When someone attacks our entrance ways, we rely on door locks to keep them out but when we need increased security, stoppers and barricades can make all the difference.
When it comes to effective stoppers and barricades, the choices are almost limitless. From light-weight door jams and improvised block-outs, which are ideal for securing a hotel room door while traveling, to permanently installed barricades that can keep even the most determined attacker out, there is a huge range of options out there to meet the needs of almost any situation.
Choosing the right stopper or barricade can be difficult depending on your needs and the situation you find yourself in, so let’s look at seven different variants currently out there to find the best option to meet your defense requirements and budget.
Why do You Need Stoppers and Barricades?
In most cases, a high-quality lock and deadbolt will be enough to keep out attacks of opportunity and stop your average street criminal from simply turning the handle and walking in the door.
These are the bare minimum that come on most doors to your home, and in most cases work incredibly well to keep unwanted third parties out of your property. But, as we’ve shown time and time again, they are not without their limitations.
An attacker with enough determination, skill, or sheer brute force will typically be able to bypass these security measures in only a few minutes. This is where stoppers and barricades come into play.
These temporary barriers are designed to be applied to an entryway once you are already inside a property to help improve your security to protect against events such as:
- Home invasions
- Primary lock failures
- Cloned key attacks (primarily important when travelling or renting when third parties have a duplicate of your key)
As with traditional locks, these are not enough to keep a truly determined attacker out in all cases, but at the very least, will work incredibly well to slow them down and give you critical time to respond, either through arming yourself or fleeing through a secondary exit.
How do Stoppers and Barricades Work?
Stoppers and barricades come in a huge range of designs; however, despite the variety within this category they all work in a very similar fashion.
In brute force attacks, they are designed to help redistribute the force of an impact around the door frame or directly into the floor so that the entire impact is not directed towards the deadbolt.
This minimizes the stress experienced by a single component of the door and therefore limits the chance of failure.
Alternatively, if someone is able to unlock your door through picking or a spare key, the stopper is there to catch the door and prevent it from opening as a last resort.
In these scenarios, the barricade or stopper absorbs almost all of the force of a brute force attack. With that in mind, they should not be relied on entirely to secure an unlocked door, but again should be enough to buy you some extra time.
Ultimately, a little extra time can be critical to help you respond appropriately.
Best Travel Friendly Options
Traveling poses some of the greatest risks to our security as we are often in unfamiliar territory with no means of assessing the security measures of the location we are staying.
We have no means of knowing exactly who has duplicates of our keys, and more importantly, how willing they are to use them. Meaning, even in the most secure high-end resorts, our information and property could be compromised.
Travel adds in an additional challenge as we are often limited in the amount of gear we are able to carry. This forces us to pack the most effective gear we can in the smallest package possible.
Fortunately, these concerns are known throughout the security industry leading to a wide range of tools designed to pack neatly away in any bag or carry-on and provide you with the maximum security possible.
BearMoo Door Stop
The classic triangular wedge made of either wood or plastic, is one of the most effective tools out there when it comes to blocking a door.
They’re compact, incredibly lightweight, and can be taken almost anywhere. They can also withstand huge amounts of abuse to keep even the most determined attacker out.
While soft rubber variants are available, a harder plastic such as that found with the BearMoo works exceptionally well for several very important reasons.
The plastic found in this doorstop is able to compress when wedged in a door, however is also rigid enough that it can be easily pounded into the door with the back of your hand to ensure a solid fit to withstand even the most extreme attacks.
Additionally, these plastic wedges are typically soft enough that no matter how far you place the wedge in a door frame, no marks should be left on the door frame. This may be less of a concern when using them on your own property, however, can be a major consideration to those who travel regularly and do not want to pay additional fees for damages.
While BearMoo may be one of the best examples on Amazon for the low price of $9.99, it’s important to note that these styles of wedges are available almost anywhere around the world from convenience stores to hardware stores or can be made by simply sawing a triangle off of a piece of scrap wood.
Considering their availability and effectiveness these can be a great place to start, especially for anyone looking to improve their defenses without putting in a huge amount of work or home renovations to install a more permanent solution.
Law Industries Defensive Door Wedges Mark III
A simple triangular wedge is a great place to start, but they can be improved and Law Industries have set out to do just that.
Each doorstop ordered comes with two ratcheting wedges that can be used in the exact same way as a traditional doorstop, but most importantly bind into the door frame meaning they can withstand almost any attack.
