Keypad vs Key Lock for Sliding Glass Door? How to Choose
Need a new lock for your sliding glass door? In this article, we help you choose between a keypad lock or key lock for sliding glass door, taking into consideration important features such as security, durability and ease of use.
Sliding glass doors are an elegant entrance to your home, but unfortunately they are also attractive to burglars who may see the doors as a weak point. We are attracted to them because give the airy feeling of opening up your house to the outside view, but for this reason, they also hold a big “come on in” sign to burglars like nothing else. And not just because they are easily breakable!
Glass doors are of course breakable, but the greater weakness is the poor stock-standard locks these doors come with. Sliding glass doors on your patio or porch usually feature standard mortise locks, which aren’t the best at keeping intruders out. Furthermore, when your old sliding glass door lock stops functioning like it’s supposed to, it’s important to replace it as soon as possible, because a faulty handle and locking mechanism is an easy access point for any would-be thief.
But… should you go with a key lock or a keypad lock for your glass slide door?
In this article, we explain the strengths and weaknesses of each type – key lock for sliding glass door vs keypad lock for sliding glass door – and what to look for when choosing a brand and model. Plus we also share a few recommended products we found, if you don’t have the time or interest to do your own searching. Let’s jump straight in.
Glass Sliding Door Keypad Lock vs Keyed Lock
The first thing to understand when going lock shopping is that you have style options. Two of the most popular lock styles for glass sliding doors are keyed locks and keypad locks. Of these, traditional keyed locks still seem to be the most reliable and secure, however they mean the inconvenience of getting keys cut and handed out to whoever needs to use the door. Keypad locks are a great choice for holiday rentals, Air BnB’s, large families or other situations where you would prefer not to bother with the hassle of handing physical keys over to someone.
Key Lock for Sliding Glass Door
Keyed locks are a durable option if you want to operate the door from both inside and out. They are usually flush mounted and include a hook. Keyed locks are still seen by many as the most reliable form of lock as they are less susceptible to mechanical failure, and have no digital components or batteries that could fail. This is a traditional and reliable option, but you will need to give keys to whoever uses your residence, which can be a nuisance if you have a large family or a rental property.
- Durable, reliable and secure
- Simple mechanism, everyone knows how to use a key (including your 90 year old grandmother)
- No electronic components that could fail
- Needs physical keys, meaning more to carry around (and more stuff to drop or lose)
- Physical keys present difficulties with holiday rentals (eg Air BnB)
- Keys can get worn and misshapen over time
Keypad Lock for Sliding Glass Door
This lock is becoming a popular alternative to keyed locks for people who don’t want to handle keys. A keypad lock for sliding glass door entries works similarly to your mobile phone pin code. Instead of a physical key, you enter a numerical code on a keypad to lock and unlock the door. You can get sliding glass door keypad locks with varying degrees of sophistication, ranging from very basic to those that sync with a mobile app.
A keypad lock is your best option if you are someone who constantly loses their keys or doesn’t like the idea of shoving them under the doormat or flower pots.
- Using a code means less stuff to carry around (like keys)
- Easy to handle multiple residents or guests
- Easy to change the code if there is a security concern
- Some are complicated to use and require familiarity with technology
- Electronic components means more potential for damage, weaknesses and breaking
- Relying on a code is problematic if you suffer from memory loss
Other lock styles and terminology
- Mortise Locks. Most sliding doors come with built-in mortise locks hidden inside the sliding door’s panel. However, you can only operate them from the inside, making them quite limited in use.
- Double Bolt Locks. Double bolt locks are simple and low-cost door locks that feature two parts. One of these parts, the bolt, attaches to your door while the other is secured to your door jamb to interlock the bolt. Great for security, but inconvenient to use. It is less likely you would use these on frequently used doors, but perhaps you could use them on doors that are used less often for additional security.
