Lock It Up- Electric Strike Locks vs Magnetic Locks

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When starting a real estate project many people don’t understand the amount of detail that is involved. Project teams have to make decision on every single detail of the new space, from the layout of the space, to the paint colors and carpet, down to the type of locks used on each door.

A recent client had questions regarding the types of locks that were presented as options: electric strike locks vs magnetic locks. Both types of locks are commonly used in commercial buildings and have different pros and cons.

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Electric Strike Locks:

An electric strike is a mechanically operated strike that releases a door when the mechanical part is activated. Activation occurs with either the pressing of a panic bar from inside the building or when activated by an electronic key card or fob reader outside of the building. The electric strike lock is more secure in that even when the power goes out, the door is still secure. Exiting while there is a power outage is still possible via the panic bar which is inside the building. The panic bar will still activate the lock so that the door will release.

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Magnetic Locks:

Magnetic locks consist of an electromagnet and armature plate. By attaching the electromagnet to door frame and the armature plate to the door, a current passing through the electromagnet attracts the armature plate holding the door shut.

Magnetic door locks require a constant source of power. When power is lost, the magnet will not work. Unlike an electric lock, a magnetic lock has no interconnecting parts and is therefore less suitable for high security applications. The advantages of a magnetic lock are that it is easy to install and quick to operate. However, magnetic locks are generally less secure because they become inactive when power is lost.

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The best solution is to have both magnetic locks and electronic strikes on exterior doors, especially those that are used for entry. It is less crucial to have both types of locks on interior doors, as long as there is some form of monitoring by employees or security personnel during power shutdowns.

Katie Craven
Katie Craven is Marketing, Communication and Brand Manager at Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers, a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers as well as additional blog posts can be found here.
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