While many people believe that burglars usually break into houses through windows, the truth is that most intruders get inside through either the front or the back door. Often, they simply kick the door open.
Home invasions usually happen when the house is empty, however, sometimes burglars and residents do run into each other.
That is something you want to avoid at all costs.
And that’s why it’s so important to reinforce the doors of your house, condo, or apartment in such a way that it can withstand high-force attacks.
Let’s see what are the best ways to secure your doors from the inside.
1. Install a Door Barricade
If you don’t mind a few minutes of DIY, installing a door barricade is a great way to secure a door from the inside.
What is a door barricade?
A door barricade (also called door brace lock) has two main parts: the base plate and the barricade rail that keeps the door in place. Just have a look at the photo below to have a closer idea:
How does it work?
First, you have to mount the base plate on the floor using the included screws according to the instructions that come with the product. Yes, you’ll need a power drill as well, but installing is pretty simple, even if you’re a beginner.
If you want to secure an entrance, all you have to do is to slide the lock rail into the floor plate. To unlock it, you have to do the opposite. That’s it. Simple, right?
The original Nightlock door barricade is pretty secure and sturdy. It’s made of solid, extruded structural aluminum with an anodized finish to improve durability.
Here you can check out the current price on Amazon or visit the official site of the product.
If you’re more of a visual person, here’s a short video that demonstrates the performance of the Nightlock door barricade:
The product is available in three different colors, so you can choose the one that matches the floor and door.
In case you want to secure a sliding patio door from the inside, do not buy the original Nightlock barricade because that won’t work on sliding doors. Instead, have a look at this model: like the original door barricade, it uses the strength of the floor (so it’s pretty secure) but it’s designed especially for sliding doors.
- relies on the strength of the floor
- highly effective against kick-in
- durable and can withstand huge forces
- there’s no need to modify the door
- can be used for French double doors as well
- keyless solution
- different models are available for sliding patio doors and outward swinging doors
- you have to drill holes into the floor
- in order to lock or unlock the barricade, you have to bend, therefore it might not be the best solution for those with mobility disorders or imbalance (or dizziness)
2. Heavy-Duty Door Chain: A Traditional Solution to Reinforce a Door From the Inside
First of all, I must emphasize that a standard door chain won’t give you too much protection (although it’s still better than no protection). It’s usually too weak to withstand greater forces, thus it may give you a false sense of safety.
If you decide to use a standard door chain to reinforce an exterior door, you should be aware of the limitations of the device. For instance, most door chains often won’t provide any substantial protection against kick-in (if you need that level of protection make sure you also check out this article). However, sometimes even a standard door chain can serve as a useful complementary safety device.
The real purpose of any door chain is to prevent burglars and other unauthorized persons from entering your home when you crack open the door.
You can choose from many models on the market, but if you want to hit two birds with one stone, I suggest you opt for a heavy-duty model, such as this one. It’s designed to be able to withstand greater forces than a simple standard door chain, so it can serve as a real barrier.
As an alternative, you can further improve security by installing a hardened door chain with an integrated bolt. This way you get the combination of a door chain and a door bolt in a single device.
If you need a child-proof solution, you can opt for a lockable door chain. While it’s a pretty secure solution, the main drawback of using a lockable door chain is that you can’t open the door without the key (so you won’t be able to use the door in case of an emergency unless you have the key).
Pros of a heavy-duty door chain:
- lets you open the door without having to worry about unauthorized entries and distraction burglary
- comes at an affordable price
- easy to use
- can be an especially useful security addition for vulnerable people
- most models can’t really withstand tremendous forces (those with a bolt are usually much more durable)
- it’s not a substitute for a good quality deadbolt
- can give you a false sense of safety (locking your door is crucial)
Related: A Complete Guide to the Different Types of Door Locks
3. Use a Keyless Door Reinforcement Lock
Using a keyless door reinforcement lock is one of my favorite methods to secure a door from the inside quickly and easily.
The model I use and recommend is this one from Defender Security. This keyless door lock is very simple to use and installation can be done within 15 minutes in most cases.
You just have to mount it on the door jamb using the included screws (so you’ll need a power drill and a Phillips screwdriver). You might also need a chisel and a hammer if you want to install the lock on a tight-fitting door.
According to the manufacturer, it can withstand up to 800 lbs of force which is substantial although you’ll still need to use a high-quality deadbolt. If you ask me, I think the above-mentioned door barricade is a better choice if your primary goal is to prevent kick-ins and other full force attacks.
