Maglocks Usage Statistics 2019

By IPVM Team, Published Jul 01, 2019, 09:04am EDT

Maglocks divide access control specifiers perhaps more than any other component. Many are concerned about life safety codes, but others cite benefits such as being less expensive.

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How frequently are maglocks used?

150+ integrators told us how often they use maglocks, when and why. Inside this report, we examine the trends and the key reasons for and against them.

Results **********

*** ******** ** *********** answered **** '*****' ** seldom *** ********, **** 53% ** ********* ********* maglocks *** **** **** than **% ** *** time:

Maglock Usage Statistics 2019

*** ****** ** *** surprising *** ** ********** with ******* ********** *******.

Never *** ****

*********** *** ******** **** simply ***** *** ******** were ******, ************ ****** 15% ** *** *********. They **** ******** ******* for ******* ***** ***:

  • "** ** *** *** maglocks. **** *** *** fail ******, ***** *** too **** **** **** considerations, **** ****** ***** by ******* ******* **** being ****** ** ***** locked, *** ** ****** every **** ***** ** an *********** ******** ******** to *** ****."
  • "*. ** ***** ** all ****."
  • "** ***** *** ****. They *** **** ***** slammers *** ******* **** do *** **** **** hardware."
  • "** **** *** **** any ******** ** *** past ****. ** *** to **** ** ******** strikes."
  • "*%. ** **** *****'* had *** ****."
  • "**** *** ***** *** lazy ***** *** **** designers."
  • "*. * ****** ***'* want ** ** *****. I **** ****** ** my *****."
  • "*% ** *** ***** are ********. ** ******* using ******** ** *** mid **'*."
  • "****. ** **** ******** has ****** *** *** installs ***** ********. ** follows *** *** ******* it ** ******* ** new ********."
  • "*%. **** ****. **** safety *******. ***** **** reasons."
  • "*% *** *** ** electric ******* ** *********. Maglock ** *** **** popular ** *** ****."
  • "*%, ***** *** ****, refuse ** *** ****, replace **** **** ***** locks."

*** **** ******* **** is *** ********. ******, even******* ************* **** ******* against ***** **** *********** ****** ******* ** strong *****:

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

Codes ********** ***

*** ****** ********** ******* maglocks ** *** ** stringent **** ****** ***** that ******* ******** ***** use. **** *** * common ***** ** **** responses:

  • "* ******** ** *** installations *** ****** **** from *** ***** *** to **** ********. **** and **** ****** *** municipalities *** *** ******** mag *****."
  • "** ***** ***** ******** whenever ******** ******* ** fire ****."
  • "**%. * **** ** was *% ******* ** takes **** ** ****, install *** **** **** you **** **** *********** and *******. ***, *** some *****, ******** *** the **** ********"
  • "******* *** **** ********* / ******** **** *** / **** ** ***** extra **** ************ *** Fire ***** *******, ***., etc..."
  • "**** **** **%, **** when ******** ** ********* and ******* ** *****."
  • "**% *** ** *** as *** ** ******** due ** **** ******* regulations."
  • "** ******** ** ********* recommend * ********** ****** to ***** *** ******** of ***** **** ******."
  • "**** *** ********** ****** its * ******** *** the ******** **** *** replace ** ** *** applications ********** ***** *** a ***. * ********** prefer ** ******* ** electrified ******."
  • "**-**% ** ** *** lock ** **** ******. Extra ****** **** ************, fire ***** ***********, *** issue ** ***** **** will ******** *** **** just **** ** **** desirable."
  • "** ***** ** *** costs, ***** ** ******* a **** ****** ***."
  • "*** ** **** **** as **** ** ******** because ** ******* ** be ******** ** **** panels. **'* * *********** though ** ******* ***** as ** **** ******."
  • "** **** **** **** Maglocks ** **** ** possible *** ** **** code *********** *** ****** issues **** ******** **** requirements."

