Electronic door locks come in many different types and prices from around and also at different prices depending on the features that you may be interested in. You might think that if the lock is electronic then it must be more secure than mechanical locks. This is not true: like the old saying goes “You get what you pay for”. What this means is that all electronic locks must have mechanical parts to them, such as the locking bolt or latch, the mountings, the handle or lever, etc. All of these should be manufactured to highest standards possible and if for any reason they are not, the electronic door lock will not be as secure as a high security mechanical lock.
When it comes to the question of how the electronic door lock works, again, there is a wide variety of ways these locks function. The electronic door lock could operate by batteries or it can be hard wired to some low voltage circuit. It could be opened using a card, a key with a chip embedded in it, it could have a key fob like your garage door, or it could use biometrics like finger print, palm prints, etc. Once the key and the lock “talk” to each other and there is a match, a mini-motor will operate to move the locking latch inward to the open position. Sounds simple but there is a lot going on with the electronics to make this happen.
There are numerous tangible benefits that can be associated with using electronic door locks; just like your cell phone or TV, the higher end products will have more features than the lower end products. Some of the most important features include audit features, multiple users, the ability to lock out users and an easy retrofit into the door (replacement of the mechanical door lock). Other benefits are mechanical parts manufactured to high standards, high battery usage, battery low warnings and weather resistance.
The acceptance of electronic door locks splits into two different directions, commercial and residential. Commercial would consist of business, government, education and medical. Most have already changed over to some type of electronic access control. This process is slow as the technology is rapidly changing. Also, the lock manufacturers all use different and patented technologies that are not usually compatible with one another. Once a decision is made to use a particular manufacturer and technology it is very difficult and expensive to switch.
The residential consumer is moving very slowly to electronic door locks. The major reasons are not being able to justify the cost and most manufacturers are focusing on commercial customers where there is more volume. That said, there are some real estate lock boxes designed for the residential user that are standalone and battery operated.