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Are Magnetic or Electric Locks Better For Commercial Properties?

When you own a business or commercial property, there are many options to consider when it comes to security. Taking the time to choose the most effective kind of locks for your specific property is an important practice, as these systems protect not only your building, but the employees, valuables, and sensitive information located inside.

If you’re unsure about whether a magnetic lock system or an electric strike system is right for your business, you’ve come to the right place! The professionals at Pop-A-Lock have created a guide below to discuss the pros and cons of these devices, helping you make a more informed decision about your commercial security.

Magnetic Locks

Magnetic Locks, or “mag locks,” are devices that use an electromagnet to secure doors. The magnet is attached to the door frame and a metal armature plate. These systems use low-voltage power to keep the lock closed and unlock with a card swipe, key fob or access code.

Mag locks can connect to a variety of access control systems, which can sometimes even be accessed using smartphone applications. If you’re interested in learning more about access control systems, check out our previous blog on the topic, “What is Key Control and Why Should My Business Care?”

If you’re thinking about  implementing mag locks into your access control system, consider the pros and cons of these devices, listed below.

Advantages of Mag Locks

There are many benefits to using a mag lock system for your commercial property:

  • Mag Locks can be extremely strong and durable, lasting a long time
  • Mag Locks be mounted on a wide variety of doors, even glass doors
  • These locks often require less cutting of the door frame during installation
  • Mag Locks eliminate the risk of lost keys/fobs, minimizing security threats
  • These locks are quick to operate after installation
  • Decreased costs over time as you don’t need to cut new keys

Disadvantages of Mag Locks

Just as there are advantages to implementing magnetic locks, there are a few downsides to consider when evaluating the decision to install these locks in your commercial property.

  • Mag Locks are frowned upon by most fire and code officials, due to their completely electronic nature. In the event of an emergency, it’s harder for individuals without a key card, code or fob to exit the building.
  • Doors may become more difficult to open if the maglock is continuously locked
  • Mag Locks need a constant source of power- the door will open if power is lost without a battery backup or if the battery backup goes down
  • Cards or fobs may be misplaced or stolen, allowing unauthorized individuals access to the property
  • Mag Locks can be pricey depending upon the quality and strength of the lock

Electric Locks or “Electric Strikes”

Another kind of system that should be considered for increasing your commercial property’s security is an electric strike. These devices can also be implemented into your access control system, giving you more jurisdiction over which employees can access specific areas of the building.

Electric strikes are  electromechanical devices that provide increased security to the building when used alongside other devices, such as a lock set or panic bar. When electrical power is supplied to the strike, the latch or lock bolt is held in place, keeping the door locked until a release system is activated.

Electric Office Locks

Release systems vary depending on the type of electric strike you install. Generally, when the mechanical part of the lock is activated through an electronic key card, code, release button or fob, the strike releases, opening the door from the outside.

Advantages of Electric Strikes

There are multiple advantages to implementing electric strikes in your commercial property:

  • Electric strikes are favorable to fire and building officials, due to the fact they can still operate with a mechanical release such as a push bar from the inside
  • Electric strikes are available in both fail-safe and fail-secure configurations
  • With electric strikes, the door can remain secure even with a loss of power, if properly configured
  • Decreased costs over time as you don’t need to cut new keys

Disadvantages of Electric Strikes

Although electric strikes have many advantages, there are certainly disadvantages to these systems that are important to consider:

  • Door is susceptible to normal mechanical bypass methods
  • Cards or fobs may be misplaced or stolen, allowing unauthorized individuals access to the property
  • Electric strikes can be difficult to install on door frames made out of materials such as aluminum, as they need thicker door spaces
  • Depending on the quality, they can be more prone to failure because they are more mechanically complex in nature than a magnetic locks

Choosing Your System

The best way to choose which system is better for your business is to have a security professional evaluate your commercial property. Technicians at companies such as Pop-A-Lock have the expertise and training to recommend which systems are most beneficial for your unique situation and can install both electric strikes and magnetic locks efficiently.

We recommend using a combination of both locks, as having both magnetic locks and electronic strikes on exterior doors reduces your risk for a security issue in the future. Although there are strengths and weaknesses to both systems, installing either option (or a combination of both) will increase your property’s overall security. If you prefer not to have two systems in place, we will recommend one or the other based on the door being guarded. This varies place by place.

Contact Your Local Pop-A-Lock Today!

Need help with installing locks on your commercial property? Contact your local Pop-A-Lock today! All of our technicians are certified, experienced, and ready to help you find the best solution for your individual needs. We install, replace, and rekey locks with advanced techniques that will ensure your property is secure as possible.

