"Locked Out of Heaven" has received nearly unanimously positive reviews from critics. PopCrush gave the song a rating of 3.5 out of 5, calling the song "raunchy yet subtle" and praising the song for being "classy enough not to get graphic or vulgar", and also praised Mars' vocals on the track, calling them "smooth". Andrew Unterberger of PopDust also gave a positive review, giving the song a rating of 4.5 out of 5, calling the song "hyper-energetic, funky, slightly retro", however said that it was the "tiniest bit disappointing" that more was not added to the song's chorus. Nonetheless, Unterberger called the song one of "the most fun, dynamic, and exciting songs" of 2012. Carl Williott of Idolator also gave the song a positive review, comparing it to works of The Police and Foster the People, and called the song "interesting" and evolutionary for Mars. Neon Limelight also praised the song, calling it "irresistible" and "funky".