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Magnetic Locks or Electric Strikes? That Is the Question

Magnetic & ElectricAt first glance, it might be hard to choose among electric strikes and magnetic locks. But if you scratch the surface and dig deeper, you will find that there are main differences between these two locking devices. And since each will be a great choice for different applications, you need to let your security needs guide you. Is this an emergency exit? Is this a high-security entry point? Is this an interior door? Each time you will need a different locking system and in order to decide on whether to install magnetic door locks or electric strikes, you need to learn more about them. So here we go.

Do you know the difference between fail-safe and fail-secure locking systems?

Electromagnetic locks and electric door strikes both work with power. You get that just by their name. But electrical devices will either work with a fail-safe or fail-secure configuration. And this plays a huge role in the security of the property and people’s safety. So knowing the difference is one step closer in choosing the right locking system.

  • Fail-safe devices keep the doors locked when there is power. If there is a power failure, the door will unlock.
  • Fail-secure devices will unlock when electric current is applied and remain locked if the power goes out.

Back to our main consideration:

Electric strike or magnetic door locks?

  • What do you get with magnetic locks installation? Safety more than security. Let’s see why. Electromagnetic locks – as they are often called – utilize an armature plate found on the door and the electromagnet found on the frame. When the door is closed, these two come in contact. The electric current is applied and the door is locked. Due to the rather large size of the components and the great force of the magnetic flux, the door is locked and won’t unlock even under a lot of pressure.
  • On the other hand, an electric strike is the device that replaces the regular one. It will still allow the user to open and lock the door like a regular strike would do. But with electric strikes, the door remains locked when power is applied and unlocks when a keycard or buzzer is used.

One of the main differences between electric strikes and magnetic entry locks is that the former comes out in either configuration whereas magnetic locks only in fail-safe ones.

What’s the main consideration with magnetic locks?

electromaglocksSince they are fail-safe, electromagnetic door locks provide lower security. All a potential thief will do is cut the power and simply open the door. The good news is that users can get backup batteries that will continue to provide power if the electric power is somehow cut. The problem with high security door locks is when the power is out for long periods of time. This is bad news for homeowners who got away for the weekend or businesses which don’t operate during weekends. The backup battery might not last that long.

Of course, you will have similar considerations with any fail-safe lock system. So when securing an entry point is the issue, consider a combination of devices. You can get both electric strikes and magnetic locks along with an exit button or push bar. But if safety is your main consideration (like with emergency exits), fail-safe systems are ideal. Add electronic strikes and the door will still provide security when the power is out.

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