Maglock Selection Guide

By Brian Rhodes, Published May 16, 2019, 11:22am EDT

One of the most misunderstood yet valuable pieces of electrified hardware is the maglock. Few locks are stronger, but myths and confusion surround their proper use.

**** ****** ******* ********* avoid ***** **** **********, but ****** ****? ** this ****, ** ******* maglocks, ***** ****** ***********, and *** ** ***** problems **** ***** ****, including:

  • **** **** ** **** Secure ********
  • *** **** ********** ** a *******
  • ******** ** ********, *** Code
  • ***** ** ************ **** Action *******
  • **** *******
  • ***** **************
  • ******** ******* ** **** Operation
  • ******** *** ***** *****
  • *** ***** ****/****** ** Important
  • *** / **** ***** Considerations

Designed ** **** ****

******* ************** ***** ***** safety, *** ******** '**** safe', ** ****** ******** when ***** ** **** fails.  ******* * ******* is ** *************, ** energy ** *** *******, it ****** **** *** operate. ** ******, ******** lose *** ******* ***** when ***** ** **** drops.

***** ***** *********** ******** ** ********** ** 'fail ******', ** **** locked **** ***** *****. However, **** *** ********** egress ** ** *********. Maglocks ** *** **** this *****.

** ******** ** ********** cylinders ** ******** ******* that **** ****** ********** components **** *** ***** or ****, * ******* has ** ****** ****** and **** *** **** over ****. *** '***** state' ************ ***** **** a ******* ****** ******** according ** ******, ** it **** *** ******* at ***.

Two ***** ******* **********

******* ***** '****-****' ******** method, * ******* ** a ****** ****** ******** of **** *** ******:

  • ********: **** ** * flat ******* ** ***** that ******* *** ****** 'box' ********* ** *** frame. *** ******** **** be ******** ******** ** the **** ** ***** to ******* * ****** bond *** **** *** door ****.
  • ******: *** ****** ** the *** ********** ******** an ************* ****. ****** the ********, **** ***** never ********** ***** ** relation ** **** *****, and ** *** **** component **** ******** ***** during *********.

Other ******* *******

***** *** ********* ** keep ***** *******, ******** are ***** ******** **** or ******* ********** ********** that *** ***** ******** in ****** ******* ***********. Among ***** ***** ******** are:

  • **** ******: * ****** ******* ******* than ******** *** ******* is ********* *** ******* with *** ********, ********** a ***** '****'. **** indicates *** **** ** both ****** *** ******/******.
  • ********** *** *** ** REX: (******* ** **** Motion ******): **** ******** ******* * motion ****** ** ****** that ***** ***** ** the ****. **** ******* is ******** ** ****/****** codes ** **** ** an ********* ****** ********* the **** ***** ***** and ******* ****. *** image ***** ** ** example ** **** ****:

Which ******* ****** * ******?

********* *** ****** **** of ******* *** ** application ** *** *********, if * *** ***** parameters *** ********* ****** specification.

*** ***** ********* **** must ** ********, *** the ***** **** **** be ***** *** ****** below:

  • ********/ *** ************
  • ****** **** (***** **. "Conventional"/Pull)
  • **** *******
  • ******* ****
  • ********* ****
  • ******** *** ********/**** ***** Tie-In

Legality/ *** ************

*** *****, *** **** critical ****** **** **** be ********* ** ******* or *** *** ** maglocks *** ********* ** the ***** **** ***********, or **** ******* ************ apply ** ***** ***. 

******** ***** *****, **** IBC *** **** *** do *** ******** ***** maglocks, *** **** ***** are *** ***** ** many *****.

***** ******* *********** ******* the **** ***** ******* and ******* ********** ***** to ****** ******** **** alarms *** *********.  ******* and *********** ***** **** integration ***** **** ***** AHJ *** ***** ***** to ****** ******* *** anywhere, *********** *** ***** *** in ******* ******** ***********.

