Guide to the best window locks for security

person opening a window with a lever handle and key lock


Posted June 18, 2024

Securing your home is a top priority, and one of the most vulnerable entry points for burglars is often overlooked: the windows. 

One of the main ways to prevent a burglary is to make sure your windows and doors are locked. Even when you're at home, you may want to consider locking the windows at the front of the house if, for example, you're gardening in the backyard. Along with getting the best locks for your doors, and best garage door lock, installing high-quality window locks is an effective way to enhance your home's security.

Other effective ways to protect your home include installing double-glazed windows, which are difficult for burglars to break compared with single-pane windows, and security cameras.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to get the best locks for your house windows.

Getting the best window locks

close up of window latch

Window latches hold the window securely in place when it is closed. Image: Getty


Assess your windows

Before choosing window locks, it’s essential to understand the types of windows you have. Different window designs require specific locking mechanisms for optimal security. Common window types include: 

  • Casement windows: hinged on the side and open outwards.
  • Double-hung windows: have two sashes that move up and down. 
  • Sliding windows: slide horizontally.
  • Awning windows: hinged at the top and open outward.
  • Fixed windows: do not open, primarily for light and aesthetics.

Each window type has compatible locks designed to provide maximum security. A fully accredited, licensed and insured locksmith can advise you on what’s best for your property. 

Assess your security needs

Evaluate the level of security you need based on the location of the windows. Also, consider the crime rate in your area and your overall home security system. Ground-level windows, which are usually the easiest to access, require robust locks. 

sliding window with lock and key

Bar locks are a type of sliding window lock which are typically simple to install and use. Image: Getty


Types of window locks

Here are some popular types of window locks to consider:

Keyed locks 

Keyed locks offer a robust security solution for your windows by requiring a key to open them. This feature makes it significantly more challenging for intruders to gain unauthorised entry. These locks are particularly ideal for ground-level windows or windows that are easily accessible from the outside, as these entry points are often targeted by burglars. By installing keyed locks on these vulnerable windows, you create an additional layer of security that can deter potential break-ins. Keyed locks are also versatile because they can be used on various window types, including casement, double-hung, and sliding windows, providing a reliable security upgrade across your home. 

Sliding window locks 

Sliding window locks are specifically designed to enhance the security of sliding windows, which can often be more vulnerable to break-ins due to their design. These locks function by preventing the window from being opened beyond a certain point, therefore restricting the amount of space an intruder could use to gain entry. There are various types of sliding window locks, including bar locks, which can be placed along the track to block the window's movement, and pin locks, which can be inserted into a pre-drilled hole to secure the window in place. Installing sliding window locks also ensures that even if the window is not fully closed, it cannot be easily opened from the outside. Additionally, these locks are typically easy to install and operate, making them a practical and effective solution for securing sliding windows in your home.

Window latches 

Window latches are a common feature on double-hung windows, serving the basic function of holding the window securely in place when it is closed. These simple yet effective locks operate by fastening the upper and lower sashes together, preventing them from being opened. While standard latches offer a basic level of security, opting for reinforced latches can significantly enhance the safety of your windows. Reinforced latches are typically made from stronger materials, such as heavy-duty metal, and are designed to withstand greater force, making it more difficult for intruders to tamper with or break through them. Additionally, some reinforced latches come with added features like child safety mechanisms or keyed options for an extra layer of protection. 

key in window lock

Keyed locks are versatile as they can be used on various window types, including casement, double-hung, and sliding windows. Image: Getty


Hinged wedge locks 

Hinged wedge locks are a great security option for double-hung windows, offering the flexibility to secure the window at different opening points. These locks consist of a hinged wedge that can be adjusted to lock the window in a partially open position, allowing for ventilation while still maintaining security. When the wedge is engaged, it prevents the window from being opened further, making it difficult for intruders to gain access.

The versatility of hinged wedge locks is particularly beneficial in homes where airflow and security are both priorities. For example, during warmer months, you can keep the window slightly open to allow fresh air to circulate without compromising the safety of your home. In addition to enhancing security, hinged wedge locks also contribute to child safety by preventing children from opening windows beyond a safe limit.

Pin locks  

Pin locks are a versatile and practical security option for a variety of window types, including double-hung, sliding, and casement windows. These locks use a removable pin to secure the window in either a closed or slightly open position, providing flexibility and enhanced security. When the pin is inserted into the designated hole or slot, it prevents the window from being opened beyond a certain point, making it difficult for burglars to break in.

One of the key advantages of pin locks is their simplicity and ease of use. They can be quickly installed by drilling a small hole into the window frame and inserting the pin. The design of pin locks allows for easy removal and reinsertion of the pin, giving homeowners the ability to adjust the window opening as needed. This feature is particularly useful for maintaining ventilation while ensuring the security of the home.

Sash locks  

Sash locks are a common and effective security solution typically used on double-hung windows. These locks are mounted on the window sash, which is the frame that holds the glass panes. When engaged, sash locks securely fasten the upper and lower sashes together, preventing the window from being opened either from the inside or outside. This mechanism is particularly useful in deterring unauthorised access to your home.

The installation of sash locks is straightforward, often involving simple screws to attach the lock to the window sash. They come in various designs and finishes, allowing homeowners to choose an option that complements their window style and home decor. Sash locks can be installed on both new and existing windows.


person using pin lock on window

Window stays offer some level of security, but need a lockable fastener to help prevent a burglary. Image: Getty


Material and durability

Choose locks made from durable materials such as stainless steel or brass. These materials resist tampering and wear, providing long-lasting security. Avoid plastic locks as they can be easily broken.

Ease of use

Choose window locks that are easy to use without compromising security. For instance, while keyed locks offer high security, they should also allow for quick exit in case of emergencies. Consider locks that balance ease of use with safety features. 

Installation process

Some window locks can be installed as a DIY project, while others might require professional installation. Ensure that locks are installed correctly to avoid compromising their effectiveness. Professional installation is recommended for high-security locks to ensure they function properly.

window with sash lock

Sash locks securely fasten the upper and lower sashes together, preventing the window from being opened either from the inside or outside. Image: Getty


Additional security features

For enhanced security, look for locks with additional features such as:

  • Tamper-resistant screws: prevent unauthorised removal.
  • Child safety locks: prevent young children from opening windows. It's one way to make your home childproof.
  • Smart locks: integrate with home security systems for remote monitoring and control.

Regular maintenance

Regularly inspect and maintain your window locks to ensure they remain in good working condition. Lubricate moving parts and tighten any loose screws. Replace any damaged locks immediately.

Cost considerations 

Choose the best locks you can afford. High-quality locks are a worthwhile investment in your home's security. Compare prices and features to get the best value for your money.


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