Inexpensive front doors: 7 tips for choosing

7 min

Entrance doors should serve as a reliable barrier for intruders, therefore many are trying to shell out almost a whole fortune to buy the most secure and reliable door. But thieves know how to break even such door leaves. Simpler and cheaper doors lend themselves to breaking faster, but this does not mean at all that they will not resist and will open in a second. You just need to be able to choose inexpensive entrance doors that will become reliable protection for your home. We will deal with this issue in the article.


It is necessary to start with the manufacturer, since there are a lot of Chinese-made products in the economy segment. It looks good, it is very cheap, but it is unlikely to be a good protection for the apartment. As a rule, cheap Chinese doors receive very thin sheets of steel (some can even be pierced with a can opener), cellular cardboard is used as a filler, and the simplest locks are installed.

Such Chinese products cannot be recommended as entrance doors for an apartment. But if you are looking for an option for a farm building, where there is nothing of value, then such a door may also work.

The doors of most European manufacturers, of course, are of the highest quality, but they are also worth it, so we will not even consider them. Although if you search, you can find inexpensive doors made in Poland or Romania – the main thing is that the manufacturer does not lie.

In the economy segment, domestically produced doors will be the best choice. Many Chinese manufacturers skillfully disguise themselves as Russian, therefore, when buying, carefully study the information about the manufacturer, look at catalogs, visit sites, read reviews.

Residents of St. Petersburg and the region can be recommended entrance metal doors by Dveripiter24. All products, including the economy class series, are manufactured at factories in Moscow, the Tula region and Bulgaria. Used steel with a thickness of at least 1.5 mm and “Guardian” locks of the 3rd and 4th class of burglary resistance.

Metal thickness

When talking about inexpensive entrance doors, they usually mean only metal sheets. Wooden doors are much more expensive than metal ones, and if you can find something budgetary, then such a door can only be used in a barn.

Inexpensive doors are usually made of hot rolled steel, the thickness of which may vary. In general, steel with a thickness of 0.8-5 mm is used in door production, but in the economy segment the thickness is rarely more than 2 mm:

  • Chinese manufacturers stamp doors with a sheet thickness of 0.8-1 mm, sometimes up to 1.2 mm, but this is not enough for normal protection;
  • 1.5 mm – normal steel thickness for the front door, the most common solution in this class;
  • steel with a thickness of 2 mm is also used in the budget segment, but much less often.

Stiffening rib

The outer panel is always made of steel, the inner one can be made of steel or other materials (for example, MDF). Stiffeners are installed between these panels, which increase the strength and burglary characteristics of the door.

The more stiffening ribs, and the more evenly spaced, the better the door is in front of you. They can be vertical, horizontal or oblique. In inexpensive doors, the “minimum” option is usually used – two vertical stiffeners and one horizontal. This is a basic set that provides the door with the minimum required level of security. The more ribs, the more expensive the door will cost, and the heavier it will be, therefore, overdoing it in this matter is also not worth it.

Stiffeners are usually made from a corner or rectangular tube. Serious sellers can always demonstrate cutaway door models so that you can personally see how the door leaf works inside.


Inside the door, between the stiffeners, voids are formed. If they are not filled with anything, then the door will let cold and noise into the house. The following types of insulation are usually used in economy class doors:

  • pressed cardboard and paper is an option often found in Chinese-made doors. Such a filler is cheap, it weighs little, but it does not cope very well with its direct tasks;

  • mineral wool has good heat and sound insulation qualities, but over time it gets lost and sags, deteriorating the quality of insulation. To prevent this from happening, you need to use an additional crate, but, as a rule, no one does this in inexpensive doors. Despite this drawback, mineral wool is considered the most popular insulation and is often used not only in cheap doors, but also in many samples of the middle and high price category;

  • Styrofoam is one of the cheapest insulation materials, it weighs little, has good heat and sound insulation. On the other hand, polyurethane foam will have to be used between the foam and the stiffeners to ensure a better fit. In addition, the foam is highly flammable and burns, so it is not entirely safe to use it;

  • polyurethane foam is more expensive than mineral wool, has the highest sound and heat insulation characteristics, is resistant to humidity and temperature extremes. The only negative is the higher price. The filler is not often used in the economy segment, but if you come across a similar sample, hurry up to buy it.