- Spring Loaded Locks. Spring-loaded sliding door locks have a bolt that attaches to the door and a small plate with slots for holding the bolt that attaches to the door frame.
How to Choose a Keypad or Key Lock for Your Sliding Glass Door
Decide which type of lock you want
Since you have come across this article, chances are you still undecided about which type of lock to get for your glass slide door, which hopefully we can resolve by the end of this article. But nevertheless, when buying replacement sliding door locks, the first thing to do is decide on the type of lock you want. Things to consider include:
- Security. Keyed and keypad locks are usually the best for sliding glass doors as they offer the most security, compared with standard mortise locks.
- Compatibility. Not all locks are compatible with glass slide doors. Before settling on a particular lock model, make sure it compatible with sliding glass doors, and suitable for outdoor use.
- Door usage. Think about how you intend to use the door it is on. For example, is it for a holiday rental, share house or Air BnB where a keypad lock might be easier for guests? Or is it just you at home?
- Comfort. Which style of lock are you more comfortable with? Do you want the convenience of a keypad lock? Or do you distrust technology and feel safer with a traditional keyed style instead? Elderly residents may feel better with a key lock for sliding glass door entrances, simply because keys are what they are used to, or perhaps they suffer from memory loss and have difficulty remembering keypad codes.
- Number of users. Do you have a large family or a holiday rental? If so, a keypad lock will make it more convenient for people to enter and leave, without you having to worry about getting keys cut and handed over to everyone. If you have a holiday rental and are concerned about security, you can simply change the code, but it is not so easy to change a keyed lock in case one of your guests walks away with a key!
Ease of use
You want your lock for the sliding patio door to be easy to use but not too easy for intruders to break in. Buying the right type of lock from a trusted brand (like those listed further down) can help you find the right balance of ease of use and security.
And not just security, but also consider the interface. Are you fussed about having a complicated keypad lock linked to a mobile app? Depending on your familiarity with technology, options like this could be considered very cumbersome or very liberating, depending on how willing you are to embrace it.
If you are choosing a keypad lock for elderly people, consider getting one with big buttons so they can confidently see and press the code in without any stress. Don’t make them strain to see tiny buttons or a poorly lit screen.
Durability & aesthetics
Aesthetics and durability are both important considerations when buying sliding glass door keypad locks and key locks both. Some considerations for both are below.
- Keypad locks with flimsy buttons or ones that jam are a recipe for disaster, and they make your place look cheap. Spending extra on a lock from a reputable brand such as Kwikset will usually give you the durability you need.
- Keyed locks are fairly simple mechanically, especially compared with keypad locks. Usability ultimately comes down to the quality of the lock, and goes hand in hand with durability. If you settle on a flimsy cheap lock, you may end up with a key that gets jammed in the lock and won’t turn whenever you try to use it. Not only is that a security concern, but it also adds unnecessary stress to your day-to-day life. You can generally avoid this scenario by buying a good quality keyed lock for your sliding glass door from a reputable brand such as Prime Line.
Nowadays, most sliding door replacement locks have easy installation features that allow you to set them up without professional help. Most are fairly simple contraptions that you can install yourself at home, but it is worth making sure that the one you have settled on comes with clear instructions. So, unless you want to spend your hard-earned cash on getting your lock professionally installed, you should choose a simple-to-install lock option.
You must determine which special features you want to include in your new door locking system before getting one. The latest smart technology includes remote features and digitized operations. Some may hook up to a mobile app for added control. These features can help if you have kids at home or want to receive a notification every time someone messes with the lock system. On the other hand, maybe you don’t need anything that fancy, and those added features may simply get in the way.
In saying that, any technology that promises more than it can deliver is always a red flag. By this I’m talking about cheap devices with bug-ridden apps that don’t work properly, made from flimsy parts that don’t feel quite right. They promise lots of advanced features but when you try to use them they don’t operate correctly. Those sorts of products aren’t doing anyone a service, and again, it’s about being picky and choosing to pay a little more for a reputable brand rather than a cheap knock-off.
