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Types of Bathroom Door Locks

Updated February 21, 2017

Bathroom door locks are different from traditional security locks. They are designed to offer privacy for occupants rather than security. The majority of bathroom locks do not use cylinders or keys but have internal locking mechanisms that are much less complex than those of other locks.

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Privacy Function Locks

The most widely used type of bathroom door lock is a knob or lever lock with a built-in privacy function. The door will open freely at all times when the bathroom in unoccupied. When you enter the bathroom, you press a locking button on the inside of the knob or lever. The door will remain locked until you turn the knob from the inside. Most privacy locks have a small emergency button on the outside. If a small child is trapped inside, a paper clip can be inserted into the emergency button to release the lock.


Some bathroom doors are equipped with separate deadbolts and non-locking handles. The knob or lever will usually have a latch function but can be freely opened at all times from both sides of the door. An auxiliary deadbolt installed separately from the handle is used to lock the door from the inside. You operate the lock using a thumbturn mechanism. Many times the outside of the deadbolt will have a built-in occupancy indicator that will be green or red to indicate whether the bathroom is occupied.

Coin Locks

Coin-operated locks are used in commercial establishments to limit or control rest room use. They require you to insert a coin or token to unlock the door and enter the bathroom. Once you enter the bathroom and close the door, the lock will remain engaged and will not accept any more coins until you exit and shut the door.

Key Pad

Key pad locks are combination locks used to restrict access to a bathroom. They are often used in schools and public facilities to prevent unauthorised users from entering staff toilets. Employees are given a four-digit number that must be entered to unlock the door. If the bathroom is designed for only one user, an auxiliary deadbolt or occupancy indicator may be used to complement the key pad.

Stall Locks

Bathroom stalls and partitions are usually equipped with simple slide or thumbturn locks. Slide locks have a slide bar that you can insert into a latch to keep the door closed. Thumbturn versions are turned from the inside to throw a basic latchbolt into a hole in the door frame. These locks are very simple and affordable, but tend to need frequent maintenance and replacement.

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About the Author

Emily Beach

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

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