Cylindrical Or Mortise Lock? Which Should You Use?


Stating the obvious, door locks serve an important function in buildings. When choosing between cylindrical and mortise locks, you’ll want to get it right. If the wrong type of keyed lock is specified and installed, you might end up making unexpected repairs and spending more on door hardware than you anticipated.

Cylindrical And Mortise Locks: What’s The Difference?

Cylindrical Locks are installed through the door face. When depressed or turned, a lever or knob on each side of the door retracts the latch. A noteworthy advantage of cylindrical locks is how quickly and inexpensively they can be installed—typically they require drilling just two holes (one through the face of the door for the chassis and the other through the strike edge of the door for the latch bolt). The cost-effectiveness of cylindrical locks makes them attractive for many applications (such as hotel bathrooms and interior doors of offices) that don’t demand heavy-duty locks.

Mortise Locks

Mortise locks have a dead bolt integrated into the lock body, making them more secure than cylindrical locks. That feature also adds convenience because when you turn the lever, you release both the latch and dead bolt simultaneously. With stronger interior components and construction, mortise locks provide more durability than cylindrical locks. You’ll also find a more extensive variety of design options and trims for mortise locks. Of course, the superior strength and resistance to abuse of mortise locks comes with a higher price tag than cylindrical locks. But that initial investment will likely be well worth it when you need a commercial lock that will stand up to rigorous use.


Which To Choose?

Both cylindrical and mortise locks have variable price points and they both come in ANSI Grade 1 and 2. When choosing a lock, you need to consider a number of things, including security, aesthetics, function, ease of use, amount of use and abuse, and more. With so much to think about, consulting a professional with door hardware specification expertise can put you on the right path and ensure you select the locks that will fulfill a building’s needs.

Want to take the guesswork out of choosing the right lock? Contact DORMA to talk with an architectural hardware specification consultant!