Revolar is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

What Is a Rim Lock: Pros And Cons, And How to Best Use It

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

what is a rim lock

Among various advanced locking mechanisms, a rim lock is regarded as an old-fashioned model that is no longer suitable for front door security. But there is more to this type of lock that you should know about, starting with ‘what is a rim lock?’

As much as it sounds ineffective for door locking, the truth is you can still make full use of this type of lock with our guidance. Please do not underestimate the power of a rim lock nowadays. It performs brilliantly as a decorative piece or on interior doors.

The following information will provide you with exactly what you need to understand its operation, as well as the pros and cons of using it.

What Is a Rim Type Door Lock?

Rim lock was the most common door lock used during the 17th to 19th century. Before the end of the 19th century, this type of lock came in various complexity and sizes, mainly from England.

  • Basically, a rim lock is a surface-mounted lock that is affixed to the door surface via screwing.
  • Rim lock’s surface-mounted box is either a sliding latch or deadbolt lock. Some models utilize both mechanisms to make rim sash locks.
  • Most rim locks are built from cast iron, but other popular options are brass, iron, or nickel-based items.
  • The good thing is that the standard rim lock work involves using a key from the inside or via the keyway. Such a warded rim lock takes advantage of obstructions on the keyway or inside itself to block the wrong key from attempting authorized access.

Also, such a locking mechanism is one of the oldest, resulting in less security and low reliability in modern days. We recommend replacing your rim lock on the front door with a mortise unit.

What Is a Rim Lock Motorcycle?


In this case, the rim lock would be a clamp that keeps the bike tires securely on its rim. A rim lock is often used on dirt bikes for this purpose.

The lock design fits between the tube and this tire. Its bottom cleats are made from metal for this tire bead’s inner gripping. This lock’s rim lock installation is for motorcycle tire protection, especially in heavy-duty applications. Without the piece, the tire tube will be torn out.

Disadvantages of a Rim Lock

Despite the need to use a key, that does not mean the locking mechanism of a rim lock is entirely secure. Below are a few of its weaknesses that you should take into consideration.

  • Insurance companies do not approve of engineering their entryways with a rim lock because it cannot prevent access. The whole lock is exposed on the outside, so a burglar with a screwdriver can get through this lock.
  • Moreover, do not get shocked to know that a skeleton can be used to exploit a rim lock. Not to mention how easy it is to buy this type of key.
  • Last but not least, a rim lock is fairly fragile and does not handle force attacks well. You may even overcome its latch in several minutes by maneuvering. As a result, it would not be the most optimal choice for exterior door installation.

How to Use Rim Locks


Nowadays, people certainly do not view a rim lock as practical as it used to be in the past. But, it does not necessarily mean rim locks are no longer helpful in all places. The lock works well for interior or thin shed doors unsuitable for mortise and deadbolt locks.

Take a look at our suggestions here which are ideal for rim lock use.

1. For Interior Doors

Since a rim lock is not supreme in securing front doors, homeowners prefer installing it on interior doors. If you are keen on design, you will enjoy the unique construction and intricate structure of a rim lock as well.

2. For Decoration

According to many homeowners, opt for a rim lock to add a rustic look to their residence. Indeed, its attractiveness lies in the vintage, rustic look that modern locks cannot duplicate. Therefore, we consider a rim lock a pretty unique decorative piece inside your house.

Some people choose to restore antique rim locks to add charm to their homes. But you can buy the newer replicas of this lock to save time and money as well.

3. For Added Security

As mentioned earlier, it is not a wise choice to use a rim lock on the front door. So if you spot a rim lock on an entry door, there is a high chance it works as an additional means to the primary mortise or deadbolt lock.


After reading exciting information about rim locks in this article, we hope you have understood ‘what is a rim lock?’ along with its function and applications. Use your rim lock as we advise, and you will be good to go!

Which part of the article do you think benefits you the most? Let us know your opinion in the comment section. If you find our information helpful, do not hesitate to share it with friends and family via social media as well.

Thank you for reading.

5/5 - (3 votes)