With so many choices, it may seem difficult to select the right commercial door lock. This guide will teach you about the different lock types and help you select the lock best suited for your application.

Commercial Lock Types

Below is an overview of the most common commercial locks types. Not included are panic bar exit devices, which can also be used as a primary door opening mechanism in commercial buildings.

Cylindrical Lever Locks

A bored cylindrical lever lock is a lockset which is installed by boring two circular holes in the door. Cylindrical lever locksets are the most commonly used lock type and are offered in a range of features, functions, grades, styles and finishes no matter how demanding the application.

Mortise Locks

Mortise locks require a pocket in the edge of a door, into which the lock case is fitted. Though more costly than cylindrical locks, this type of lock offers greater durability and strength. A mortise lock is the strongest, most adaptable lock and is designed to handle high traffic, high abuse applications.


Deadbolt Locks

Deadbolt locks provide an extra measure of protection against break-ins when used as a supplement to an existing cylindrical lockset. Deadbolts can also be used in conjunction with a door pull. Most deadbolts can be installed in a door with a standard bore hole.

Electronic Locks

Electronic locks or keypad locks are ideal for doorways needing a secure, non-keyed solution – and they help reduce or eliminate the need to issue keys. That said, keypad locks typically include a cylinder or key override. These locks usually require special door preps.

Cylindrical Knob Locks

Although less commonly used because of current accessibility requirements, cylindrical knob locks are available in various functions. Knob locksets are only recommended for openings that aren’t required to comply with ADA requirements.

Lock Grades

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) have developed durability, strength and performance standards for every type of door hardware on the market, including locks. Products that receive ANSI/BHMA certification are designated as Grade 1, Grade 2 or Grade 3. The product grades indicate progressive levels of performance. Locks that are Grade 1 offer the highest level of strength and security. Grade 2 or Grade 3 products must also pass certain standards tests, but the requirements are less stringent. These products are generally used at a lesser frequency and in less abusive environments. Dozens of tests are performed on each product. They may include: tension loading, impact/force, deadbolt torque, retraction deadbolt, pound exertion, bolt or latch strength, security and finish durability. We only provide locks that meet Grade 1 and Grade 2 standards. Grade 3 is intended for residential use.


Code Compliance

Building and fire codes have been developed and applied for many years to enhance the safety of occupants within public buildings. Over time, codes and standards have evolved to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities, provide sustainable construction products and practices, strengthen buildings against severe windstorm events, blast forces, and other essential needs.

Since building code adoption and enforcement varies across the country, we encourage you to consult your local Authority Having Jurisdiction for requirements related to any specific project or building.

Below you can find info on the basic code requirements associated with locks.

ADA and ANSI A117.1 Accessibility Codes

Door Hardware – Handles, pulls, latches, locks, exit devices and other operable parts on doors shall comply – Operable parts of such hardware shall be 34 inches minimum and 48 inches maximum above the finish floor or ground.

Operable parts shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Most lever-operated mechanisms, push-type mechanisms, and U-shaped handles are acceptable designs. The force required to activate operable parts shall be 5 pounds (22.2 N) maximum.

Door hardware that can be operated with a closed fist or a loose grip accommodates the greatest range of users. Hardware that requires simultaneous hand and finger movements require greater dexterity and coordination and is not recommended.


Openings that are required to be fire-rated must include locks that are UL Listed (Underwriters Laboratories). Typically, a UL mark is applied to face of the latch of a lock. Look for the UL mark.

UL Category – Single-point Locks or Latches
This category covers single-point locks and latches of either the bored (cylindrical and tubular) mortise or preassembled (unit and mono) type for use on swinging fire doors having a rating up to and including 3 hour, unless otherwise noted in the individual certifications.

All products in this category comply with the positive-pressure-test requirements in ANSI/UL 10C, “Positive Pressure Fire Tests of Door Assemblies.”

