- 1 Simply Locking Your Doors Isn’t Enough
- 2 Quick Look: Top 5 Window Locks
- 3 Momentum Brands Sliding Window Lock
- 4 Prime-Line U9809 Window Lock
- 5 Johnson Smith Co. Window Security Bar
- 6 Wedgit Maxi Twist Window Security Bar
- 7 Prime-Line F 2646 Sash Lock
- 8 Cresci Window Wedge
- 9 Zelta Adjustable Window Lock
- 10 Overall thoughts
Simply Locking Your Doors Isn’t Enough
Windows are second only to doors when it comes to security vulnerabilities in a house. In fact, some might say windows are even preferred by intruders, since a window out of sight, or facing a direction other than the street, can offer a less conspicuous point of entry. Windows are usually constructed in a way that makes them less secure than doors. They are easier to open from the outside and since they are typically made of glass, easier to break through than solid doors.
Of course, none of this matters when people unknowingly leave their windows open when not at home. Forgetting to close your windows can lead to break-ins, and you’d be surprised to learn how often the average person does this. Naturally, the first and foremost way to secure windows is to install bars on the outside. However, to some, this method may be unseemly, even though there are some stylish options on the market. For others, the hassle or price is too much, while some consider the bars to not only keep intruders out, but the residents in which can be an issue, for example in the case of a fire.
There are plenty of situations when bars just won’t cut it, and you need a window that is both open to access, yet secure against those you want to keep out of your home. This is where window locks come into play. Again, there exist special security windows where the whole construction and frame is designed to be intruder-proof with tamper resistant key locks, shatter proof glass and more, however these are expensive and require some serious renovation work to install. What if you just want to secure the regular windows your house already posesses?
Window locks come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention prices. There are various types which work with different types of windows and employ different methods to secure them. Whether your window slides or opens on hinges, there are options available. The main types of locks are bar, sash, wedge and one simply referred to as locks. Now, the majority of these are applied to sliding windows, as hinge windows are locked with the same principle as doors. For this precise reason, you’ll find few sash locks (these work for hinged windows) on the market, since such windows don’t typically need specialized locks and really any security lock for doors or gates can be slapped on a window.
As such, the majority of products that we’ll look at today will be designed to secure sliding windows. Wedges usually operate on the same principle as door-stops: force the window itself and the frame it slides in close together, creating friction while de-aligning them. Bar locks are long telescopic tubes which can be fixed at certain lengths, and thus propped between the window itself and the far frame to block the former from sliding. The odd little clamps which lack a technical term (and therefore will be referred to as clamps henceforth) simply add an obstacle in the path of the window to prevent it from sliding. Some models even combine two types into one.
When looking for window locks, you’ll need to consider the material the lock is made out of, the method it uses for security, and whether it is compatible with your window. Plastic locks are understandably less ideal than metal ones, and between the three types, the clamps are the least secure – and thus also usually the cheapest. You’ll need to gauge the typical level of security in your neighborhood, and how much you are willing to spend on securing your windows. However keep in mind that anyone can be the target of burglary, and even the better models aren’t too expensive, so the safety of your family is likely worth this investment.
Quick Look: Top 5 Window Locks
|1||Prime-Line F 2646 Sash Lock||• Sash style lock|
• Secured with key
• Highly secure
|• Bolt short for hinged windows|
|2||Wedgit Maxi Twist||• Bar style lock|
• No tools required
• Hinged assembly for convenience
|• Adhesive sometimes gives way|
|3||Prime-Line U9809||• Clamp style lock|
• Cap screw
|• Not the most secure|
• Teeth may leave mark
|4||Zelta Adjustable Window Lock||• Clamp-Wedge hybrid|
• Metal and rubber construction
|• Convenient |
• Novel concept
|• Not particularly strong|
|5||Momentum Brands Window Lock||• Clamp-style lock|
• Secured with thumbscrew
|• Cheap |
• Can be improved with minor tweaking
|• Not too secure without modification|
Momentum Brands Sliding Window Lock
We’ll start things off with one of the most basic forms of window locks. These small clips are intended to be placed on the rail right before the sliding panel of the window and secured with a screw that keeps the clip there by the force of friction alone. They are a quick, easy and cheap solution, but hardly the most secure. Depending on how tightly you screw it on, any intruder who has slightly above average physical strength could still open the window – not to mention these small items can easily be misplaced.
The main selling point of these clips is convenience. They’re cheap and easy to use, no tools are required for installation and they don’t change the appearance of the window either. For people who don’t live in a rough neighborhood and know that it’s very unlikely their windows would be targeted, but need a little bit of extra security just to feel some ease of mind, this is an easy solution.
The package contains four clips, with which you can either secure four windows with only one clip, or two with a clip on each rail. The clips are made entirely out of aluminium, and the end of the screws are flattened and ribbed to make it easier to screw them by hand.
