Warning: Schlage F-series Door Knobs

Here’s a word of warning for anyone in the market to buy new door knobs. We recently replaced the door handles, knobs and deadbolts throughout the house. We liked the look of one of the Schlage designs and bought them all online from a company that also rekeyed the locks to the same key.

Then we installed the door knobs and found that the interior knob is always unlocked to allow free egress at all times. Let me explain what this actually does. When you turn the lock button on the inside, the outside is locked, thus preventing anyone from opening the door from the outside. But with this apparent “convenience” feature, we can still open the door from the inside without unlocking it.

Let me know walk you through a typical day in the Clarke household. A night we check to make sure the doors are locked. Can I remember now whether the door is locked when the button is in the horizontal or vertical position? No, I can’t. But no problem, I’ll open the door again and test to see if the outdoor knob turns. Ok, now I know it’s locked. In the morning, it might be the kids, or my wife or me that goes out the door first. We now have a very important responsibility. Before closing the door, first check to see if the outside knob turns. It doesn’t? Ah, this must be the first person to leave the house today, so we turn it, because otherwise we’ll be locked out. The only problem is that our kids are too young to understand this concept, but they are old enough to play with the little think in the middle of the knob and turn it just for fun.

Schlage, are you reading this? Did you seriously think this was a good idea? Come on!

I would just return them and buy different ones but it took six weeks to get the front door handleset installed due to us a having a thicker than usual front door and Schlage requiring several service calls and three shipments for us to eventually get the parts needed to install the handleset. And now I’ve got most of the other doors knobs installed I really don’t want to return take it all and send it back. Did I mention that I’ve thrown out the original packing and the old locks?

Stay clear of the Schlage F-series locking door knobs.

38 thoughts on “Warning: Schlage F-series Door Knobs”

  1. I understand what you mean, I too just currently bought an F series and found my self locked out already 4 times in 2 days! The inside handle turns if its locked or not SO until I just now tryed turning the handle whilst it was locked and BINGO, the door wasn't locking on its own, I was locking myself out!I thought the lock was faulty. I dont know if I should return it or just have at least 2 keys hidden outside.GRRR

    1. I love this feature! I’m looking for two replacement knobs and deadbolts right now. If anyone has them for sale, I’m looking for bright brass very simple possibly the Georgian Style, I’d be happy to buy them from you!

  2. Are you giving up life safety for convenience? Pretty much all hardware(except Kwikset) will allow you to walk out the door using one motion for quick egress in an emergency.

  3. i just installed new locks and i am having the same issue..since i cant remember if vertical or horizontally is closed or locked im afraid to lock my self out..solution 1: keep the door unlocked until you leave the house and ONLY use the key to lock the door (which to me kind of defeats the purpose of having a door)or 2: put colored dots on the turner to indicated if locked or unlocked..it is tricky!!!!

  4. We have had the same Schlage F series door locks for over 30 years. Raised two daughters in that time and cannot ever remember being locked out. The finish is getting a little worn on the knob used most often but the locks function just fine. What I can tell you is the quality is far superior to the regular Kwikset locks that I use on my rentals.

  5. I have been living with the same problem for over 6 years – when our contractor installed our new door – and new Schlage locks – I questioned the issue – and he told me that all Schlage locks were made this way. There is also a deadbolt lock on this door – so my solution was to never lock the door knob – however a few times I forgot – but was able to get back in – because another entrance was unlocked – or someone else was inside. Well – a few weeks ago – another Schlage lock broke – and I called Schlage and they sent for free an internal part to repair that lock. So today I called Schlage – talked to a customer service representative about the being locked out problem – she told me that's the way the lock is designed for safety – same story. However – I was nice – but persistent – and she is sending me a new lock – keyed to the others in my house – for free – that doesn't have this safety feature. I am a happy customer. She told me Schlage only gets about 3 calls a weeks regarding this issue – my opinion most people just don't call 🙁

  6. I just bought one. Installed it 10 minutes ago. I am so scared I will lock myself out. Wouldn't mind it free turning all the time if turning while locked unlocked it. I get the safety part but the staying locked part is baffling.

  7. Actually, Schlage offers both types of interior locking mechanisms in the F-series. If the model number starts with F51 then it has the "emergency exit" feature that can be opened from the inside when locked. If the model number starts with F54 then it can't be opened from either side when locked.

  8. Use double keyed deadbolts for security and a passage set for the latch – then you won't ever get locked out.

    Leave the key in the interior side of the deadbolt unless you are away traveling. Thieves who break in through a window cannot cart stuff out the front door.

    I live in a bad neighborhood and cylindrical locksets offer NO security.

