Security has come a long way since the days of traditional metal keys and locks. Now, commercial smart locks and electric door lock solutions are a common occurrence in most commercial settings. However, like most advancing technology, there are many variations of electromagnetic locks for doors.
For maximum security in larger scale commercial and residential properties, the two obvious choices are electric strike door locks and magnetic door locking systems. But how do maglocks work, and what’s the difference between electric strike locks and magnetic strike locks?
This guide will explore the most popular and effective electromagnetic door locking systems on the market, and how they work with modern access control systems. You’ll also learn about the best use cases for electric strikes and electromagnetic locks, and how to weigh the benefits, drawbacks and costs, so you can come to a confident decision about which solution is best for your needs.
Before we go any further, let’s get clear on the main differences between mag locks and electric strike locks for doors.
An electromagnetic lock, also known as a mag lock, uses a security magnetic lock mechanism to hold the door in place, while a door electric strike lock relies on a solenoid to hold the door in a locked position.
Both need a power supply to operate. The main difference is that a magnetic lock is generally fail-safe, meaning it relies on power to lock the door, whereas an electric lock is generally fail-secure and relies on power to unlock the door.
While both are used in access control applications, electromagnetic locks tend to be used on doors that automatically lock and open, such as security gates and automatic doors. Whereas door lock electric strike systems tend to be the option for manual usage, or where keypads or key fobs are required to enable entry.
An electric strike uses a hinged piece of metal to latch the door into place. With this metal in a locked position, the door cannot operate without an electronic signal. The electronic signal works to move the metal release latch installed inside the door frame, opening the door. The door electric strike lock is triggered by an external wireless item such as a fob, card, key fob or keypad PIN. Electric strike door locks are commonly used on doors that require access control to limit who can open them.
The internal electric strike plate mechanism works with a lock and bolt and an actuator which is responsible for controlling the lock of the door. This moves the metal hinge into place and secures the lock. The electric strike plate is then responsible for triggering the actuator to move and unlock the door, which relies on a power supply.
It’s also important to distinguish between an electric strike vs. electric lock system. An electrified door lock strike plate is common for wood or metal doors, and can be used in conjunction with a deadbolt. However, an electric latch is often a requirement for fail-safe or emergency doors. For doors that have a push bar or exit bar, you’ll likely be required to install an electric latch vs. electric strike to comply with building codes for emergency exits and similar applications.
So, how do mag locks work? A magnetic door strike relies on two parts: a magnet that is mounted to the door, and an armature door lock strike plate that is mounted to the door frame. With an electric field energizing the magnet in the door lock, a magnetic field is created that secures the armature lock and magnet in place. The magnetic door strike must be de-energized to open the door and fire the magnetic release latch, which breaks the field and moves the plate away from the mechanic. This can be achieved by a variety of methods including a card reader, keypad or key fob.
You can also compare a mag lock vs. shear lock for door security. A shear lock is simply a concealed magnetic lock installed into the door and the frame and is mounted differently to the surface in comparison to the usual magnetic deadbolt lock. The primary difference however, is in their force. While a mag lock gives a force of a direct pull, a shear lock gives a pull force in a shear direction.
When it comes to an electric strike vs. electric lock for doors in your building, it mainly depends on the available power supply, type of door installed and how you want to secure the property.
The above should provide some clarity into the differences when it comes to an electric release latch vs. electric strike system for doors. There are key benefits to installing electric locking systems in commercial properties like offices, schools and residential complexes.
While there are many benefits to door lock electric strikes and latches, they are not foolproof or right for every installation. Before installing an electric strike plate lock for your doors, consider the following drawbacks, too.
Magnetic door locks are a popular choice for security for a reason. There are many benefits to installing a maglock door system for your business. Consider the following when weighing the benefits of a mag lock vs. electric strike door lock.
In terms of building security, magnetic lock systems still come with challenges that should not be overlooked. If you’re comparing electromagnetic locks for doors in your facility, remember the following drawbacks to installing mag lock systems.
Both electric and electromagnetic locks are incredibly versatile. But to understand which is best for your business needs it is important to look at the best applications for both types of mechanism. Each has their own unique advantages and disadvantages, as well as installation limitations, so assess the following applications before making your final decision.
Choosing the right electromagnetic lock system for your building can depend on a number of factors. One of the most important factors to consider is the fail-safe, fail-secure mechanisms. In addition, the location and type of doors that need to be secured can influence your choice between an electric strike door lock or magnetic door locking system.
Electric locks are fail-secure, meaning they rely on power to unlock. Electric strike lock doors are an incredibly effective component of a wider security system, and can be configured to work with access control systems such as keypads and key fobs which trigger the power supply that unlocks the mechanism. These are great where authorized access is required, and stricter security is necessary.
Door electric strike locks however are complex to install and may require a specialist to assess the building and its doors to confirm whether installation and configuration is possible. In the event of a power outage, all doors will remain locked until power is restored.
Magnetic door locks, or electromagnetic locks, rely on a magnetic field to hold the door in place. This is energized by a power supply. Commercial magnetic door lock systems are fail-safe, which means in the event of a power supply, the lock is compromised and cannot maintain its power. This does however mean that users can exit the building so they are an excellent option for fire exits in schools and healthcare facilities where users may need to exit the building in the event of an emergency. Their security is however limited in that they are susceptible to tampering, but they generally promote a strong magnetic force that is not able to be forced open manually. Magnetic or mag locks are durable, reliable and low maintenance.
It’s important to also consider the nature of the door in the event of an emergency. Electric mag lock door systems are well suited to emergency fire exits as they will allow users to leave the building easily in the event of an emergency or a fire, even without power supply.
Assess the overall requirements and applications for your electromagnetic door release systems to ascertain whether a magnetic security door or electric strike door lock is the best option. Security and protection will play a big part in determining this decision too. Overall, it’s best to weigh up the pros and cons of a mag lock vs. electric strike including their applications and installation costs. This should help you to build a picture of which is a greater investment for your business or commercial needs.
Our video security experts can help you implement the right security system for your business.