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Installing reliable commercial door locks is one of the most efficient ways to protect a building’s assets and restrict access to sensitive information, goods and vulnerable areas. However, with a huge variety of locks on the market, you may need help determining the best commercial smart locks for your business.

This guide will define commercial door locks, making it easier to differentiate them from standard residential locks. Also outlined are different types of commercial door hardware and door locks, the main components of commercial door locks, advice on choosing a suitable business door lock system and the benefits of a high-grade locking system.

What is a commercial door lock?

A commercial door lock is a heavy-duty locking mechanism that offers businesses greater security. You’ll often find them on the exterior doors of hospitals, retail stores, office buildings, medical facilities like hospitals and storage spaces. Internal spaces like a storeroom containing sensitive data, a classroom or an apartment complex may also benefit from commercial door security. 

Commercial locks are typically sturdier than residential building locks. According to the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA), a grade one lock offers advanced strength to protect commercial buildings. They can resist 360 lbs in weight, ten strikes and 800,000 cycles.

Smaller business sites that hold less valuable items or use separate video security may consider a grade two lock. Typically, these businesses are situated in enclosed campuses or safe areas with lower traffic levels. Commercial door hardware types for grade one locks use durable metal hardware made from chrome, satin nickel, oil-rubbed bronze and bright or satin solid brass.

The grading classification highlights a distinction between commercial door lock systems and residential locks. A grade two lock provides sufficient security for residential buildings. Deadbolts on grade two locks can withstand up to 400,000 cycles and 250 lbs.

Commercial smart locks vs. access control systems


Smart locks 

Access control systems 

Standalone device


Best for exterior doors
Works for interior doors
Centralized management software
Supports multiple access methods


Unlimited users
Real-time reporting and alerts
Remote unlock

Benefits of business and office door locks

A business door lock, particularly keyless methods, provide instant protection against unauthorized individuals forcing entry or tailgating their way into a business or other public space. Here are several benefits to consider:

  • A combination of commercial door lock types enhances security. Using several grade one and two locks remove the need for a master key or one-size-fits-all’ credential. As a business manager or property owner, a combination of commercial door lock systems helps regulate the level of access individuals in the building will have. For instance, using keyless locking systems with video security on each entrance around the building’s exterior secures the property and deters malicious individuals from attempting unauthorized access. A keypad or an alarm lock on rooms containing valuables like cash, stock, personal customer data and medical files may be used to give authorization to specific individuals.
  • Commercial electronic locks allow you to personalize your security. Biometric and smart locks provide a sense of ownership over the building, as the systems require credentials, like a fingerprint, which are entirely unique to the individual. While it’s impossible to copy authentic credentials, smart and biometric locks connect to a digital system, meaning it’s easy to update and authenticate new credentials. This commercial smart lock feature is ideal for onboarding processes or introducing new tenants to commercial real estate sites.
  • Grade one locks are durable and reliable. Strong hardware is a deterrent to malicious individuals, as breaking through a grade one lock would be extremely difficult. Commercial metal door locks using satin nickel, chrome, brass and other durable materials are also weather resistant, saving the cost of replacing hardware. Traditional locking methods that use keys, such as mortise locks, have a proven ability to offer reliable protection.
  • Video security linked to locks lets you observe security in real-time. As a business owner, video security helps streamline business operations. A remote door lock for commercial use can help authenticate deliveries, maintenance and employees operating outside of regular hours while getting visible confirmation that the person requesting entry has sufficient credentials. In fact, approximately 1.7 million packages are stolen every day in the US. Video security mitigates the risk of this threat. Syncing video and lock security allows all data to be stored in one centralized digital hub, improving organization.

Key components of commercial electronic lock systems for your doors

Although the lock and critical concept remain the same, high-tech, modernized locking systems use alternate methods of accessing a locked space. You may find these components in a secure commercial access control system:

  • Control panel: The control panel serves as the central management system for access control and is connected to a building’s commercial door lock system. The control panel is the component that determines whether to open or lock doors. 
  • Reader: The reader will scan or acknowledge users’ identity. The door reader will send a signal to the control panel to allow authorized users to enter.
  • Credentials: Credentials refer to access methods, such as a physical key, key card, fob, PIN code or mobile smartphone app account. A radio-frequency identification (RFID) door lock for commercial buildings uses electromagnetic waves to identify and approve these credentials when held near to a scanning port.
  • Locking mechanism: The system connected to a locking mechanism will recognize a valid credential and communicate to the door to release the lock. The locking mechanism will vary, depending on what type of lock is used. For example, the locking mechanism for a cylindrical lock will be different from that of a biometric door lock.

