In this guide, we examine locks; critical elements of any security system and fundamental parts of every access control system.
Two fundamental classes of locks are used in access, electrified locks and mechanical locks. But with thousands of lock options in the market, understanding the basics and when to use either is crucial for successful systems.
This report covers the factors driving selection, including:
- Codes Impacting Which Options You Can Use
- Why Electric Strikes Are So Common
- Understanding 'Fail Safe vs Fail Secure'
- Using Maglocks The Correct Way
- Why 'Request to Exit' Hardware Is Critical
- Using Electric Lock Bolts or Other Electric Locks
- Other Electrified Hardware, Like Standalone Locks
- Understanding Mechanical Hardware Options
- Cylindrical vs. Mortise vs. Surface Mounted Hardware
- Why Deadbolts Are Dangerous
Inside we examine where you should pick strikes, maglocks, or something else altogether to keep doors secure, legal, and reliable.
Picking between electric strikes, magnetic locks, electronic bolts and locksets is a complex decision. The sections below describe the major types:
- Electric Strikes
- Electrified Bolts
- Standalone Locks
Electric Strikes are a common and favored method of securing electronic access controlled doors, especially interior, office or single door passageway openings where egress hardware like Exit Devices are already installed.
Strikes are built with a mechanical latch or jaws that swing out of the way when a door opens. This is an important characteristic of strikes; they are only as secure as the accompanying door hardware. The strike itself is designed to permit access even when the mechanical hardware is locked and the bolt is thrown.
Here is an image of a strike:
Strikes can be surface mounted on the frame (typically required when used with rim mounted hardware like panic bars) or mortised into door frames. A variety of other access control components can be furnished in this type of hardware, including latch position sensors and card readers.
This type of hardware can be bought in a variety of finishes, power options, mounting dimensions, and accessory options. The most commonly applied versions of the hardware cost about $125, and require periodic maintenance (cleaning and lubrication) to remain operational.
For in-depth details about this lock, read our Selecting the Right Electric Strike guide.
'Fail Safe' versus 'Fail Secure'
While most common in electric strikes, these terms describe the default behavior of any electrified lock when power drops from the device. If a device is configured for 'fail safe' operation, this means that if power is lost, then the lock will fail in an unsecured position.