Lock Functions

A lock function is what the door hardware industry uses to describe how a lock operates. ANSI/BHMA standards define and assign names and numbers to over 20 lock functions. Function names, descriptions and numbers are associated with the 2 most common lock types:

  • ANSI/BHMA A156.2 Bored & Preassembled Locks and Latches (cylindrical knob and lever sets)
  • ANSI/BHMA A156.13 Mortise Locks

Other lock types, such as deadbolts and/or exit device trim also have assigned function names and numbers by ANSI/BHMA standards.

While each manufacturer may use their own unique code to define a function, the standardization set by ANSI / BHMA standards bring uniformity and makes selecting lock functions easy regardless of brand.

The most popular keyless functions are: Passage and Privacy. The most popluar keyed functions are: Entrance, Entry/Office, Storeroom and Classroom.

The chart below shows the most popular cylindrical lock functions.


Cylinder Formats

Conventional Cylinders

A conventional cylinder is one that requires some breakdown of the lock in order to be removed.

  • Most commonly used cylinders sometimes called key-in-lever or key-in-knob cylinder
  • Manufacturer-specific to the lock and lock type, they cannot be exchanged for another in most cases
  • Can be keyed alike or master keyed so that you can use just one key for multiple locks if needed

Interchangeable Core Cylinders

Interchangeable cores allow cylinder rekey or replacement without disassembly of the lock. They are ideal for larger campuses or facilities with high rates of occupant turnover. Locks that accept IC cores are typically provided less cores and the cores are provided by a locksmith.

  • Whenever a key is lost or stolen, locks can be rekeyed quickly by non-locksmith personnel or the person responsible for building security.
  • A special CONTROL KEY is used to remove and install all cores in the system. The person responsible for building security will go to the door, remove the old core and install the new one with the CONTROL KEY. Security is regained in seconds!

Interchangeable Core Types

  • Full Size Interchangeable Core (FSIC) or Large Format Interchangeable Core (LFIC)
  • Small Format Interchangeable Core (SFIC)

Lock Keying Systems

While there many different keyways, some of which are proprietary to the lock manufacturer, majority of the locks we carry feature the most common commercial lock keyway, the Schlage C Keyway. Other keyways are available upon request, including patented, restricted, and high security keyways.

Keying Options

Keyed Different (Standard): Each lock is opened by its own unique key that does not open any other lock.

Keyed Alike: Multiple cylinders are keyed to the same code and can be opened by the same key. This option provides “same key” convenience and eliminates the need for multiple keys.

Master Keyed: In a Master Key system, a master key opens all the locks in the system although each lock also has its own unique key.

Lock Backset

Backset refers to the measurement that comes from the edge of the door to the center of the lock hole. Measure the distance from the edge of the door to the centerline of the lock hole. 2-3/4″ is the stand backset for commercial doors. The faceplate of standard 2-3/4″ B.S. latch is 1-1/8″ wide. All of the locks on our website come with a standard 2-3/4″ backset latch. See our Lock Parts and Accessories category for 2-3/8″ latches.

Lock Strike Plates

A strike plate is a metal plate affixed to a door jamb with a hole or holes for the latch or bolt of the lock. When the door is closed, the latchbolt extends into the hole in the strike plate, holding the door closed. Here are the most common lock strike plates. All of the cylindrical locks on our website come with a standard ASA strike plate. See our Lock Parts and Accessories category for other strike plates.

Lock Finishes

Locks are available in a variety of finishes to complement each other and other hardware that you may already have in your building. Finish availability and color appearance may vary by manufacturer, lock series and/or function.

US finish codes were initially created by ANSI. BHMA (Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association) set their own standards and codes. Today, ANSI and BHMA work together in maintaining and updating BHMA’s finish codes, known as ANSI/BHMA A156.18 Materials and Finishes. This Standard establishes finish test methods and code numbers for finishes on various base materials.

See the chart below for the most common commercial lock finishes.


Lock Brands

There are dozens of door lock brands to choose from today. Some are considered “premium brands” whereas others are “value engineered” brands. Premium brands such as Schlage, who invented the cylindrical lockset nearly 100 years ago, design locks that significantly exceed standards. Many manufacturers’ approach to designing locks ends with simply meeting industry standards. Premium brand door hardware typically requires less maintenance and offers better long term value and quality.

Here are just some of the brands that we stock