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Commercial door locks with keys

Door locks for commercial buildings each possess different locking mechanisms, door hardware and finishes. While some require a conventional key, others are electronically powered and rely on a numbered code. Aside from those features, you may also consider variables like cost, level of security and aesthetic. The following list describes several types of commercial door locks, how they function and where they work best.

Cylindrical locks

Cylindrical styles are commonly used as office door locks  or locks for business doors. Conventionally, cylindrical locks are easy to use but offer greater security than mechanical keys. Aesthetically, they comprise a long handle lever visible from either side of the door. It is best to avoid using round commercial knobs to ensure your entry complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Heavy-duty cylindrical locks use thicker metal hardware with a cylindrical lockset inserted through the lock’s center. You can release and close the lock’s hub via a conventional key. They’re popular among small and medium commercial businesses, but larger companies may use them to protect individual offices or limit access to certain rooms of a high-rise building.

Within this category, there are several types of locks:

  • Deadbolt locks: A commercial building is most likely to use a double-cylinder deadbolt to ensure key holders can maintain security from either side of the door. Single-cylinder locks may work in classrooms and business storerooms, with the lock placed on the room’s exterior.
  • Lever handle locks: Doors with lever handle locks are lockable from the inside with a turn button, for example. They’re ideal for spaces that require good accessibility during an emergency, such as a fire or evacuation.

Mortise locks

Mortise locks offer high-level security, as they’re integrated into the body of a door rather than getting installed on a door’s surface. Although this attachment style is trickier to install, mortise locks provide a strong sense of safety, as the lock is more difficult to break. You’ll typically find mortise locks at hotel complexes, office buildings and multi-family living areas, like apartment complexes.

A mortise lock comprises a latch bolt with keyholes on either side of the door. You can open and close the lever by turning the key. Mortise locks graded one and above use a complex leverage system, making the lock nearly impossible to pick.

Electronic commercial door locks for buildings

Electronic locking systems of electric door locks for commercial buildings use a wired or battery power supply to control the locking mechanism instead of a physical key. Some electronic locks, also called electronic smart locks, can use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to devices like smartphones, tablets or computers. Electronic locks for commercial doors should either have a backup battery installed or a backup manual locking system in the event of a power outage.

Electronic locks offer a modernized approach to security, providing keyless entry and remote door lock commercial management. Here are seven examples of electronic door locks for your commercial space:

Commercial automatic door locks for business

An automatic commercial electronic door lock system for business complexes is an excellent security measure, as they lock after each use, removing the need for manual locking. You can also connect automatic  locks for business doors to alarm systems to alert a building manager when a door has been left open for a prolonged period. Using video security cameras pointing toward that door can help you identify who is responsible for setting the alarm off.

Business smart door locks

An electronic smart lock is another type of keyless locking system. Commercial smart locks are predicted to become a more popular option, with more businesses looking into this technology in recent years.

Commercial smart door locks connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to an electronic device such as a smartphone. Before installation, consider the strength of your internet connection and whether Bluetooth-enabled programming would be more stable. Using a commercial Wi-Fi door lock is an excellent choice for business owners looking to manage a building’s accessibility remotely. A smart lock for commercial glass doors operate with the same credentials as those fitted to wood or metal doors. 

Commercial smart lock with camera

Smart locks for commercial doors with cameras offer a self-sufficient and reliable security solution for commercial and residential buildings. Advanced electronic locking systems have video security features and can store footage of who has entered the building on an app or in cloud-based storage. There are two types of commercial smart locks with cameras: one with a built-in still camera and a smart lock with a video camera. Many smart locks allow users to activate and monitor the camera via smartphone or computer. Some models may use motion sensors to alert the camera and start recording.

Keypad locks

Keypad door locks provide keyless security to commercial workspaces, offices containing sensitive data and private areas within a medical facility. Schools may also use keypad entry at the front door or staffroom to ensure only authorized personnel can enter. 

Users require a numeral code to enter any space guarded by a keypad commercial door lock. When users enter a personal identification number (PIN) to the keypad, the internal lock, such as a deadbolt, will be released. Some users may describe this lock as a combination door lock. 

Electronic commercial door lock systems with keypads provide enhanced security. Eliminating the need to have physical access keys removes any chance of someone losing it or copying the key with malicious intent. Property owners and senior management professionals can alternate the PIN code on a timely basis to ensure only authorized personnel have access to the space. 

Magnetic locks

Magnetic locks offer reliable security to commercial buildings, even during a power outage.  This type of commercial door lock system responds to a fire alarm and releases the magnet to ensure user safety during emergencies. Maglocks and electromagnetic locks for commercial buildings are generally positioned along the top of the doorway, with two compatible magnetic pieces attached to the door’s face and frame.

