Biometric, key card, fob, smartphone, commercial smart lock… the options for access control solutions can be overwhelming. But there’s one critical thing every business should consider doing before installing most of them: Put in electronic locks.
Electronic Door Locks
An electronic or electric lock is any locking device that’s operated by an electric current. Let’s take a look at the two major types and how they’re different.
Magnetic door locks use electromagnetic force to stop doors from opening. With a mag lock, an electromagnet is installed on the door frame and a metal plate is attached to the door. When the magnet is powered, the attraction to the plate is so strong it can withstand significant pressure without opening,
A mag lock is opened when the power is removed or interrupted, which is the job of an electronic access solution. With mag locks doors are always locked from both sides.
Electric Door Strikes
Electric door strikes are installed on doors to allow entry, but because the strike itself (unlike a mag lock) does not secure the door, they must be used along with a lockset. Electronic door strikes feature actuators that connect a bolt or cylinder to a motor inside the doorframe. The motor must receive an electrical impulse to start the actuator, and it’s an electronic access control solution that triggers that electrical impulse.
Electric strikes provide security for the exterior side of the door, but only a knob or handle is needed to exit from the inside.
Which is right for your situation? There are several things to consider:
- Type of door (material it’s made of, location, whether it’s single or double)
- The level of security needed
- Power requirements
- Lockset compatibility
- Code compliance
- And, of course, cost is a crucial consideration
So why is it important to evaluate the electronic lock part of an access control solution by itself? There are a few reasons:
- First, to be an informed buyer. Many installers fail to mention the need for an electronic lock(s) when reviewing access control solutions, and then when you see the final quote, it can be surprising to see additional costs included.
- Second, you’ll want to make sure your door doesn’t have any unique features that would require a customized electronic lock solution that would skyrocket costs.
- Most importantly, only when you isolate out the door strike or lock costs can you do a true cost comparison between different types of access solutions. You’ll be able to clearly see how much you would be paying for hardware and how much for service, allowing you to figure out which options are best for your business.
If you have questions about where to start with electronic locks, we’re happy to help – contact us. We have a team of Certified Installers and Partners who can do an onsite visit and provide you the quotes you need to make the right decision.
Don’t Have an Electric Door Lock?
We’ve got a simple solution: a commercial-grade smart lock that’s battery-powered. 4 AA lithium batteries will give you ~2+ years of battery life for the VIZpin Smart Lock.