Depending on the frame of your window, there is a neat trick that can make these a whole lot more secure. If the frame is thick enough, drilling a small hole into it will give the end of the screw a receptacle, essentially fixing it to the frame, providing more security than mere friction would.
The Momentum Brands window lock is as basic as they come, with everything about it screaming “budget”. That said, it can get the job done, if not too securely, and with a bit of tweaking you can get a fairly safe solution on the cheap with this. That said, if you’re actually gunning for a secure solution, we’d suggest you keep looking.
Prime-Line U9809 Window Lock
The U9809 takes the same basic concept of the previous product but takes it a bit further in terms of function. It too is a clamp that can be put on the railing of a sliding window, but instead of simply relying on the friction of a screw, the screw is used to tighten a vice-like construction that “bites” onto the rail to secure the clamp.
The main draw of this product is the same as the one before. Ease and convenience. You pay a minimal price for two small tidbits which you toss onto your window in a minute and boom, more security. End of story. No complex, hour long installations, no tools, no pricey and overly complex mechanisms. It won’t block any escape routes, but it will make breaking into your home harder.
The U9809 window lock is designed for horizontal sliding windows but will work with some vertical ones as well. The clamp is designed for vinyl frames, though technically it can work with any material so long as it fits. The cam-style screw adds extra tension beyond merely tightening the screw, and makes the whole thing more secure than a simple thumb screw would.
The lock is made out of diecast metal so endurance won’t be an issue, and the outside is painted white so that it will fit in with most modern windows without sticking out. You’ll get two of these locks in a pack.
The U9809 window lock is yet another example of the cheap, simple solution. You can do worse when it comes to security, but this isn’t exactly a foolproof lock either. While the vice style clamp is more secure than the thumb screw kind under regular circumstances, you can’t employ the drilled-hole hack here to make it much stronger. Same applies as before – if you need real security, we’d suggest something more serious.
Johnson Smith Co. Window Security Bar
Moving on from clips, window bar locks operate on a similar principle, by providing a physical obstacle to prevent the window from sliding. The bar is placed in the negative space where the window would be when opened, extended so it fills the distance from frame to window completely, and secured. Structurally, this is a far more secure option than clips are, and no-one will get through such a lock without tools or excessive violence – provided the bar is well constructed.
The model provided by Johnson Smith Co. relies on a compression locking system instead of one which screws tight or loose. You need to apply pressure by squeezing the tube in order to unlock the bar, while it locks internally in certain positions. The only issue is, this method isn’t mechanically sound and it is really easy to just push it together without ‘unlocking’ it, as many users have reported.
Questionable mechanics aside, a bar lock is still more secure than a clip would be, and this model provides that increased measure of security at a pretty decent price. You’ll get two bars in one package, which are cheap and easy to use. Like in the case of the clips, convenience is a major factor here, but these bar locks allow you to enjoy that benefit without sacrificing security.
The bars are made of steel, and extend from a minimum length of 17 inches to a maximum length of 29 inches, so keep these dimensions in mind when buying. Also remember that if your window is set up so that both sections slide in either direction, this won’t be of much use. Place it on the inside, and the intruder will slide the other pane and take it out. Put it on the outside, and the intruder will simply unlock it. This only has any practical use with single hung windows.
While the Johnson Smith Co. window bar lock does what it sets out to do, it isn’t the top specimen of its type, and you might be better off buying a sturdier model for only a slightly higher price. As it is, the product’s dodgy mechanism makes it something of a liability.
Wedgit Maxi Twist Window Security Bar
The Wedgit Maxi Twist, odd name nothwithstanding, takes the basic concept of “put a stick between your window and its frame” and adds as many utilitarian features as is reasonably possible. It doesn’t connect to the internet or anything absurd, but it has plenty of minor bonuses that elevate it above most other choices.
The mechanism of the Wedgit relies on screwing instead of compression, as the previous model did, and is therefore much more secure. You can’t just push it together with excessive force, and it would be impossible to open a window locked with this without using heavy equipment.
The sturdiness of the Wedgit is definitely its strongest suit. The lock can take up to 450 pounds of pressure and is constructed of a special polymer which is designed to be shatter and crack resistant. The bar is bulky and hefty, with a real sense of weight and strength to it. You won’t find yourself doubting its ability to prop a window closed.
The Wedgit can be installed without tools thanks to heavy duty adhesive tape with which it comes supplied. At least, in theory – many users have reported that the tape can easily give way and securing it with screws might be a better option. That said, in most cases the tape holds so it isn’t a universal issue that’s guaranteed to affect your product if you pick this one, just be prepared if it does.
The bar can be set between the lengths of 25 inches and 42 inches, so it is suitable for larger windows as well. The rear section has a hinge construction allowing it to swing out of the way when needed, meaning the fact that it’s fixed to the frame won’t actually impact the opening range of the window itself.
The Wedgit Maxi Twist is a great blend of form, function and value, offering security with a great list of features to back it up, and you won’t go bankrupt buying a few of them either. Nothing can be perfect, but luckily the Wedgit is only marred by a single minor issue which isn’t a dealbreaker.