Public and commercial spaces like libraries, galleries and agencies typically use maglocks. It’s easy to fit a magnetic lock on various wood and glass doors, offering enhanced aesthetics while still keeping the space secure. Maglocks offer entry to those with compatible credentials, like fingerprints, key cards or fobs.

Alarm locks

An alarm lock offers advanced protection to commercial places like schools, hospitals and retail stores. Some commercial smart locks come with a built-in alarm system to alert people of a potential intruder inside the building. Commercial space owners can also attach an external alarm to the top of the door, which sounds if an unattended or vulnerable door is left open for a long period of time. Other alarm locks use cylindrical key access. Heavy-duty keypad locks may also display a quiet alarm sound when access is denied after a user enters the wrong PIN code to a keypad reader.

Commercial biometric door locks

Commonly found in areas protecting valuable goods, sensitive data or industrial and medical equipment in hospitals, banks, museums and research facilities, biometric doors only allow entry to people with highly unique credentials. Fingerprints, facial recognition or eye scans of the retina are popular entry methods. These high-security areas may apply two-factor authentication (MFA) using mobile credentials through an app or a one-time PIN code to enter. 

How to choose commercial smart locks and lock systems

Selecting adequate security locks for your commercial space depends on several variables, including the volume of people accessing and leaving the building or room, what the building houses and the area where the commercial space is located. Other factors like budget and design can also influence your decision. Here are several steps you can take when choosing commercial door locks:

1. Identify the level of security your building needs

Determine the purpose of your building. For instance, retail stores require secure front door locks to protect the merchandise outside opening hours. Medical facilities need extensive locking throughout the building to protect confidential information, ensure privacy for vulnerable patients and secure state-of-the-art equipment.

It’s also worth conducting an internal security audit for physical security measures. For example, if you already have cameras installed around an office’s entrance and reception area, you may not need a smart lock with a built-in camera. During your audit, you can also check for vulnerabilities, such as a passage with minimal security camera visibility or storeroom and staffroom doors with weak locking security.

During this step, make sure you factor in location. BHMA considers traffic levels when grading locks. Grade one locks and higher offer heavier-duty protection in areas with medium to high traffic levels. If the building is in a quiet place or enclosed complex, you may only need commercial locking systems on external doors and use grade two locks on standard internal doors. You can enhance the security of areas using grade two locks by directing fixed IP cameras toward entrances. 

2. Determine who will use the commercial door lock system in office or buildings

Accessibility plays a vital role when selecting a commercial locking system. If you’re a medium-sized business, you may want credentials that are easy to distribute and adjust, such as a key card. Commercial spaces protecting highly sensitive customer information, banking details and cash or medical data may prefer keyless commercial door lock systems like keypads or combination locks.

Businesses implementing a hybrid working schedule may benefit from automated or smart locks with cameras, as there are more frequent comings and goings. Managers can keep track of which employees use the office space and identify whether visitors have the authentication to enter the building.

3. Review prices for business door lock systems

Modern lock systems for doors may incur higher costs as they offer more advanced features like wireless connection and cloud-based data storage. You could also measure cost-effectiveness by the longevity of a lock. For instance, although a mortise lock is more challenging to fit, it’s durable, reliable and offers high-level security, meaning you’re less likely to replace it soon after installation.

In the case where your commercial building is positioned in an area with low- to medium-level traffic, you may want to invest in commercial electronic locks for doors only around the building’s exterior. You can use heavy-duty cylindrical locks with physical keys for internal doors if the cost of your commercial door lock system is a concern. Consider allocating trustworthy keyholders who allow entry to specific departments to reduce the number of keys in circulation. You can enhance internal security by placing corner cameras in a busy passage or near vulnerable areas like a storeroom keeping cash.

4. Link commercial and office door lock systems to other security systems

Linking video security to your lock systems in and around a commercial building is an efficient way to boost protection around the clock, even when no one is on-site. It allows operators to identify authorized and unauthorized visitors visually. If an incident occurs involving unauthorized visitors, the system keeps video footage as evidence to streamline an investigation.

If your building operates a visitor system, you could install a smart doorbell with a keypad and video function to enhance security and offer more convenience for visitors. For example, a reader with a built-in camera, intercom and doorbell can streamline processes for visitors and make it easy for them to get in touch with the tenant or access the building when the tenant they are looking for is not available. The camera allows tenants to see who is at the door and verify their identity, while some systems with call routing and voice AI capabilities can direct visitors to predetermined user directory paths, increasing the chance of visitors getting in contact with the people they need to reach. Plus, with a visitor system with video function, the video security can link to an internal app, allowing receptionists to view visitors requesting entry, while authorized members can enter using a PIN code or other credential type.

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