Whether you have a broken lock or are suspicious that your roommate is a serial killer, having the ability to lock a door is critical to anyone's wellbeing.
In this guide, we'll look at 11 unique ways that you can lock a door without a lock.
We'll also cover a couple of ways to lock doors that swing outward.
Let's get to it!
Table of Contents
How To Lock A Door Without A Lock
There are an insane amount of methods that you can use to lock any door without actually using a lock.
While no method—including locks—is 100% foolproof, many techniques can offer you a little peace of mind as well as some time to react if someone does decide to get fritzy with your door. Additionally, many of these techniques are safe from common bypassing techniques such as lock picking.
Let's look at 11 tried and true methods to get you started.
1. Lock Your Door With a Fork
Our first method, believe it or not, is to create an improvised lock using a single fork.
Note that you should not use this technique if your safety depends on it, nor should it be used on your main locks. While a fork is strong enough to hold back any moderate attempts to open a door, it will not stand up against someone using aggressive brute force attacks, such as kick-ins.
You can also use a plastic fork to hold things like closet doors or bathroom stalls closed.
What You'll Need:
- One fork with a thin and straight handle that fits through the fork prongs.
- Permanent marker or another method of marking metal.
- A way of cutting the fork in two, such as a metal saw.
- Pliers, or a vise and hammer to bend the prongs of your fork.
Once you have everything you need, begin by taking your fork and sticking it into the door latch hole as deep as it will go. Using your permanent marker draw a line on the prongs to mark how deep the prongs go into the latch hole.
If you don't have a marker, just eyeball how deep into the latch the fork prongs go.
Next, using pliers or a hammer, bend the prongs of your fork 90 degrees at your depth line.
Now to make the lock bar, cut the handle off the end of your fork. If you have two forks or even a knife that is thin enough to fit through the prongs of the fork, no cutting is required.
To use your fork lock, open the door and stick the bent prongs of the fork into the latch hole and close the door with the fork still in the latch.
Next, slide the handle into the center prong so that it fits snugly. The snugger the better.
If anyone tries to open the door the bent prongs will pull against the latch hole and hold the door closed.
2. Use a Portable Door Lock
One of the best options on this list to lock a door without a lock is to use a portable door lock.
Similar to the fork method above, these devices mount into the latch hole and hold the door closed. But unlike the fork lock, they are built tough and can withstand moderate brute force attacks.
Portable door locks are lightweight and can be carried in a bag, backpack, or even your pocket. They also require no permanent installation and can easily be set up or taken down on almost any door in seconds.
And you're looking to get a top-tier portable lock, consider checking out The Travelers Security Lock.
It fits a ton of locks and its only requirement is having a 1/8 -1/4 of an inch gap between the door and door frame. Other than that it works like a charm on most door locks and is an exceptional choice for those who need an alternative and trustworthy way to lock a door.
3. Use a Security Bar
Next up is the door jamming security bar!
These bars wedge under your doorknob and extend to the floor creating a point of resistance in the center of the door. Because the bar is held firmly against the door by the ground, if anyone tries to open the door, they will essentially be fighting the floor.
Unless the door breaks or the security bar bends or slides, these things do a pretty good job. They add another layer of security that allows you to sleep soundly.
If someone did get past it, the sound of the bar falling to the ground could alert the household.
There are several great options on the market today, all of which I have tested.
The BuddyBar Door Jammer
First up is a product that I personally use every single night.
The Buddybar is one of the best secondary security measures you can have. It is also an excellent choice for anyone trying to lock a door without using an actual locking mechanism.
The Buddybar is built like Thor's hammer and has been tested to withstand up to 2,560 pounds of force. They are even images out there of it holding up an old pickup truck. It also works great on just about any floor surface, even carpet.
I personally use a Buddy bar as an added layer of security in my own home and can vouch that they are easy to use and strong as freaking hell. I put my trust in it without hesitation.
In my opinion, your life is worth the extra money and is one of the best investments you can make on your secondary home security.
You can find the Buddybar Door Jammer here.
The Brinks or Master Lock Security Bar
Cheaper brands such as Master Lock and Brinks also make decent security bars.
The two most popular bars are the Master Lock 265D Door Security Bar and the Brinks Commercial Door Security Bar.
I truly never found a solid difference between these two bars and they both cost about $20.
However, I do have mixed feelings about them.
They have several vulnerabilities such as plastic pieces and there have been reports of them snapping under brute force attacks. That being said there are also a ton of people who swear by them and even testify that they have saved their lives.
Regardless, for their relatively cheap price, they are always better than nothing.
4. Barricade Your Door
Another easy option to lock a door without a lock is to barricade your door. Let's look at a couple of common ways this can be done.
Rather than using a security bar mentioned above, why not accomplish the same thing using a chair?
By cramming a chair underneath the doorknob, you'll create a point of resistance that pushes into the floor when anyone tries to open the door.
The chair needs to be tall enough to provide about a 45-degree angle when pushed underneath the doorknob.
Another option is to barricade your door is using heavy furniture like a couch. Using an object with more surface area will increase the amount of friction that needs to be overcome and will make the door harder to push open.
However, barricading is not a foolproof means of locking your door and continuously moving a bunch of furniture around is a pain in the ass.
