Mechanical Door Locks vs. Electronic Door Locks

Modern security is continually being transformed, as there are now newer ways to protect your assets. Almost everything is going digital, and that includes door locks. Modern electrical devices are making their way into the world, but how do we know which one is more secure and reliable? Which type will best suit your customer’s needs? Let’s take an in-depth analysis of both of these lock systems.

Mechanical Locks

When thinking of a door lock, most likely, it’s a mechanical lock. These are your standard door locks. They’ve been around for hundreds of years and will always be an option for simple security. Unlike electronic locks, these do not require electricity or batteries to operate. 

Types of Mechanical Locks

  1. Mortise lock: This is the typical type of lock that you find. It requires a pocket to be drilled into the door, and while it provides decent security, this type of lock is hard to install. 
  2. Cylinder lock: This is another common type of mechanical lock, and they offer different cylinder formats for varying levels of security. However, these locks can be vulnerable to “lock snapping” where pressure is applied to break the lock. 
  3. Spring bolt: Spring bolts are another type of lock that is a spring-loaded bolt with an angled edge. 
  4. Deadbolt: A deadbolt is a lock bolt that is moved by turning a knob or key without a spring. This lock requires a key to open.

Pros

  • Reliability since the 1800s
  • Longer lifespan
  • Does not require electricity 
  • Weatherproof 
  • Easy to operate 

Cons

  • Not as modern as electronic locks
  • Do not provide an audit of when the door has been opened
  • Might require multiple lock changes whenever keys are lost or stolen

Electronic Locks

Electronic door locks eliminate the need for a key and add automation features, such as remote locking or unlocking. They can be controlled or monitored through a smartphone. 

Types of Electronic Locks

  1. Coded entry: This is the most common type of electronic lock. A keypad is placed outside the door, and a code must be entered to unlock it.
  2. Smartphone-operated lock: As the name suggests, these locks require a smartphone to be activated, and they can be activated from anywhere. These locks usually need an app, and through them, you can pre-set lock and unlock times. Some of them include monitoring, so you can receive alerts if someone tries to break into your home or office. 
  3. Biometric: Biometric door locks are operated through a fingerprint, so all you have to do is place your finger on the lock to gain entry. Other biometric options include voice-activated and eye scanners, although they can be pretty expensive. 
  4. Key fob/key card: Key fob or key card locks are electronic door locks that require you to touch the key fob/key card to the touchpad. This is similar to how you use Apple Pay or Google Pay in stores with your smartphone.
Woman touches a keycard to the keypad to unlock the door
Key fob/key card lock.

Pros

  • Additional security with increased lock combinations 
  • Easy to add or change combinations
  • Easy to access in the dark
  • Ability to monitor access
  • Records a log of who has opened
  • Can self-service the locks 

Cons

  • Need access to electricity to operate 
  • May need multiple battery changes

Important Features

Security

When it comes to security, both mechanical and electronic door locks are a great option. However, it’s best to look for graded locks based on your security needs. Grade 1 is best, Grade 2 is standard, and Grade 3 is the worst. Grade 1 is mainly used for commercial settings, while Grade 2 is for light-commercial applications, and Grade 3 is residential grade, perfect for a typical family. 

Keyless Convenience 

This is a no-brainer, as electronic door locks don’t require a key to operate. Electronic locks are especially great for businesses, as you can set multiple combinations for different people or groups. 

Access Control

Electronic door locks are better for access control because all you have to do is program a unique access code instead of fumbling around with different keys. Also, electronic locks allow you to monitor who’s been in and out of the building. 

Affordability

Both mechanical and electronic door locks have a wide range of price points, but mechanical locks tend to be less expensive. Most electronic locks can range anywhere from $200 on the lower end to $2,500 on the higher end. Mechanical door locks can range anywhere from $50 to $1,500. Also, depending on which type you choose, some brands include different features that can suit different needs. 

Style and Design 

Mechanical door locks generally offer a more comprehensive range of styles and finishes, while electronic door locks have more minimal, sleek designs. For those looking for a more cohesive look throughout their home or business, mechanical door locks might be the best option. 

Smart Home Compatibility 

This one goes to electronic door locks. If automation is important to you, along with convenience and extra security, electronic locks are the way to go. Be sure to pay attention and make sure that they’re compatible with existing devices in your building. 

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