Mortise Lock Vs Cylindrical Lock – Choose the Best One!

When it comes to home security, a door lock setup plays a vital role in keeping your family and belongings protected. A proper door setup ensures easy access to its residents and keeps them safe from unwanted intruders.

Mortise lock and cylindrical lock are the most commonly used types of locks, and selecting the best one among these two is not easy for new users. This comparison guide will help you know the primary differences between mortise lock vs. cylindrical lock.

What is a Mortise Lock?

Mortise locks are a type of lock that can perfectly fit into the pocket of a door, and they are the best choice for commercial uses. Mortise locks have become a popular choice amongst users. They are robust and reliable.

Figure 1. Mortise Lock

There is a wide range of mortise locks to ensure maximum security. However, two main types of mortise locks are – faceplate and backset mortise.

Mortise door lock
Mortise door lock

Some common types of locks are

Mortise DeadlocksThese locks are perfectly fitted to the external front, back doors, timber, and wooden doors. However, you can not use composite or uPVC doors.
Mortise Sash LocksIt consists of a deadlock and a latch. These locks are perfectly fitted to internal and external doors.
Mortise Night LatchesMortise night latches are fitted to the edge of the door.

Components of a Mortise Lock

Mortise locks are highly durable and reliable, and they are also relatively diverse in their construction and usually different in their structure. Generally, a mortise lock comprises a  lock chassis, operable trim, and latch bolt.

The main components of the mortise lock are

  • Lock Body – A lock body is a part that measures the durability of a lock set. It has been installed in the inside door stile. Usually, it has made of hard materials with high quality and durability.
  • Lock Cylinder – The lock cylinder is a crucial part of the lock. It connects the body to the edge of the door. Also, it measures the safety and durability of the lock set.
  • Strike Plate – The strike plate will connect with the latch tongue or deadbolt tongue. A privacy setting requires a strike plate to latch.
  • Door Handle – You will find two types of mortise locks. It creates the main difference between a mortise lock and other varieties of locks. Usually, it helps to open or close the door.

Mortise Lock Installation

Mortise locks need a mortise on the edge of the door for the lock body. Also, the face of the door requires holes for cylinders and trim, and all lock functions do not require the same holes in the front of the door.

Locks cannot swap out easily because latch bolt locations and face preps are not always universal. However, it may require some additional steps to install the lock function.

Advantages of Mortise Lock

Mortise locks have several advantages:

  • High Strength Security – Mortise locks feature high-quality and strength steel. So, they can easily withstand more force compared to other locks. Moreover, these locks provide high-strength security.
  • Durability and Heavy usage – Mortise locks have extended durability because of their heavy-duty design and solid construction. These locks can firmly hold out against adverse weather and heavy use. A mortise lock can handle up to 5,000 cycles.
  • Aesthetic Value – The smooth surface of mortise locks blends nicely with your interior, and they add more aesthetic value to your home or office interior design than cylinder locks.
  • Easy Access Control – They include a deadbolt detached from its latch. So, it is easier to control who has access.
  • Less Maintenance – These locks do not require high maintenance, and you need a soft cloth to wipe out the dirt and debris.

Disadvantages of Mortise Lock

They have several disadvantages:

  • Do not have an automatic locking option
  • A bit more expensive
  • Difficult to repair and rekey
  • Challenging to install.

What is a Cylindrical Lock?

A cylindrical lock is designed to be installed through the entryway with a knob or handle on either side that withdraws the latch when turned.

Figure – 2. Cylindrical Lock

A cylindrical lock is available in different finishes, thicknesses, designs, styles, backset dimensions, and strike options. Many manufacturing companies produce better quality cylindrical locksets. SLCHKE26D Master cylindrical lock has gained popularity for its hassle-free installation method.

Cylindrical door lock
Cylindrical door lock

Here are some common types of cylindrical locksets:

Mortise Cylinder.They are available in both replaceable core design and standard keyway.
Rim CylinderA rim cylinder is another common type of cylinder, and it is usually used in exit devices.
Deadbolt CylindersMortise night latches are fitted to the face of the door, and they are most commonly used. The single-cylinder deadbolts consist of a key to unlock and lock the door from the outside. At the same time, the double cylinder deadbolts include a crucial cylinder on both sides of the door.    

