One of the most important features of a safe is its opening and closing system. Choosing a lock according to our needs is key to ensuring that our safe’s security and functionality are optimal.
Sometimes, some users of safes select the type of lock solely because it is a secure system. Some users also love easy use lock systems in safe. A simple system such as the key lock can be highly insecure if the keys are not properly guarded. Similarly, a secure system consisting of a key and a mechanical lock can be very cumbersome to use if the safe needs to be opened and closed several times a day.
Nor should we forget that the quality of the lock can considerably lower the initial cost of the safe but can pose a major security problem in the long run. Poor quality locks are often faulty due to their less careful design and cheaper materials used to make them.
In particular cases, such as in specialized establishments subject to official regulations (jewelry stores, gold-buying stores, lottery administrations, bingo halls, gas stations, etc.), the type of lock is determined by those regulations. Depending on the case, it can be a double key lock, a more electronic key lock with delay and lock, etc. The aspects to be taken into account in each case are detailed below.
Locking systems with only one type of lock
Some safes have only one type of lock to unlock and lock the door. In many cases, they are complemented with knobs, handles or holders to operate the system and open the door once unlocked.
1. Key Lock:
Safes with a key lock are the ones that have the simplest system of all. Their opening and closing system is activated only by using a key.
The level of security is not necessarily the lowest because if the lock is of quality and the keys are properly guarded. It can be as effective as any other type of lock.
Advantages: Its ease of use.
Disadvantages: The custody and management of the keys. They will likely be located if they are kept in the same environment where the safe is installed. And you can easily use them to open the safe without any difficulty. For this reason, it is advisable to keep the keys to these boxes in a different location than the installation.
2. Mechanical combination lock:
Mechanical combination locks are possibly the oldest, along with key locks. They are a very reliable system that presents a minimal risk of breakdown.
In most cases, its operation consists of a series of internal discs that have to be arranged suitably by turning to the right and left of an external roulette. Once the correct succession of turns in both directions has been made, the discs are placed correctly. It allows the box lock to be unlocked by turning a knob, a handle or a key in the case of a compound lock.
Advantages: One of the great benefits of this system is that batteries are not necessary for its operation. That’s why their maintenance is easier than that of electronic combinations.
Disadvantages: The use of this type of lock can be somewhat more cumbersome than that of the rest of the systems. It is imperative to memorize the numerical code and the direction of rotation of the roulette wheel.
3. Electronic combination lock:
The electronic combination lock is probably the most advanced locking system that can be used on a safe. It is easy to use and reliable if it is a quality lock.
Its operation for the user is simple since it is only necessary to enter the security code using the numeric keypad. In this way, the box lock is unlocked and locked. Locking and unlocking can be motorized if the door has an electronic system that opens the door or manually turns a knob or handles.
Some more advanced locks have the possibility of opening with different users. This allows exact control of the people and times in which the box has been accessed.
One of the biggest fears of users of safes with electronic combination locks is how the safe will open if the batteries run out. This drawback is commonly solved in three simple ways.
- First method:
It is the least secure and consists of using an emergency key that allows the box to be opened without entering the code. This may mean that someone who does not know the key unlocked the box without difficulty if they have access to the emergency key.
- Second method:
In the case of more advanced locks, it is possible to perform an emergency opening by supplying power with an external battery. This allows the lock to be used momentarily to open the door and change the dead batteries inside.
- Third method:
Some types of electronic locks present the batteries on the outside of the box and the numeric keypad. It allows you to change them when they are depleted without opening the safe.
In the second and third cases, it is essential to know the password to open the box.
The main advantage compared to the key lock is that we will not need to depend on an external element to open the safe, only to know the security code.
If it is not a quality lock, it can easily be vulnerable to attacks from experienced people.
4. Electronic locks with delay and time lock:
An advanced variant of conventional electronic locks can program a time lock and delay in opening. These functions are used in the case of safes for special establishments that must comply with current regulations according to each case.
Programmable opening delay:
It is used in collection boxes installed in companies that handle cash, such as credit institutions, insurance companies or private security companies. Its use is also mandatory in establishments that are required by law to have image registration equipment. Video recording equipment must be guarded in safe deposit boxes equipped with electronic locks with delay. In general, this delay is programmable between 0 and 99 minutes.
It is used in safes installed in jewelry stores, lottery administrations, bingo halls, etc., and allows programming a time window in which the box cannot be opened under any circumstances, even if the security code is entered.
Certified safes for jewelers, lottery administrations, gold-buying stores, bingo halls, etc., as we’ve commented previously, must have both systems to comply with the regulations.
Locking systems composed of two types of lock
The use of two types of locks in a single locking system greatly enhances the security of the safe in which it is installed. In any case, it will be necessary to have the keys and know the secret combinations to open the box according to the systems installed.
1. Double key lock:
Safes equipped with locking systems with two keys require the use of both at the same time to open the safe door. It is common for these two security keys to be guarded by two different people, which provides extra security to this type of box.
This system is a double intervention lock and is widely used in security lockers in banks, hotels, lockers, etc.
In service stations and gas stations, it is one of the most widely used locking systems. Current regulations require that the grade IV box used at the gas station have, at least, a double key lock to require the intervention of the two people in charge of guarding the security keys.
Advantage: You need both keys to open the box.
Disadvantage: The custody and management of the keys.
2. Key lock + mechanical combination:
To open a lock of this type, it will be necessary to have the key and know the secret combination.
Advantage: It is a safe and reliable system that requires practically no maintenance.
Disadvantage: Its use can be somewhat more cumbersome than other locks as it has to manage the custody of the key and the memorization of the combination.
3. Key lock + electronic combination:
This type of lock is one of the most used in domestic and business safes. It is an opening and closing system that offers the advantages of adding the security of both locks and the simplicity of use of the key and the electronic combination.
During daily use, if you need to open and close the box frequently, it is possible to leave the key in place to facilitate its use and thus only need to enter the unlock code for the electronic combination. The key must be removed and properly guarded.
Advantage: It is a very secure system as the key and the access code is required.
Disadvantage: If it is not a quality electronic lock and has an emergency key, it is possible to open the box with the standard key plus the emergency key.
We can conclude that a type of lock is recommended for each use, but it must always be a quality lock and preferably approved.
For domestic boxes, the use of locks composed of a key + electronic combination is recommended, or simply an electronic combination if it does not have an emergency key.
In companies, the regular use of boxes makes it advisable to use quality electronic locks without an emergency key.
In the case of special establishments, it will be necessary to know the current legislation to determine what type of lock is necessary in each case.
If you want to know more about the type of safe lock or need lock installation service, consult with our Locksmith in Wesley Chapel.