************* ***** *****, **** *** *** NFPA *** ** *** prohibit ***** ********, **** still *** *** ***** in **** *****. *** example,*** ***** ********, ******** the **** ***** ** controlled ******** ********** ** occupancy ****:

  • ***: '**** **********' (****: 1010.1.9; ****, ****: ****.*.*; 2006, ****: ****.*.*)
  • ***: '****** ******* ** Electrically ****** ****** *****' (2015: ****.*.*.*; ****: ****.*.*.*; 2009: ****.*.*.*; ****, ****: 1008.1.3.4)
  • ***: '******************* ****** ****** Doors' (****: ****.*.*.*; ****: 1008.1.9.9; ****: ****.*.*.*)
  • **** ***: '************ ********** Egress *****' (****, ****: 7.2.1.5.6; ****: *.*.*.*.*)
  • **** ***: '********* *******' (2015, ****: *.*.*.*.**-**; ****, 2006, ****: *.*.*.*.* -*.*.*.*.**)
  • **** ***: '****** ********** Egress *****' (*.*.*.*.*)
  • *** ****** ** ***** model *****, *** ***:**** ****** ****, ***, and *** ***** *** Standards.

(*** **** ****** ** these *********, ***:**** ****** ****, ***, and *** ***** *** Standards)

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

Unlocked **** ***** *****

******* ******** ***** ***** is * ****** ** maglocks ******* ***** **** unlocked **** ***** *****. The **** ******** ** these ******* *** ** lock *****, *** ** electricity *****, ** ** maglocks:

  • "** *** *** ** use ******** ***** **** we *** * *********, the ***** **** ***, batteries ***, *** **** the ***** *** **** open..... ** ******** ** use * ****** ** electrified ******* *** ***** maglocks ** ******** ***** when ********."
  • "**** ****** ******. ******** and ****** ***** ** we ***** ***** *** extended ******* ** ****. "
  • " ** ***** **** & ****** *****'* **** generators, ********* **** & eventually ***** **** ****"
  • "* **** **** *** ugly, *** ** * risk ** **** ******** and **** ****. ***** are **** ****** ******* systems *********."
  • "***** *** ********* **** as * **** ****** on ******** ***** ******* they *** ****-**** *** easily ********."
  • "***** ** ** ******* to ***** ****. **** power ** *** ** your ***** *** **** "
  • "** *** ** ***** clear ** ***. ****** an ******** ****. **** requires ** ****** *** doors ** ***** ****** and **** *****, ****'* causing * ******** **** to ** **** **** if ** ***** ******."
  • "** ****** ** ********. I **** ***** **** a *** ** ********. They *** *** ******** especially ** ***** *******. Customers ***** **** ******** with *** *********. * just ****** ** ********* strikes *** *********** ****-****."
  • "** *** *** ***** in * *** ** installations *** *** **** selective ** **** ***** we **** *** **** on. *** ***** *** fail **** *** ******* a ***** ****** ** battery ****** ** ********* use **** **** ** low ******** *****."

***********, ********** ** ****** power *********,**** ****. **** ***** ** you ****** ***** (*****, backup, ** *********) **** open.******* * ******* ** an *************, ** ****** is *** *******, ** simply **** *** *******. By ******, ******** **** all ******* ***** **** power ** **** *****.

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

** *** ******** ******* when *** ******** ******** useful *** ***? ******* themes ******* **** ********* that ********** **** *** where ******** *** ********* used.

Complex ***** *** ********

**** *********** *** ******** on ***** ***** ***** lock ***** ** *** fit, ** *** *** costly ** *****. ******* responses ************ ********* ***** entry *****, ***** ******* exposed ****** *** ********* strikes ** *** ** option:

