Garage break-ins are becoming a more common occurrence. Thieves want to get in and out fast, limiting their risk of being caught, and garages give them the perfect opportunity to do just that. In a matter of minutes, criminals can enter a closed garage door using simple tools, like a drill or wire coat hanger!
So, learning how to secure your garage door is crucial, especially if you keep any sort of valuables in your garage, like power tools or athletic equipment which are easy to grab and resell.
You might think your installed garage door opener is enough. After all, it probably includes a locking mechanism of some sort. But those are surprisingly easy to get around, and purchasing a secondary garage door lock or reinforcing the one your opener has is a good idea.
Below I’ll cover the top garage door lock options, including inside and outside locks. Whether you want an inexpensive, DIY door lock, or something more sophisticated, you’ll find it on this list.
The best garage door locks are durable, weatherproof, rustproof, and simple to install. Many of them will only take you a few hours of work or less. And, they should be easy to use as well. If they’re complicated or finicky, you probably won’t keep the door locked as often as you should.
Garage door locks come in two basic kinds: inside and outside locks. There are also combinations of indoor and outdoor locks that work well when you need both options.
Best Inside Garage Door Locks
An inside garage door lock sits inside your garage and keeps your garage’s face unobscured. These are ideal if curb appeal is a concern or if you don’t want to go back outside to lock the garage after you park your car.
Prime-Line Deadlock [GD 52118]
Simple, sturdy, and effective, the Prime-Line Deadlock engages the vertical track of your overhead garage door. It’s made of heavy, galvanized steel and features bold red covers on the lock throw, making it very intuitive to use. You won’t need a key to engage it.
Installing it is also simple if you’re comfortable using a drill. It shouldn’t take more than thirty minutes, though the included instructions are a little unclear. Luckily, there’s a fairly self-explanatory diagram, and there are plenty of user reviews and videos to help if you’re struggling.
The Prime-Line Deadlock works well with most garage doors, and it’s very inexpensive. However, you may need to use different screws than the ones provided. I recommend seeking out #14 3/4″ screws to make installation a bit easier.
With a lock like this in place, there’s no way thieves are getting in, and because it doesn’t require a key but instead relies on a simple throw mechanism, you’ll probably use it daily. So, for a quick and inexpensive fix, the Prime-Line Deadlock is a no-brainer.
- Easy to use, keyless throw mechanism
- Relatively simple to install
- Works with most garage doors
- Included instructions are full of jargon, so you may need to rely on user videos or reviews
- included screws aren’t the best for the job
- Engages slot in the vertical track
- Fit most garage doors.
- Thick steel slide bolt with heavy duty galvanized steel housing
- Mounting hardware included
- Easy to install in less than 30 minutes with a few simple tools
Bulldog Garage Door Lock [GD400]
If you’re looking for something a bit higher-end than the Prime-Line Deadlock above, the Bulldog Garage Door and Roller Door Lock is a good option. As the name suggests, this lock will work on any overhead garage door as well as roller doors, whether they be metal, fiberglass, wood, or plastic.
This simple, but heavy-duty lock mounts into the ground, ensuring your garage door won’t lift, even when the smoothest of thieves tries to break in. It’s very easy to install, and you can use it on the outside if you prefer.
However, this lock requires a key that can be cumbersome to keep track of. Luckily, Bulldog offers several key services that may be helpful. With their “Keyed Alike” and “Key to Order” options, you can match the key to any other Bulldog locks you’re using throughout your property, so you don’t have to carry a jangling keyring.
Bulldog also offers key registration services, so if you lose the key, they can easily replace it. By registering your key at a small price, you’ll also access Bulldog’s 5-year warranty.
Bulldog locks are on the pricey side, but they’re incredibly effective, and the company’s customer service tends to create lifelong loyalty. With a lock like this installed, no unwanted visitors are getting into your garage.
- Heavy-duty ground-mounted lock
- Works on roller doors
- Easy to install
- Key registration and warranty available
- Requires key
- The GD400 will fit inside or outside most metal, glass fiberglass, plastic or wooden garage doors.
- Comes complete with angle bracket back plate and ground tube, all fasteners and Bulldog Super Lock Bolt.
