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A guide to the different types of cylinder locks

There are five main types of cylinder lock used in the world today. In this article we’ll explain each design and its advantages and disadvantages.

Euro Cylinder Locks

What is a cylinder lock?

A cylinder lock, also known as a pin tumbler lock, is a locking mechanism, as used on a door.

The mechanism uses a series of different length pins, which follow the pattern of the key. When the key is inserted, the pins move into the correct position so the key can be turned and the door can be opened.

The five different types of cylinder lock are listed below.

1. Euro cylinder lock

The euro cylinder lock is one of the most popular types and there are many sizes and brands to choose from.

There are three different locking options: The single cylinder, which can be locked from one side only; the double-ended cylinder, which can be locked from either side; and the key and thumbturn option, which locks with a key on the outside and a thumbturn on the inside.

Euro cylinder locks are available in different lengths to accommodate the varying door thicknesses.

Standard versions of the lock can be easily broken, especially where the cylinder protrudes from the surface of the door. Ideally, the end of the cylinder should be flush or slightly sunken.

The composition of the standard lock makes it vulnerable to snapping in the middle. Once snapped, the lock can be manipulated.

To remedy this problem, high-security anti-snap versions have been developed. Rather than snapping in the middle, they’re designed to snap at the end, keeping the central part of the barrel intact and preventing any interference.

2. Oval cylinder lock

The oval cylinder lock is similar to the euro cylinder lock, but it has an oval-shaped barrel and is used with an oval mortice lock case.

This lock is less popular than the euro cylinder, so there are fewer options available in terms of sizes and brands. The thumbturn locking option is not generally available with the oval design.

3. Mortice locks

A mortice lock is large and round, which makes it more substantial than a euro cylinder. It has a threaded housing, which fastens it securely into the door, so it isn’t vulnerable to being snapped or broken.

The size of this lock is its main drawback. It means it doesn’t fit every type of door and lockset. The size also requires more metal, which makes it more expensive to produce.

4. KIK cylinders

KIK stands for Key In Knob. These cylinders can operate a number of different locking mechanisms, including deadlocks, knobs and levers.

For security, KIK cylinders should be installed within a metal door handle or doorknob – otherwise they can be easy to break off. However, this type of installation can be challenging and getting it wrong can stop the key from working properly.

5. Interchangeable core cylinders

As the name suggests, interchangeable core cylinders have a removable and replaceable core that sits inside the lock housing.

This means the locks can be changed quickly and easily, providing the control key is available. It’s particularly helpful if security is compromised – for example, if keys are lost or in the hands of someone who needs to be excluded from a property.

These cylinders are often available with six or seven pin cores, so they work well with master key systems.

On the downside, the keys are typically more expensive than for a standard lock and it can be costly to rekey if the control key is missing.

Do you need door lock parts?

APT has been designing and precision machining lock housings and other door lock parts for decades.

If you need standard, high security or specially designed locks we have the knowledge and experience to advise you and produce exactly what you need.

To find out more, or contact us about a project, please call the team on 0116 287 0051 or send us a message using the enquiry form on our contact page.