Some metal locks may rust, which will prevent the lock from working properly and look awful. Rusty locks ruin the look of your patio entrance and have a substantial impact on its functionality. You should only buy all-metal door locks if they are guaranteed to be corrosion-resistant, otherwise rust will become your enemy. If buying a metal lock, check to make sure that it is corrosion-resistant, so it doesn’t rust.
Brand reputation and quality
It is worth reminding ourselves that the reason some brands stand out is because they have proven themselves time and time again by providing reliable, quality products. It is easy to get dazzled by a model from a no-name brand that promises all sorts of bells and whistles, but before you get persuaded into buying one of those, step back and ask: what other products does the brand produce (do they specialize in security products, or not), does it sound too good to be true for the price?
To save you the searching, we have shared a few products below from reliable brands in the home security field, but we also suggest you visit your local hardware store to see the options. Equipped with this information, you should now be well-informed to make a decision about which key or keyed lock for sliding glass door is most suitable for your needs, whether you’re shopping in-store or online.
Please Note: The links below are affiliate links to Amazon, so if you click on them we will earn a small commission. In saying that, we only chose products that we consider excellent quality, after all, we hate low quality trash as much as anyone else. If you like a product from this list we encourage you to click the link, as these funds are used to keep this website running and pay authors for the great content you read here, but if you prefer not to, then you can google the products individually instead. You can read more about our financial transparency on our About page. Cheers!
Recommended KEY Lock for Sliding Glass Door
If you don’t trust digital devices or prefer the traditional keyed locks, then here are the best key locks for sliding glass doors. We have to be honest, though, there aren’t many options out there for keyed sliding glass door locks – most are mortise non-keyed locks. One of the options below should serve your needs, however.
#1 BEST – Bali NAI Sliding Glass Door Handle and Mortise Key Lock Set
Bali NAI Sliding Glass Door Handle Key Lock Set – Full Specifications & Buy on Amazon
As discussed earlier, glass sliding doors are generally the weakest point of entry in any home. Therefore, choosing to purchase a higher-quality lock set, will contribute greatly towards making your home safer. One of the benefits of the Bali NAI door handle set is that its all-steel locking mortise has been designed to withstand more than 1000 pounds of force. That’s like the equivalent of someone driving a small car or throwing a fully-grown polar bear through your door, and if that’s something you’re concerned about, then you have bigger problems to deal with than a new lock.
The Bali NAI slide door handle and lock set is easy to install and comes with all of the necessary hardware. This particular unit features both inside and outside handles, which connect to the steel mortise lock through heavy-duty fine-threaded bolts. Both the inner and outer handles can be rotated, allowing this set to be installed on any sliding glass door regardless of the direction of entry. There are a full set of instructions, which makes the installation of the Bali NAI set a breeze.
Of the keyed lock options available, we’ve chosen this lock as the best of the options presented here, mainly due to complaints that some customers had with the Prime-Line branded products, such as poor durability and quality, and poor installation instructions. The Bali NAI on the other hand comes with clear instructions and features a very strong lock, so we could not fault it on those points.
- Corrosion-resistant steel lock
- Strong, secure
- Full instructions included
- More expensive than other options
#2 Prime-Line C 1033 Sliding Glass Door Key Lock
Prime Line C1033 Sliding Glass Door Key Lock – Full Specifications & Buy on Amazon
The Prime-Line C 1033 is a good, reliable keyed lock, suitable for both left- and right-handed patio sliding doors. It is made of high-quality die-cast and coated in black lacquer. This Prime-Line key lock for sliding glass doors fits all standard flush lock punch-outs with 6-5/8 inch hole center spacing. Moreover, this flush-mounted, hook-style handle set is easy to install. The package includes the keyed lock itself, plus two keys and instruction manual, although some customers have complained about the instructions not being clear enough.
