Top Maglock Provider Warns Against Using Maglocks

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Nov 21, 2017

Do not buy my company's product.

It sounds strange indeed, but a senior Allegion consultant stated that maglocks should not be used in common applications.

Considering Allegion owns one of the most familiar maglock brands Schlage, the statement may seem confusing.

However, the consultant makes a clear and lucid case supporting his statement in an uncommon example of company profits taking second place to best practices.

Inside, we take a close look at the rationale behind avoiding maglocks, maglock's low-cost appeal and 3 better, safer locking options.

Do *** *** ******** 

*** ******** **** **** post, ***** ******** [**** no ****** *********], ****************** **********, ******* ******* using **** ******** *** access ******* ** ****** words:

"**** ** ********** **** with ******* ** ******** and *********** ********* ******.In ** *******, electromagnetic locks should ***** ** ********* ** ****** ***** in these two occupancies — especially on doors requiring panic hardware." [IPVM Empasis]

*** ***** * ********** from *** ** *** world's ******* ******** ******, that ******** *** ** the most ****** ******* *************,*******, **** **** * claim?

Maglocks *** ********* ****** ** ****

*** ****-**** '****** **** of ******' ** *** trapping ****** ********** ****** from * ******** ** an ********* ****** ** be *********** ** ******** or ******** *********** ** maglocks, *** ******* *** legal ** ****.

******* ** *** ******* safety ********** *** ***********, Glorioso *** ****** *** concerned **** ******** *** be **** ** ************ risking ****** ** ***** to ********* ** ******** them ****** ****** *** preventing **** ********* ******.

Safety ***** *** ***** ********* **************

******* ** ******** ***** that ******** ***** ***** of ******, *** ******* code ******** **** *** - * ****** ****** that *** ****** *********** or *** ********* ********* with ***** ********* ******* in * ********** ********.

*** **** ** **** bias ******* ******** ** that ******* ***** **** actually *************** ** **** *************** ****** ***** *********** ********** **** *** **** likely ****.

****** *** **** ******* of ***, *** ******** forms ** *** ******** were ******** *** **** maglocks, ******** ******** ** a ****** ******* ***, and * ******** ********** wired ** ***** ***** to *** **** **** depressed, *** **** ******* a '**** ****' *********** where ******* * **** alarm ****** ***** ** maglocks ** ************* ****.

*******, ******** ** *** 2012 *******, **** *********** was ******* ** *** RTE ****** *****-** ** door ******* ********, ********* in *** ******* ** an**** ******, *** ******* *** need *** ** *** PIR *** ******* ************ mandating * **** ***** deactivation.

***********, *** **** ****** does *** **** ******** more ********* ** ***, but ****** ****** *** cheaper ** ***, **** fewer ******** ******** ******* and ** ********* ****** interlocks. *** ******* **** references, *** *** *** ***** ****** ****** Control *** ******** ********* ***** *** Access ******* ******** *****.

Maglocks ******* *********

*** ***** ** ******** are *** ***, *** ******* major ************* **** ******** banned ****. *** ******* that ******** **** *** de-energize ** ****** ******** when *********** ****** ** a ****** ***** ****** by ****, **** ********, City *********, *** ******** owners *****.

********** ** *********** ** granted ** * ********* level *** *** **** from *** ** *** next. ** *******, * call ** *** ***** Fire ******* ** **** Codes ********** **** ***** proper **********. ** *** examples *****, **** **** accepted *** *** **** depending ** **** *********, door *****, *** ******* type:

** *** ****** *****, ie: ******** - *** **** And ***** ****, **** ******* ****** using ******** ** * minority ** *****, ********* where ***** ******* *** not possible, ** ***** ***** them ********** ** ***** unlawful, ****, ** *** risky.

Allegion's ******* ********

******* ***** **** **** just ********, ********* ***** ********** hardware ********* *********, ******* locks, ***** *****, *** various *******.  ****** **** the ******* ****, ******* offers ************ ****, ***** style, *** *******-****** ***** maglocks ** *** - 2500 ***** **** ********* most **** *** **** or **** ******.

