Understanding Lock Functions

Last Updated on December 1, 2022

How Do Locks Work – Lock Functions: Passage, Entry, Storeroom, Classroom, Privacy

Locks behave differently based on their lock function.

Do you want a lock that always locks every time the door closes? There’s a lock function for that.

Do you want a lock that cannot be locked from the inside (only the outside) so that you never get locked out of a room by someone? Yep, there’s a lock function for that too.

Here are the most common types of lock functions.

What is a Passage Lock

Passage locks are used when doors do not need to be locked. There is no keyhole in a passage lock and no means to lock it. You’ll find these locks on hall closet or bedroom closet doors, pantries, supply rooms, etc…. Their main purpose is simply to prevent a door from swinging open once the door is closed.

Door Lock Functions

What is a Privacy Lock

Privacy locks can be locked from the inside to lock a room, but privacy locks do not require a key to unlock them from the outside.

Instead of a key, there is usually a simply tool that unlocks the lock. In homes, you see these most commonly installed on bedrooms and bathrooms.

In businesses, like retail clothing stores, you typically see them on dressing room doors. Just like the name implies, the offer privacy to the user but they are easily bypassed in case someone needs to get in for an emergency.

To lock a privacy set there is usually a thumb turn or a push button/turn. Some privacy locks installed in bathrooms on commercial buildings have an indicator to show the locked or unlocked status of the bathroom.

What are Storeroom Locks

Storeroom Locks are used when the outside lever needs to be locked at all times.

They require a key to unlock and open the door. There is no means to lock/unlock the door from the inside as it is always locked as soon as the door is closed. From the inside of the room, they can always be freely opened to exit the room.

You see these a lot in businesses when a business wants a commercial self locking door lock. Storeroom function locks can be used to secure storage rooms, mechanical rooms, and electrical rooms, for example (rooms that you want to restrict access to but don’t want anyone ever accidentally getting locked in).

When a storeroom lock is used there is often a door closer installed on the door to insure the door will not be left open and unsecured. The door closer automatically closes the door so that the room remains locked.

Some residential locks can be set so that they act like a storeroom function self locking lock. Typically by twisting the button on the inside of the lock while you push it in to lock the door. Many homeowners don’t realize this and we have had to unlock many homes because the door lock was accidentally put into it’s storeroom function.

What are Entry Locks / Entry Levers

Entry locks are controlled by a key in the outside cylinder and by a thumbturn, key or push button/turn on the inside. The use of the thumbturn/button provides the ability to lock the door or keep the door unlocked so a key is not required to enter for convenience to the user.

This type of lock should be used where unauthorized access is not a concern most of the time – like an office, home or storage closet door that you don’t want to be locked at all times.

What are Classroom Function Locks

Classroom locks are special locks that are controlled by a key on the outside of the door, just like an entry lock. However, the key can be used to set the lock up so that it will stay locked our unlocked. On the inside of the door, There is no method of locking or unlocking the door lock.

This function was originally designed for schools, to prevent students from tampering with the locks (i.e. locking everyone out of the classroom), but most new schools use classroom security locks (see below). A classroom function lock might also be used for a common office corridor or suite entry, where key control of the lock is needed, and a thumbturn or push button/turn is not desired.

Classroom Security Lock Function

Classroom Security Function Lock

Classroom Security Locks allow control of the outside lever via a typical key cylinder on BOTH sides of the door.

A teacher can lock her classroom door during a lock-down event without ever opening the door and possibly being exposed to an intruder in the corridor. In some areas these types of locks are required by law for school classrooms.

From inside the classroom, anyone can leave the room at any time, the key on the inside of the room only locks the external side of the lever. It is typically
keyed so that all of the inside cylinders on classroom doors are operated by the same key, or are operated by any key in the school’s master-key system.

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