- Easy setup
- Sleek design
- Flush-mount handle
- Solid die-cast construction
- Some customers complained about the locking latch quality
#3 Prime-Line C 1032 Sliding Glass Door Key Lock
Prime Line C1032 Sliding Glass Door Key Lock – Full Specifications & Buy on Amazon
As mentioned earlier, when it comes to finding keyed sliding door locks, unfortunately there are not many options available. Therefore, we’ve selected a second model from Prime-Line to feature here, although compared with the previous two options the durability is a weak point in this C1032 model. In saying that, the PrimeLine C 1032, is an easy-to-install, keyed door handle set which is suitable for any level of DIY enthusiast. All of the fasteners that are needed are included with the set, along with two keys. One great addition to the kit is 4 different hooks, so that it can match just about any sliding glass door offset.
The appearance of this lock is elegant, featuring a wooden handle, black baseplate, and nickel-plated finish. It is also reversible so it can be placed on any sliding glass door, regardless of whether it opens to the left or right. If you’re looking for a nice looking sliding door lock set this is a good choice, but we would be more inclined to go with the above two options instead due to the questionable durability, which presents a security risk if burglars attempt to use physical force to break the lock.
- Reversible handle (left or right)
- Elegant wooden handle
- 4 different hooks included to fit any sliding glass door
- Some customers have complained about the durability
Recommended KEYPAD Lock for Sliding Glass Door
When it comes to keypad locks, there are more options, probably because it is a growing trend for their convenience and technological enhancements. Here are some of the best keypad locks that you can buy for your sliding glass patio door at the time of writing.
#1 Amazon Basics Electronic Keypad Deadbolt Door Lock – Best Keypad Lock for Sliding Glass Door
Amazon Basic Keypad Lock – Full Specifications & Buy on Amazon
Although you might feel apprehensive about the Amazon branding, this Amazon Basics product is actually the best keypad lock for sliding glass doors we’ve come across. This is a good choice in particular if you want to increase your home’s security without compromising on the aesthetics. This model comes in three different variations, so you are sure to find something to match your patio decor.
This Amazon Basics Electronic Lock has a solid, long-lasting design and is relatively simple in design, making it suitable for less tech-savvy users. As such, it doesn’t have a mobile app, but let’s be real, most people don’t really need a mobile app to use a door, unless you’re operating a rental property or routinely need to unlock the door for others (for instance, if you’re a carer).
It is resistant to all weather conditions and requires little maintenance. Moreover, the Amazon Basics Deadbolt Lock has two additional locking options. You can use the thumb deadbolt to operate it from inside your property, while a standard keyhole enables manual locking and unlocking from the outside using a key.
- Easy installation
- Durable design
- Long-lasting battery life
- Easily replaceable batteries
- The device gives a low battery warning
- Is not compatible with a mobile app
#2 Kwikset SmartCode 917 Glass Sliding Door Lock
Kwikset SmartCode 917 – Full Specifications & Buy on Amazon
If you’re looking for the most secure glass slide door lock for covered patio areas, then this is the one you want. This model is also one of the best keypad locks for sliding glass doors that offers the best value. However, weather resistance is questionable, so we suggest using this lock in protected areas such as a covered patio, rather than exposed to extremes like harsh sun and snow.
Kwikset is a trusted lock brand that offers various innovations like SmartKey rekeying and SecureScreen touch screen keypads. SmartKey is a system that allows residents to easily rekey the locks without removal, which is handy if you have a sudden security concern.
Kwikset locks guarantee utmost security, and the SmartCode 917 is no exception. The Kwikset SmartCode 917 has three different security modes, is resistant to lock-picking, and its sturdy construction grants makes breaking this lock very difficult. The auto-locking system is one of the most appealing aspects of the Kwikset SmartCode 917. While the device auto-locks after 3 seconds by default, you can modify this time from 2 to 99 seconds.