Components of a Cylindrical Lock

Cylindrical locks include:

  • A separate latch bolt.
  • Lock chassis.
  • An individual latch bolt.
  • Operable trim.
  • Roses behind the edge.

The cylinder locates inside the knob or lever for keyed functions. Standard cylinders need total lock removal to recover the cylinder for rekeying. A cylinder lock has two main components – the knob or lever handle and the rotating cylinder core assembly.

Cylindrical Lock Installation

Cylindrical locks are pretty easy to install than mortise locks. It would help if you cut into the door to install the mortise lock. But you do not need to cut out part of the door to set up the cylindrical lock. Moreover, installing this lock will take around 15 to 30 minutes.

Advantages of Cylindrical Lock

Cylindrical locks have multiple advantages:

  • Easy to Install and Replace – The installation process of cylindrical locks is simple and uncomplicated. Also, they are easy to replace.
  • Available in Single And Double Cylinders – They are available in single and double cylinders. So, you can choose one based on the security level of the doors and your preference.
  • Simple to Rekey – Another advantage of a cylindrical lock is using the same key on different doors with different lock mechanisms.
  • Less Expensive – These locks are relatively less expensive than mortise locks. So, they can be an economical option.
  • Versatile Use – These locks come in multiple grades. So, they are used for both residential and commercial applications. Their cylinder inside or outside construction makes them versatile for most door designs and styles.

Disadvantages of Cylindrical Lock

Disadvantages of cylindrical locks:

  • Not suitable for heavy-duty doors
  • Not so strong
  • Easy to pick

Major Differences Between Mortise Lock Vs Cylindrical Lock [At a Glance]

Let’s check out the main differences between mortise lock vs. cylindrical lock.

 Mortise LocksCylindrical Locks
MechanismComplex mechanismSimple mechanism
Installation ProcessRequires expert helpEasy to install
Availability of GradesDo not offer a customizable optionAvailable in 1,2 and 3 grades. So, you can select based on your security priorities and needs.
Security LevelHigh-security levelLower security level.
Availability of DeadboltCome with both deadbolt and latch.Do not come with a deadbolt. Need to get that installed separately
ApplicationBetter for commercial applicationsBetter for residential applications

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Mortise and Cylinder Lock

Before you begin choosing a mortise and cylindrical lock, there are a few factors to consider.

  • Door Material – Door material is the first important factor to consider. For example, a wooden door needs different locks than a steel or metal door.
  • Door Thickness – If your door consists of thin metal or plastic materials, you will have difficulty setting up a mortise lock. Because it would not offer enough support for the locking mechanism.
  • Door Types – There are two major types of doors – hinged and sliding. For instance, if you have hinged doors, only one style will function perfectly with this movement.
  • Security Level – If you want a lower security level, use the cylindrical lock. For a high level of security and protection, then choose mortise lock.
  • Appearance – People give more attention to beauty than functionality when buying devices or products such as home security systems. But now there is not much difference between high-end products. So, why do you not choose something appealing, right?
  • Availability of Parts – Lacking replacement parts is essential when purchasing a lock system. So, you do not need to buy a new set.

FAQs: Mortise Lock Vs Cylindrical Lock

What amount does it cost to rekey a cylindrical lock?

The average cost to rekey a cylinder lock is $25 per cylinder.

How long does a mortise lock last?

According to most residential locksmiths – the average lifespan of the mortise lock is about seven years.


This detailed outline has helped you understand the side-by-side between mortise lock vs. cylindrical lock. So, you can learn the dissimilarities to make the right choice for your home or office.

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Bobby Taylor

Bobby Taylor

I'm Bobby Taylor, a tech lover, writer, and editor for Smart Home Protector. I am also a customer relationship officer of a well established electronics manufacturer company in the United States.

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