cylindrical door knob set

Best Bedroom Locks to Help Maintain Your Privacy

People want to be able to lock their bedrooms for a whole range of reasons. The number one reason though is privacy. There are many rooms in the home and many of those will be a shared space. However the bedroom is not one of those, and is either occupied by one person, or shared with a partner.

So aside from adding another layer of security in your home, a locked bedroom will also give you a much better degree of privacy.

For people living alone, adding a lock to their bedroom door will clearly add another level of security, and just make them feel a great deal safer.

Likewise many homes are shared, such as those by university students. Although most of the home is a shared space such as the kitchen, living area and bathroom, your own bedroom is or should be a private space.

The UK law on this is vague, but landlords are not obliged to fit locks on bedroom doors. You will also need permission from the landlord to fit one as it may damage the door. If in doubt just ask and it is always better to be certain rather than end up with a costly bill to remove it.

The good news is that in most cases, these types of bedroom locks, are relatively cheap to buy and pretty easy to fit, or get fitted. There are a few different types of these which I will explain below, and then you can make your own mind which type suits your needs the best.

Different Types of Bedroom Locks

There are a few different types of bedroom locks available. Some of these are suitable for simply closing from the inside and others are suitable for both locking the door from the inside or outside.

  1. Internal locks only - these are locks like snibs or chains that are fitted on the inside of the door, and can only be used to lock the door from the inside
  2. Internal & External door locks - these are locks that can be fitted to a bedroom door and give you the option of being able to lock the door from the inside or outside. These are locks like dead bolt or the round knob style type of lock, often referred to as biscuit locks.

It really depends on how much security or privacy you want to have. Clearly the internal only locks are only suitable for those who want to be able to go into the bedroom, and lock it from the inside, when they are in there. If you want a more permanent solution, then you will have to opt for a more expensive lock.

Internal Bedroom Locks

As I mentioned earlier, these are the cheapest and simplest locks to buy and also the easiest to fit. Just remember though they only work from the inside. Almost always these are a basic latch style lock, and these are also used in some bathrooms. Have a look at the image below to see exactly what we mean.

simple bedroom lock for door

As you can see this is a pretty simple lock to fit and to use. You go into the bedroom and then push the bar over to lock the door. They are also pretty cheap to buy at around £4-5.

You simply align the bolt with the door and the door frame, and draw a dot with a pencil. Drill the holes into the frame and door and screw it into the wood with the screws provided. 

This is the most basic and simplest solution, if you just want a lock that you can close once you are inside your bedroom at night time, or during the day. These do not offer a high level of security, as it is pretty easy to force these open.

it does however prevent people from simply walking in and out of your bedroom as and when they feel like doing that.

You can also buy these with a combination locking bolt, as shown below. These are more expensive and on average they are priced at around £15. You fit them in the same way and then set your own combination code.

internal bedroom lock with combination

As you can see these are a pretty simple and affordable solution for many people who want privacy in their bedroom, when they are inside the bedroom.

However, these are not suitable for those who want to have their bedroom permanently locked, or want the option to have it either locked or left open.

Permanent Bedroom Locks

Now if you would like the option of being able to leave your bedroom door open, and closing it or locking it when you need to, then you will need to buy a more sophisticated lock.

There are a few options here which I will explain below. In many ways your final decision will come down to the style that you prefer. You may also want to match the lock style to the style of the other door handles in your home.

Let's have a look at what is actually available on the UK market.

Privacy Door Knob Style Bedroom Locks

These are a very popular choice for many home owners. We have included an image below so as you can see the type of lock we are discussing here.

cylindrical door knob set

These are good for a few reasons. First of all they do look really well on the door and they are fairly easy to fit. You normally find these on bathroom doors but they can also be used on bedroom doors.

These are referred to as "privacy locks." This type of lock can be locked or unlocked from the inside only. In other words these are good where privacy is required but not security. Please note that these can not be locked from the outside.

So if you want to be able to lock the door when you leave your bedroom, then this is not the right option for you. These work on the same principle as a bathroom door lock. Almost always they will be referred to as a privacy lock.

Knob Entrance Key Locks

Now you can also buy a similar knob style but these come with an entrance key lock. These are usually a single cylinder keyed entry door knob set. With this type the bedroom door can be locked and unlocked from the exterior with a key.

They can also be locked or unlocked from the inside with an associated turn-button. Typically these are used to secure entrances and side doors, but they can be used anywhere a little extra security is desired, such as your bedroom.

Privacy Lock

Lockable Knob Style

All of the knob style locks will need to be properly fitted. The door thickness is important here so you need to measure the thickness of the door, and then check the lock details to make sure it will fit that thickness of your door.

All of these locks do come with fitting instructions. If you are good at DIY or good with your hands, then these are easy to fit. If you are not, then you may need to pay someone to get these fitted properly. That of course can get expensive, as the average joiner will charge around £50-60 to fit a lock.

Handle Style Lockable Bedroom Locks

These are by quite a way the most popular choice for most home owners. It is the handle lock option that can be locked with a key. Out of all the bedroom lock options this one is the most private and secure option.

I have included an example below as most people should be familiar with this particular style in the UK. They have quite a few advantages as they are easy to fit, use a key for locking purposes, and they don't really go faulty.

They will also keep your bedroom secure and private as they can be locked from both the inside and outside.

handle style lockable bedroom locks

These come in a range of styles and in different finishes such as chrome, brushed metals and even in different colours.

