What makes a lock “High-Security”?

If you have been in the market for new locks, you have probably heard or seen the words “High Security Locks“. But what do those words mean to you when you are trying to decide on which lock is best for you? To help you better understand what constitutes a high security lock, the Underwriters Laboratories or UL, have put in place clear guidelines for consumers.

The Underwriters Laboratory was founded in 1894 and is an independent, nonprofit product testing organization. A UL listing based on UL standard 437 is a good indicator that a lock qualifies as a high security lock. Any lock that qualifies for the UL standard will have a UL symbol on the lock itself or the packaging of the lock. It is important to note that UL listed locks can, in some cases, still be defeated. In order for a lock to qualify as a UL listed high security lock it must pass a series of tests. UL approved locks must have the following characteristics:

  • All working parts of the mechanism must be constructed of brass, bronze, Steel, or equivelent corrosion resistant materials or have a protective finish complying with UL’s Salt Spray Corrosion test.
  • The lock must have a minimum of 1000 key change options.
  • The lock must operate as intended during 10,000 complete cycles of operation at a rate not exceeding 50 cycles per minute.
  • The lock must not open or be compromised as a result of attack tests using hammers, chisels, screwdrivers, pliers, hand held electric drills, saws, puller mechanisms, key impressioning tools and lock picking tools.

The attack tests done by the Underwriters Laboratory includes ten minutes of picking, ten minutes of key impressioning, five minutes of sawing, five minutes of pulling, 5 minutes of prying and five minutes of driving. UL does not test locks for bump key resistance. In most cases, high security lock manufacturers use patented keys. The most secure locks also provide a high level of key control. The harder it is for an unauthorized person to have a copy of the key made, the more security that lock provides. High security lock designations dont apply to just the mechanical locks we have discussed above.

Today manufacturers produce a number of other locks that are considered high security locks. Electromagnetic locks, digital access locks, finger print and biometric locks can all be considered high security locks and as technology evolves, so do the options available to the consumer.

Whether you are looking to secure your home, business or office there is a wide array of products to serve your needs. It is important to consider the level of security required and what the potential threats are when deciding on the right high security locks for you. Is your home in a high crime area? Are you securing a business that is mandated by law to have certain security features? Do you have employees who will need keys or passcodes. Will you need to change those keys or passcodes often? You may also want to consider the type of door you plan to put your high security lock on. Is it glass, metal or wood? This will help to eliminate some of the options. Keep in mind that along with the higher security comes a higher price as well. Something to consider is how many doors you have that require high security locks.

Once you have considered all your particular security needs, you will have a better idea of what type of high security lock will work best for you. It is also helpful to have a reputable locksmith you know and trust. Your locksmith can answer any questions you may have, order and install your high security locks and will be there to troubleshoot any problems you may encounter with your new locks down the road.

We thought you’d like to know…

Stay safe Citrus county!


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What is an Electromagnetic Lock?

Electromagnetic Locks

Electromagnetic locks were introduce in the U.S in the 1970’s and continue to be popular today. They are used to secure emergency exit doors and when connected to a fire alarm system, the locks power source automatically disconnects when the fire alarm is activated to allow people inside to exit quickly.

The operation of an electromagnetic lock is different from that of a conventional locking device. Unlike a mechanical lock, an electromagnetic lock does not rely on the release of a bolt or latch for security. It instead uses electricity and magnetism. It is the magnetic power of these locks that tend to make them stronger than their mechanical counterparts and because the components of an electromagnetic lock are normally installed inside the door and casing, as opposed to being mounted on the outside of the door as is usually the case with mechanical locks, the screws can not be tampered with when the door is in the closed position.

Standard electromagnetic locks consist of two components in order to secure a door. The first component being a electromagnet and the second being a metal strike plate. The electromagnet is installed in the doors header and the strike plate is installed on the door. When a door is closed the two compenents line up. The electromagnet is usually powered by 12 to 24 dc volts at 3 to 8 watts and when the door is closed and the electromagnet is powered, the door is secured and has a holding power of 300 to 3000 pounds, depending on the type of electromagnet lock you selected.

So what if the power goes out or a burglar cuts the wires?

Standby batteries are usually installed with the lock to provide power in the event the power goes out. The locks can’t be tampered with from the outside the door as all the compenents are installed completely inside the door itself. Thus eliminating the chance that a would be burglar could cut wires or gain entry through the door.

Fire code requirements for Electromagnetic locks.

Electromagnetic locks meet the safety requirements of the North American building codes because they are fail-safe, which means when there is no power to the door, the door will not lock. In order to comply with most United States building fire codes, there is also a couple of additonal pieces of hardware that must be installed when installing electromagnetic locks. There must be a “PUSH TO EXIT” release button and either a PIR motion detector or an electrified exit release bar also known as a crash bar. Also if the building has a fire alarm system the electromagnetic locks must be tied into the fire control system so the locks will automatically unlock in the event of a fire. The code states “There must be a minimum of two devices used to release the electromagnetic lock. One device Must be a manual release button that has the words”PUSH TO EXIT” labeled. This push button must provide a 30 second time delay when pushed, and the time delay must act independently of the access control system (the delay must work on its own, not tied into any other access control system)

The downsides of Electromagnetic locks

Electromagnetic locks do have a couple of disadvantages. One is the cost of the electromagnetic locks when compared to other high security mechanical locks. Electromagnetic locks can cost four to ten times more than a mechanical lock. The second downside is that many people find the electromagnetic locks less attractive than conventional mechanical locks.

I hope you have found this article helpful when considering electromagnetic locks.

We though you’d like to know….

Stay safe Citrus county!


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Not all locks are created equal



ANSI Rated Lock

You cant judge a Lock by its cover either

Anyone who has spent more than five minutes in their favorite local hardwares’ lock section knows the choices available can be overwhelming. After all, the choice you make will determine the security and piece of mind you and your family enjoy in your home. So how can you choose the best lock for your home? In this article I will discuss the various types of locks available and describe the differences and applications. Armed with this knowledge, you can then make the best choice when deciding on the right locks for your particular needs.

Not all locks are created equal. The American National Standards Institute or ,ANSI, rates locks on 3 common standards, Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3. These ratings are based on a range of performance features. ANSI rates how well the locks resist forceful entry tests, and whether their finishes hold up well over extended periods of time.

  • Grade 1 locks are heavy duty commercial locks.These locks are typically not a good application for home use.
  •  Grade 2 locks are designed for light commercial use but would provide good protection for homes as well.
  • Grade 3 locks are rated for light residential use. Grade 3 locks are what you typically find at your local hardware store. (along with a lot of locks that carry no ANSI rating at all)

Most locks sold to homeowners are grade 3 locks or have no ANSI rating at all. ANSI graded locks often cost a little more than locks that dont have an ANSI rating or no rating at all but the added security is well worth the money.

There are certain companies who offer high-security locks. A high-security lock is one that provides a high level of security to most types of attack such as drilling, sawing, wrenching, picking and bumping. In most cases, these high security locks will be more expensive and will carry an Underwriters Laboratory or UL rating. High security locks will have two or more means of protection. They contain hardened drill resistant inserts and have patented keys. Medeco, ASSA and Mul-T-Lock are a few examples of high security locks.


Whether you choose to install Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3 or even high security locks your local locksmith can provide you with the locks, installation and information you need to secure all the things that matter most to you.

I hope this article has been helpful in deciding which lockset is the right choice for you.

Stay safe Citrus county!


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