The unique ratcheting system not only produces an incredible fit on most door frames, but also allows the two wedges to work together.
This means even on door frames with poor tolerances and a large gap around the seam, the Mark III is able to double in size and again form a strong and effective lock against even the most determined attackers.
While the ability to double up these door wedges is an extremely useful feature, for most doors a single wedge is more than sufficient.
Again though, this only works to help you secure your door as you now have two wedges that can be used to secure multiple doors in your property or be used on a single door (such as at the top and bottom of the door frame).
Doubling up on wedges like this helps you better distribute the force your door experiences during a brute force attack, again only improving the security of the door.
Personally, I have yet to find a door stopper I can rely on more than the Mark III however despite all their features and ultimate effectiveness, that is not even the best part.
A pair of wedges from Law Industries will only set you back $2.00, meaning you can very easily reinforce the doors on your property for well under $10.
At a price like that, it is hard to recommend anything else however there is one final travel wedge that may just beat out the competition.
DoorJammer Portable Door Brace
Most common wedges are inserted into a doorframe and held passively with friction, but much like Law Industries with their unique ratcheting mechanism, DoorJammers changed this with their compact door jam.
Unlike other door wedges, this brace can only be placed at the bottom of the door frame after which the foot must be screwed down to create a secure anchor.
The unique screw mechanism has been cloned by multiple companies since DoorJammer released their original design, and it makes complete sense seeing how effective this style of door jam is.
Much of the effectiveness of this design comes primarily from the leverage you are able to generate with a simple screw mechanism, creating far more stopping power than you could ever create with a simple wedge.
The biggest limitation of this kind of design is the size. When compared to a traditional wedge they are much harder to pack away, meaning for those of us working in non-permissive environments where space is often critical and the type of equipment we can carry is limited, these may not be an ideal choice.
While size may put some people off of this design, it is also important to note that this size is not put to waste.
Many stoppers of this style include alarms hidden away to detect impact and alert you to the intruder, so for those of us on the road who have the luxury of carrying some additional gear, these may just be the perfect choice for you.
Best Home Defense Options
For those of us not on the road, stoppers and barricades still have a place in our homes as a way to reinforce our defenses during emergencies and keep our families safe.
While many of the travel barricades still work incredibly well at home, there are arguably much better options available as we are not limited to the size and weight restraints we face when on the road.
These options are typically larger, heavier, and built to withstand much more intense attacks.
So with that said, let’s look at a couple of options on the market for those truly security conscious amongst us.
The wooden board nailed over the door is a classic of any door barricade, and for its effectiveness, it makes sense commercial options are available on the market.
These are by no means the prettiest, but multiple companies such as Sihnman offer a relatively clean (and most importantly easy to use) bracket system. These typically hold a common 2×4 that can be mounted in a matter of minutes and keep your door secure.
Like most of the other items discussed in this article, this barricade works by transferring the impact force directly into the door frame to keep the door closed and your family safe.
While a barricade like this may struggle to fit well in a nicely furnished home, it is by far the easiest to use of any on this list meaning in an emergency, even a child home alone has the option to securely lock the door in a safe and reliable manner.
Although this kit comes with almost everything you need to secure a door (excluding a 2×4), the security offered by Sihnman can be improved by increasing the length of screws used to mount the bracket on your door.
This gives the barricade an even better grab on your door frame to ensure that any kick or blunt force impact to the door is dissipated almost instantly.
For those of us willing to sacrifice the beauty of our doorway for slightly improved security, the classic 2×4 brace is hard to beat for it’s affordability and ease of use.
SecurityMan Door Bar
In the same way a 2×4 barricade is almost a cliché at this point, so too is the image of a chair being stuck under the door handle to wedge the door shut.
Theoretically, this defense makes complete sense as any force put into the door to open it is directed into the floor in order to keep an attacker out.
In practice, however, it is often much harder to pull off, requiring a chair of perfect height to create a sufficient wedge and keep the door closed. The SecurityMan Door Bar addresses this issue, with their variable-length door lockout system.
To use it, simply adjust the bar to the correct length, place it under the door handle, and wedge the bottom footplate into place.
This has many advantages over a traditional chair defense, as the rubber foot dramatically helps to minimize the bar from slipping out of place, and most importantly because of its narrow size and handle adaptor, is able to work with almost any door (regardless of the type of handles present in your home).