******* *********** ** ******* passed ** * ********* level, *** *** **** from *** **** ** the ****. ** *******, a **** ** *** local **** ******* ** City ***** ********** **** yield ****** **********. ** the ******** *****, **** that ******** *** *** vary ********* ** **** locations, **** *****, *** maglock ****:

** **** *****, **** 'elegant' *** ************* ******** access ******* *** ******** doors *****, *** **** installers *** *** ***** alike **** ************ ** maglocks **** **** **** allows.

Shear ****** **. "************"/**** ******

******** *** ********* ** two ********** *****; ****** Conventional/Pull ***** ** ***** style *******. *** ********** between ***** ***** ** noted ** *** ******* below:

*** ****** ********** *** intended ******** ******** ** the *******. *** ******** direction *** **** ** designed ** '****' ************* the ****. ******* ** the *********** ** **** windings, * '************' ******* is *** ****** *** use ** * '*****' application, *** **** *****.

***** *** ********* ********* is *** ****, *** installation ********* *** **** preparations *** ********* ********* to ******* *****. ** the ******** *****, ** address *** *** ***** and *** **** ******.

Conventional / **** *****

*** **** ****** **** of ******* ********* ***** is *** "************/****" ****.

** ******** ** *** shear ******, **** **** is ********* **** *** magnet *******, ******* *** magnet **** ** ********* on ***'******' (** *********) **** of *** ****.

************ ** **** **************** ******** ********, ***** some ***** **** ***** in - ********* ** a ************ ** *** installation ******** *** ******** bracket, ******* *** ***** of *** **** ***** interfere **** *** **** if **** ** *** 'outswinging' ********.

*** ********** *****, *** lock ** ***** ** and ******* ***** **** the **** ** *** top *****. ** ********, the ******** ** ***** outward *** ****** **** a '*-*******', ***** *** be ** ********** ****. Note ** *** ******* below *** *** **** swing ******* ************ ********:

*** *** ************ ***** maglocks, *** ******** ***** is ********* ***** **** the **** ******, ********* attached **** *******-***** ** the ****. ***** *** an ***** *** ****** metal ** **** *****, this *** ******* * problem *** ********* ***** or **** ***** *****. 

Shear *****

**** ***** ** ******** is ******* **** ***** maglocks **** ** ***-*******, as **** *** ** completely ******** (******) **** frames.

******* ***** ***** *** installed ***** **** ******* surfaces, **** *** ******-*********. However, ***** ***** ***** are **** ****** **** the '************' **** ******* both ****** *** ***** must ** ********** ********** with **** ********** ** mind.

***** **** ********** ****** control ******* *** *********** to ******** ***** *** frames (******* *** ****** cut-outs), ***** ***** *** not ********** ****. ****, the ******** ** *** door ******** **** **** be ******* ***** *** lock, ***** ******** ******* adjustment ** *** ****.

*******, ******* ** ***** low-profile *** ****** **** in *** ******** ********* of ******, ******* ************ like ***** ** ******* grilles ***** ****** ***** locks.

**** *** ***** ***** is ******* ***** ******** to ***** ******* *****, however *** ** *** additional *********** ******** ** doors *** ****** ** fit ****, *** ********** cost ** ******.

Maglock **** *******

******* ***** *************, ******** are ***** *** '*********' locks *********. 

******* '********,' ** ******* force, ** ******** ** hundreds ** ******, ********** more **** *,*** ****** per ****. **** ****** describes *** ****** ** pulling ***** ******** ** match *** ******** **** of *** ****, *** greater ******* ** ***** are ****** ** ******** it.

*********, *** ****** **** rating ********* ** *** ******, while *** ********* ****** are ***** ** *,*** ****** ** more. ** *******, *** stronger *** ******* ***** the ****** *** **** anywhere **** * *** hundred ******* ** **** than ~$*,*** *** *** strongest *****.

*******, *********** *** ********** elements ** *** ****, (eg: ****, ******, **** hardware) **** **** ****** the ******* ******, ** is *********** ********* *** uncommon *** *** **** of * ******* ** be ********.

Minimum **** ****** *** ******** *****

** *******, ******** ***** should *** ** ******* with **** **** *,*** pound ***** ********.

**** ********* *** ****** locks **** * ******* of **** (**: ******** cabinet *****, ******* *****, or *******), *** **** should *** ** **** where * ***** ***** attack ***** *** ****** or ********** ****-****** ** ********.

