Is A Mortise Lock Better Than A Deadbolt? Which One Suits You Most?

Is a mortise lock better than a deadbolt?

A locked door should be the most urgent need to create a secure environment for your family when it comes to home security. That’s why traditional locks such as mortise or deadbolt have become too familiar over the decades.

Still, is a mortise lock better than a deadbolt?

It all depends on the house and the property within it! If it was a regular home, you could completely count on the deadbolt. But if your house has valuable possessions, a mortise lock should be your priority!

So, what are the differences between them? Let’s look at our writing below and discover more facts about these long-ago locks!

Is a mortise lock better than a deadbolt?

Is it better than a deadbolt? 

Is A Mortise Lock Better Than A Deadbolt?

It’s hard to affirm which one is better since both of them offer different benefits and drawbacks.

A thief will need more time and pressure to open a mortise lock aggressively than a deadbolt. It’s because they fit perfectly with the doors, not only the doorknob. Even with a crowbar, the amount of force required to break out mortise door locks is substantially higher.

For that reason, mortise locks promise to provide a high-security level for those who put safety first. But if you often forget to carry the keys, you had better go for a deadbolt.

Let’s keep on reading to discover more features of these locks.

Difference Between A Mortise Lock and A Deadbolt

This section will walk you through some marked differences between two types of locks, depending on four main aspects:

Design & Mechanism

A mortise lock typically includes the lock body (inside the mortise holes in the door), the lock trim (levers, doorknobs, handle sets and pulls), a strike plate (or a box keep, to line the frame’s hole where the bolt fits), and the keyed cylinder (to operate the locking function).

You can imagine this model made of multiple odd-shaped mechanical parts surrounded inside a thick steel case. It requires square and circular holes cut into the edge of the door so that the lock fits them precisely.

Is a mortise lock better than a deadbolt?

Inside the case 

Once you turn the key, the lock will be closed, and you’ll be unable to reopen it if you lose the key. It sounds inconvenient, but this specific design makes mortise locks suitable for homes that need high-security levels. Still, it’s best to have at least one spare key for emergency cases, or you may lose the original.

When it comes to deadbolts, things get easier as you can open them with keys or handles. A deadbolt typically lies on the door at a higher position than the handle.

It is thrown from the inside using a turning knob and locked from the outside using a key. When active, the latch inside the mechanism will switch into the receptacle in the door frame.

Is a mortise lock better than a deadbolt?

Use the turning knob 


Both deadbolts and deadlocks are both installed in the same way. They require a hole bored into the door for the lock mechanism and a matching area drilled away in the frame to house the bolt when it is flung.

Though you may purchase a deadbolt at any shop and install it like other common DIY tasks, the mortise lock will require the assistance of a locksmith.

You can watch via this video for more details:

This installation can somehow weaken the construction of your timber door, but it’s stronger and more adaptable than a deadbolt regarding external trim and functionality.

It’s also advisable to hire an experienced installer to deal with the external trim, which can be the most challenging part of this project.

Is a mortise lock better than a deadbolt?

It’s hard to DIY.

Another thing to keep in mind, deadbolts can work well on hollow wood, heavy-duty wood, or even metal doors. On the other hand, it’s not recommended to install mortise locks for hollow wood since they will be less securely held in place, making it easy to break out of position. These deadlocks, with a solid “mortise” inside, are best for heavy-duty wooden doors and metal doors.

Security Levels

Both of them are hard to pick, and depending on the bolt material, it’s hardly possible to break. Still, mortise locks are more secure and robust than deadbolts because of their sturdy nature.

If you keep valuables at home or you’re living in a high-crime neighborhood, you had better choose this type. Otherwise, a deadbolt is still ideal as it offers easy locking from the inside.


Both of them come in different styles and materials, so the prices vary significantly even when comparing the same model.

Yet, the higher quality and more durable materials of mortise locks make it much more expensive than the deadbolt, even double. That’s not to mention the cost of installing those deadlocks, while you can completely DIY with a deadbolt.

Below is a summary chart of the distinctions between them.

Mortise locksDeadbolts
DesignThe lock body, lock trim, strike plate, and keyed cylinderThe lock body, cylinder, keyhole, thumb turn, and turn piece
Door materialMetal, heavy-duty woodHollow wood, heavy-duty wood, and metal doors
MechanismOnly by keysBy keys and handles
InstallationRequire time and experienceAn easy DIY
Security levelsMore durable and secureLess secure
PriceExpensive (plus the cost of installation)Cheap

Pros And Cons

Mortise Locks


  • Provide high security for home
  • Offer a good aesthetic appeal
  • Available in different sizes and materials
  • Easy to deal with naughty kids (parents can hold the keys to ensure their safety)
  • Ideal for commercial buildings or homes with valuables/ in high-crime areas


  • Need a locksmith to install
  • Inconvenient if you lose keys
  • Not ideal for emergency cases



  • Offer good security for doors
  • It can be opened without a key
  • Easy to install
  • Ideal for hollow wood door


  • Illegal for some states
  • Less secure than other types of locks


Both mortise locks and deadbolts come with different advantages and disadvantages, and these two partly offset one another. Each homeowner will find themselves a suitable lock type depending on their priority.

One final thing is that if you intend to purchase any, think carefully before it will have a great effect on your family’s security and comfort!

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