The $25 gadget that keeps my home and family safe.

By Paul Michael on 21 August 2007 (Updated 18 August 2011) 17 comments
Photo: The Lock Jaw

How much would you pay to sleep soundly at night, knowing your home is secure and your family is much safer? Well, I'd pay anything to be honest. But after my lockbumping post back in March, I was contacted by a company that has created a unique, inexpensive and wonderful product called the Lock Jaw. It's literally made us all feel safer in so many ways. Plus, Wisebread readers can get it at a discount.

So, what is the Lock Jaw? Well, it’s a device that attaches to your door and drops down over the thumb latch, making the latch impossible to turn. I think the words “deceptively simple” sprang to mind when I installed it. Two screws, 3 minutes and boom, my front door was impenetrable to lock bumping. It was that easy. And believe me when I say I’m rarely impressed. The pictures below should give you the idea of how it works and just how effective it is.

Lock Jaw Disengaged

The Lock Jaw Disengaged

LJ engaged

The Lock Jaw Engaged

Position diagram

Multiple ways to engage the Lock Jaw

The story goes deeper though. What my wife told me, a few days later, was that the Lock Jaw had also stopped our precocious three-year old from getting outside. She had figured out how to turn the latch some months ago. Which means that when our back is turned, even just for one second, she could be out on the street and in all kinds of trouble. However, she can’t work the Lock Jaw. She’s safe, we’ve got peace of mind and we know that we can still get in and out of the door as easily as before. Some of the many benefits of the Lock Jaw are listed here:

  • PREVENTS lock bumping and lock picking.
  • It attaches ONLY to the door.
  • Comes with temporary installation options for PORTABILITY.
  • Helps PREVENT door threshold from being breached.
  • Works with ALL thumb latch (single cylinder) deadbolts.
  • PREVENTS deadbolt from retracting through the strike plate in door jam.
  • Counters AGAINST door prying.
  • Counters AGAINST spreading door away from door frame.

I had a chance to chat to the creator of the Lock Jaw, Brett Fulford, about the history of the invention.

PM: What made you think of the idea for the Lock Jaw (any particular incident in your own life?)
BF: A friend who worked in security at an apartment association was talking about how dangerous it was living in apartments, given all of the master keys. We thought that there had to be a way to allow access to the apartments when the tenants were not there (fix toilets, leaking faucets, etc.), but the tenants have a right to privacy and security when they are home. This grew into developing a device that would keep small children in, but allow for a quick escape. The whole idea was to stop the actual key from working…lock bumping came to us vs. us coming to lock bumping.

PM: And how long has the Lock Jaw been on the market?
BF: Since the 2006 National Hardware Show.

PM: I’m sure our Wisebread readers would love to know if this has this been endorsed by any of the major emergency services?
BF: Law enforcement agencies, in order to remain politically, correct are slow to endorse products; however, Lt. Carl Smith (note our commercial on our website) was not afraid to say that he had…”never seen anything to Lock Jaw”. You can also visit Mr.Gadget who’s featured it as a Top 10 product for 2007 Homes. Lock Jaw complies with all fire codes for emergency escape and has been tested by members of the American Association of Locksmiths.

PM: I know I will be asked about the one possible disadvantage of the Lock Jaw - that it can't be locked when you leave by that door (or, that you can't use your own key on that door if you have the Lock Jaw engaged). What would you say to Wisebread readers about that?
BF: We designed it to be engaged only from inside on purpose! We wanted to make it PORTABLE! Double stick tape works fine. Door chains, door jams, door guard bars, etc. are also only engaged from inside but they are not portable. I have never seen a door chain installed with double stick tape…have you? Lock Jaw only installs to the door, which is safer than most every other product that also attaches to the door trim. Door trim is not substantive. Plus some people may not want to damage their trim with the anchored part going into the trim. ANOTHER unique advantage is that door chains, etc. won’t work on a French (bi) door because there is NO place to anchor. Lock Jaw doesn’t need door trim…only the door, which is much stronger.

The Lock Jaw site has a full page of FAQs plus a demonstration video and other vital information

I’d like to point out that this is in no way a paid endorsement. I’m writing this because I believe in the product and believe it can save lives. I’ve had the Lock Jaw in my home for around two months now. But it was last week when things really took an unexpected turn. A friend in our neighborhood called, frantic, saying that her son had managed to turn the thumb latch and get outside. He was almost mowed down by a car, narrowly escaping a horrible accident. That’s when my wife mentioned the Lock Jaw to her, and I realized that people need to know about this product.

Exclusive: 10% off the Lock Jaw for Wisebread readers.
Brett has very generously offered to give our readers a 10% discount on the Lock Jaw. Just visit the site here and enter the code WISE BREAD (with or without spaces) to get your discount. It's good for 10% off regardless of how many you order.