  • "****** ** ******** ***** lobby ***** ** ***** that **** ****** *** internal ******** ******** **** electrifying ** *** ** expensive *** *** ******* replacement ** **** ********. We ******* * **** deal ** ******** *** our ****** ******** ** use **** ********* ** clean *****. ****** ** install **** ******* ****** locks *** ******* **** doors *** *** ********, psychiatric *** ********* **********. Ever ****, ****** ***** or ******* **** **** a **** **** * card ****** *** * magnetic **** **** *********."
  • "***** **%. ****** ** double **** ***** ** glass ***** ***** ***** electric ******* *** *************"
  • "****, ***** **%. **** there ** ** ***** option, ****** ****** ***** glass *****."
  • "***** **%. ********* *** just **** ****, **** with * **** ****, or ****** ******** ********* door. ******* ** * specific **** ** ***** use ****, **** *** for *******."
  • "** *** ******* ** the **** *****. ** we *** *** * strike ** ** ****** to ** ****. ********* we *** ********."
  • "** ****** ******* ** the ***********. **** ***** leave ****** ******."
  • "** *** ** ***** them ** *** *****. The ******* ** *** is * ***** ***** mag ******* ** *** the **** ******** ******** for *** **** ** question."
  • "*** ***** *** ********* used ** ******* ****** scenarios ** ***** *****."
  • "****- ****** *** * frame **** ***** ****. "
  • "******* **** *** *** locks ** ******** ***** framed ***** *****."
  • "** *** **** *****. Glass ***** ****** **** entrances. ** ****** **** AHJ ** **** ** they’re ********** *** ***** properly."
  • "***** *** **** ***** that *** **** ** use * *** **** to ******. *** **** is *** ****** ** last ******."
  • "********* ** ** **** easier ********* ** *** door, *** **** *** be *******. **** ***** we **** ** *** electric ****** ********."

Inexpensive ******** ** ***** *****

*** ** *** *******'* strongest ******* ** **** they *** ** *********** on * ***-**** *****, costing * *** ******* dollars ($*** - $***) for ***** ******** *** securing **** *****.

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

**** ********* ***** *** cost *** ***** ********:

  • "** *** ** **** away **** ******** ****** it ** *** **** option **** ********* ***'* want ** *** *** higher ******** ***** ** format *** **** *** a ****** (**** ******, etc). * *** ** have *** ************ **** the ******** ***** *** drawbacks ** ******** *** the ******** *** ** going **** * ******* mostly *****'* ****."
  • "** **** *** ******** if ********** ********* ** there ** * *********** cost ******* ***** ******** over ************"
  • "**%, *** ** *****."
  • "**** **** ******** ** not **** ****** ** modify ** ************ ******. We **** **** ****** $2200 ** ********* *** door ******** ** ******* doors. * *** *** a *******, ***************** ***, and * ********* ****** if ********* *** ***** $600 - $***."
  • "*** ** **** **** from **** ** **** as ******** ****** ******* with ***** ***** *** they ***'* **** ** pay *** *********** ***** hardware."
  • "**** ** ************, *** cost *** * **** range ** *******."

*******, ***** **** ***** rises **** ********* *** equipment ****** ** **** the **** **** *** the ********** **** ** integrate **** **** ****** or *** *********. *** total ************ **** ** a ******* **** ***** exceeds ** ** ** the **** ** *** maglock *****.

Strong *** ********

******* ***** *************, ******** are ***** *** '*********' locks ********* *** **** no ****** ***** **** wear ** ***** ** use.

**** ********** ******** ****** this ** ************* *** using ******** **** ***** types:

  • "****** **% ****** ******* doors *** ******** ******* magnetic **** *** **** reliable *** ********."
  • "**%, **** ********"
  • "**** **** **** *** are ******, ****** ***** access *****."
  • "**% *********** *** ***** point."
  • "******* **** *** *****, but ******** **** **** years."
  • "**%. ******** ********* ********* over ******* ******* ** long **** ***********."
  • "******** *** ******. **** things ** ** ***."
  • "********* *********** ***** ***** things **** ***'* *****"

*********** *** ********** ******** of *** ****, (**: leaf, ******, **** ********) will **** ****** *** maglock ******, ** ** exceedingly ********* *** ******** for *** **** ** a ******* ** ** defeated.