So while it may be a good temporary way to lock your door without a lock, it shouldn't be what you rely on long term.
You can also get creative and find smaller items to throw into the mix. You can even set something to fall over and alert you if your furniture is pushed away from the door.
It may be obvious, but this method only works on inward swinging doors. If your door opens outward, barricading it will have no effect.
5. Anchor the Door Handle
Our next method is to physically tie your door handle to something anchored on your wall and is the first item on our list that only works for outward opening doors.
This method functions surprisingly well and is another solid way to spice up your own security. That being said, it's not the prettiest solution and requires drilling and anchoring something to tie to on your wall.
A few things to consider. Be certain to anchor your wall mount into a stud and use several long screws to help it hold.
If you don't want to attach anything to your walls, you can also attach it to some furniture. In fact, if you push that furniture snug against the door and tie it down with as little slop as possible, you're going to make it very difficult for anyone to pull open that door.
6. Use a Door Wedge
Another cheap and portable option to lock a door without a lock is by using a door wedge.
These little devices are nothing more than a slightly acute-triangle block that slides under your door. If someone were to push open the door, the wedge will be forced into the ground, further fortifying the wedge and the door.
Some door wedges even have alarms to alert you of any tampering.
However, cheap door wedges can be easily bypassed by rocking the door back and forth and slowly moving the wedge out of place.
An interesting option that takes the wedge to the next level is an adjustable door wedge that anchors itself between the bottom of your door and the floor. These will hold better than your average block wedge, however, there are two vulnerabilities that they also suffer from.
Firstly, because the point of the resistance is at the bottom of the door it can act as a fulcrum making the top of the door susceptible.
Secondly, just like the regular wedge, if you spend enough time rocking the door back and forth you will slowly start moving the wedge.
These vulnerabilities aside, they do a pretty good job holding any door shut and will always be better than nothing. Plus, someone rocking your door back and forth is bound to get your attention.
7. Restrict Your Handle
If you have a handle-style doorknob on the door you are trying to lock, there are a few good options for you. Because these doors require the handle to be physically pushed down to open, all you have to do is restrict the handle from moving.
One way to accomplish this is to tie the handle to something higher up, such as a hinge. You can use rope, ratcheted-straps, or even a belt.
If you don't have any means of tieing it, you can also place something under the handle to physically block it from rotating, such as the backrest of a chair or jimmy-rig up a wooden dowl or 2x4 that gits snuggly under the handle.
However, there are some handles that also open when pushed up and if this is the case for your door, then you'll have to restrict it from going in both directions. With a little creativity, you'll find that there are a ton of ways to lock any door without a lock.
8. Door Reinforcement Lock
Another cheap and easy option is a door reinforcement lock. You'll typically find these in hotel rooms as a secondary security device.
They allow you to crack the door without risking someone pushing it open. There are also a lot of different types of these devices on the market today—from door chains to flip-over jammers.
One that I personally recommend is the Defender Security Reenformcent Lock. It's cheap, easy to install, looks nice, and works very well.
It's been tested to withstand up to 800 pounds of force and is a great option to lock a door without a lock.
9. Tying Double Doors
Securing a set of double doors without a lock is fairly easy and relatively secure
All you need is some rope, chain, or even a belt to tie around the handles.
However your security is only as good as the strength of the door handles, the material you use to tie them, and the knot you utilize if using a rope.
If you can, consider using chains and a cheap padlock.
10. Use a Door Alarm
This method isn't technically a way to lock your door without a lock, but it will alert you if anyone tampers with your door.
Keeping people out is ideal, but knowing when someone breaks in is also useful.
And in most instances, intruders flee when at the sound of an alarm.
Many door alarms work by creating an electrical circuit when the door is closed. Part of this circuit is located on the door, while the other part is located on the door frame. If someone opens the door and breaks the circuit, an alarm is triggered.
A cool and cheap little option for a door alarm is the Wsdcam Wireless Door Alarm. It is very cheap, loud, easy to set up.
Alarms can be mixed into any of the other methods on this list and will let you know if your primary security has failed and now it's time to reach for the gun.
11. Jamming a Slider Door
This last method is for those trying to lock any type of sliding door —such as a sliding glass door to your backyard, or one of those weird closet rooms with the door on a rail.
Now, these types of doors are not very secure to begin with, and regardless of a lock will fail rather quickly to any sort of brute force attacks. However, if you are simply looking to stop someone from opening it under normal circumstances, they are very easy to lock without a lock.
All you need to do is cram a stick, or any straight and sturdy object, into the rail and restrict the door from sliding.
You can use a wooden dowel, your dog's favorite stick, or even consider a commercial option such as a sliding door security bar or even the Buddybar that we mentioned earlier.
To Sum Up
Securing yourself doesn't need to be complicated nor expensive.
As you can see there are a ton of ways to lock a door without a lock and you are not limited to these 11 methods. The truth is with a little creativity, there is an infinite number of ways to secure a door.
You can even apply several of the methods above to add layers to your security.
I hope that you enjoyed this guide and if you have any questions or remarks, feel free to leave those in the comments below! And if you would like to learn more about lock picking and security, be sure to check out the rest of my free guides in the Academy.