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Around 4,000 years ago locks were first developed by ancient Egyptians, however, in Ancient Egypt, a lock was considered a sign of wealth because very few people could afford doors that locked.  Since that time locks have evolved and changed and there are many different types of locks. 

When you look at locks today you will find everything from magnetic door locks to electric door locks. Knowing your home or business is secure can help you go about your day or night without worry. 

When you are considering home security or business security it is important to have knowledge about the lock you are choosing. As you keep reading keep in mind the various benefits of electric locks and magnetic locks and the cons so you can choose the correct lock for your door. 

Considerations for Choosing a Lock 

When you are choosing a lock some basic considerations come into play. However, before you begin make sure you learn the jargon. Understanding the words and language around locks will help you understand specifications and safety ratings that help make decisions. 

  1. Consider where you are installing the lock- you would not put a bedroom door lock on your front door
  2. Consider what you are able and willing to spend– remember though sometimes you should be willing to spend a little more because, in the long run, it could save you money
  3. Consider how the lock gets installed- the installation could involve a complete overhaul and go as far as requiring you to change the type of door you have
  4. Consider who will be accessing the lock and whether or not you will need ease in changing who can and cannot access it
  5. Consider whether you want a lock with a combination, key, access card, or biometrics
  6. Know whether you want the lock to be locked all the time or if it at times can be unlocked
  7. If the lock closes spaces that have people in them in emergency situations it must allow people to escape 

Important Terms to Know

Two terms will be referenced as magnetic door locks and electric door locks are discussed. These terms are: 

  1. Fail-Safe locks require power for the door to be locked, if power fails the door unlocks
  2. Fail-Secure locks require power to unlock the door, if power fails the door will stay locked

Electric Door Locks

Electric door locks may also be referred to as Electric “Strikes.”  These locks operate mechanically. The electric door lock replaces a traditional door strike with one that comes with an energized strike, motor, and latch.

This type of lock can use an electronic card reader, wireless sensor, keyfob, and keypad. When the lock is triggered the motor tells the electric strike to release the locked latch.  

Electric door locks are fail-secure devices. So if your power is lost your door will still remain locked. Typically this type of door only secures one side of the door (the outside). 

If you need the door to open from the inside a locket or panic bar will need to be installed. 

Pros of an Electric Door Lock

Some of the pros of an electric door lock include: 

  • Electric door locks are more economical in cost than a magnetic door lock 
  • Electric door locks provide keyless options
  • In case of a power outage, this type of lock provides continued security
  • Installation is simple, quick, and cost-effective 
  • Electric door locks can be fail-safe or fail-secure

Cons of an Electric Door Lock

Cons of an electric door lock include:

  • Electric door locks are not compatible with many doors especially doors that have aluminum frames and a hollow structure
  • If a card is lost or stolen it can be very expensive to replace 

Types of Electric Door Locks

Electric door locks can look different depending on what you want. Magnetic door locks can fall into the category of electric door locks. 

Other types of electric door locks include:

  • Electric bolt lock- this type of lock is used a lot for the interior side of sliding glass doors and are as strong as deadbolt locks adding extra security to your sliding door
  • Keypad locks- this is one many are aware of as they have become more popular on the front doors of homes, this type of lock requires a code to open it but does have a backup key
  • Radio Frequency Identification Locks (RFID)- this type of lock uses radio frequencies to open the door with a keyfob, remote, or traditional key
  • Bluetooth locks- with this lock you can open it using a smartphone or other device that is connected via Bluetooth or a keypad

Electric door locks are great for people who want to ditch traditional keys (especially if they frequently lose traditional keys). Many electric door locks fall under the category of smart locks

Common Problems with Electric Door Locks

As with anything in life, there are some common problems you can encounter with electric door locks. These include: 

  • The lock is jammed, this is typically indicated by the bolt only being able to slide in one direction and there may be a clicking or grinding noise
  • A faulty deadbolt operation can happen with doors controlled by keypads and will cause the bolt to not disengage when the correct code is input
  • Problems with your lock due to extreme cold weather can occur in this circumstance the actuator may not move the components enough to be able to lock or unlock the door
  • If you are using a lock with a keyfob your keyfob can be faulty or have a dead battery

Magnetic Door Locks

Magnetic door lock systems are often used as commercial locks in residential facilities, offices, and hotels. This type of lock uses an electric current to create a magnetic force. This force allows a door to hold out against pressure at a certain level if someone attempts to force the door open. 