The Garageshield provides an effective way to keep thieves from hacking your garage door opener.
With a simple wire hanger, cunning thieves can enter an otherwise locked garage. They simply sneak the hanger through the crack at the top of the door and catch the emergency release cord inside. As a result, your garage door is unlocked with one quick pull, leaving no sign of forced entry.
The thief gets in, takes your things, and leaves within minutes. Worst of all, with no sign of forced entry, insurance companies won’t reimburse your losses.
The Garageshield places a rust proof, ABS plastic piece in front of the emergency release cord, blocking any thievery attempts. You can install it in under a minute, and you don’t need any tools. You can hand-turn all of the screws to lock it in place.
This quick and very inexpensive fix is American-made and comes from a veteran-owned company. It will work with any J-arm garage door and effectively blocks many thieves.
Of course, not everyone has a J-arm garage door opener, so this won’t work in every case. If it works for you, though, purchasing it is a good idea.
- No tool installation
- Very inexpensive
- Takes under one minute to put in place
- Won’t work unless you have a J-arm garage door opener
LiftMaster Automatic Garage Door Lock [841LM]
Liftmaster garage door openers are popular and widespread. If you happen to have one, this automatic garage door lock is a great way to reinforce it.
The Liftmaster Automatic Garage Door Lock is essentially a deadbolt that works in tandem with your garage door opener. When you close your garage, the door lock automatically snaps into place. When you go to open your garage, the lock will automatically release.
This door lock and door opener combination allows you to open and close your garage door remotely. It also can send alerts to your smartphone if you accidentally leave your door opened or unlocked.
If you live in an area prone to high winds or hurricanes, installing two of these garage door locks makes your garage “hurricane ready” in most cases. So, a lock like this doesn’t just keep out criminals; it also fully reinforces your garage door.
Because it works with your garage door opener, you’ll need a professional to install it. Typically they can do so in under an hour, but the cost can be on the higher end. Still, the result is a streamlined lock that you can rely on.
- Works in tandem with your existing garage door opener
- Can be controlled remotely
- Will alert if left unlocked
- Acts as door reinforcement for hurricane-strength winds
- Requires professional installation
- Only works if you have a Liftmaster Garage Door opener
- Can be pricey
- Works automatically with LiftMaster 8550WLB, 8360WLB, 8580WLB and 8587WL openers.
- Deadbolt lock reinforces the garage door automatically when the garage door is closed.
Best Outside Garage Door Locks
If you’re trying to lock a garage that’s separate from your house, you’ll need an outside lock, like the Primeline T-Handle Lock or the Garage Defender.
Replacement T-Handle Garage Door Handle & Lock [GD 52122]
A t-handle and lock is a simple but effective method to secure your garage door from the outside. This one from Prime-Line, is inexpensive and easy to install, especially if your garage door had a T-handle before and you’re simply replacing it.
You’ll need to be comfortable with a drill and may need to shorten the screws, but with a little help from YouTube videos, even the less-than-handy can install a T-handle and lock quickly, usually in under an hour.
This one has an included locking cylinder, although you can get them where the handle and lock are separate components. It’s a very inexpensive piece and is also simple to install.
- Works well if you already have a T-handle on your garage
- Includes locking cylinder to secure your space
- Need a drill and some basic handy skills
- Used to replace T-handles for most garage doors, Campers and RV style locking handles
- Zinc diecast construction with a chrome finish
- Mounting hardware included
The Garage Defender literally bars thieves from entering your garage. This outside lock features a defender unit that blocks the tilt action of your garage door, making it impossible to open.
It attaches using two expandable bolts that secure a steel plate to the concrete base directly outside your garage. The defender unit then connects to the steel plate with a padlock. The padlock covers the bolts making it impossible for would-be criminals to remove them, so your garage remains secure even if thieves show up equipped with a drill or other power tools.
The Garage Defender is a little more pricey than a simple T-handle and lock, but it’s incredibly effective. The only real downside here is that it’s not subtle. The unit is boldly branded and sort of screams, “I have valuables in here!” Of course, that’s probably okay since the Garage Defender is near impossible to get around.