*********** ********'************ *&* **** *********** *** ******** ******* and * ************ ******** brand ****, ******* ******** are *** ** *** most ****** ***** **** in ********** ******, *** the ***** ** ********* via ******** ******** *** lock ******** ************.

Maglock ***-**** ****** 

*** ** *** *******'* strongest ******* ** **** they *** ** *********** on * ***-**** *****, costing ** ****** ** $300 *** * ***-***** bond ****, **** *** securing ** ******** ****** door ** *****-**** ******* side ********.

** ********, ********** * strike ** ***** ********** lock *** *** $*** - $**** *** *********** take ***** ** ************ time, ****** * ******* installing ** * *** minutes.

*******, *** **** ********* does *** ******** *** full ***** ** *** equipment ****** ** **** a '*********' **** *******, nor ** *** ********** work ** ********* **** fire ****** ** *** approval ******** ********** ** inexperienced **********. *** ***** installation **** ** * maglock **** ***** ******* 2X ** ** *** cost ** *** ******* alone.

Better, ***** ******* *******

** ******** ** ******** maglocks, *** ******** ********** provides ******* **********, ********* types ********* ********* *** not ********-********.  ***** *******:

  • ******** *******: *** **** ****** alternative ** ******** ** often ********** *******, ***** any ********** ****** ****** function ** *********** ** electronic ******.  ** ******** strikes *** *** **** are **** ** *** ********* *** ***** ******** Strike *****.
  • ********** ***** **********:*********** ** ***** ******** with ** **** ******, a ***** ******** ** gearbox *** ******* *** latch **** *** ******* of *** **** ** a **** **** ** PIN *****.  **** **** devices **** ** ****** to ******** * ***** retraction *** *** ****** control, ******* ******* $*** - $***, ** ******* equal ** * ******* alone.
  • *********** **** *******:** **** *****, *** outside **** ****** ** lever *** ** ************ unattached ** *** ***** unless * ********** ** scanned. *** ******* *** not ******* *** *****, but *** ****** ****** retracts *** ***** ****** regardless, ******** * ********** override ** *** **** of ******. ***** ******* often are **** *********, *** the ****** *** *** nothing ** ** * few ******* ******* *** lock ** * ******* specified ******, ***** ******* less **** * *******.

Comments (17)

However, the consultant makes a clear and lucid case supporting his statement in an uncommon example of company profits taking second place to best practices.

Not to be a pessimist, but couldn’t this be seen as soft-sell upselling?

Since Allegion isn’t saying to use anyone else’s product instead of theirs, just recommending several possibly more expensive options which they also provide.

Further, if they don’t think people should be buying them, maybe they should stop selling them.

But they do still sell them, and they want you to know that, as evil as they are, theirs are better:

While Allegion rigorously tests the switches that are used inside its panic hardware and latchsets to release the magnetic force, that’s not mandated across the industry.

imho:)

Not to be a pessimist, but couldn’t this be seen as soft-sell upselling?

Since Allegion isn’t saying to use anyone else’s product instead of theirs, just recommending several possibly more expensive options which they also provide.

The objection this is veilled soft upselling could be true, but I'll argue it is not categorically.

Strikes are often cheaper than maglocks.  Electrified trim may be $0 net increase model specification.

Moreover, Maglocks can retrofit just about anywhere, while other locking options must be matched to specific lock configurations and models.  Recommending something other than maglocks is often recommending specialty products that aren't yours.

Sure, skeptics can say 'Allegion just wants to sell more expensive locks', but examples of manufacturers 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' by slamming their own brands are not common.

Further, if they don’t think people should be buying them, maybe they should stop selling them.

Sometimes using a maglock is the only way an opening can be locked, and if a door isn't an emergency egress door, then many of the negatives go away.  So abolishment isn't needed, just awareness of when they are appropriate and when they may not be.

Stupid design question:

Can’t the panic bar be mechanically attached to two or more switches wired in series, where any one of them, on its own, would release the maglock?

Sure the mechanical part of the crash bar could still jam, but mechanical failure could affect any of the non-maglock solutions as well.

The objection this is veilled soft upselling could be true, but I'll argue it is not categorically.

