• The lock opens in case of an emergency (fail-safe)
  • The lock can be opened with several electrical signalling methods (swipe card, key code, motion sensors, and biometrics)
  • The security could be compromised in case of electricity interruption
  • The door can be pried open; this will depend on the gap between the door and the frame

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    What Are Magnetic Locks for Doors?

    A magnetic lock is one of the access control systems, a magnet created when an electrical current passes via a wire with many coils tied around an iron core or a single coiled wire tied around a metal core (solenoid). The wire loses magnetization in case of disruption of the electrical current. The electromagnetic lock is not fail secure; in case of a power outage or emergency, the doors unlock. This inbuilt feature of unlocking the door when a power outage occurs is known as a fail-safe. The feature is the basic operating mechanism of electromagnetic locks. If there is no power failure or emergency to disable the locks, the magnet can be manipulated with a keypad, push-button, or a card reader that disrupts the electrical current temporarily—the current returns after a few seconds. When the door closes, it magnetically binds to the doorframe. An electromagnetic lock is made by fixing a plate of magnetic metal (normally iron) to the door and an electromagnet to the doorframe.


    Electromagnetic locks have two main components: an armature mounted on the door and a magnetic lock assembly mounted on the frame. Magnetic locks are fail-safe, meaning they remain open in case of power interruption. There are two types of magnetic locks:

    • Surface Mounted Magnetic Lock These are the most common magnetic locks. On single and double door openings, they can be mounted on the header of the frame, while on single door openings, they can be mounted on the strike jab. Ideally, the locks are mounted on the push side of the opening, but there are options for mounting the magnetic locks on the pull side. Surface-mounted magnetic locks could have housings of varying sizes and often come in different finishes. Maglocks are ideal for indoor use but could also be used on exterior openings. When installed outside, the mag locks require more maintenance.
    • Concealed Mounted Magnetic Lock As their name suggests, the concealed mounted magnetic locks are hidden in both the frame and the door. The locks are also known as Shear Locks since they are attached differently than the surface locks. The locks can be mounted on the door, inside the frame, at the bottom of a door, or on the floor. Especially when mounted on the floor, shear locks need a minimum spacing between them. Therefore, you should take additional consideration when prepping for Shear Locks. The concealed mounted magnetic locks connect to similar hardware and tie to the same types of access control systems as the surface-mounted magnetic locks.