Just like the knob style locks these are easy enough to fit if you consider yourself to be a handy person and good at DIY. If in doubt it is always better to pay someone to get these fitted properly.

If you mess up the fitting of these then you may have to en up replacing the door and that is just a lot more expensive to do.

This type costs anything between £10-70 depending on the style that you want, and also on the quality of the lock. Many of these are plated with chrome and those are prone to chipping. The better the quality the easier they are to keep clean.

Hi Tech Bedroom Locks

As you might expect there are also plenty of electronic options, if you want to take your bedroom privacy and security to that level. They are always going to be more expensive options of course, but they are the latest and most modern way of securing your bedroom.

As you can see these are not cheap options, but then you are using the latest locking technology. As you can also see, there are plenty of other cheaper and equally as effective options for securing your bedroom.

What Are Bedroom Doors Made From?

I just want to take a little time to discuss bedroom doors because it is important to understand what your bedroom door is made from, before you buy and fit a lock. If you can figure out which type of bedroom door you have, then picking the right lock become a great deal easier.

Generally speaking bedroom doors have a general door classification of "interior doors." There are three main types of these:

  1. Solid Wood
  2. Solid Core
  3. Hollow Core

Solid Wood Bedroom Doors

Some bedroom doors, but not many, will be made from solid wood and these will be very high quality solid doors. 

These are heavy, very sturdy, and over time will not chip or crack. They are usually the most expensive but will last for many years. They do provide very good insulation and provide a natural sound barrier.

These will take any type of lock, but we would recommend getting a joiner to fit your locks. Solid wood doors are very expensive to buy, and if you are uncertain on how to fit a lock, then get an expert to do it.

Solid Core Bedroom Doors

The vast majority of bedroom doors though will be made of either a solid core or more likely a hollow core.

Solid-core doors are usually made from plywood or a moulded composite exterior, with a filled-wood-fiber interior. To all intensive purposes they will have the same look and feel of a solid wood door.

They offer good good insulation and a good sound barrier between rooms. These doors are also heavy and built to last.

Again any type of lock can be fitted to these.

Hollow Core Bedroom Doors

The vast majority of homes in the UK will have one of these fitted. When building companies are building houses, they can save a lot of money on fixtures and fittings. They will generally speaking on most house builds fit the cheapest internal doors.

These hollow-core doors are made from a wood frame, using a plywood or hardwood surface. They are then filled with a rigid cardboard to maintain their shape.

These suffice as a door and they are cheap to buy. They do provide a layer of insulation and some sound proofing but not that good.

You do need to be careful when fitting locks to these doors. Many of them are not suitable for the knob style or the handle style. That is because the inside of the door is simply packed with a tough cardboard.

There is nowhere to be able to screw into, or indeed hold a lock.

Bedroom Door Finishes

Most people will either stain or paint their bedroom doors. Typically there will be a choice of stains such as light oak, oak, mahogany, pine etc. For painting almost always a gloss paint will be used and this can be done in any colour, though white remains the most popular.

Why Are Bedroom Doors Not Fitted with Locks?

This is an interesting question to answer. There are two main reasons which I will explain in detail below:

  1. Safety reasons
  2. Cutting costs

Safety Reasons

All external doors will be fitted with locks for obvious security reasons. External doors will always be made of solid wood or solid composite doors. Usually they will be fitted with dead locks, though sometimes with the classic Yale locks.

Those are designed to stop people breaking into your home.

When it comes to internal doors, then only the bathroom doors is fitted with a lock for privacy reasons. You don't want to be sitting on the throne when someone else wants in to wash their face after all.

Internal doors, and especially bedroom doors are not fitted with locks for fire safety reasons. If a fire started in a home, there is usually an emergency exit or there should be one.

In most cases this will be a bathroom or a bedroom leading out on to a roof. In other words some easy method of escape. If that happened to be a bedroom then a locked door would not be a good idea.

In older houses (pre 1940s) almost every internal door would have had a lock. Believe it or not that dates back to the Victorian days of the gentry and servants, where servants were not allowed unrestricted access to certain rooms.

Cutting Costs

The main reason locks are not fitted on bedroom doors is the reason I gave earlier. Builders will typically only do what they have to do as any extras or additional parts cost money and time to fit. If a builder can get away with not fitting internal locks then they will.

How to Fit a Bedroom Lock?

When it comes to fitting a bedroom lock then you have two simple choices:

  1. DIY
  2. Getting a trade's person to do it for you

Getting it Done

Any joiner will fit a lock for you in a short space of time. The amount they charge will mainly depend on the type of lock you want fitted and mainly that is down to the time taken.

On average it can be anything between £50-100 per lock. If you are getting more than one lock done, then the cost per lock will be cheaper as the person is already there.

DIY Option

Clearly doing this yourself is only going to cost you the price of the lock and whatever time it takes to fit. Some locks such as a simple chain style lock are very easy to fit. Usually those just require 6 screws, and then attaching the chain. Almost anyone can do this with nothing more than a screwdriver.

The round handle type of locks take a bit more work as you will have to drill and chisel out the space for the lock. Likewise the dead bolt locks will take a lot longer.

You do also need to have some knowledge on how these locks work, and you will need the right tools to do the job. Typically you will need a drill, some drill bits for wood, a hammer, a chisel and a screwdriver.

Video on Fitting a Bedroom Lock