Emtek is a high end brand of custom door hardware. They make custom deadbolts, knobs, and handle sets. By custom, I mean virtually custom. There are 20+ different finishes to choose from and you can mix and match back plates, knob styles, lever styles, and trim plates. Everything is assembled individually with an order. The products truly look amazing and high quality. However, there can be some issues.

I was recently discussing Emtek quality issues with another locksmith online. There seems to be some quality control issues. He showed me the back of a lock cylinder that was ground flat instead of being raised. Puzzling for a brand that strives to be a higher quality in a sea of poorly made products. This issue seems to be a one off machining issue, something I can understand but it is still troubling.

I recently had a lock challenge in Beachwood. Beachwood has a lot of Emtek hardware because it is a higher income area. The hardware does look beautiful on these homes and adds a lot to the entrance. The deadbolt suddenly stopped functioning. The bolt would only through half way with the inside thumb turn. Using a key to lock the outside was next to impossible. I disassembled the lock and everything looked fine. No visible issues. I re-installed the lock and adjusted it’s positioning and it worked fine. The hole for the deadbolt wasn’t additional, it was a factory prep by the door. It is possible that the factory prep of the deadbolt bore was off, but by eye it looked fine, and even if it was slightly off, that shouldn’t matter that much. All I could imagine is that the screws were not completely tightened and the deadbolt dropped to the bottom of the bore. The screws did seem tight enough though. The deadbolt now works and I hope it stays that way.

Emtek is in a unique position. It’s quality hardware at a premium price. Customers that buy it obviously are okay with paying a little extra to get the look and function they want. I think it would behoove Emtek to cater to that demographic and make sure their product is outstanding, every time. This issue I had in Beachwood doesn’t seem to be an outlier. I’ve had similar and other issues with Emtek door hardware. I find this odd because I almost find as many malfunctions with Emtek as I do with off the shelf brands. This could be for several reasons. 1) When cheaper hardware like Kwikset has an issue they just throw it out and replace it 2) Someone who is willing to call a professional locksmith is more likely to own Emtek. So the exact frequency of issues is hard to determine. I will say that I go to a number of homes for commercial property managers and see a lot of Kwikset and similar import locks that see to not have these issues.

I have not found these types of issues with commercial grade lever handle locks and deadbolts. It’s interesting that it is hard to get high quality products even when you are willing to pay a premium price. If you have any issues with Emtek locks please email me and let me know. I’m curious what issues others have encountered and how you got it fixed.