Founded in Lafayette, Louisiana, Pop-A-Lock has quickly become the largest professional locksmithing franchise in the United States. You can call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online for a quote today!

Public Awareness: Buying Car Keys Online

Are you considering purchasing a key from an internet seller and then looking for a locksmith or professional to program that key? Just like many other items, the internet can seem like a promising place to save money on the purchase of keys, fobs, and prox keys. But, be wary – while this isn’t a scam, it also isn’t always the smartest way to go about getting a new key.

There are a few reasons to be cautious when considering purchasing a new key or fob online, instead of from a professional or the dealership. They include:

  • Many people  don’t realize that with modern vehicles, the majority of a new key’s cost comes not from the key itself, but in the decoding, cutting, and programming of the electronic components of that key to match to your vehicle so that it actually works.
  •  If you purchase a key from online, and then seek out a skilled tradesperson to match that key to your vehicle, it likely won’t be warrantied, which can hurt you in the long run.
  • Internet keys are often from aftermarket sources that use the lowest quality materials, construction methods and electronic components available.
  • Lastly, most online resellers do not charge significantly less than professional locksmiths or automotive security professionals who provide the same part- likely with a warranty on the part and labor included.

Need a Key or Remote For Your Vehicle?

If you need a key or remote for your vehicle, there are three words we recommend keeping in mind while searching – Avoid, Ask, Know.

1. Avoid using Google or Bing to locate a professional locksmith or automotive security professional when possible Instead use:
a. Findalocksmith.com
b. Keypro.com
c. popalock.com

These are three of the most professional and vetted associations and membership groups for locksmiths in North America. They are a reliable source to help you find a trusted technician and avoid locksmith scams.

2. Ask what the total price for the entire job will be up front.  Unless something is wrong with the vehicle or it’s not in original factory condition, most reputable locksmiths should be able to give you a very precise cost.

3. Know specifics if possible. If you’re internet-savvy or good at conducting your own research, you can likely find out exactly what OEM key part number your vehicle takes.  This is the exact button configuration such as lock, unlock, panic, remote start, automatic rear doors, power liftgate, or power tailgate. Providing this useful information to your locksmith may help save time, effort, energy and potentially reduce your total cost.

If You’ve Already Purchased a Key Online

man unlocking car with key fob

If you have already purchased an online key, it’s not the end of the world. If you’re seeking someone to cut and program the key or remote for you, here are four important things to remember:

1. Communicate: Whoever  you end up  requesting service from, make sure you clearly state if you have a working key for the vehicle or if all keys are lost or broken . This factor can cause a significant difference in pricing and procedures depending upon your vehicle’s year, make, and model.

a. Be prepared to show identification and proof of ownership. This would include registration, title, bill of sale or proof of insurance coverage naming you on the document.  Having your documentation in order, and letting the key professional know that you have this documentation readily available for them, can save you time, effort and energy, and could potentially lower your final cost.

2. Be transparent with your locksmith.  When you contact a key professional, let them know that you purchased a key online. If you can identify the reseller to your locksmith, it can help clarify the quality of the key.

3. Consider purchasing keys from your locksmith anyway. A good alternative for you – as well as the key professional – is to purchase another  key directly from the locksmith. This professional can service and program it  much more effectively. Then ask  if they can cut and program your online key as a backup for a reasonable rate while they are already on-site. Or, if you do not want or simply can’t afford to have the additional key programmed, most online resellers will accept an uncut returned key back in order to maintain their positive seller statistics.

The Bottom Line

We’ve given you a lot of information here. The bottom line, though, is that buying online keys is typically a waste of time and money versus simply calling a key professional to do the job in the first place!

Pop-A-Lock is the largest supplier of keys, fobs, and automotive key programming services to the public in North America. We use high-quality products, offer warranties on our parts and labor, and can typically offer the best value because of our purchasing discounts through our partnered vendors. If we provide service in your area, please consider reaching out to us for a free estimate to replace or create a duplicate key, fob or proximity key for your vehicle!

Pop-A-Lock Locksmith Technicians in Uniform

To talk with a Pop-A-Lock Professional about your best key options, call 1-800-POP-A-LOCK today.

What Are Transponder Keys and How Do They Work?

Over the last 20 years, we’ve witnessed the rapid adoption of the transponder key. Most car manufacturers today use some type of transponder key for their vehicles. The core purpose of transponder keys is to eliminate auto theft, and they have become a central part of many modern cars’ anti-theft systems. Transponder keys have continuously evolved over time to better serve that purpose.

