This is a very complex question, and the answer is going to be “sometimes”. The answer also differs greatly from commercial and residential application. Are high-security locks worth it? Is a question two types of customers may ask?
The first type of customer may be looking for extra protection on a budget, in this case, for this type of customer, a high-security lock may not be the right choice. The saying “you get what you pay for” is true, even when it comes to locks. The second type of customer may want a high-security lock and may be willing to pay a little more for peace of mind knowing their items are safely secured behind a locked door. These customers know a faulty lock could result in significant financial losses.
You need to figure out where you are, what your needs are. Residential or commercial needs, what your exposure is. If residential, do you have garage doors, sliding doors and other areas that are exposed and are you thinking of securing those as well?
Based on consumer’s demands for high security locks we did some research and found that according to the FBI, there are more than two million burglaries in the US every year and at least 60% of these are a direct result of forcible entry, including lock picking or using brute force to kick-in a door.
Yes, high security locks come with a higher price but also have features that make it more difficult for burglars to enter your home. These locks also come that are harder to pick and are made from materials that resist drilling and other types of force, they also have advanced key control that prevent locksmith and key shops from copying your keys. These locks have patented key copying and only authorized locksmiths can copy them by contacting the manufacturer. This strict key control system makes it difficult for criminals to develop bump keys that fit these types of locks. Although it may seem the cost is extremely high in comparison to a standard lock, and sticker shock may discourage some customers, the price may end up being less than let’s say the deductible of your home insurance police if you end up being a burglary victim or the value of the items stolen if your home is not insured. Some home insurance companies even offer discounts to homeowners who chose high-security locks.
High Security locks are also recommended by the National Crime Prevention Council as a best defense against break ins! Always look for locks that are rated Grade 1 which means the lock has been tested to withstand the highest levels of force over an extended period.
Knowing that high security locks provide additional resistance to manipulation,
destructive attacks, breaching and off-site key duplication. Electronics added the potential to include audit trails, monitoring and rapid recovery of compromised or expired credentials. So, what do manufacturers consider when building high security locks? Three things drive the development process:
Recent years have seen heavy focus on patented keys and strategies to limit distribution, done with the wisdom that preventing duplication provides “key control”. This is probably the most important issue with high security locks. Locksmith professionals know that preventing duplication is just the tip of the key control iceberg. At the end of the day, high security locks have an important role for many customers, and Locksmith professionals have the duty to provide a realistic and complete solution, rather than an image, keys will be lost, stolen and in commercial uses employees will be fired, transferred, transferred and copies will be needed, so it’s important the installation of these high security locks is made by an authorized professional capable of making the manufacturer authorized duplicated keys when needed.
When are High Security Locks recommended for Residential Properties?
Simple, when you are worried about security and a possible break in but also have high value items in your home, however, if you have nothing of special value in your house, perhaps high security locks are not worth the investment for you.
In residential properties, locks are the of the statistically lowest probability compromised element in break-ins and theft. Normally, thieves gain entrance to your residence through a window, sliding glass door, back door that is left open and the likes. The benefit of having a high security door does hot help much in this case as access is grain through different means. Increasing security in your residential property shall be a set of rules to include one of the following recommendations:
All of these will increase the security of your home more than a high security lock and in many cases, will be more budget friendly. However, if you do have something to protect, and you took all the above referenced measures, adding a high security lock becomes necessary as then your front door becomes the weakest link in your home’s security.
When it comes to Commercial properties, how about High Security locks?
Well in this case, the picture is a bit different. In most cases it does make sense to install a high security lock, due to the high cash value and items businesses have inside, and in general commercial buildings are built with higher security features such as tempered glass, metal doors, etc. When you have a high turn-over rate of employees, you must consider however, the cost of maintenance and operational costs such as re-keying if employees get fired in unpleasant ways or do not return keys, then these operational costs can get expensive, but a positive thing is that a High Security lock such as let’s say Medeco, is that employees will be unable to make keys as only licensed professionals can duplicate keys and require a lock certificate in order to do so, (companies keep the lock certificates in their safes, so it’s very unlikely employees are able to copy keys).
How about the price?
It’s like everything in the market. Prices go up and down without reason based on supply and demand, and production. If a brand is popular, even though it may not be the safest, however it’s on high demand, expect to pay more because it’s on high demand, do your research and compare reviews.