  9. I have this Schlage and it's a terrible feature. We have managed to lock ourselves out on numerous occasions. Yes, we hid a key in the garage. My real worry is that when my elderly mother comes to visit, she'll be locked out of my house without a cell phone when I'm at work, because I can't make her remember that the locked knob feels like it's unlocked. I also wonder how parents of knob-turning toddlers like this feature. Finally, the knob frequently re-locks itself if you don't jimmy the lever just right.

  10. It is a violation of civil code 1943.6 (if I'm not mistaken) and a fire hazard to have any lock on a main egress door that requires a tool, special knowledge, or a KEY to egress. If the crooks can get in, they will get out, likely by unscrewing the lock from the inside or pulling the door hinge pins. Is your stuff more valuable than your life? You decide.

  11. The new F Series lockset will eliminate this accidental lock out. The lever F – Series can be easily opened with out tail piece manipulator. Once the new F-Series comes out the tail piece manipulator will not work as the access hole has been eliminated. You are still in luck, the CAP Popper tool kit uses the key hole and a special wire tool to easily open the F – Series lever or knob. Check it out at http://www.cappopper.com

  12. I'd make the case that this "feature" hinders safety more than it enhances safety. Turning a small locking mechanism to open a knob is barely a hindrance to egress. In all likelihood you'll have a deadbolt on the same door that you'll have to unlock regardless. The real safety issue here is that this feature vastly increases the odds of becoming locked out. Being locked out CAN be a major safety problem — especially in harsher climates.

  13. I have sold Schlage locks for years and the function of the F51 lock has always been such that you can exit in one motion. Several years ago Schlage did come out with an F54 entry lock that will remain locked on the inside until you unlock it.

  14. Why does the lock not just unlock after you open it from the inside???????

    The emergency exit feature is great but again why not eliminate the potential to get locked out.

    I bought 4 of these stupid things and was going to install them tonight but will be taking them back in the morning.

  15. I just purchased a pair of these Schlage knobs/locks for my new home and I am having a slightly different problem. If you turn my knob from the inside when locked, not only can you open the door but the lock also pops open. While this eliminates the being locked out problem, it creates another problem of not knowing if the door is locked or unlocked. I have small children and if they accidentally or even purposefully turn the door knob, the the door will now be unlocked. I've talked to 3 different Home Depot employees ( where I purchased the locks ) and they told me the button should not unlock when the inside knob is turned. However, they opened a new knob set in front of me and it did the same thing – so they don't have an answer. I think I'm just going to return them and buy a set that requires the button to be turned to unlock and exit.

    1. This is also my problem. Every turn of the knob unlocks the door and our house is constantly unlocked at some entry at all times. It is very hard to get teens to lock the door AFTER opening as they run for the school bus. Our old ones stayed locked when you opened the door. Is there a switch inside we can throw to change this or am I stuck with the open house?

  16. We are installing these for a friend. The problem is that the part numbers and box are exactly the same, but some have an auto-unlock feature and others do not. It seems that Slage would mark the boxes and then everyone can have a choice instead of an unhappy surprise.

  17. I have locked myself out a few times with this lock. Purchased another set for back cottage, and the new set is different. The lock flips open when opened from inside.
    I like this new feature a lot better.
    Is it possible to change my other lock to do the same?(auto-unlock when opened from inside)?

  18. The performance of the door locks have been increased with the keyless entry. Most of us are concerned of the security of our belongings and thus we look for the advance locking systems. With latest development and advancement in the technology there are keyless entry Long Beach door locks available.
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  19. As a contractor, I’ve installed the EMERGENCY egress front entry as they were the standard. What you are suggesting is you need your house to be idiot proof. If your kids are play with the inside thumb locking mechanism, then you really don’t at any given time whether the door is locked or not. All commercial buildings and schools must have emergency egress out swing. My advice is “if you lock yourself out, your deserve to be!” It’s better than being burnt alive! Schlage has been making fine locks for 90 years. I’ve installed thousands. I sure hope they don’t have to dumb it down for numb skulls who keep locking themselves out!

    1. You don’t have to chose between safety and convenience, the technology has been out for years to provide both. It is an excuse on Schlage’s part (and a locksmith) to make it look like a compromise. Any commercial lock I have seen and the Schlage “A” series have a button or thumb turn knob that pops out when you turn the inside handle. An even better feature the “A” series Schlage has is the thumb turn can be pressed in to lock the door, then it will pop out when you turn the inside handle. If you chose to turn the thumb turn then it will remain locked when you turn it to exit. The best of two worlds.
      An experienced locksmith familiar with the locksmith brands Arrow, US Lock and LSDA knows you don’t have to settle for this so called “safety feature”. Surprised a locksmith would defend this “F” lock and even think a knob lock with a thumb turn inside when locked would protect against carrying stuff out.

    2. I can’t believe how many so called “experts” think this is the only way to make a lock. Talking about safety, being locked out in zero degree temperature when going out to get the mail is not exactly safe either. Maybe we need another code to address that!