East ** *******

*******, *********** ******** ****** maglocks *** **** ** mount:

  • "**% **** ********* *** easy ** *******"
  • "*** ***** ** *** can **** * ******* fast. ******* **** *** long ** ********* ***** where *** **** ** be *******."
  • "**% *** ** **** of ************."
  • "****** ******** *** ** being **** ** *******."
  • "**% **** ************/********."
  • "**% *** *******. *****, cheap *** **** *** crap *******"
  • "**** **** **% ** the *****. ** ** failsafe *** **** ** fit ** ********** *****."

********* *** ****** ****** to ******* ******* *** notching ** ******* ******, maglocks *** ********* * 'bolt-on' ******** **** ****** installers *** ***** **** little **** ** ********* opening ******.

Comments (14)

Several responses say mag locks are for rookies and trunk slammers. Yet others say there is too much hassle with code and integration. These arguments seem contradictory. Seems to me that yes, they are a bit more overhead logistically, but once you understand the requirements its a package deal every install.

It would be a perfect world if nobody had to do a retrofit to a door frame slugged with concrete or the architect didn't specify glass panel doors everywhere.

They have a purpose they serve, I dont think they will ever go away. There are some applications where you just cant use anything else. I just think some of the arguments given against them were a bit weak or dismissive when they serve real purpose.

* I dont like to use them either, mostly because of fire alarm integration. Not as big of a deal on a new job since all the trades are there and its getting inspected anyway. 

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The fact that they continue to be used at all in 2019 brings significant shame to our industry.

The statistics are bad enough, but some of the written responses are horrifying.

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I lack knowledge around access control.  I did see a lot of contradiction and we do not really use them here at our headquarters but.  What of the responses do you find horrifying?

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Good question. My response, while honest, was flippant and didn't provide much useful information. This is admittedly a topic that I find utterly infuriating, so my tolerance for it is low.

I'll list a few things, but this is something that I could sit and yell at the clouds about forever...

1. "Maglocks are stronger." This is wrong on so many levels. Not only are maglocks required to have a mechanism that causes them to be incredibly easy to defeat (motion REX), they also are not that strong in the first place. I won't go into specifics here, but suffice to say that an experienced individual could be through a maglock door in 30 seconds or less in most cases. I would dare anyone to get through a door with a well-installed mortise lock or rim exit device in less than 30 seconds without large power tools.

2. "97% due to ease of installation." The fact that we have installers admitting to doing something solely because it is easy is possibly the perfect display of how pathetic our industry can be. Nevermind the fact that it's utterly horrible for customers, we do it because it's easy. Sad.

3. "More then [sic] 50% of the doors. it is failsafe..." The fact that it is "failsafe" [sic] is being used as a positive? Seriously? That displays a fundamental lack of understanding of what the terms "fail-safe" and "fail-secure" actually means.

The other things that most people forget or simply don't know about maglocks are:

A. code requires that backup batteries cannot be used on magnetic lock doors. If power drops, the doors must open. There are some that have argued for exceptions or different interpretations of this, but code is clear in the majority of cases.

B. Even if you have backup batteries, if the power is out for long enough, your doors are going to swing open once the batteries are dead. That alone is enough of a reason that anyone concerned about "security" should never, ever use a magnetic lock. 

C. The doors must open on fire alarm, and some AHJ's require a smoke detector be mounted immediately next to all maglock doors. The code implications of maglocks are long.

On a positive note, I didn't see anyone using code compliance reasons as an excuse to use maglocks. Most cases were saying that using maglocks is bad because of the code implications they introduce, which is true. Anyone that said there were code compliance reasons that support using maglocks should be tarred and feathered...

 

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Thank you for the detailed response.  Now I can go home because I have learned something today.

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+1 informative and helpful.

I agree with your points, although I do think maglocks can be wisely and even smartly used, given specific doors and applications. I agree that being ignorant of code deserves a headslap, regardless if one uses maglocks or not.

