How Magnetic Locking Systems Can Boost Security

Posted on: 23 February 2016


Magnetic locking systems can be a powerful addition to your security arsenal. While they should never be your sole form of protection, they are incredibly resilient and will significantly boost the effectiveness of traditional locking technology. The following information will help you make a more informed decision about which type of electronic locking system to purchase if you're considering an upgrade.

Standard Electro-Magnetic Locks

Electro-magnetic locks are robust locks that create a strong electrical attraction when power is applied. The electro-magnetic portions are made from copper wire, which is wrapped around a non-conductive metal. The plates will only become magnetized when a strong enough current is applied. Since electro-magnetic locks don't have any moving parts, they often have a very long operational lifespan.

The electrical currents can be activated through various external devices, such as a pin code machine or wireless key. This makes them particularly popular for use among gated communities and apartment blocks as everybody can use them. Electro-magnetic locks are not fail-safe; therefore, if there is an external disruption to the circuit, such as a power outage, the lock will fail. In addition, depending on the installation and door frame, electro-magnetic locks can be pried open if enough force is applied.

Magnetic Keyed Lock

Magnetic keyed locks don't require electricity to secure and operate, but a passive magnet for the key. They work by using a number of small magnets that have different North/South Pole combinations. When the key is inserted, the lock tumblers are either pushed or pulled, allowing the user to turn the key. The level of security will significantly vary depending on the complexity of the small magnet combination.

Magnetic-Coded Locks

Magnetic-coded locks are the safest form of electro-magnetic locking device as they use the traditional grooves and teeth of a key along with magnetic pins. Fundamentally, they are a mixture of several locking systems. For a locksmith, this means that the lock must be picked and the magnetic code deciphered in order to unlock the door. Skeleton decoder keys are available for certain brands and models, and software can be used to measure the magnetic fields of the key.

While the various types of magnetic locking system can provide a high level of security, no lock is immune to forcible entry. Combining multiple different locking systems – both traditional and magnetic – will provide the greatest level of security. The improper handling of strong magnets can cause serious bodily harm; therefore, electro-magnetic locking systems should always be installed (or uninstalled) by a professional locksmith.