Energy efficiency

Steel doors typically have more insulating value than wood doors. Models that are Energy Star-qualified must be independently tested and certified, and often boast tighter-fitting frames, energy-efficient cores, and, for models with glass, double- or triple-panel insulating glass to reduce heat transfer. You’ll find more details on the federal EPA’s EnergyStar website.

Installation

Entry doors are also known as door systems because they come pre-hung in a frame and come with the knob and deadbolt pre-installed. Unless a replacement door is part of a larger remodeling project, you may want the new door to be the same size as the old one. Choosing a larger door or adding sidelights means redoing the door framing around the door–a job best left to a contractor. Unless you’re a skilled carpenter, you may also want to hire a pro to install same-size doors.

Keep yourself and your family safe

It takes a quality door lock to deter burglaries and home invasions. Many crooks kick in doors to get in. But unless your door is hollow, it’s not the door itself that lets burglars in. Our tests with a battering ram have shown little difference in strength among door materials. All eventually failed because the doorjamb split near the lock’s strike plate, though we also found that beefed-up locks and strike plates can greatly increase a door’s kick-in resistance.

Some other ways to strengthen any exterior door: Use a lock with a 1-inch-long deadbolt and a reinforced metal box strike. Use 3-inch-long mounting screws so they lodge in the framing beyond the doorjamb. And don’t overlook the door that leads into your house from the garage.