Power **************

**** ******** *** ***** selectable ** ****** ** or *****, *** ***** voltages *** ** ********* versions *** *********. ***** for ***** ***** ** often *********** ** ** supplied ** ** ***********, individually ***** ***** ******.

******* *** ************* ** these ***** ** ******** dependent ** *** ******** and ************* ** *** power ******, ******** ** not ********* ***** ***** sources **** ************ *********.

****** ***** **** ************** draw ***** **** *********, a ******* *********** ***** power ****** *********. *** heavier ****-***** ** *** maglock ***** *** * supply ****** **** ** more ******** ***** *** able ** ****** *** constant ****** ** ******* to *** ****.

Double-Door ***** 

******** *** ** ********* on '****-****' ** '******-*****'. Typically ***** ******* ******** door ***** ** ******* simultaneously. ***** **** *** sometimes ** ******** **** two ******-**** ********, **** electronic ****** **** *********** are **** **** ** be ********* ** * single ******* ******.

** **** ****, * double-door **** **** ** used ** * ****** release ******* **** ***** adjacent ***** ** **** at *** **** ****.  The ***** ***** ***** a ****** ** '****-******' maglock:

Difficult ******** *********

********** ******** *** ** difficult ** ******* ***** given *** ********* ****** to ******* *** ********, brackets, *** **** **** of *** ****** ** match.

*** ******** ** ***** where ******** *** *******, typically *** *** ***** **** ******* ******* ********* *** ******* *** **** for ********* ************.

** *** ******* *****, note *** ******** **** and *** ************* **** of *** ***** ****** used *** ** *** large ********* ** *** operators:

** **** ****, ***** maglocks ** **** ***** size *** ***** *** strong ****** ** ***** secure *** *******, ******** ***** *** ****** used.

**** *** ******* ** the ***** ****** *** present ******** ********, *** often ****** ****** ** reinforcing ******** *** ****** to ***** ******** ******** for ****** ***.

Hold-Open ********

******** ** ******** *** also **** ** **** doors ****. ********** ** applications **** ******** ********* or **** ********, **** doors *** ******** ******** that **** ** ****** to ** ********* ****** a ****, *** ********* are ****** ****** ****** regular ***.

******* ******** *** ****** be ********** **** **** alarm *******, **** *** often **** ** **** doors ** *** '****' position, *** ** * fire-alarm *********, *** ******** release *** ********** **** closer **** ***** *** doors. *** ***** ***** shows ******** '**** *****' used ** **** ***********:

Glass ***** *** ********

*** ** *** **** difficult ********* ** ******* maglocks *** ***** ***** with **** ** ** frames.

******* ******** ***** ****** be ******* ** *** field ******* ********** **** of **********, **** ******* 'glass ****' ******* ******** that **** ** ***** or ******* **** *****, like *** **** ***** in *** ***** *****:

*** *** ***** ***** *** ****** Control ******** *** **** ** **** tough ***********, ********* ************ to ********.

Metal ***** *********/ ****** **** ******

******* * ******* ****** a ******** ***** ** collapse ***** **** ** is **-*********, ** *** backfeed * ***** *** damaging ***** **** *** power ******. * ***** or *** ********** **** field *** ******** **** type ** ****** **** happening.

** *** ******* ********, *** ******* *** ******* these ********** ** ** field *********, ********* ****** *** power ***** ** *** lock. 

Required *** ********/ **** ***** ***-**

'***', ** '******* ** Exit' ********, *** ********* *** motion ******* ***/** '****' ***********, **** must ** ********* ** a ******* ******* **** people **** ** ****** through *** ****. *** image ***** *********** ****** RTE *******:

*** ****, *** *** ****** ******* ******* ** Exit (***) ********.

Battery ****** *** ********

***** ** *** ****** using ********* ** *** to ******* ***** **** main ******** ***** *****.

******, * ******** ** 'fail ****' ***** **** maglocks ** **** ***** they ****** **** ******** when ***** *****. ***** battery ******* *** ******** this ********.

