Best Occupancy Indicator Locks – Mortise Locks vs. Cylindrical Locks vs. Deadbolt Locks


When it comes to choosing the best occupancy indicator locks for your commercial restrooms, there are many factors to consider. Different types of privacy locks will have different features and functions, different parts and engineering, different installation requirements, and different price points.  

Whether your business is a restaurant, medical office, hospital, or other type of commercial property, your choice of privacy lock will determine whether your restrooms and private areas offer a safe, pleasant, and accessible experience for your employees and customers. 

Commercial privacy locks vary by size, function, assembly, ease of use, price, finish, accessibility features, and more. The lock you choose is going to depend on a lot of different factors, but it is important to weigh all your options, so you know you’re getting the best value and quality possible. 

In this article, we’ll compare mortise locks, deadbolt locks, and cylindrical locks so you can choose the right privacy lock for your facility without stress, worry, or confusion. And your customers and employees will thank you!  

Mortise Locks 

What is a mortise lock? 

A mortise lock requires a pocket to be cut into the edge of a door. It has several different parts, including the lock body, lock trim, strike plate, and keyed cylinder. While this type of lock is secure and can fit into many different doors, it can be difficult to install and difficult to open depending on the handle type you choose. 

Here are some benefits of using a mortise lock in your commercial facility: 

  • Aesthetic appeal 
  • Comes in different sizes 
  • More leverage and durability 
  • Secure as it must be opened with a key from the outside and inside 

One thing to consider with mortise locks is that they can weaken the structure of certain doors depending on the material. Additionally, installation requires someone who is familiar with woodworking.  

Are mortise locks ADA compliant? 

Another important factor to take into consideration when choosing the right door lock is whether the lock is ADA-compliant 

According to ADA design standards, “all locks and handles attached to doors must be operable with one hand and not require any extreme grasping or twisting.” This is important to consider, as you want your facility to be accessible for people of all abilities.  

Do mortise locks offer occupancy indicators? 

There are some suppliers who offer mortise locks with occupancy indicators, but they’re not cheap. Most retailers offer them at around $1,200, but depending on where you look, you could find them for around $800 at hardware stores.   

How much do mortise locks cost? 

You can find Mortise locks through name brands like Home Depot, Lowes, or Amazon. Prices range from as low as $30 for a mortise cylinder to as high as $2,000 for an electronic push button lock.  


Cylindrical Locks  

What is a cylindrical door lock?  

A cylindrical lock consists of a lock chassis, a separate latch bolt, operable trim, and roses behind the trim. It is designed to be installed through a door rather than cut into the door like a mortise lock. 

Benefits of Cylindrical locks:  

  • Cost-effective 
  • More efficient than a mortise lock 
  • Saves time 
  • Easy to use for people of all abilities 
  • If professional installation is necessary, it generally costs less 
  • Safer in the event of an emergency 
  • More convenient than a mortise lock 

Cylindrical locks often make the most sense for commercial properties, as they are more common and efficient when it comes to usage. Having to give your patrons or customers a key whenever they need to use the restroom is inconvenient for everyone.  

Are cylindrical locks ADA compliant? 

For a lock of any kind to be ADA compliant, it must be operable with one hand and not require any extreme grasping or twisting. Knobs are usually a no-go, as users must twist and turn the knob. It all comes down to what lever you use, but cylindrical locks are a good route since they don’t require multiple steps and movements to lock and unlock. 

Can you find cylindrical locks with occupancy indicators? 

Cylindrical locks with occupancy indicators are hard to come by. You can find cylindrical deadbolt locks or mortise locks from companies like Schlage or, but most of those locks don’t have an occupancy indicator. However, Vizilok offers a cylindrical privacy lock with an occupancy indicator that comes with two keys, is commercial grade, and has reversible left/right door application.  

How much do cylindrical locks cost? 

The cost of a cylindrical lock depends on the kind of lock you’re looking for. You can find cylindrical deadbolts for as low as $20- or cylindrical locks with alarm systems for more than $1,000. Price depends on your needs and budget. Vizilok offers cylindrical locks with occupancy indicators for $145, which is a value in comparison to other locks since you get the lever, lock, and occupancy indicator in one. Not only that, but Vizilok’s locks are easy to install, so you also save money on professional installation. With a mortise lock, professional help is often necessary due to the complexity of the installation.  


Deadbolt Locks 

What is a deadbolt lock?  

