Many different types of door locks are available today, but two of the most common options are cylinder and mortise. Both offer a high level of security for private residences, public buildings, institutional settings, and important facilities. Of these two, which type is the best for your needs? To help you decide, our locksmith team at MacArthur Locks & Doors has included this comparison highlighting the key differences between a cylindrical and a mortise lock.

What Is a Mortise Lock?

A mortise lock is an excellent security option for commercial buildings that experience high levels of foot traffic. Unlike other types, a mortise locks is a substantial, weighty, and made from durable and long-lasting materials.

Mortise locks are some of the most dependable and strong locks available. They are designed to eliminate vulnerabilities, making them an excellent choice for security. Additionally, anyone can easily install them on doors, improving security.

Mortise Lock Features

Mortise locks provide a higher level of door security than conventional locks as they use a series of notches and levers. The elements working together create a more secure system to better protect your home or business.

Moreover, these locks are some of the most durable and reliable on the market. Their unique design makes them much more resistant to wear and tear. Definitely, they will last longer than your average cylindrical lock.

A mortise lock’s embedded deadbolts on some of its components add an extra layer of security. Because the latch bolt and deadbolt can be simultaneously retracted when leaving, integrated deadbolts are code compliant. In addition, locks with integrated deadbolts are stronger and more secure than those with separate deadbolts. Finally, since they eliminate the need for two different boreholes, it is more difficult for intruders to break in.

Aesthetically, mortise locks have a distinctively retro look that many people find appealing. Their design makes them ideal for use in older homes or establishments that want to maintain a vintage feel.

What Is a Cylindrical Lock?

There are many different types of locks available on the market, but cylindrical locks are some of the most popular. They offer a wide range of finishes, door thicknesses, backset sizes, and strike options.

Pros of Cylindrical Locks

Inexpensive Cost

Cylinder locks are a great option if you are looking for a cost-effective solution that suits your needs. Plus, they are less expensive than other locks. Thus, you can save money while still getting the security you need.

Easy Installation

Installing a cylinder lock can be straightforward or challenging, depending on your situation. If you lack experience with this type of lock, you may need extra tools and professional help.


Rekeying cylindrical locks is a simple process that can be completed even if the locks on the doors are un identical. This type of lock can use the same key on several different locks. However, mortise locks demand a unique set of keys and a specific tool for every door.

Replaceable Sections

Not all locks, including mortise locks, are quick to replace. However, cylinder locks are modular. So you can replace only the sections that need fixing rather than the entire system. Well, that is a more economical choice when changing locks.

Mortise Lock vs. Cylindrical Lock

Is a mortise lock more secure?

There are many benefits to using mortise locks over cylindrical locks. They offer additional security features and functionalities, making them ideal for many uses. In addition, passage, deadlock, privacy, and admission features make these locks perfect for various applications. 

Is a mortise lock easier to install?

Cylinder locks are quick and easy to install – all you need is two drill holes of the same size. In fact, the whole process should only take 20 minutes. In contrast, mortise locks require a slot cut into the door before installation.

Does the higher cost of a mortise lock equate to durability?

Mortise locks are more expensive than cylinder locks, but they offer more security and durability. Installation costs for mortise locks may be higher, but overall, they provide better value for your investment. Cylinder locks are more practical for locations with lower security needs and are more affordable upfront.

What about the application and level of security of a mortise lock?

One way to increase security at your home or business is to install mortise locks. These locks are stronger and more durable than cylinder locks and can withstand years of use. High-grade cylinder locks can be more challenging to pick, but mortise locks provide a higher level of security.

Locksmith Near Me

If you are still deciding about which locks to choose for your home security, talking to experts like MacArthur Locks & Doors can be extremely helpful. Our team of experts can offer advice on the best home security locks and provide top-notch locksmith services for your commercial locksmith, residential locksmith, or automotive locksmith needs. Plus, we have a 24-hour locksmith standing by when you need an emergency locksmith service. So call us today for free estimates.

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