There are arguably better barricades out there, however, for those of us who don’t have the luxury of drilling into hardwood flooring or door frames (such as in apartment buildings), this can be a great solution to improve security with the lowest amount of setup possible.
Haven Floor Stopper
A door barricade that can be removed and put into place in a matter of seconds is great during emergencies, but for those looking for a more permanent solution, the Haven Floor Stopper may just be the defense for you.
The small bar mounts directly to the floor of your property, with enough clearance to allow the door to swing freely when not in use but activates at the push of a button.
Installation is a much more involved process compared to other options on this list but is well worth the time for such a clean and professional-looking barricade that disappears when not in use yet can still hold up to some of the most intense attacks.
While this stopper is effective, thanks to its large strike plate allowing for huge impacts to be absorbed and transferred to the floor, it is by far the most expensive stopper on this list. While convenient, it is arguably no more effective than the $2 wedges available from Law Industries.
The added price means this option is not for everyone, but for those willing to splash the extra cash it can be a great option to secure your door.
Finally, our last stopper worth mentioning is the NightLock Lockdown 1.
Much like the Haven Barricade, this stopper installs directly into the floor of your property providing an incredibly secure footing to withstand impacts against your door however at a much more affordable cost.
It is worth noting that while this barricade is typically advertised for commercial properties and schools (such as for active shooter events), it is still available to the public through both their website and other online retailers, such as eBay.
Like many of the other barricades included in this list, this barricade is incredibly easy to use, again making it suitable for children to use in an emergency. This gives it a huge advantage over other wedge designs, which will often require a large amount of force to get the wedge in place correctly.
At only $60, this is arguably one of the best devices on the market offering the security and ease of use of devices such as the Haven Door Barricade, while also being budget-friendly.
How to Improvise a Door Barricade?
Many of the stoppers and barricades discussed in this article work incredibly well in situations where we are prepared for an emergency. But, what if we are caught off guard and need to block a door? Are there options out there we can pull off on the fly?
Piling up furniture in front of the door can be a great way to keep it from opening, however, there is a right and a wrong way to achieve this kind of barricade.
Simply stacking furniture at an entrance way will slow an attacker down temporarily, but with enough force most attackers will typically be able to push the furniture out of the way and gain access to your property.
Instead, it is often better to arrange the furniture next to each other across the room in order to brace the door against the opposing wall.
In this situation, it is almost impossible to open the door unless you are able to directly break through the door as all force from an attacker is transferred against a wall.
Barricades such as this are most certainly one of the hardest to pull off successfully, as you not only need the strength to move furniture quickly but also require the conditions of the room to be perfect.
Too little furniture or too big of a room, and it is unlikely you will be able to brace the against the wall effectively. However, in emergency situations, this defense can be incredibly effective as a last-ditch attempt in offices or classrooms to keep you safe.
An alternative when all else fails may be to stop the door from opening with a belt.
It is important to note that this defense will only work on certain commercial doors with an anti-slam mechanism located at the top of it, but by tightly wrapping the anti-slam bar at the top of the door when closed, you may just be able to stop the door from opening.
These bars are typically made of relatively weak aluminum and under enough force will give way. But at the very least, it will slow down an attacker giving you enough time to hide or mount a proper defense against the intruder.
How to Use Barricades and Stoppers Effectively?
On their own, each of these barricades or stoppers will go a long way to keeping an attacker out and your property secure. But, there are ways to increase their effectiveness.
Doubling up on defenses will always go a long way to improving how secure they are, such as combining a door wedge and SecurityMan Door Bar, as the force of any impact is shared between each barricade and stopper.
More importantly, you should aim to spread out the defenses you use around the frame of your door to reduce force from being concentrated in a single area.
This may mean using the Haven Floor Stopper with a wedge at the top of the door frame. This highlights why the two wedges included in Law Industries wedges, are so effective.
For an incredibly low price, you have all you need to completely secure a doorway in an extremely compact package that is hard to beat.
Whatever you choose, any combination of tools listed in this article is bound to go a huge way to boosting your defenses and keeping your family safe.
Whether it be a home invasion or emergency in the workplace, doors are the biggest target an attacker will use to gain entry into your room or property.
Stoppers and barricades will go a long way to boosting your security, and while they can not always be left in place permanently, these options can make all the difference to keep the outside world on the right side of your door.
While you can buy any of these tools and instantly improve your security, understanding how a door works and more importantly some of the attacks people use to defeat them can go a long way to also improve your security. So be sure to check out our previous articles to stay ahead of the threats.