The saying goes 'locks keep honest people honest', and I think if the security expectation of maglock is largely administrative (ie: Employee #3 doesn't belong in here...), then they can be used with impact.

However, like you point out, the fail safe nature (for others see: Fail Safe vs. Fail Secure Tutorial) mean the door eventually falls insecure and mechanical locks or persistent backup power (like generators) are needed.

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Some might say that the use of electric strikes is a blight on "our industry." They typically weaken the door hardware and are aesthetically poor choice compared to electrified hardware. That said, "never" and "always" are not part of the vernacular for any professional. The fact is, some entryways and/or functions require magnetic locks.

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Simple observation; only use mag locks when there is no lock hardware alternative. 

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I have recruited a number of customers from the 'rookie' integrators who use maglocks to make up for their lack of competency in door hardware.  

When a front door of an office building is an aluminum storefront door or a different challenging glass application, that's where I have seen maglocks used in pure error.  The integrators often do not educate the customer on the risk introduced.  Surprisingly the customer is not excited when they learn their front door will be unlocked when the power goes out.   

Leaning on appropriate hardware is a must for the main thoroughfares.  Maglocks have their place - and it's not on the front door.

Personally, I find their fit in healthcare environments.  Where delayed egress or supervised access control takes place, a maglock 'bolt-on' solution is the most cost-effective.  In many hospitals, changing what spaces are used for various patient groups can be very dynamic.  A maglock becomes an easy solution to add and remove as necessary.  

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So you walk into an office building with glass doors, no latching hardware (key at bottom or none at all new construction) are you going to walk away from the job or tell them to replace their doors?  And no I'm not talking about glass/aluminum storefront doors, I'm talking herculite or similar.

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It's one thing to have mag lock disadvantages acknowledged within the strategy.  Using a secondary layer that includes electromechanical locks before someone is inside the building overall mitigates the risk.

To move to electromechanical:  I have had awesome experiences with panic bar solutions made for these all glass doors.  

The problem I see is when a second layer doesn't exist, or the customer isn't educated.

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So......

What maglock is less expensive than a strike (esp if you need a panic bar)?

What maglock is easier to install than a strike (esp if you need a panic bar)?

Not sure who is installing what but those are the two big reason's we chose not to use mags unless forced into it. I will say that mags have proven to be reliable, arguably more reliable than strikes. At least that is what I have seen in 10-15 years of personal experience. ELR still seams to be the "best" solution as far as code compliance, reliability and function are concerned (of course it is the most $$).

 

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Its a really interesting report taking into account how different the Access Control & Physical security standards can be when you move from one part of the Globe to another. I would say that more than 70 % of Access Control openings still are secured using Electromagnetic locks in Middle East. Many reasons, I suppose primarily not enough education from the Door & Hardware industry, dont get me wrong there are good specification effort happening but the voice is not heard loud enough. Also because regulations are not strict enough . Mixed Building codes like ANSI BHMA , EN , IBC all comes into play depending on the construction so regularities have less voice. Electronic Lock usage for access control is still in early days & finally Power failure less of an issue . Personally, I feel regularities are confused - I am familiar with the stigma of not using an Mag lock on a Fire door but then why are maglocks Fire Rated and approved by various Fire Marshals ?

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Personally, I feel regularities are confused - I am familiar with the stigma of not using an Mag lock on a Fire door but then why are maglocks Fire Rated and approved by various Fire Marshals ?

Great question!

First, I believe the confusion surrounds which specific codes are adopted by a jurisdiction.

NFPA 80 specifically calls out 'positive latching' as an operational requirement. See Lori Greene's helpful overview/ highlighighted portion for detail.

Second, It is worth pointing out that NFPA 80 does not forbid maglocks from fire doors provided that positive latching hardware is present in other forms, i.e.: Fire-alarm actuated exit devices. It is just that in most cases, a strike is the least expensive/most simple manner to satisfy the code.

Also, for a 'UL listed' Maglock (sometimes confused as 'fire rated'), it simply means the lock will not fall away/fail from the door if subjected to heat.

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