*******, *** ********* *** safety ********** **** **** alarms ****** ** ******** and ********* ********.  ** cover *** ***** ******* of ********* ******* **: ****** ***** *** ******** Guide.

[****: **** ***** *** initially ********* ** ****, but ******* *** ******** in ****.]

Comments (12)

Pretty simple, Maglocks should only be used as the last resort wihen trying to secure a door with electrified hardware.  While they are cheap retro-fits in the long run the Life Safety/Egress complications that come from using them cause more issues then getting the correct type of opening to not use a Maglock.

Call a Professional Door/Locking Hardware Specialist and do it right the first time, there are a few options like closets and such where a maglock might be acceptable.

Agree: 4
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

[Mod note:  Poster is referring to requirements per Canadian NBC codes.]

There are far too many other dependencies on whether a maglock meets the criteria for application of this device.

 

-Must have a fire alarm evacuation system present throughout building.

- Fire alarm interconnect at the approved power supply -

-Reset keyswitch accessible in a central location for manual reset of the maglock power supply after a fire alarm.

-Fire alarm pull station with dual contacts within no more than 600mm of door - One set of contacts wired in series to remove power directly at door. 

-Emergency lighting present at door.

-Occupancy and building classification must meet criteria (IE no maglocks can be installed in schools or nursery/daycare facilities etc)

-Stamped engineered drawing approved by licensed Electrical Engineer- with building permit application.

 

And the list goes on and on

 

In other words-  don't use maglocks unless the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) and engineer has provided an approved building permit.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

It's important to distinguish many of these rules are not 'model' codes, but local exceptions or are otherwise mandated by the presence of other systems.

I'm not arguing that any of the above are not good ideas, only that they do not restrict maglock use.

Agree: 2
Disagree: 1
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

In Canada,  our National Building Code/Provincial Building Code does in fact restrict maglock use with the noted requirements.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Ah, that makes sense. Canadian code does not generally prohibit maglock use, however, which is the point of my response. Many of those additional requirements you cite do not apply to every occupancy group or grandfathered buildings without fire alarms.

I am going to clarify in your initial post you are speaking of Canadian NBC.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

In the UK Maglocks are typically fitted with Emergency Break Glass Units ( BGUs) on the secure side of the door in additional to the integration with fire protection systems.

 

This provides at the door life safety override of the lock. This does introduce an element of security risk as it is not unknown for these units to be accidentally or deliberately operated outside of an emergency event. These units should always be  monitored by the access control system using a relay  on the power supply side (or they can be purchased with build-in trip switch) and should report any activation of the unit. Any activation should be investigated a matter of course. 

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Not to forget they should be a triple-pole (if monitored) to break BOTH power legs to the lock.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Well done Brian.  You've outlined the options and proper use of these enormously popular locking options in our industry.  Whilst I fully agree with those who champion the 'correct' options for securing  emergency exits I have to point out that I've seen MANY instances of chained and padlocked exits where, in desperation, the building managers have chosen a fatal option. The well installed and crucially, maintained, mag lock installation is never fatal to the end user.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

I am hoping someone with more experience will help me understand why every egress door doesn't use an electric strike and panic bar. It seems to me if the strike fails secure, your building remains secure and still allow people to exit freely. The only positive of door hardware failing safe I can see is the access for emergency personnel to enter the building, but code requires a lock box so that doesn't make since. However building security is exposed with a simple power outage, just cut the power and you have access to anything.

I am sure I am over simplifying this, But for a new design a fail secure electric strike and panic bar makes since to me.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

There are limited applications where a maglock is required in order to control egress - such as hospital psychiatric wards or wards for dementia residents.

Otherwise you would want to se an electric strike for free exit access control applications.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Thank you for the article of different maglock selection.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I am currently working on a site that has a pocket door with a shear maglock installed on side. One of the biggest issues I've noticed is the door swings as its closing and has to stop before the mag will lock due to the only track is on the top of door. This particular door is designed to be used in case of an active shooter is on site. If in case of an active shooter this door will need to lock fairly quickly. I thought about some kind of a guide system on the bottom but that would create a tripping hazard. what would be a good way to better secure this door?

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: What Would Be A Good Way To Better Secure A Maglock Door?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
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