From deadbolts to key fobs and everything between, there are many options to choose from when it comes to protecting your home. Some options will provide better protection, while other options can be a little easier to install. Let’s take a closer look at the latest advancements in the realm of access control.

Smart Locks

You may have heard of smart locks before, but what does that mean? And how does a smart lock differ from other locks?

Generally, when we talk about smart locks, we’re referring to deadbolts or door handles that connect to a network. Some smart locks can connect to your existing door locks. Others replace existing door lock mechanisms.

In either case, they’ll have one thing in common – network connectivity. You can lock and unlock doors remotely, view the smart lock’s history to see who is entering or exiting a door, and even set schedules for specific users.

Pros:

  • Minimal knowledge required to install.
  • Works with existing lock hardware.
  • Makes access point entry easier.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t make access point safer as it relies on the same deadbolt technology.

Maglocks

While many homes still rely on a standard lock and key, current trends show that many homeowners no longer feel that is enough protection. Magnetic locks, often referred to as Maglocks, use a strong electromagnet and a metal armature plate to hold a door shut. It can take between 600 to 1200 pounds of force to pull it apart. To put this into perspective, the average household deadbolt is only rated to withstand five 75 pound strikes.

Maglocks can add an extra layer of protection and they offer a flexible array of setups. They can connect to a keypad, a key fob, or even an app on your phone. They also lock and unlock faster than anything else on the market, and they are one of the easiest locks to install.

One disadvantage to maglocks is that they rely on a constant flow of electricity to stay locked. If the power goes out, they will disengage and leave a door exposed to intruders. That’s why it’s often best to use a mechanical lock in conjunction with a maglock, even if it’s only used during emergencies.

Pros:

  • Incredibly strong and very difficult to force entry.
  • Lock can’t be picked or tampered with from the outside.

Cons:

  • Requires advanced knowledge of electronics to install.
  • Requires the purchase of pin pads, or other access peripherals to function.
  • Generally not a DIY installation, Contracted Installation is recommended.

Door Strikes

Like a deadbolt, a door strike is a mechanism within the door that latches shut and prevents entry. Unlike a deadbolt, a door strike is electronic. When it’s initiated by a pin pad or proximity based sensor, it will swing open and unlatch the door for a designated period of time.

Door strikes carry with them many of the same advantages and disadvantages as a maglock. On the plus side, they are versatile and can be set up with many different configurations. This includes pin pads, key card entry, and intercom systems. The primary disadvantage is that they are electronic, and if the power goes out the door will remain latched. Many door strikes come with safety features that will allow them to unlock in the event of a power outage, but it’s best practice to have a backup battery connected to them.

Pros:

  • More durable than a standard deadbolt.
  • Lock can’t be picked from the outside.
  • Will remain locked in the event of a power outage.

Cons:

  • Requires pin pads or other external peripherals to function.
  • Generally not a DIY installation, Contracted Installation is recommended.

Intercom

Intercoms have been around for many decades, and recent advancements in technology have made them more affordable and more sophisticated. Having an intercom system set up is an excellent way to track and manage access control. Many of the intercoms available now can connect to a computer or smartphone, which means you can have a two-way conversation with someone at the door no matter where you are.

Pros:

  • Adds an extra layer of protection.
  • Can act as a secondary means of locking/unlocking doors.

Cons:

  • Quality varies. Better systems with more features tend to be much more expensive. Less expensive systems are much more likely to have quality issues.

Pin Pads

Locking your keys inside, or losing them altogether, is no longer a concern when you have a pin pad installed. You need only remember a simple pin number to gain access. It also streamlines the process as a pin entry can take mere seconds to enter, and most maglocks or door strikes will unlock within seconds.

Another added benefit to a pin pad is that you can create separate pin numbers for other users. If you have a relative coming to stay with you, or you need to provide temporary access to a service worker, you can assign them their own pin number and give them limited hours of access. When a pin number is no longer needed, remove it and the access is no longer available.

Pros:

  • Eliminates the need to carry keys.
  • Allows for quicker door access.

Cons:

  • Only works with electronic locks or smart locks which requires extra equipment and expense.

Proximity-Based Access: Contactless Smart Cards, Key Fobs, and Geofencing

Many smart locks and PIN pads also support contactless entry. This can be in the form of a smart card, key fob, or geofencing. Smart cards and key fobs work the same, they simply need to be within a certain proximity of the sensor and the door will unlock.

Geofencing is a somewhat similar concept, but it relies on having a smartphone that tracks your location based on GPS coordinates. When you get within a certain distance from the point of entry, your location will trigger the door to unlock. This is a common feature with many of the Smart Locks available today.

The advantage to all three of these options is the ease of use. They prevent you from having to dig around for keys, or manually press in a pin number. Being close enough to the door sensor is sufficient for unlocking the entry, so you can easily enter when your hands are full of groceries or packages.

Pros:

  • Unlocks access point faster than a key or pin pad.
  • In the case of geofencing, allows the greatest convenience.

Cons:

  • Much like a pin pad, this technology only works with electronic locks or smart locks which means purchasing more equipment.

 

Protect Your Home

Considering access control? Book a complimentary consultation to speak with one of our technicians about protection for your family.