Strikes are often cheaper than maglocks. Electrified trim may be $0 net increase model specification.

I was assuming that it was an up sell because of this part:

One of the maglock's strongest appeals is that they can be inexpensive on a per-lock basis, costing as little as $300 for a 600-pound bond unit, good for securing an internal office door or light-duty outside side entrance.

As long as architects keep designing in these wonderfully elegant and pleasing 8' and 9' herculite double doors with fancy, but fixed pulls, there's going to be a need for mag locks.  As soon as other options that entail mounting anything else makes its way into the discussion, the logistics of getting wires where they would need to go as well as other factors that will markedly decrease the aesthetic appearance of the entry make anything but a mag lock a non-starter.  

I have no problem with mag locks as long as the owner agrees to our proposal that does include two means of egress as well as a fire alarm interlock (usually interfaced to our power supply and performed by their fire alarm service company).

Any Class A office building in most any city is going to have a good amount of either full glass or nearly full glass doors with a top aluminum header .... the drop bolt style electric lock is found in many older buildings, but I don't see those specified at all any longer and we usually find them to be more of an on-going service issue than a mag lock.  

It has to start with the architectural design community being more proactive as far as pushing door and lock manufacturers for a suitable functional replacement for a mag lock on a full glass door set that can be mechanically actuated from the inside and always allow free egress without totally sacrificing the appearance they are also looking for.

An old wise locksmith used to always say to me when we discussed egress requirements:  "What is more important then getting out? ...... NOTHING!"

 

 

 

IPVM should do an article on options for full glass doors. I'm certain some architects and consultants read these articles so an article may have a better chance of being read than a comment on one.  Your posting mirrors our own sentiment towards herculite doors and the challenges they present.  If it were not for this door format we would never put in a maglock. 

Architects tend more towards form over function but I do not think they are solely to blame.  Frequently a location was never intended to have access control on it though it is added later.

We have a post Glass Doors and Access Control Tutorial you may find interesting.

I'm not sure what he said and what is being commented on are the same subject. He said, "should never be specified on egress doors." Commentary suggests he said, "should never be used." Is every door an egress door? If so, I retract comment. If not, clarity is important. 

That’s true he says ‘egress’.  

Curious though, what percentage of EAC doors are egress, in your opinion?

Yes, that's the distinction here.  It's not too salty to state the majority of doors that host maglocks are egress doors.

I'm no code expert on egress. Just curious, is a herculite door in a high rise executive suite considered an egress door? 

It depends on whether or not egress requirements are satisfied by other doors or not.

There is a high likelihood the door you mention is an egress door, especially if it is the main entry/exit into a building or space that leads to evacuation stairwells.

Do you not use break glass units to isolate maglock power in the US?

The change in RTE requirements to just require the single PTE button is, IMHO, ludicrous.

This is why we will always maintain the Break Glass units as well as using fire relays to cut power to the locks in the event the break glass or fire panel alarm is activated.

In an emergency - we don't want anything preventing our people from reaching safety!

"The change in RTE requirements to just require the single PTE button is, IMHO, ludicrous."

That is not what the code says.  Something like a mechanical panic bar with a mechanical switch that breaks power locally at the door would be what they are referring to...not a button.  

Maglocks are by no means my favorite type of lock, being ugly and devoid of design consideration. But invariably, when tendering, there is little point in looking at a V Lock or similar when a maglock with associated hardware, drops in at less than £50. As most tenders are cost driven, maglocks are often proposed as a value engineered solution. At the end of the day - a corporate client is happy to swap a V lock for a nice painting on their new reception.

Worth bearing in mind that any decent installer should be using triple pole break-glass's on all egress doors, allowing monitoring combined with breaking both power legs to the doors - although we still see installers using single pole. Local FA interface is a must - with only a fool looking for a a software "release on fire" functionality.

I do think Schlage will have had their maglock sales decimated by the far east - so their soft up-sell is aimed at trashing what they can't sell and focusing on what they can sell.

It is of-course worth noting that Schlage is very much a US market player, so although the discussion is global - the context is US building Code and manufacturer based.

There are still plenty of cases where card readers are called for on both sides of a door. How do you handle those without a maglock?  

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