One major advantage of this lock over a door barricade is that you don’t have to bend each time you want to lock or unlock it because it should be installed above the door knob. So it’s somewhat easier to handle than a door barricade. This benefit can be especially important for the elderly or people with mobility issues.
This door security device can not only be used on the primary entry door but also on a back door. Therefore, it can be a great choice if you want to reinforce your side or back doors from the inside while you’re away.
It can also be helpful if you often forget to lock the door while you’re at home because you can clearly see whether it’s in a locked position or not. If you’re using a double cylinder lock (that requires a key on both sides), you know what I’m talking about (another solution is to get a smart lock with an auto-locking feature).
Keep in mind that the lock itself is designed to be child proof but you can further reduce the chance of a little kid reaching it if you install it high enough.
- simple and comfortable to use (there is no need for bending)
- sturdy design
- can withstand 800 lbs of force
- fits most doors
- great security addition to an existing deadbolt
- you have to drill holes into the door frame
- the included screws could be of better quality, therefore if you have some premium screws at home (Tapcons, for instance), you’re better off using them instead
- if the spring fails, it might be difficult to use the lock
FYI – If you need to secure a door without a lock from the inside, there are many other ways you can do that. We have a whole article about the nine best methods that you can find here.
4. Door Security Bar: For Those Who Are Not a Big Fan of Drilling & Screwing
If you need a quick solution to improve door security, using a portable security bar (aka door jammer) can be one of your best bets.
There are many models out there but not all of them meet the same high standards. Unfortunately, many of them lack durability and high-quality parts.
This Buddybar door jammer is the model I had the best experience with.
How does it work?
To secure your door, all you have to do is place the yoke (the head of the security bar) tightly under the door knob while the bottom part rests on the floor. Basically, that’s it. No need for drilling or screwing.
You can adjust the height of the bar easily according to the height of the knob. It features pressure-locking which makes it even more reliable. You can use it on most hinged doors, such as the front door, back door, side door, or garage service door, so it’s really versatile.
Some models (but not the Buddybar) also allow you to secure a sliding door. All you need to do is adjust the length, remove the head and insert the bar into the track of the sliding door (you’ll find more useful information about sliding door security here).
Given the fact that it’s portable (retractable), you can also use it for traveling purposes (for instance, to secure the door of a hotel room while you’re staying inside).
The bar can be used on most types of floors and is made of heavy-duty steel that provides the sturdiness of the product.
Some of the benefits:
- no permanent installation required
- fits both sliding and hinged doors
- easy to use and remove
- adjustable height
- the padded foot might not provide a secure fit on slippery surfaces
- compared to a fixed (mounted) device it’s usually easier to bypass for an intruder (so do not use it in itself on an entry door)
Related: Do Door Jammers Really Work? How Effective Are They?
5. Portable Door Lock: A Quick and Simple Solution to Make A Door More Secure
Using a portable door lock is another option for those who want to feel safe inside a hotel room or Airbnb apartment or want to secure their own doors without making any permanent change. To be honest, I haven’t really tried many security devices of this type but I’m pretty pleased with the one I use (it’s called Addalock).
Unlike in the case of the first two solutions on the list, this time, the emphasis is on portability. While Addalock is much more compact than a security bar, it can still improve door security and privacy.
This small gadget works on inward opening doors (like the previous devices) and can be installed within 15 seconds (no tools required).
The lock consists of two main parts: the handle and the metal body. To secure a door, all you need to do is open the door, insert the claws of the body into the strike plate, close the door, and insert the rod (that you can find on the red handle) into the hole of the body. If it sounds complicated at first sight, don’t be discouraged: once you try it, the whole process will go smoothly.
What I really like about this little device is its small size and flexibility: you can use it on almost any kind of door, including bedroom doors (but if you want to secure a bedroom door, make sure you also check out this article where you will find everything you need to know).
Tip: To further improve security, use it with another portable security device or a door wedge.
- compact size
- requires no tool, installation can be done in seconds
- easy to remove
- adjustable to most door thickness
- although it’s pretty sturdy, it doesn’t seem to be as resistant to higher forces as a door barricade
- it’s not recommended to use on an emergency exit
6. Use a DoorJammer Door Lock Brace
A DoorJammer is another compact device that you can use to improve door security from the inside.
DoorJammer has a small size and it’s portable (weighs only 7.4 oz), so installation and removal are quick and easy (you have to place it under the door and adjust the height according to the gap beneath the door).
It works by converting horizontal force into vertical force and can be used on most inward swinging doors and surfaces.
The unit is made of rugged steel, so it’s pretty sturdy. The correct installation is important because when done wrong, the unit doesn’t provide the same level of security.
