Which Locks Work With Which Handles?

OpenLocks Team

If you don’t know what kind of locks to get, the first thing you need to do when ordering locks is to determine what type of hardware you have.


There are many types of door handles, and locking mechanisms. The two most common for commercial office interiors are mortise locksets, and locking ladder pulls, though there are many other types as well.


Mortise Lockset with Mortise Cylinder

The mortise lockset is by far the most common. Most doors, whether wood, metal, or glass use this format. It is distinguished by having a lever handle, with a lock cylinder and optionally a thumb turn which operates an integrated deadbolt. For any mortise lockset which requires a lock, you will need to order a mortise cylinder, whether it is the standard cylinder, or a mortise housing with interchangeable core



Ladder Pull with Rim CylinderIf your door has “Ladder pulls”, which is just another name for the stationary pulls that many doors have, especially on entrances, you will most likely need a rim cylinder. The unique thing about rim cylinders is that they have a long tail in the back that can reach to turn the lever on the other side of the pull. Sometimes with ladder pulls, the connection for the thumb turn on the other side of the lock can be several inches, and due to the mechanism a mortise cylinder wouldn’t get the job done. The nice thing about rim cylinders is that the tail can be easily snapped off to specific lengths depending on which type of hardware you have, so you don’t have to worry about ordering a specific cam. The tail can be adjusted during installation using simple pliers. It’s up to you whether you choose a standard rim cylinder or one which accepts interchangeable cores



Deadbolt with Rim CylinderOne other very common type of lock that is needed, is the stand-alone deadbolt. This is different than the mortise deadbolt, which would be attached to the lever. In a stand-alone deadbolt there is not a complicated mortise mechanism, so you will need a simpler device: a rim cylinder which simply turns the thumb turn on the other side of the deadbolt. This is one of the most simple applications, and is very helpful for added security. 



Cylindrical Leverset with Interchangeable CoreFor locksets which have the lock directly in the handle of the lever or knob, you’ll need a different type of cylinder. These are known as cylindrical locks, key-in-lever, or key-in-knob "KIK". In this case, you won’t have the standard large round cylinder that you’d see with a rim or mortise lock. There’s simply not enough space for it. If you're not using Interchangeable cores, we recommend ordering these pre-installed because each manufacturer has specific locks which fit in their different lockset handles. We recommend using interchangeable cores, so you’ll need to order the core only, which gets installed directly into the handle and can be switched out or re-keyed quickly at any time. 

Email us at if you have questions about which are the right locks to order for your door & hardware types.

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