How Do Electric Door Locks Work?

Electric door locks are a more secure alternative to traditional door locks. You can use them to add additional security to your homes. However, to open any form of door lock, you’ll need a key. Physical keys are inefficient because they are time-consuming, and you must carry them with you, which is inconvenient for those who lose items frequently.

Electric doors were initially seen in automobiles but are now present in homes and apartments. With that, let me walk you through the ins and outs of how electric door locks work.

Traditional vs. Electronic

man weighing on traditional and electronic key lock

Traditional and digital door locks differ in several ways. Traditional locks require real keys to lock or open them. In addition, the loss of the traditional lock’s key will render the lock almost useless.

Digital locks, on the other hand, do not require physical keys and instead rely on the digital input. Also, if an unauthorized person obtains the code for your digital lock, you may quickly reset it.

How Do Electric Door Locks Work

Electric door locks replace traditional door strikes and are powered by electricity. The electric strike has a control board and direct electric strike wire contacts. It consists of two cables that lead to the actual electric strike, while the other two wires are connected to the push button.

man dismantling electronic key lock

Electronic door locks also use “sensors,” which connect the bolt or cylinder to a tiny motor that is entirely hidden within the door or frame.

An electrical impulse controls the motor, which You may activate in various methods, including an electronic card reader, a keypad, or a wireless remote control sensor.

The electronic door lock is programmed to activate the motor-driven actuator only after receiving the correct electrical input.

A controller is accessible for your convenience. With a single click, you can lock or unlock the electric strike. You can set a timer for how long the lock will open with your control board.

You can set it for about 10 seconds or as long as 200 seconds. When the timer goes off, your door will automatically lock.

electronic smart lock on an iOS app

Most of the time, this form of a strike is used to depart a building securely, and it will usually open from the inside.

A manually operated override, such as a knob or key, is used. From the outside, you can make a key to override the lock.

How Different Digital Locks Work

Digital locks operate differently depending on the type you use. Below are the most common digital locks used and how electric door locks work:

1. Electric Strike Locks

Electric strike locks are frequently used with other locking mechanisms, such as a lockset or a panic bar. They are mounted on the inside of the door frame in place of the traditional lock strike plate.

The electric strike locks receive electrical power, which holds the latch or lock bolt in position and keeps the door locked until the release system is engaged.

When the release system is turned on, a hinged piece of metal within the electric strike pivots, allowing the door to open without turning the handle.

2. Electromagnetic Locks

electromagnetic locks on door

Electromagnetic door locks, or EM locks, are two significant components: wires and a mounting mechanism.

Magnetic locks are made up of a large electromagnet that is positioned at the top of the door frame and a metal plate that lines up with it on the door.

The electromagnetic door locks work by transferring electricity through the electromagnet, which creates a magnetic charge that attracts the plate and keeps it against the door frame. This secures the magnetic locks till the electricity is turned off or stopped. (1)

3. Electronic Locks With Keypads

To lock and unlock these smart locks, you’ll need a code or password. This sort of lock system requires a numerical code to gain access to a facility or property instead of a key.

These locks are more secure than traditional locks. Users enter the code with a number pad. The door lock or deadbolt should unlock if the correct code is entered.

After repeated erroneous tries to input the code, some keypad locks contain an integrated security function that locks the door for a predetermined time (typically 10 to 15 minutes).

Advantages Of Electronic Door Locks

Simple And Convenient

Because of its practicality and enhanced convenience, most companies, automobile owners, and homes prefer electric locks. (2)

Keyless entry is possible with electronic door locks since you don’t have to carry the keys or worry about losing them. With merely an access code, it streamlines your entrance access.

High Security and Safety

smart home pointed by a man

When controlling access to a facility, both company owners and homeowners prefer keyless locks.

Electric locks are frequently used with automated security systems to enhance security by triggering an alarm and rendering the property burglar-proof.

A few of the modern safety features are dual control choices, dual token model, time delay options, wrong attempt functions, one-time use codes, and other contemporary safety features. You can take your security to the next level with these advanced features.

Easy Monitoring And Access

Electronic door locks are configured so that they not only enable individuals to enter and depart but also prevent them from doing so. They also assist you in keeping track of the people in the house.

This system allows you to design security systems and configure different protection levels according to your needs.

Disadvantages Of Electronic Door Locks


Electronic door locks are generally more expensive than regular door locks. Though there are countless possibilities on the market that fit every budget, one must keep in mind that prices vary depending on the requirements and the quality of the product selected. As a result, you must sift through the options.

Jamming and Hacking

Electronic door lock technology also has the downside of compromising security. Cyber hackers may be able to access your electronic security system by interfering with its performance. (3)

Use electronic door locks with strong security features to lessen the danger.

Power Failure

Many individuals are concerned about being locked out of their homes due to a power outage. Electricity is required to operate electronic door locks. However, while only a few electronic door locks use rechargeable batteries, they do not require energy or an internet connection.


When The Electricity Goes Off, Will These Locks Stop Working?

schlage keypad door lock

No, these smart locks continue to function since batteries power them. However, you must select a lock with various locking and unlocking choices. Furthermore, an optimum lock can work both digitally and analogically.

Is It Possible To Hack Digital Door Locks?

Yes, they can be hacked. There are many types of digital door locks on the market today, each with its own set of features. However, some hackers can break through your digital door lock regardless so it’s not tampered proof but some versions can be better with better features.

Why Do Certain Models Require A Key As Well?

When access can be gained exactly with a code or card, it may seem ridiculous to utilize a key. The key can be used as a backup option if the lock runs out of batteries.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) magnetic charge –
(2) automobile –
(3) hacking –

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About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Alarm Technician (CAT)
Education: Denver Security Academy
Lives In: Denver Colorado

John Fox has worked as a security consultant in Denver for over 20 years.
With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it to help people online make the right security decisions for their businesses and families.

John writes security tips and guides, product recommendations, and prevention guides.

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