DoorJammer is available in two sizes: the smaller size is for residential properties and travel purposes, while the larger one is recommended for businesses, schools, and other commercial properties.
Pro Tip: For enhanced security use it in combination with Addalock or a simple door wedge.
- portable design
- quick installation
- fits most doors
- when installed improperly it provides no real protection
- although it should work on all surfaces, if you want to use it on a slippery floor, I suggest that you check how it performs by testing it
7. Install a Door Reinforcement Kit
The strength of the door jamb and strike plate are extremely important if you want your door to be protected against full force attacks. These are often one of the weakest points of a door.
There are many ways you can reinforce those parts of your door, however, in my experience, using a kit that’s proven to work is the best solution.
Door Armor Max from Armor Concepts is a complete set that contains a jamb shield, two door shields (to protect the strike plate), and two hinge shields. Usually, those are the weakest points of an entrance and by installing these units you can make almost any ordinary door kick-proof.
Door Armor is manufactured by a reputable company that has been in business since 2004. The product is tested by independent third parties that ensures quality.
The Door Armor Max set is especially effective in preventing kick-ins, in fact, it comes with a $500 lifetime guarantee against this kind of attack.
What I most like (besides being extremely secure) about this product is that after installation it does not require any attention, you can continue using your door the same way as before.
Keep in mind that the Door Armor won’t fit 100% of all doors. Before purchasing, close the door and check whether you can fit two quarters between the door and the frame. If the answer is no, you should opt for the Pro Mini Plus Combo Set.
Whether you use a portable security device or not, Door Armor is an investment that’s worth every penny and will pay off in the long run. I highly recommend it to every homeowner.
Check out the official website and showcases here.
- excellent protection against high force attacks and kick-ins
- reputable manufacturer
- tested by third parties
- lifetime guarantee
- install and forget it
- fair pricing
- requires some DIY – but I really don’t think it’s a real drawback as installation can be done within 45 minutes
8. Add a Horizontal Security Bar to Secure a Patio Sliding Door
We have already discussed how you can secure a sliding door using a portable security bar or a door barricade.
Using a horizontal security bar is a permanent solution to reinforce a sliding door from the inside. Therefore, it requires installation that includes some drilling and screwing (don’t be afraid, the process is pretty straightforward and can be done within 20-30 minutes).
Various models exist on the market, this one from Ideal Security has a pretty good reputation.
One big advantage of this horizontal security bar over most solutions is that it allows you to lock the door in an open position (you can set the width of the gap) to create airflow.
When not in use, you can hide the bar in a vertical position inside the door frame.
The device features an anti-lift lock that makes the bar childproof and at the same time prevents intruders from moving the security bar out of its place by shaking the door. That’s the number one reason why it’s a more secure choice than a pressure-mounted bar.
It also serves as a visual deterrent as it can be seen from the outside through a glass door.
When buying, make sure you pick the bar with the right length (it comes in small, medium, and large sizes).
9. Reinforce the Hinges: a Cost-Effective Way to Upgrade Your Door
You can easily take door security to the next level by reinforcing the hinges. In fact, I highly recommend that you do this quick and cheap upgrade regardless of other measures you are planning to take (except if you use Door Armor’s hinge shield).
Why do hinges matter?
The hinges attach the door to the frame and allow pivoting when you’re using the door. They’re located on the side opposite the lock and are often overlooked when it comes to security.
If the hinges are not reinforced, you can have the most secure locking system in the whole world, burglars can easily get through your door by taking advantage of the weak and vulnerable hinges.
There are two ways you can make the hinges more resistant:
The first thing you should do is replace the screws if they’re shorter than 3 inches. Short and weak screws won’t prevent high force attacks.
Next, you have to install hinge bolts (also called hinge protectors) above and below the hinges. These are metal bolts that keep the door in place even if the hinges are damaged.
Installing hinge bolts is especially important if you have an outward opening door because in that case anyone can access and manipulate the hinge pins. If you want to secure an outswing door, I highly recommend that you have a look at these tips.
Wrapping Up: Securing a Door From the Inside
As you can see there are many ways you can improve door security. The first thing you should consider is whether you need a portable (temporary) or a permanent solution.
Generally speaking, portable solutions won’t give you the same level of protection as a permanently installed device. That doesn’t mean they can’t prevent a home invasion. If you use them correctly, they significantly reduce the chance of a successful burglary.
When it comes to full force attacks, permanent solutions usually perform better. However, you can get similarly good results with portable devices if you combine them with each other.
I suggest that you always choose according to the needs of the residents taking into account the unique properties of your home.