It will take about an hour to install, and you’ll need 4-5 inches of solid concrete directly outside your garage for it to work. If you don’t have concrete, there is an alternate base plate available for tarmac or block paving.
You open the Garage Defender using a key, which can be a bit of a pain since you’ll have to crouch on the ground to get the key in, but given how simple and effective this lock is, it’s still a good option.
- Very simple design but also very secure, even if thieves show up with power tools
- Easy to install
- Requires a key
- On the pricier side
Prime-Line Center-Mount Keyed Deadbolt [GD-52119]
The Prime-Line Center Mount Keyed Deadbolt works with overhead garage doors. It features a keyed outside and a thumb turn lock on the interior.
Like most Prime-Line products, this lock is inexpensive and relatively easy to install as long as you have a few tools at your disposal, like a drill. You may also need something to trim the tailpiece as it won’t fit all garage doors.
The screws it comes with may also be too long. You can cut them down to size or purchase separate screws. If you’re replacing an old lock, you can also use the older locks hardware instead.
We like the Prime-Line Mount Keyed Deadbolt because you can lock the outside while keeping the inside unlocked. That allows you and your family to get out of the garage quickly but keeps intruders from coming in.
- Very budget-friendly
- Allows you to lock outside while keeping inside unlocked
- Works with most garage doors
- Requires some tools and basic skills to install
Frequently Asked Questions
Installing a garage door lock comes with questions. Let’s see if we can answer a few of them.
How Can I Make My Garage Door More Secure? (From the Inside or Outside)
Other than installing a lock, here are a few tips to secure your garage door:
- Consider a security system of some sort. This can include motion-activated lights, cameras, or a full-blown alarm system.
- Make sure you keep your opener remote inside your house and not in a spare vehicle parked outside or any other less-secure place.
- Consider using a translucent film on your garage windows. This keeps burglars from seeing inside but will still allow for light.
- Make sure you’ve secured any other doors to your garage with locks, cameras, or lighting systems.
Can You Change the Garage Door Lock?
Yes, you can change your garage door lock. If you have a mechanical lock, you can change it out yourself, or you can call a locksmith to rekey the existing lock.
If you have an installed garage door opener, you’ll likely need professional help to install a new one. Alternatively, you can add something like the Garage Shield or Garage Defender to further secure your garage without any help at all.
How Do You Replace a Garage Door Lock Bar?
Replacing or installing a lock bar on a garage door is relatively simple. A lock bar can sit on the interior or exterior of the garage, so begin by deciding where you’ll place it. For these instructions, we’ll focus on interior installation since that’s more popular. Then, close the garage door and unplug the power source if you have an electric door.
After that, grab your garage door lock bar kit. These kits should come with everything you need for installation, including bolts and screws. There should also be instructions with diagrams in case you get confused. If you’ve bought the sliding door lock on its own, you’ll also need to invest in #14 ¾” screws for installation.
Start by removing the old lock bar by taking out the existing bolts. Many garages will have a lock bar on either side, so make sure you remove both!
You’ll want to install the new sliding lock bar in the second to the bottom panel of the garage door. This will allow you to lock the door while slightly lifted, which is ideal if you ever need ventilation.
Installation is usually as simple as bolting the lock bar in place. Just line the lock body up with a railing slot so that the bolt will extend through the slot’s middle. Make sure you place the lock body slightly inward towards the garage door so that the bolt doesn’t hit the rail when it’s drawn.
Ideally, you’ll place a sliding lock bar on either side of your garage door. Doing so will give you the most security when it comes to intruders.
How Do You Manually Lock Your Garage Door?
If you have an electric garage opener, your door will automatically lock when it shuts. However, you can further secure it manually by purchasing something like the Garage Shield, which will block the emergency release cord from coat hanger fishing attempts.
You can also install sliding bar locks on either side of the garage door. You probably won’t want to use the bar locks on a daily basis, as they’re a bit inconvenient, but they’re ideal if you’re going out of town.
If you don’t have an electric opener, the sliding bar locks still work well. You can also consider installing some other locking mechanism, like a T-handle with a lock or a Garage Defender.