This type of lock has two components. The first component is an electromagnet. This is usually attached to the doorframe.

The second component is a metal armature plate. This is usually attached to the door. Once both of these components touch an electric current flows through the electromagnet. This causes the door to remain locked. 

This type of door is fail-safe. When there is no power the door will unlock. This type of door can also be triggered to open using key fobs, keypads, or other devices.

Pros of Magnetic Door Locks

Pros of magnetic door locks include: 

  • These locks are adaptable the retention force can be multiplied between the metal armature plate and electromagnet by increasing the current
  • Magnetic door locks are strong with the average lock being able to withstand up to 1200 pounds of force
  • Magnetic door locks are easy to install 
  • Electric door locks only keep one side of the door locked while magnetic door locks can keep both sides secured
  • This type of lock can also be paired with any electrical signaling method such as swipe cards, access card readers, and biometric
  • The door can be unlocked easily in an emergency
  • Because there are no moving parts this type of lock is less likely to be damaged if there is an attempt at forced entry

Cons of Magnetic Door Locks

Cons of magnetic door locks include: 

  • Magnetic door locks require a continuous consumption of electricity to function properly causing it to be expensive to maintain 
  • During a power outage, there will need to be a battery backup for the lock to work 
  • If there is not a battery backup it makes you an easy target as intruders can simply cut the power and break-in 

Examples of Magnetic Door Locks

There are many types of magnetic door locks available depending on what you need. Examples of magnetic door locks include:

  • Deedlock Slimline Magnetic Locks- this type of lock is intended for doors and can withstand up to 500 pounds of force
  • Deedlock Micro Magnetic Locks- this type of lock is intended for doors or internal compartments and can withstand a force of up to 300 pounds
  • Deedlock Standard Magnetic Locks- this lock is intended for entry doors and internal doors it can withstand a force of up to 1100 pounds
  • Securitron M32 Magnalock- this lock is for internal doors and can withstand a force of up to 600 pounds
  • Securitron SAM Shear Magnalock- this lock is for doors and can withstand a force of up to 1200 pounds
  • GeoFire Conquest Type 59 Magnetic Fire Door Holder- this type of lock is intended for fire doors and can withstand a force of 50 pounds
  • Deedlock External Magnetic Locks- this type of lock is intended for metal or wooden gates and can withstand a force of up to 1200 pounds
  • Securitron M82 Magnalock- this type of lock is intended for gates or fences and can withstand a force of up to 1800 pounds

Common Problems With Magnetic Door Locks

Some of the common problems with magnetic door locks can include:

  • Physical weariness- this can happen if the lock is not correctly aligned this can happen because of problems with the door or door frame, bad fitting, or mechanical force
  • Electrical Malfunctioning can occur and usually comes down to a main three problems including issues with the electrical equipment or software, poor power supply, and cables that are low quality
  • Failure to release and lock can occur when the factors above come into play

Key Differences Between Magnetic Door Locks and Electric Door Locks

Now that we have considered magnetic door locks and electric door locks separately let’s take a closer look at them side by side. Ultimately there are three major differences between these two types of locks. 

  1. Working principle and functionality
  2. Power mode
  3. Installation

Magnetic door locks work by using electromagnetism where electric door locks function through an electromechanical process. Magnetic door locks are fail-safe and electric door locks can be fail-safe or fail-secure. 

Magnetic door locks can be installed on the face of a door and frame. Electric door locks and wiring need to be inside the door frame making it a more complicated process. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Magnetic Door Locks and Electric Door Locks

With all the information at hand, it is time to make your decision. With all the information above here are the factors you should consider when you make your decision:

  • Do you want your lock to be fail-safe or fail-secure? 
  • Where is the door located? 
  • What is the intended function of the door? 
  • What is your budget?
  • What safety or security concerns do you have? 

Locks and Safety

While an electric door lock or magnetic door lock can keep you safe, you can still take steps to stay safe in the case your lock fails. Some of these steps include:

  • With electric door locks give guests unique codes that are disabled after they leave
  • Make it look like your home or commercial building is not empty
  • If you have valuables put them in a safe
  • Do not leave your valuables in plain sight
  • Use outdoor lights
  • Lock the door and windows

Contact Your Local Locksmith

Are you ready to contact your local locksmith? Have you made your decision between a magnetic door lock and an electric door lock? 

512 Locksmith is in Austin, Texas, and available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year to help you with your lock needs. If you want service that is affordable, professional, courteous, and fast contact us online from our service request page or call us at (512) 777-0021.