  20. This confounds me.

    What is the purpose of putting a lock switch on the interior of the knob if it’s impossible to tell if the knob is locked?

    How does it make exiting any faster if I still have to turn the deadbolt switch?

    Not impressed at all, what a pain.

    1. In 2007 moved into a newer home and replaced a Schlage entry lockset with a Schlage lever style and soon discovered that if locked with the inside turn button I could push the lever and exit and be locked out because it remains locked. The existing locksets operated the same way. I called Schlage and was told that was for exit safety and could not be modified. I was concerned about a lockout on a below zero degree day. Recently (in January 2017) a family member exited and was locked out with no one available to unlock the door. Locksmith was called and drilled out the lock.

      I then purchased a identical looking Schlage lever replacement (Accent F51VACC505) at Menards and after installation found that it operates differently than the one I installed in 2006. If locked by turning the inside button, when operating the lever to exit it unlocks, therefore preventing the lockout situation. I am going to replace my other older orignal entry lock once I verify the new one unlocks upon exit.

    2. It’s not impossible, look at the orientation of the lock. If it’s horizontal, it’s locked. It takes like two brain cells.

  21. Interesting. I seem to want it just the opposite. I’ve had a doorknob for years that when it is locked and I need to exit I turn the handle, exit, and the door stays locked. Recently bought the Schlage since I didn’t like the style of my old when so when it broke I “upgraded”. The new lock now unlocks itself when I exit, the opposite of my old lock. I carry a key when I exit this front door, every time, so that is the way I want it. I’ve searched but can’t find out if there is a way to change this on this particular lock. If anyone knows I’d appreciate the info.

  22. I have actually been looking for a lock that does that exact thing. Do you know the specific model number? All the ones I find are “panic proof” and unlock when the door handle is turned from the inside. I want it remain locked at all times unless I physically unlock it. Thanks!

    1. This is exactly what I need too! I recently replaced the door knob on my single bedroom condo. My old knob did this and it was very convenient always knowing my door was locked. I did some research and found “storeroom locks” do almost what I need. However, you can’t keep it unlocked by flipping the thing on the inside. If I ever had friends coming over, I want to be able to unlock it from the inside. My old lock did this.

      My new lock needs to be locked every single time I exit. I think this is what the Clarkes want. But this Labor Day weekend I was paranoid I forgot to lock it when I left for the beach. I had a neighbor check it and sure enough, I accidentally left my place unlocked! I can see why the Clarkes want a different lock, but for my situation, the locks they have are perfect for me.

  23. A2A answer I sold Schlage commercial locks for over 40 years thru a commercial hardware supplier. To answer everyone’s concern about locking themselves or their children out from their house or leaving their door unlocked as they leave the house you cannot use the Schlage F Series Locksets. Use must upgrade to Schlage’s AL Series. The function is called the ” AL53PD Entrance Lock ” ( google this function )
    It has a small turn/push button in the inside lever/knob. By just pushing in the button on the inside of the lever the outside lever/knob remains locked until you exit thru the door or someone enters from the outside by the use of a key ( the button pops out. )
    By pushing in AND turning the same inside button a 1/4 turn the button stays pushed in and the outside lever remains locks until you manually unlock it ( you can always exit thru the door without special knowledge or the use of an inside key.)
    The AL series offers many different lever styles and can be keyed alike ( the use of 1 key for all your outside locks ) at your local hardware store

  24. In 2005 I moved to this house and replaced the door hardware to schlage because that’s what I had before but the old locks didnt have the easy lockout feature and I was locked out twice without a key. Once I was on my deck with no other way to get in other than to smash the window and luckily I had something to do that with. The other time I had to kick the basement door in. When you live in a rural area and nobody to hear your screams the schlage locks are a major safety risk. I had resorted to always walking around with my keys clipped on like a school custodian for fear I would get locked out. I can’t imagine taking out the trash in winter without being dressed for long term exposure then getting locked out. It would be deadly for sure. I’m moving soon and will be switching to kwikset or some other brand that I can try before I buy.
    And it’s definitely not an intelligence issue. I had my IQ tested by PhDs at a top university and I have the documentation to prove I’m of superior intelligence.

  25. Same problem with lock here. We didn’t know that this was even a thing we needed to worry about. We don’t have any of the packaging as it was taken with other trash yesterday by a contractor. The first thing I thought was that this is a bad idea. I see a lock out in my future. Also, this is not an issue for us, but for those with young children who live by a busy road, this could be a disaster. Wish we would have done some research first.

  26. Just had to kick my back door in. I finally got bit by this stupid design. I’m heading to Home Depot to not only get a new door, but good old-fashioned knobs that I can twist from the inside to see if they’re locked, and absolutely NOT get locked out by a crappily-designed door knob.

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