In addition, a seal installed around the door perimeter protects against cold and noise. One circuit will be enough if it is installed well. Manufacturers’ statements about two and three circuits of insulation are nothing more than a marketing ploy in an attempt to sell the door at a higher price. It’s good that in economy class they don’t bother with this, using only one seal circuit. It is best if the seal is rubber. Foam and plastic are very cheap, but not very practical. More or less normal silicone and polyurethane seals can be considered.


Statistics show that in 9 out of 10 cases, attackers try to open the locks, and not cut the door leaf. This means that the choice of the castle should be given special attention. It is good if the doors are already equipped with reliable burglar-proof locks. If the manufacturer has supplied unreliable mechanisms, then it is better to replace them as soon as possible.

First of all, pay attention to the security class of the lock. It is best to take a class 4 lock – a thief will spend about 30 minutes breaking it. Castles of the 3rd class show themselves well. To open a class 1 lock, an attacker will need only 5 minutes, so such mechanisms immediately disappear. It is better to have two different types of locks installed on the door:

  • a lever lock is the most reliable, and the larger the lever, the better. You can determine their number by the key, counting the steps on it and subtracting one. The more levers, the longer it will take to open;

  • A cylinder lock consists of several cylinders inside, lined up at a certain height. It is difficult to crack it, but you can knock it out, therefore it is better to protect the lock with an armored pad. It is best to install a cylinder lock paired with a lever lock;

  • the crossbar lock is too unreliable to be installed on the front door;

  • combined locks combine several mechanisms at once, but are expensive, they are rarely found in economy doors;

  • an electronic lock is a rarity even for expensive doors, not to mention cheap counterparts.

The two selected locks should be installed at a distance of 25-30 cm from each other.

Door finishing

Chinese doors often win over buyers with an attractive appearance. Domestic manufacturers usually take a different path: let the door look simple, but it will be reliable. In conditions of a limited budget, it is better to take a safer door than a prettier one, especially since the issue can be resolved with finishing later.

Popular options for finishing inexpensive doors:

  • powder painting has high performance, it is durable, resists mechanical damage, can have any shade, looks simple and concise – just what you need for an entrance door;

  • PVC film imitates leather, wood and other materials, is inexpensive, but does not differ in durability. Even the claws of an animal can damage the coating. It is possible to glue the door with foil both from the inside and from the outside, but recently such a finish has been used less and less;

  • MDF panels are usually used for interior decoration, sometimes they can replace the inner sheet of steel. MDF is made from wood chips, the boards are laminated with a film (cheaper) or covered with veneer (more expensive), sometimes they are simply painted. This is a relatively inexpensive, cute and practical finish, although simpler samples are presented in economy class;

  • plastic panels – a cheap finish, looks more or less, but does not differ in durability;

  • Vinyl leather is another inexpensive material that imitates natural leather well, once it was very popular, but today very few people veneer doors like that.

What else to look for?

When buying a door, also look at the following details:

  • loops. If they are unreliable, then even the most cunning lock will not save you. The most popular option is ordinary external hinges, but they are easy to cut, therefore, in recent years, they have been supplemented with anti-removable crossbars in many products. Even if the outer hinges are cut off, the web will still remain in place. Hidden hinges are not visible from the outside of the door, and therefore cannot be damaged. Minus – they can jam. In inexpensive doors are rare. The optimal number of loops is 2;

  • the size of the door is selected based on the size of the doorway. Large manufacturers are ready to make doors to order, taking into account the parameters of the doorway. It is desirable that the canvas is at least 90 cm wide, otherwise problems may arise with the transportation of bulky items. It is better to equip large openings with doors with one or one and a half wings;

  • from the point of view of fire safety technology, it is better that the door opens into the room. But it should be noted that such a construction is more vulnerable to hacking.

Summing up, we note that when choosing an inexpensive door, it is important to pay attention to purely technical parameters (steel thickness, stiffeners, type of locks), and not to the appearance of the door leaf. Remember that Chinese manufacturers are trying to sell us beautiful doors that can never become reliable protection.

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Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...


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