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What is a Cylinder Lock?

Typically, there are two types of locks commonly used in households – standard door knob lock and deadbolt lock. Cylinder locks has a steel cylinder inside which runs through the cross-section of the lock.

Inside a cylinder lock, it has several puzzles which can only be solved with its corresponding key. Among types of this lock, the pin-and-tumbler design is the easiest to be jimmied.

This type of lock was invented by Walter Schlage in 1909. Its ancestor mortise lock has more complicated mechanism offering better security for a price. However, you can only see mortise locks in antique or ancestral home today for its production has been discontinued.

What is a Cylinder Lock?

How to Install Cylinder Lock

The practical way of installing this lock is through making a hole pass through the door. Then, another small hole is bored on the side of the door, same level with the perpendicular hole.

This hole on the door side is intended for installing a metal bar for added security. When the right is key is inserted and turned one way, the metal bar is retracted and the door can be opened.

How It Works

Once the key is inserted in the cylinder, turn it one way, then the cam releases a spring and bolt which falls into its respective orientation so the door is opened. Turn it the opposite way, the spring and bolt are displaced on its correct orientation and the door is locked again.

Pros and Cons of Cylinder Lock

To understand more, here are a few benefits and setbacks from using a cylinder lock for home and office security.


  • You have the flexible option for a single or double cylinder
  • You can install a master key for all your cylinder locks
  • Rekeying is fast
  • You can easily restructure it to a pin tumbler lock, disk tumbler, or wafer tumbler lock
  • There are numerous options for style, color, and prices for cylinder locks
  • A cost-efficient lock you can have for every residential or commercial establishment


  • Has higher risk of being compromised through lock picking
  • Some units can be unlocked using Bump keys
  • Majority do not have high resistance against forceful entry or battering. However, high-end expensive ones offer greater security compared to cheap ones in the market.
What is the average cost for installing Cylinder Locks

If you buy a cylinder lock and install them yourself, the average cost is between $15 to $50 for each lock. If you plan to have four standard locks for your home, then that would cost $60 to $200 in all. The cost will be higher if you intend to have separate unique keys activating each cylinder lock in your home.

If you want to do a DIY rekey, the kit at any hardware store falls between $8 to $15 which is good for six locks.

In contrast, if you want a locksmith to come to your house and do re-keying, the cost is around $40 to $100 with an additional cost of $5 to $25 for each cylinder lock. Moreover, the cost greatly depends on the type of lock and the current rates in your location.

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