Prime-Line F 2646 Sash Lock
Moving on to another type of window security, sash locks are designed with both sliding and regular hinged windows in mind. There is nothing particularly unique about it, as it operates on the same principle as any regular door lock does, with a slight upgrade to work on sliding windows too. Depending on your window, you’ll install the two halves either on the two wings of the window, or on one pane and the adjoining section of the frame. Turning the lock will slide the bolt into the other section, however the end of the bolt has a hook on it, which is what makes it functional in the case of sliding windows as well.
The main selling point of this sash lock is its versatility. While the bolt is quite short as sliding windows are the primary kind it is intended for, it can still secure hinged windows as well. Made of diecast metal, it’s sturdy and won’t give way to force easily, and it comes with a key meaning that it is just as suitable for keeping children from opening windows from the inside as it is preventing intruders from opening them from the outside.
This lock can be installed on windows with frames made of aluminium, wood and vinyl, which covers nearly all options. If you want to secure your entire home with such locks, but don’t want to bother organising all the keys individually, you can request larger orders to be keyed identically.
Each side of the lock has two mounting holes, so they’ll be fitted securely on the frame of the window without any risk of wiggling free. The lock comes with a white finish, which will fit the majority of window frames.
Why It’s Our #1 Choice
The multi-purpose function of the F 2646 window lock puts it above all of the others in terms of utilitarian value, while the fact that it’s keyed also makes it the most secure option on the list. There are very few situations in which this lock wouldn’t be the best choice.
The F 2646 sash window lock packs all the features it needs to climb to the top of our rankings. It’s the most secure option for sliding windows and works well with hinged windows too, if that’s what you need it to do. It isn’t overpriced, doesn’t ruin the look of your window and can be secured with a key, too.
Cresci Window Wedge
As far window locking techniques go, the wedge is the most basic, operating on the principle of sticking a pointy object between window and rail to create enough friction by misaligning the two to prevent it from opening. Any wedge shaped object would do, really, but those specifically designed for this purpose generally work best.
The Cresci wedge seeks to combine the regular wedge with some sort of velcro application method, presumably with the goal of keeping said wedge in place even when it is placed higher up. Thing is, the friction should be doing this, and the very thing the manufacturers sought to achieve led to this wedge constantly falling out of place.
The main feature of the Cresci wedge should be the velcro fixture. You stick a strip of self-adhesive velcro to the frame of the window, onto which the actual wedge, the bottom is which also features velcro, is attached. The idea is that this way the wedge does not fall off.
However, the Cresci wedge’s main feature is also its biggest failing. When trying to open the window which is “locked” with this wedge, the wedge itself will just glide along the velcro strip which is attached to its underside and fall right off, allowing the window to open. If the velcro isn’t there, the friction produced by the wedge will keep it in place, and better so than the actual velcro fixture.
As for the wedge itself – well, what can you say? It’s a small, white plastic wedge. Two of them come in a package. Technically they work well without the velcro and perform their duty as wedges, but that defeats the purpose of the product, and you’ll find regular wedges for cheaper in any home improvement store… Maybe you’ll find another use for the velcro?
As far as window locks go, the wedge portion of this product works well, like any wedge would. However the velcro gimmick, which you’d think is the main incentive for buying this, effectively neuters it and is best left out of the equation altogether.
Zelta Adjustable Window Lock
The Zelta window lock is an interesting creature, seeking to combine the benefits of two types of window locks. It is a cross between a wedge and a clip, with the concept being that it uses the strength of a wedge while offering the convenience of a clip.
The main selling point of the Zelta window lock is its hybrid nature. It seeks to fill the niche of the clip style locks with a greater amount of strength. The device is placed into the railing of the window and by turning the knob, the two sections of the vice-like wedge move apart, forming friction. Since it’s adjustable, it will work with a wider variety of windows.
In practice, the Zelta is another example of concept not panning out. While a sound idea, the Zelta clip-wedge is just far too weak, and can be moved even if tightened with minimal effort. As such, this is suggested to be used as a child-proofing solution instead of a security lock, because it will fail the latter. The manufacturers themselves give notice that this is not suitable for crime prevention.
The product itself is made of diecast metal and rubber elements, with two coming in a pack.
Want to prevent adventurous children from falling out windows? This is a great little tidbit for your needs. Want to prevent intruders from coming in via the windows? Keep looking.
Securing your sliding windows is key to ensuring that your home remains safe. Hinged windows are often built with locks in the frame by default, meaning the sliding windows are the ones more vulnerable to intrusion. Keep in mind that most burglars are fearful creatures with the goal of getting in and out as quickly as possible, so even meeting minimal resistance from weaker clip locks might scare them off. However, the safety of your family and property are worth the investment of a more serious bar or sash lock, while the less hardcore methods are better reserved for child-proofing dangerous windows.