Other than the traditional method of unlocking doors with keys, there are electronic means through which doors can be opened seamlessly. Rather than carrying a bunch of keys for different door exits, all you need is an electronic method, which could be a fingerprint, keypad, RFID, Bluetooth, wifi, or phone app to open different doors. This also gives you access to your door control from anywhere you are in the world.
To help you understand what electronic locking system is better, smart lock company BE-TECH wrote this post, addressing all you need to know about electronic locks, starting from what it is, the different types you’ll find, how it works, and its advantages over the traditional locking system.
What is Electronic Lock
An electronic lock, which is also known as a digital lock is an unlocking system that’s powered by electricity or a battery, and does not need the use of keys to be opened or closed. An electronic lock system is used as an alternative to the traditional mechanical lock system, with the automated features providing more creative security solutions.
Electronic lock is an electronic product that controls circuit or chip operation (access control system) through password input, thereby controlling the closing of mechanical switches and completing unlocking and locking tasks.
There are many types of it, including simple circuit products and cost-effective products based on chips. Now the widely used electronic combination lock is based on the chip and realized by programming.
While others use mechanical keys, electronic locks use various smart lock authentication options like PIN code, passwords, RFID, biometrics, Bluetooth, wifi, or smartphone app.
Types of Electronic Locks
Smart lock manufacturers design electronic door locks to function as either a “fail-safe” or “fail-secure” system. Fail-safe means that the locking mechanism in a door lock is regulated by electrical current, so when the electrical current is off, the door automatically opens. On the other hand, fail-secure is the opposite of fail-safe. In this case, the door locks use the electrical current to retract the locking mechanism.
Based on the above, these are the electronic door types available.
Wifi Smart Locks
This is another type of electronic lock that’s optimized to fit into the technological world. With wholesale wifi door locks, a large establishment doesn’t need to use physical keys. The smart locks will connect to the establishment’s Wifi network, thereby receiving the code or phone authorization to open or close the door.
Electronic padlocks use magnets, motors, and solenoids to actuate the lock by supplying power or removing power. They do not need physical keys. Actuators are used to move the bolt and latches of the locks into place.
Electronic Deadbolts and Latches
These electronic locks are manufactured to be fail-secure. The deadbolts and latches will remain engaged when it is locked. They are used for main doors and cabinets that demand the highest level of security. These types of locks are known for being compatible with numerous electric systems. Also, they are easy to install. An example is the BE-TCH Wifi Smart Deadbolt Lock.
Electronic Cabinet Locks
Electronic cabinet lock eliminates the use of keys on cabinets and lockers. They can be opened and closed via programmed automation means like PIN codes, RFID, etc. Examples of these locks are Cyber Digit Slim, Cyber II Touch, and Cyber II RFID.
Electronic Door Locks
Electronic door locks are strong and tight security systems that protect you, your loved ones, and your properties from outsiders. These door locks are customized for personal access. Examples are fingerprint, RFID card & touchpad digital door lock.
Digital Fingerprint Locks
Digital Fingerprint door locks in China and other parts of the world are the pinnacle of lock technology. These electronic lock types are mostly seen in offices and large establishments other than residential homes. Anyone who’s going to have access through the lock must have his or her fingerprint scanned, which must, of course, be registered with the door lock system. It is very hard to compromise this lock system as they are only accessed by unique parts of the body. An example is the Fingerprint Digital RIM Lock.
Bluetooth Electronic Locks
Just as the name implies, this type of lock functions with the use of Bluetooth. To open the lock, you need a Bluetooth smartphone or gadget within close range of the Bluetooth sensor. This electronic lock type is commonly found in cars or buildings that have a large inflow and outflow of people.
Electronic Keypad Locks
This is perhaps the most prevalent and well-known type of electronic lock. All that’s needed to unlock it is a set of numbers or password. The simplicity, convenience, and unique security code make it preferable. However, electronic keypad locks are more costly than other options.
RFID Security Locks
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) security locks, just as the name implies, use radio frequency devices to transmit the signal to unlock doors. This type of electronic lock is very convenient as you don’t have to be physically near the door to open it. In a high-security establishment, an RFID mortise lock is usually integrated with other locking systems. The downside of this lock option is that the devices used to open these locks usually get misplaced. Examples are the Base RFID and the Guardian Value RFID.
These types of electronic locks are made of an electromagnet and an armature plate. The electromagnet is fixed to the door frame, while the armature plate is connected to the door itself. The door is locked when an electric current passes through the electromagnet as it magnetically attracts the plate. Electromagnetic locks are very similar to normal door locks and they are cost-effective. However, they can be easily dismantled, which is why they are not the best option.