When it comes to high security locks, these locks will cost more no matter what and are aimed for a market who is willing to spend more on security and peace of mind to protect their costly possessions, beyond supply and demand, the cost of security locks can vary based on how many safety measures the producers consider important and the materials used. Heavier metals costs more, complex keyways also result in increased costs.
High security locks are defined by various Underwriter Laboratories (UL) and Building Hardware Manufacturers Associations (BHMA) standards. In most cases, high security cylinders will be installed in Grade 1 security mortise locks, auxiliary deadbolts, padlocks, or multipoint locks.
UL437 is the most common high security rating which covers locks and cylinders. This category is tested for unauthorized opening from bypass, lock-picking, impressioning and destructive entry. Most US manufacturers supply UL437 and have patented controlled key distribution available.
ANSI/BHMA A156.5 covers basic cylinders and A156.25 covers electronic input devices.
ANSI/BHMA 156.30 is specific to high security cylinders but not locks and A156.37 covers multi point locks.
High security locks are also very prominent in blast and wind resistant openings as well as safe rooms. Wind and tornado issues are covered in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 320 and 361 guidelines. Testing is defined in International Code Council 500-2014 standards. Assemblies can be tested to sustained wind speeds of up to 250 mph and impacts from a 15-pound projectile at 100 mph, the equivalent of an EF5 tornado. The Florida Building Code (FBC) covers standards for Florida High Velocity Hurricane Zone areas for wind speed and flying objects.
STM E330 discusses exterior door assemblies in non-impact regions for wind only applications. Schlage, Von Duprin, Corbin Russwin, Sargent and Yale provide mortise and reinforced multipoint lock assemblies for these applications. Some of these assemblies also carry various blast-resistant ratings. Securitech also offers a comprehensive line of extreme duty multipoint locks which have been tested with doors from most North American manufacturers.
What lock options are available in the market?
Securitech specializes in extreme duty locks using any keying system. They have become the go-to source for defense against physical attacks. Their high security locks are favorites for tornados, hurricanes, drug storage, safe-rooms, and high value applications. Their multipoint assemblies are available with internal or surface, horizontal, vertical or combination bolt assemblies, plus extreme duty hinge-side stationary bolts.
Schlage builds high security into mortise and multipoint locks through its UL437 rated Everest 29 cylinders. This patented system is available with multiple cylinder options for open or restricted keyways and available for use in mortise, tubular deadbolt, and multipoint locks. Multipoint locks provide additional structural security to meet the highest FEMA and FBC wind, hurricane, and tornado standards.
ASSA ABLOY has multiple high security lock manufacturers that make up this group including Corbin Russwin, Medeco, SARGENT, Yale, ASSA and ABLOY as well as Israel based Mul-T-Lock.
Yale makes the 8800 series mortise lock with the Keymark high security cylinder option, which is a patented option internal rotating disk that allows a side pin to move from its lateral blocking position, a free-rotating face plug thwarts drill attacks, while bump or tamper resistant pin segments deliver UL437 performance.
SARGENT has patented high security locks that use Degree keying systems. Their latest version called DG3 uses chisel point pins, a sidebar and drill resistance to achieve UL437 rating with its 7900 series mortise locks. They also provide ASSA ABLOY’s CLIQ hybrid electronic key with Degree keying system for audit trail and quick deletion or reassignment.
The 9200 series is a high security mortise lock intended for locks that are likely to face abuse, vandalism or likely attacks, The FM7300 and 8200 series of multipoint locks handle storm shelter and safe room, hurricane and tornado applications.
Medeco has a wide range of high security cylinders for mortise and rim applications, including the M3 cylinder and the XT and CLIQ achiever UL437 by including a sidebar that prevents the key from rotating until it’s elevated, rotated and aligned in the correct position. This protects against bumping and picking attacks. Patented versions use a biaxial design are available.
Mul-T-Lock focused mainly on institutional and critical infrastructure users who value high security keying. UL437 rated cylinders that have telescoping pins and sidebar fingers are available, they offer high security cylinders, padlocks, and deadbolts.
Corbin Russwin uses the Pyramid patented keying system with drill resistant hard metal inserts in the cylinder and plug, side pins and a bottom locking pin to achieve the UL437 rating for high security mortise and multi-lock points. They also offer wind, hurricane and tornado and blast resistant door and shutter assemblies. The multipoint assemblies use reinforced vertical rod and strike assemblies to achieve FEMA, FBC and other standards.
There are other locks in the market, however we selected some of the most popular ones.