A deadbolt lock has a bolt that must be activated by a key or thumb turn. They have several different parts, including the bolt, outer and inner trim, and strike plate. Deadbolt locks offer good security, as they are not spring activated and can’t be “picked” by a credit card or another object. However, they do have some vulnerabilities, including but not limited to: 

  • Lock bumping 
  • Lock impressions 
  • Drilling 
  • Ice-pick attack 

Deadbolts are not as common for commercial use as they are not as technologically advanced, require manual locking, and generally aren’t as aesthetically pleasing.

However, there are a few benefits to using a deadbolt lock in a commercial space: 

  • Provides more security and resilience for private spaces 
  • Easy to use 
  • Improved security with side locking bar technology 

Deadbolt locks are generally used for home protection but can be used in commercial spaces depending on the situation and environment.   

Are deadbolt locks ADA compliant? 

For a deadbolt lock to be ADA compliant, it must be operable with one hand and not require any extreme grasping or twisting. Most commercial deadbolts you’ll see in public places have a thumb turn. When installing any privacy lock, you must ask yourself if the lock can be operable with a closed fist. If it can’t, stick with a regular lever.  

Do deadbolt locks offer occupancy indicators? 

Most suppliers offer deadbolts with an occupancy indicator. You’ll find them most often in multi-person restrooms with stalls. In case of emergencies, these deadbolts can be opened from the outside with a small key.  

How much do deadbolt locks cost? 

Basic deadbolt locks are pretty cheap. You can find them for as low as $14 on Amazon, or, if you’re looking for a more tech savvy option, Amazon offers Bluetooth “smart” deadbolts for up to $230. You can find a deadbolt lock anywhere locks are sold, such as Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, Ace Hardware, and more.  

So what are the best occupancy indicator locks?

The right lock can make or break someone’s experience in your facility. 

Regardless of the commercial privacy lock you choose for your facility’s restrooms and private areas, the most important thing to take into consideration is if it will keep you, your guests, and your employees safe and comfortable, as well as give everyone peace of mind.  

Ultimately, you must ask yourself as a property manager or business owner whether the locks you’re using make sense for the environment they’re in. Will a mortise lock be convenient and cost effective if you run a restaurant or medical facility? Do deadbolt locks really make sense in the context of a restroom or other private area?

Cylindrical locks with occupancy indicators can provide a heightened level of comfort, security, and safety for your customers and employees. Not only do cylindrical locks help you avoid the issue of having to give out a key, a cylindrical lock with an occupancy indicator will also help avoid awkward and unsafe situations like door handle jiggling. 

VIzilok’s cylindrical, ADA compliant, and commercial grade door locks are a great way to show your customers and employees that you care about their safety and comfort. Not only that, but they are also affordable and easy to install, saving you the headache of finding a user-friendly option for your business. 

Shop all cylindrical indicator locks here. 

Vizilok offers commercial grade, ADA-compliant, and user-friendly cylindrical privacy locks. 

Bathroom door locks might seem like a minor detail, but bathrooms are one of the busiest spaces in a building, and bathrooms make a major impression on customers and employees. Nobody wants to feel embarrassed, rushed, or unsafe in the restroom. But customers and employees can’t do anything about this issue. It is up to the business and facility owners to take action and protect the people they care about.  

Vizilok’s occupancy indicator locks display “in use” or “vacant” so that no one needs to pull on the handle repeatedly to see if it is locked. All our products are ADA and IBC compliant, so you’ll pass your building inspections with ease.  

Key takeaways: 

  • If you are a commercial property owner, you have a lot of options for locks. Mortise locks, deadbolt locks, and cylindrical locks are all potential options. When choosing the right locks for your facility, you must decide which lock will keep your customers and employees safe, secure, and comfortable.  
  • When choosing locks, you must take ADA regulations into consideration. Your facility must be accessible to people of all abilities.  
  • Mortise locks are extremely secure but are complicated to install and can weaken a door depending on its material. Additionally, mortise locks require professional installation by someone who is familiar with woodworking tools. 
  • Deadbolts can withstand more force than most locks but do not necessarily increase protection from lock picking and require a door to have two holes to accommodate installation. 
  • Vizilok ADA-compliant cylindrical locks with occupancy indicators are a great option for commercial properties. They ensure ADA and IBC compliance, they give customers and employees a heightened sense of security and comfort, and they do not require expensive professional installation. 

Shop Vizilok’s locks here. 

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