Electromechanical locks can come in both fail-safe and fail-secure functions. They are called electromechanical locks because of their contents and inner designs. These locks feature a latch and gear system that can be manipulated using the lock cylinder and electric current.
Electronic Door Knobs
These electronic locks function similarly as electronic door locks. The motor is controlled by electric current, and this can be done in several ways, such as a keypad, an electronic card reader, etc.
Electronic strikes are used as an alternative to the traditional strike faceplate usually used to ensure latch bar doors. The latch mechanism is designed to function with electric currents, which either release or lock the latch. Electronic door strike is a diverse lock system, with several options depending on how the strike is fixed. The effectiveness of this type of electronic lock is highly dependent on what it is connected with.
How Do Electronic locks Work
Electronic locks work with the use of magnets, solenoids, motors, electrical current, and battery to grant door access. Doing this can be as easy as using a switch or swiping a card. Asides from locking and unlocking doors, they also help through a mobile app to monitor activities around the door.
What Makes a Digital Lock Smart
While there are many smart digital locks, there are others that are not smart. To know a smart digital lock, check out the following features.
- Numerous authentication methods
- At least one backup system
- Several access solutions
- Integration of alarms
- tamper-proof integration
- Customized and unique programming
- Customized and unique LED signals
- Troubleshooting/Restarting options
- Compatibility with smartphone
In an electronic smart door lock factory, diverse authentication methods are programmed with the door locks in order to provide different options for users. Below are the major authentication methods used.
This is a sequence interaction of codes or letters with a keypad in a specific order. This authentication method is used with almost all types of safes and cabinets. Some PIN codes have an infinite number, making them exceptionally safe against attacks. Also, a combination of letters could be used as codes.
In fact, your access code could be in the form of color coding i.e., using colors to appear to be a numeric code whereas it is just a series of colors. Given the limitless potential for creativity in this method, it’s certain that the door lock system will be prone to human mistakes.
- All that’s needed is a code to get an entry.
- Different doors can have their unique code. And the whole doors in the building can be programmed to use the same code. The choice is yours.
- Codes and passwords can be made technical for intruders by using long numbers and alphabets. This can also be done by mixing digits and alphabets.
- Code and password can be seen and copied.
- Users often forget their codes and passwords.
An authentication token, which is commonly referred to as a token, is a physical device that communicates with the door lock, just like how an arcade token communicates with a machine. A token can be in the form of a swipe card or digital device sending out infrared signals. To use a token, you have to be in close proximity to the lock so that it will be scanned for approved entry. This authentication method is commonly used by key card lock manufacturers.
- Tokens can be programmed to open only specific doors or all the doors.
- Door locks can be reset to reject a token at any time. It’s very easy to reset.
- Tokens get lost or damaged easily
RFID is similar to the authentication token method. The major difference is that it can be used to open door locks from a farther distance. Unlike authentication tokens, you don’t need to be very close to the door to scan your swipe card or digital device. RFID shares the same advantages and disadvantages as authentication tokens except for proximity.
- You can be farther away from the door
- Some RFIDs are expensive to replace
Most people know biometrics to only mean fingerprints, whereas it involves more parts of the body like the eye, facial, and voice recognition. The success of this authentication method is determined by the quality of the sensor used to scan. On the other hand, if the sensor is too sharp, it might capture ailments like scars, thereby disallowing access. The best option is to get a biometric authentication door lock that permits a slight margin of dissimilarity.
- No codes or keys to remember or lose
- You are the key for access
- You can change the biometrics easily
- A lenient sensor might allow intruders to gain access with your picture
- A strict sensor can keep you outside the door because of a scar
This type of authentication involves the use of Bluetooth or wifi. To gain door access, you have to connect your Bluetooth or wifi to your home connection system. To do this, register your home Bluetooth or wifi on your phone or digital device and unlock the door with a push of an icon.
- Very easy
- Requires no remembrance of codes or consciousness of swipe cards
- Once your phone or digital device is compromised, your door lock can be hacked
This type of authentication method involves operating the opening and closing of the door through an app on the mobile phone. With this, you can control your door lock from anywhere you are in the world. You could be at work and open the door for your dog walker when she comes to the house to take your dog out. This method also helps in granting access to the police or firefighters in the case of a fire outbreak when you are not in the building.
- Remote access from anywhere in the world
- You will be locked out of the house if your smartphone battery is exhausted unless there’s a backup system.
- Once your phone is compromised, your door lock can be hacked.
Mechanical keys in electronic door locks serve as a backup system for other authentication methods. This helps to prevent the adverse effects that could be caused by the downsides of the other electronic lock authentication methods. With mechanical keys, you can gain access to your apartment manually. However, in the case of damage or theft, mechanical keys are difficult to replace.
