Electronic locks: types, pros, and cons

  If you consider installing electronic locks in your home, you read the right post. We will explain as simply as possible what electronic locks are and the different types you can find in the market. We will also try to clarify how electronic locks work so that you do not have doubts when deciding what is best for you.

  What is an electronic lock?

  Electronic locks are those that, instead of being activated mechanically with a key as is traditional, have an electronic opening system that can be activated in different ways: codes, proximity cards, or other devices.

  Types of electronic locks

  We can categorize these types of locks according to the way we have to activate them for opening. Technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, and new systems are constantly appearing, each time more secure and practical, to open this type of lock.

  We can find, among other systems.

  •   Numerical codes: activatable using a keypad located on the lock itself.
  •   Remote control: a remote control configured with a code in a specific frequency acts as a remote key to open the door (it is the most common in garage doors).
  •   Proximity card or critical fob: uses an RFID system with security codes transmitted by radio frequency. The lock opens when the correct card or crucial fob is brought close to the safety in the same way we now pay with credit cards.
  •   Magnetic card: the lock incorporates a magnetic stripe card reader similar to the traditional credit card payment system.
  •   Electronic keys are similar to proximity keys but require the key to come into contact with the lock to be read.
  •   App with Bluetooth: electronic locks with wifi and Bluetooth are the latest novelty in the sector. They can be opened with the cell phone and a prior authentication on the device and even remotely if we are at work and a family member would like to access the home.
  •   Biometric data: the latest technology allows that it is not necessary to carry any key, and in these cases, the reading of biometric data of people is used.
  •   Fingerprint: by placing the finger with the fingerprint that the system has “memorized.” It does not memorize the fingerprint; an algorithm calculates a code based on some fingerprint points.
  •   Retina or iris: a scanner takes an image of the retina or iris of the eye, which is, like fingerprints, elements that univocally identify a person.
  •   Facial recognition: the most advanced systems make it possible to distinguish people using only a 3D image of their face. A flat image such as a photo is not enough to open this type of lock.

  Advantages (Pros)

  There are several advantages of electronic locks over traditional mechanical locks.

  From a security point of view, they are generally better. Only the person with the code, card, or key fob can access them, which are difficult to copy. And they can be programmed, locked, or unlocked as needed. We say “in general” because high-end mechanical locks already incorporate advanced security systems such as anti-bumping and un-copiable keys that can outperform the essential electronic locks.

  Think of a community of neighbors, a hotel, or a company. Suppose access is done by biometric identification (fingerprint or retina, for example). Only the people we want to access can do so without making a locking plan with master keys (much more expensive in this sense). Access cards can also be locked or unlocked as required, as is the case in hotels.

  Electronic locks can also be used to establish access control quickly. Electronic locks make access to a particular space easily traceable and programmable. We can program a specific place to be accessed only by certain people and, at certain times, grant or remove permissions. An electronic record of the accesses can also be used to control times, working days, undue accesses, etc.

  Disadvantages (Cons)

  The disadvantages of this type of lock come precisely from their greater complexity when using an electronic mechanism. As they depend on a power supply for their operation, a lack of power supply can leave these locks inactive, and people who want to access them would not be able to do so. We can also have breakdowns in the electronic access system. Mechanical locks are more durable than electronic locks because their opening and closing system only depends on a cylinder and a simple key.

  However, there is one drawback that stands out above the rest:

  They require a power supply

  Electronic locks require electricity to operate, and for this, we have two options:

  •   We use batteries.
  •   We wire to bring power to the door.

  This may seem silly for a home lock, but it becomes complex in large installations.

  Battery

  You don’t get in if the battery runs out; it’s as simple as that. Keeping an eye on the battery charge level of one lock is manageable, but doing so for hundreds of waves in large installations such as hotels requires a high cost in time and effort.

  Wiring

  Wiring a door is laborious and uneconomical. It is the best solution, without a doubt, but it increases the cost of the installation considerably.

  In addition, it is advisable to complement it with a battery because if the power goes out, it will also stop working.

  To sum up

  An electronic lock is complex to install and requires a professional locksmith for its installation. You can contact our teams of professionals in each province at any time to request a quote or additional information.

  Finally, the complexity of this type of mechanism makes them more prone to failure and requires more frequent maintenance, so you should have the emergency locksmith’s phone near you in case of any problem.

  Frequently Asked Questions

  Are electronic locks secure?

  Generally speaking, yes, even more so than traditional locks. Especially those with biometric activation, since the data involved are very complex to reproduce.

  Where can I buy an electronic lock?

  They are easy to find on the Internet, and their installation, although complex, can be approached with some skill and knowledge, although we always recommend using an experienced locksmith.

  Which one is right for me?

  It is difficult to say which type of electronic lock is generally suitable. Each has several advantages and disadvantages. Contact our professionals who will be able to advise you on your specific case.

  Electronic locks are a bet for security since we can program them, and they can be instrumental when we do not want unauthorized copies of keys in circulation, as with rental homes. They are also practical for knowing who accesses a space and when if we use a computer application that allows us to store this data. In any case, their use is becoming more and more frequent, given the advantages of the system and the convenience offered by their use.

  Are intelligent locks unsafe?

  Technical glitches aside, intelligent locks, like most other categories of tech products, come with the potential for hackers and concerns over battery life. While some go the do-it-yourself path, for others, the cost of installation can be a barrier for consumers looking to level up their home security.

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