical locks installation
A mortise pocket is a cavity cut into the edge of your door and into which you will put your bolt. This cavity can be made with chisels and saws to special drilling machines (which may also cut grooves for hinges).
If you’re installing new doors, this might not be too much trouble—but if you’re looking at replacing an old lock with one that doesn’t match its current configuration well enough, it could cost more time and money than expected.
In contrast, all you have to do with cylindrical locks is unscrew some screws and then insert them into their corresponding holes in the lock’s faceplate; this only takes minutes instead of hours!
Mortise locks are more durable than cylinder locks since they have more robust materials like steel forming their construction; they can take more abuse without failing over time.
And because they aren’t installed flat against the surface of your door like cylinders, there’s less chance that someone could climb up from underneath and pry open your lock mechanism with a screwdriver or other tool.
Both locks are made from metal, but mortise locks have more parts and a thicker body, which means more metal can be used in construction. Mortise locks also have a more extended tongue, making them more secure than cylindrical locks.
Availability of Grades difference
Mortise locks are available in grades 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3, while cylindrical locks are not graded. The grade of a mortise lock determines how secure it is.
Mortise locks with a higher grade will be more durable than those with lower rates, and it may be necessary to replace them when there is extensive wear or damage from burglaries.
Mortise locks are more expensive than cylindrical locks because mortise locks are more complex and made of more costly materials.
Most people will opt for the cheaper option because installing and replacing on the fly is easier. However, if you want a lock that will last longer and is easier to repair if something goes wrong, you might consider investing in a mortise lock instead.
It’s a simple matter of supply and demand: mortise locks are more difficult to produce, so the price tag reflects their higher cost of production. That means that mortise locks require more time and labor during installation, which increases the overall cost—but not much if you select a high-quality brand like Schlage or Kwikset smart lock.
Application and Security Level differences
A mortise lock is better for commercial applications because it has a more complex and high-security mechanism. Such as hotel door locks and fingerprint door locks are all mortise locks.
A cylindrical lock is better for residential applications because of its simple mechanism and lower security level.
You should use a mortise lock as your front door locking system or any other heavy-duty purpose wherever your door is opened frequently and quickly, such as a building entrance or office room.
In contrast, you should use cylindrical locks on the bedroom doors or closets that are not open and rarely used by visitors.
Please note that some hotels are still using old-fashioned cylindrical key locks; they can no longer meet the security needs of modern hotels, so please consider upgrading your current old cylindrical key keys to a mifare RFID hotel locks System or mobile APP hotel lock system.
What needs to consider before choosing a mortise lock & cylinder lock?
Before you begin looking for a mortise lock and cylinder lock, there are some things you should consider. The following are the most important factors when choosing between these two locks:
What level of security do you need? If it’s low, you may want an easier-to-install cylindrical lock. But if your system requires high levels of protection and you want something more secure, a mortise lock would be the better choice.
The thicker your doors, the more sturdy they will be. If your door is made from thin metal or plastic materials, you may have difficulty installing a mortise lock because it would not provide enough support for the locking mechanism.
You should also ensure enough space around your door to install hardware without easily damaging anything nearby (e.g., pipes).
Door type (swing direction).
There are two main types of doors: hinged and sliding. Hinged doors open outward while sliding doors open inward toward each other — either type can accommodate either lock!
However, if your door swings outward, only one style will work properly with this movement; likewise, if it’s turning inward toward each other, then only one type will work appropriately with its direction.
How big is your door? Most locks require that their hardware fit within ¾” from each edge of the door, but some will accept larger diameters (upwards of 5″). These dimensions must match, so there won’t be any issues when installing them together later down the road!
Door Material: The first and most important thing to consider is the material of the door. A wooden door will require different locks than a metal door or one made of steel.
Price: How much are you willing to spend on this purchase? Both cylinders and mortise locks come in all different price ranges.
This is one of the most important things to consider when buying any product or service because it determines how much money we can spend and whether our desired options are within our reach!
Reliability. The reliability of a product is one of the most important factors to consider when buying security products. If a device does not work as intended, it is useless as a security measure. A reliable product will consistently perform its intended functions and protect against unauthorized entry when used or installed in your home.
A good quality product should be durable enough to last longer than expected.
Otherwise, I’ll spend wasted money unnecessarily because I had no clue what was happening when trying out different models firsthand during trial periods offered by retailers everywhere!
Ease of installation:
Homeowners and renters need to install the lock easily by themselves. This can save them a lot of labor costs if they do not have to hire someone to install it.
Ease of use.
The ease with which someone can operate a lock should also be considered before making a purchase decision. If a device is difficult to open or use, it may become an annoyance rather than benefit its owners or users.
It would help if you also considered how long your warranty would last. When considering an extended warranty plan, ensure it covers all your locks (mortise and cylinder) and other components, such as windows and doors.
Ease of maintenance:
If you live in an apartment building that does not allow tenants to perform any maintenance, you will need an easy lock for someone else to maintain or repair if required. A good example would be replacing batteries or making adjustments because the door gets stuck occasionally due to wear and tear over time (but this doesn’t happen often).
People tend to pay more attention to beauty than function when purchasing products such as home security systems since there isn’t much difference between high-quality products anyway – so why not get something stylish?
There are many different types available out there. Still, some manufacturers like Schlage offer special finishes like chrome, which look nicer than standard black finishings in most modern models!
Another critical factor when shopping for the best mortise lock is brand quality. Many brands offer excellent products at affordable prices, but you can find an even better deal on high-quality products that suit your needs perfectly with research and knowledge!
Availability of Parts: If something breaks down or goes wrong with your lock system, it’s nice to know that replacement parts are available, so you don’t have to buy an entirely new set to get things working again!
We hope this article has helped you understand the differences between mortise and cylindrical locks and that you are confident in making a choice. If not, or if you have questions about locks, security systems, or any other aspect of your business’s safety, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We’d love to help.
tags: mortise vs cylindrical lock, mortise lock vs rim lock, what is the difference between mortise and cylindrical locks, difference between cylindrical and mortise locks, can you replace a mortise lock with a cylindrical lock
Vincent Zhu has 10 years of smart lock system experience and specializes in offering hotel door lock systems and home door lock system solutions from design, configuration, installation, and troubleshooting. Whether you want to install an RFID keyless door lock for your hotel, a keyless keypad door lock for your home door, or have any other questions and troubleshooting requests about smart door locks, don't hesitate to contact me at any time.
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