It’s not often a product comes along that is truly ingenious, simple and so important. I believe Lock Jaw is one of them. And at less than the price of a new DVD, it’s well worth it for the protection it can give your home and family. Sleep well.

 

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Guest's picture
Guest

Thank you so much for posting this. I plan on ordering one by the end of the week.

Guest's picture
Brett

Thanks for the comment. We trust that you'll be pleased.

Guest's picture
Guest

how solid is the lever? can you shake the door from outside causing it to engage?

Guest's picture
Brett

The "lock pin" is threaded. The length of the "lock pin" creates a bi-lateral force (push and pull). We have tested by slamming doors over 100 times and have never had Lock Jaw accidentially engage / disengage. You should be fine. Let us know if you have any further questions.

Guest's picture
Barbara

Do you think they have any other types of locks if you don't have that type of deadbolt on your doors? Maybe something for the handle? I'm always afraid of someone trying to break into my place since I live on the ground level.

Paul Michael's picture

is held up by a screw thread. I have put this lock through it's paces for two months. IT has never dropped down onto the lock.  Not once. So you have no worries about being locked out, as far as I'm concerend. As for other types of locks, I don't think so. Take a look around their website.

Guest's picture
Ray

A deadbolt that is keyed on both sides will solve the problems of a youngster letting herself out and prevent someone from breaking a window and unlocking the thumb latch. Plus I thnk it looks better.

Guest's picture
Bill

Unfortunately double-cylinder deadbolts (key to enter and exit) have been outlawd in many States by their fire marshalls and / or building codes. There is a ton of research available where innocent people have perished in fires because they were not able to get out quickly enough...or so panic-striken ;they could not find their key or the key hole in time. The coordination required to disengage Lock Jaw from someone breaking a window and reaching in would be much more of a challenge than simply unlocking a key, which would defeat the purpose of a double-cylinder deadbolt. Quick escapes, in the event of a fire for example, was one of the utility features that we wanted to provide.

Paul Michael's picture

I've never seen a double deadbolt in action, but I can't imagine how annoying it would be to have to dig out a key every time you wanted to open the door. Plus, the safety aspect alone is quite scary. I don't see an issue with the way the Lock Jaw looks actually. When my wife's mom first came over she didn't even notice it until I pointed it out. I think the brass look helps, as it matches our brass fitting.

Guest's picture
Guest

You cannot enable this unless you are inside the house, and a salient detail often overlooked is that if you are not home and get bumped, there is usually no sign of forced entry so it's hard to claim it on your insurance. The best protection from lock bumping is getting anti-bump locks. You can get them online cheap from companies such as Antibump Locks -- google them.

Guest's picture
Carson

Thanks for the tip. Safety and Affordable, two words that aren't usually associated with one another. This is better than paying $150 for a "bump proof" deadbolt. Plus, if I use the double-stick tape whenever I move I can take it with me. I routinely forward links from your site to my friends and family members; no exception here. Thanks Paul.

Paul Michael's picture

I agree. Safety and affordabilty usually don't go together. That's why I admire this product so much.

Guest's picture
Holly

You know, I had never even heard of lock bumping until I ran across the video on "You Tube"! Scary, to say the least! So, I now own one! It's amazing how simple looking this device is, yet so secure!!! Brett, this is brillant - thanks for creating this innovative safety lock for our home!

Guest's picture
Mary

As I read the article on lock bumping it really spoke to me; particularily from a home invasion perspective. The fact the Lock Jaw is engaged from the inside didn't really bother me - no different than the door chain we used to have. We received our Lock Jaw's in only 4 days, and installed it in about 4 minutes! Thanks for letting us know about this great product. (Note, I really liked their website - www.lockjawsecurity.com)

Guest's picture
Carson

Paul, although we saw this product for the first time on WiseBread (and bought 2 of them), Lock Jaw was on HGTV last Sunday. Thanks for being ahead of everyone else!

Guest's picture
Guest

Found article to be very informative. Wish it had been around several years ago. My Mom had Alzheimer's and could walk around without a sound. Sometimes she would unlock the door and go walking to look at the flowers. Several times a neighbor would call Dad and wake him and tell him Mom was in their garden. We eventually had to put her in a home. This would have been so helpful. Anyone who is a caregiver should consider getting one for each door.

Geneva

Guest's picture
Brett

Thanks for sharing this personal story. I too wish we had had this product a few years ago to help. However, thanks to people like Paul we continue, daily, to try to spread the word about this product. I appreciate all the WiseBread readers.

Again, thank you for your comment and for sharing!

Brett