- Blend of traditional style and modern technology
- Includes a reversible lever
- Available in left and right-handed variants
- Easy rekeying with SmartKey
- Three years of battery life
- Not the best for outdoor use
#3 Yale Security Assure Lock
Yale Security Assure Lock – Full Specifications & Buy on Amazon
The Yale Assure Lock is far superior to standard locks in terms of security, design, and added features. This high-quality premium security locking system has a relatively simple design, consisting of a small, plain panel with a touch screen keypad. We tend to prefer the simpler designs because they are more user-friendly, especially when all you want to do is quickly get in the house.
The Yale Assure lock comes with an app, and when connected, it automatically unlocks when it senses your device nearby. Likewise, it locks on its own after a specified time. Plus you can operate the lock from afar through Wi-Fi connectivity! Of course, this only works for people who have a connected device, and not so useful for young kids or others who prefer not to carry a smart phone everywhere. This makes the Yale Assure Lock a fantastic choice for holidays rentals and Air BnB’ers, however, as you can unlock the door remotely and your guests don’t have to wait outside waiting for you. You can also connect it to your smart home devices, including Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple TV if you’re looking for that sort of technological capability from a door lock.
However, you will have to sleep in the car if you forget to replace or recharge the Yale Security Assure lock’s batteries, as it doesn’t offer an alternative locking which we consider to be a HUGE failure of this lock. Despite the cool technological features of this lock, the fact that it doesn’t offer another option for unlocking really drags it down, to the point where I wouldn’t personally risk installing this lock on my home. Hopefully they fix this feature in the future.
- Sleek, minimalist design
- Automatic lock/unlock
- Smart home device integration
- Comes with an intuitive August app
- Lacks an alternative opening technology in case the battery runs out
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How difficult is it to install a glass sliding door lock myself?
On a scale of 1 to 10, we would say the process has a difficulty level of 3 if you are familiar with the process. However, you will find the process much more difficult if you haven’t researched or watched tutorials on installing a replacement lock on a glass sliding door. We have published instructions for replacing a sliding glass door lock here that you can follow.
Once you understand the process for installing a sliding door lock, it is not too difficult to do yourself especially if you already have some experience with basic home maintenance and repairs. Most locks should come with instructions explaining how to install the new key lock on your glass sliding door. We suggest you read the instructions in full before starting the installation, and make sure you can visualize and understand what is required in each step, before you start.
Q: When replacing a lock for the patio, do I have to get a whole new sliding door handle or just the lock?
No, you don’t have to get a new door handle every time you change your sliding glass door lock. It is not necessary to buy an entire new handle and lock, if you only want to change the lock on your sliding glass door. Having said that, for ease and uniform appearance, many people choose to replace the entire handle and lock at the same time to match the surrounding decor, so it’s your choice. You can replace the whole handle, but you don’t have to.
This brings us to the end of our guide on key locks and keyed locks for patio glass doors. We have covered essential features to look for when buying a key lock for sliding glass door, a keypad lock for sliding glass door, plus a few other tips and recommendations. If you are still uncertain which style to get, here is a quick summary:
Keyed locks are relatively simple mechanisms, so the main things to look out for compatibility with your existing sliding door, and ensuring that any metal parts are corrosion-resistant so they don’t rust. These are a good choice for small families and people who are comfortable with technology, such as your elderly parents or grandparents. They are also more durable, making them potentially more suitable for extreme conditions, such as harsh sun, ice and snow.
Keypad locks are more complicated in design and often have more technological features, such as mobile apps. They are the best choice for holiday rentals by far, as you can issue codes and control locking/unlocking remotely, as well as large families with lots of kids. A keypad may also be easier for younger children to use than a key, with no risk of them losing keys.
We hope this has given you all the information you need to make an informed choice about whether to install a key lock or keypad lock on your glass sliding door.
Once you’ve got your lock, don’t forget to check our step-by-step guide to replacing a lock on your glass sliding door.
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