How To Lock a Door Without Using a Lock

Security never goes out of style. Here are some ways to guarantee it when your doors don't have locks or the locks aren't quite up to the task.

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There are many commonsense reasons why you’d want a little extra security. If you travel frequently, staying in hotel rooms or AirBnb rentals can be risky because doors don’t always lock securely, if they lock at all. Plus, cleaning staff and who knows who else has keys. Here, check out the best smart locks for Airbnb.

Most homes have burglar-proof front doors, but side and back doors might not be as secure. And some people may need a little extra privacy in certain rooms in their house.

Whether you want more secure doors when you’re home or away from home, there are plenty of options. Some temporary locks are made for doors that swing in, and others for doors that swing out. Some need to be screwed to the door, door jamb or floor; others are removable.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular and best-rated door-locking devices, to give you the peace of mind you’re after.

Vincrey Portable Door Lock

Portable Door Lock Travel Lock Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

You can find lots of portable door locks small enough to carry in your handbag or backpack. We especially like the stainless steel Vincrey Portable Door Lock because it’s sturdy and uncomplicated. Amazon users like it too, with one reviewer calling it “effective and user-friendly” and another writing, “Definitely need this if you travel.”

The ratcheted bar is thin enough to slip between the door and door frame. The metal tab on the end fits inside the door strike and catches on the edge.

After closing the door, push the button on the lock mechanism and slide the lock flush against the door. It uses the strike for leverage to wedge the door firmly closed. To release, it, press the button and slide the lock back. Easy and secure.

Addalock Portable Door Lock

Addalock The Original Portable Door Lock Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

You can’t talk about portable door locks without mentioning the Addalock Portable Door Lock, which has more 12,000 Amazon reviews and a 4.4-star rating. This lock works by disabling the doorknob rather than wedging the door shut, so it’s only as secure as the lockset and the wood in the door jamb.

To use it, insert the pins on a metal plate into the door strike and close the door. Then insert the pin on the locking mechanism into a hole in the plate, and push the mechanism down to prevent the knob from turning. This provides great security for in-swing doors that don’t lock as well, as well as for doors with locks that others have keys for. While you’re at it, get to know about apartment door security.

DoorJammer Portable Door Lock Brace

Doorjammer Portable Door Lock Brace Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

The DoorJammer Door Lock Brace works for swinging doors with or without locksets and some types of sliding doors.

It consists of two parts: a wedge you insert between the top of the door and the jamb, and a small jack that fits under the door. After placing the wedge, insert the jack under the door and rotate the screw threads to lift the door and secure it between the wedge and the jack.

This is another product that’s popular on Amazon. One reviewer called it a great value, while another claimed it even works as a window stopper. You’ll need at least an 1/8-in. clearance under the door for this product to work.

Door Latch Shield

Steel Painted Gray Door Latch Shield Ecomm Via Thehomedepotvia merchant

Entry doors that swing outward are favorite targets for skilled lock pickers who can jimmy a door by sliding a flat object between the door and the jamb and sliding back the barrel of the lockset.

The Defender Security Door Latch Shield prevents this. Screw it to the outside of the door next to the lockset with the provided one-way screws that won’t back out. It covers the barrel and prevents anyone from tampering with it.

Security Bar

Door Keeper Heavy=duty Ecomm Via Guarddog Securityvia merchant

One way to prevent an in-swing door from opening is to wedge a chair under the doorknob. If you’ve ever seen people try this in the movies or on television, you know it doesn’t work for long; chairs seldom provide enough traction against the floor to be reliable.

Enter The Door Keeper from Guard Dog Security, which won’t slip. The adjustable-length bar features a rubber base that sits flat against the floor and a hook on the other end that fits securely around a standard doorknob.

When adjusted to the right length and installed properly — which just takes a few seconds — the bar resists anyone pushing against it from the other side of the door. It can also be placed between a sliding patio door and the door frame to prevent anyone from opening the slider.

Nightlock Lockdown 2

Nightlock Lockdown2 Ecomm Via Nightlockvia merchant

Many institutional doors swing outward, and if the lock mechanism fails, there’s little to prevent an intruder from opening it. If the door is mounted on a metal frame, the Nightlock Lockdown 2 will keep those intruders out.

The unit consists of a base that attaches to the inside of the door, and a removable hook that wedges against the inside of the door stop. Marketed to schools, the device even comes with a wall box for storing the hook so teachers and students can find and deploy it quickly.

This product works with wood or fiberglass doors on metal frames, but not with metal doors.

EverPlus Home Security Door Lock

Everplus Home Security Door Lock Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

When installed with the provided screws on an in-swing door, the EverPlus Home Security Door Lock can withstand 800 pounds of force, which the manufacturer claims is 12 times what a standard deadbolt can handle. It can also be placed high enough to prevent toddlers and pets from opening the door.

The unit consists of a base that screws to the jamb and a rotating pad that pivots against the closed door and locks in place when you press a button. Press the button again to swing the pad out and open the door.

Another lock with stellar ratings on Amazon (4.7 stars), reviewers call it an “excellent value” and “effective and good-looking.” It’s a snap to install and operate.

OnGard Security Door Brace

Ongard Security Door Brace Ecomm Via Globalsecurityexpertsvia merchant

The OnGard Security Door Brace features a base screwed into the floor and a pad that locks into it and wedges against the door. The base rises to 1/2-in., suitable for in-swing doors with a raised threshold.

The non-rusting polymer compound base can be mounted to wood, concrete and tile floors. Once in place, the device resists kicking, shoulder slams and even a battering ram.

Chris Deziel
Chris Deziel has been building and designing homes, and writing about the process, for over four decades. He developed his construction and landscaping skills in the 1980s while helping build a small city in the Oregon desert from the ground up. He's worked as a flooring installer, landscape builder and residential remodeler. Since turning his focus to writing, he has published or consulted on more than 10,000 articles and served as online building consultant for ProReferral.com as well as an expert reviewer for Hunker.com. Though his specialties are carpentry, cabinetry and furniture refinishing, Chris is known by his Family Handyman editors as a DIY writer with a seemingly endless well of hands-on experience.