- Great backup system
- Old fashioned
- Difficult to replace when damaged
Advantages of Electronic Locks
Since the advent and popularization of electronic locks, they’ve contributed a lot of benefits to users. Below are a few of them.
- No key needed: Electronic locks eliminate the need to carry keys around. This is very helpful for people who tend to misplace keys easily, as well as janitors that have to carry a bunch of keys to open different doors in a large building. With the use of electronic locks, you have one less thing to worry about and no need to call a local locksmith anymore.
- Grants others access: Are you at work or out at night and you need a family member to stop at the house to help with some chores? With an electronic lock system, you don’t need to bother. You don’t need to make duplicate keys or hide your key under the mat for him or her. You can share the door code with your family and friends for access to your home.
- Beneficial for people with mobility issues: People with mobility issues don’t need to stress themselves once they have a digital lock that’s paired with and controlled by a smartphone. If they want to open the door, they can just say “Hey Google, open the door.”
Disadvantages of Electronic Locks
Despite the enormous advantages of the electronic lock system, there are a few downsides that could be improved on. Here they are.
- Can be hacked: If your password is not difficult to guess, then your security isn’t tight. The code and password used to access the door is similar to your ATM code and email account passwords, which can be guessed by fraudsters unless it’s quite technical. Also, if your phone is stolen, your door app can be manipulated, making your home less secure.
- Costly: In comparison to the mechanical lock system, they are expensive. Buying them alone is quite costly and then the installation price is hefty compared to the key lock system.
- Misplacement of keycard and forgetfulness of code: If you are a forgetful person, you should be careful of your door lock option. Misplacing your keycard and forgetting your code or password keeps you outside of the door unless there is a backup solution.
- Power failure: Electronic locks are usually operated with batteries or electric current. If they run out, the door lock system shuts down, and you won’t be able to use the door. So, you have to check the power left on your battery or electric current frequently.
What is the Use of Electronic Smart Locks
The history and future of door locks is captivating seeing that the invention wasn’t really intended, but now, it’s used in so many industries. Electronic smart locks are used in safes, hotels, homes, cabinets, gyms, supermarkets, offices, and so many more.
Electronic smart locks are considered the best locking system for safes. They are trendy and use advanced authentication methods like swipe cards, PIN codes, passwords, biometrics, etc. The security they offer is top-notch.
Hotel door lock system suppliers that deal with digital door locks are considered the best as their products give assurance of seamless and regulated access to apartments.
Residential houses become smart homes. The locks provide better security and advanced unlocking options for the family. It gets better with homes as users can set it to lock their doors at specific times during the day, just in case they forget.
To ensure tight security and confidentiality of documents and properties kept in the cabinet, electronic smart locks are used. This gives you singular access to the cabinet.
Lockers in the gym are designed to have smart locks, ensuring that gymnasts’ equipment and properties are safe and remain in one piece till when they come for them.
supermarkets, especially those with big buildings, multiple store rooms and cabinets, use electronic smart locks to make workers and visitors access and use without stress.
In government offices and large establishments, smart lock systems are installed, and staff are given authentication access to allow them to operate the doors. Thus, upgrading the establishments’ door lock systems.
The car industry is one of the first to start using electronic smart locks. While you are a distance away, you can lock and unlock the door, open the trunk, and even start the engine.
Electronic Lock vs. Mechanical Lock
Both electronic lock and mechanical lock have their own advantages and disadvantages. While electronic lock access codes and keycards can be forgotten and misplaced, mechanical lock physical keys can also get misplaced.
It’s easier and faster to change electronic lock key codes, but with mechanical locks, it’s complicated as you’d need specialized hardware and expertise.
Another significant disparity between both of them is the cost. The cost of procurement and installation of electronic door locks is more expensive than mechanical door locks.
In the event of a power outage, electronic door locks will shut down and the user will be stuck in one place. Mechanical locks, on the other hand, don’t function with power.
Combination Lock vs. Electronic Lock
Having noticed the unique benefits of mechanical and electronic locks, most standard establishments now combine both locking systems.
Combination locks are smart locks that feature both mechanical and electric lock systems. They can be operated with electronic card readers, biometrics, and other electronic authentication methods, and at the same time, they can be operated with traditional keys.
Combination locks have proven to be better as they provide all-round benefits, and make up for the possible downsides.
In the post above, we’ve discussed extensively, everything you need to know about an electronic lock, including what it is, the types, how it works, what makes it smart, the authentication methods, advantages and disadvantages, industries where it is used, and so on.
We believe that with these, all your questions about electronic locks are answered. For more inquiries, you can contact us.
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