How Transponder Keys Work

A transponder (a blend of the words “transmitter” and “responder”) is programmed to start a particular vehicle, which is key in reducing the possibility of auto-theft. Transponder keys contain a small computer chip that transmits a low-level radio signal. The microchip has a unique digital serial number, which authenticates the original car key and the duplicate car key. The signals activate the chip only when the key is near the dashboard or when it is inserted into the ignition.

When you plug a transponder key into the ignition, the Engine Control Unit (ECU) will send a coded message to the key. The original key will receive the coded message and respond back to the ECU. Once the messages are authenticated by the car, the car will start. The range of a transponder key is limited to about seven inches, and they do not require batteries.

Transponder keys are an incredibly effective means of preventing cars from being hot-wired. A vehicle with a transponder key will not start if the device at the switch does not detect the signal from the key. The car will not start if a copied key is used without the proper signal. If someone attempts to hot wire a vehicle that uses a transponder key, it won’t start because there is no signal from the key.

Since vehicles with transponder keys require them in order to start, many people believe that the dealerships for their particular vehicles are the only places they can go for copies. Getting a copy of a transponder key at a dealership is often expensive and inconvenient. Professional locksmiths are a great cost-effective alternative. A professional locksmith will have the expertise necessary to replace, copy, and program new transponder keys.

Contact Pop-A-Lock

If you’ve lost your transponder key, or just want to make a copy for your peace of mind, Pop-A-Lock is here to help. Pop-A-Lock technicians are trained to program all types of transponder keys, for any model or make of vehicle. We guarantee the work we do for you will be top quality.

Replacing a transponder is more complicated than getting a key cut to fit your ignition. This process has to be carried out by a trained specialist to make sure the transponder will function properly and start your car. Not only are Pop-A-Lock’s car key and transponder replacement services cost-effective, but we can get the job done much quicker than the dealership and our competitors. Call the location nearest you today to have a Pop-A-Lock specialist help with all your transponder key needs.

Why You Should Re-Key Your New House

There’s no question that every homeowner wants to keep their home (and family) safe and secure. However, you may be especially concerned if you are in a home that recently changed ownership. To feel 100% safe, you will want to have all of the existing locks rekeyed so you can ensure you are the only person with working keys to your locks.

Rekeying your locks is one of the best ways to improve home security. By making this simple upgrade, you will instantly solve the problem of not knowing how many “extra” keys are out there, ensuring that you are the only one with access to your home. Plus, you can save money by having them rekeyed to a single key, which is cheaper than replacing all the locks individually.

New Builds Follow the Same Rules

Even a newly built home should be rekeyed. When a house is under construction, the locks often use a master-key system. Many don’t realize that while the new owner receives unique keys, sometimes master pins have been left in the lock. If this happens, the lock can still be opened with double the number of keys for each master pin that remains in the lock. But rekeying allows the locksmith to remove those master pins so that only a single key will unlock it.

Current Residents Can Still Benefit

Rekeying makes sense for new homeowners, but it also can benefit people who have lived in the same residence for years. Over time, just about every homeowner has loaned a spare key or two to family and friends, neighbors, or even workers. However, keys you lent temporarily to someone can be easily copied, meaning they can remain in the hands of people you don’t want in your home. If you are unsure if any spare keys to your home are floating around, rekeying all the exterior doors to a single new  key solves this problem instantly. Once you rekey your home, you can control your key inventory and better control who has access to your home.

Rekey Your Home

Trust Pop-A-Lock

Pop-A-Lock is a professional locksmith franchise with over 8,500 locations in the United States and Canada. We train all our technicians in the latest locksmith technologies to ensure you get the best service possible. All of our technicians wear easily identifiable uniforms and drive marked vehicles, so you can be sure you are getting locksmith services from a professional.

To rekey a lock, we remove the pins and springs in the lock cylinder and replace them with pins and springs that work only with a specific new key. This means you do not need to replace the locks themselves, but instead you can be assured all your locks work with a single key that you control. Additionally, the professional locksmiths at Pop-a-Lock will also carefully examine all your locks to check their condition and replace any worn parts. We will lubricate your rekeyed lock to help it function smoothly and replace any locks that are too worn to be rekeyed.

Just like cleaning your furnace or replacing your air filters, periodic rekeying is an essential part of home maintenance. But since rekeying protects the security of your family and possessions, the team at Pop-A-Lock recommends doing this every few years. We will send our professional locksmith to your home to make sure every lock works with a single key, so you know that your family is safe in your home.