The Choice of Combination Electronic Door Locks
The younger, newer generation of lock buyers are opting for more convenience and less tedium of carrying around excessive keys, and are starting more and more to go with both battery-operated and hardwired Electronic locks–many of these being the rather simple combination locks.
Schlage is my personal brand of preference for the combination residential door locks I install for my customers. Their Electronic Combination deadbolt lock (Model BE365) comes in three finishes that I am aware of–Polished Brass (B3), Brushed Stainless (26D), and Oil-Rubbed Bronze–and is, by far my preference for installations on both residential and light commercial settings. The reasons for this are its ease of use for the end-user, the ease of installation for the professional installer, or end-user, and the relatively low price–usually around $100 more or less, depending on if one can catch it on sale.
It has many functions, one can program up to 19 unique user-codes, easily deleting them if necessary, runs on a nine volt battery which typically lasts about three years, depending on usage amount, and has an emergency key bypass should the battery die, or if the lock malfunctions for some reason. (It is an electronic device so these things sometimes happen, though I myself have never had any issues with my own).
There is also a lever lock series in this same style–with the same options–by Schlage, the model FE595–also the FE575 depending on your choice of functions. They too are easy to install and cost about the same depending on where you make your purchase. There are also Kwikset models which I have used on occasion, and they are not too bad, but are mostly for residential use, and lack the number of options that the Schlage models mentioned above boast, though, to be fair, they are also a little cheaper.
Finally, there are a great variety of other aftermarket electronic combination locks as well as some other lesser-known brands out there on the market, and they seem to always be changing. When shopping, take your time do your research and exercise your due diligence before making your purchase.
One drawback on these lower cost models–both the Schlage locks, and the lesser brands is that they do not have remotes–at least not the ones that I have used. There are those brands and styles of locks with remotes available and will be mentioned in a future post, but they will cost more.
These lower cost models of locks may also have shorter term and more limited warranties than many of the higher end models available on the market. Typically, warranties are about 1 year, but in some instances, might be longer. For the less expensive locks, not so much. If you are in the market for new electronic locks, know what you are willing to spend, and carefully weigh the pros and cons of the available selections, always remembering that you usually get what you pay for.
Some Good Tips to Know About These Locks
With these locks on the lower cost end of the Electronic Residential door lock spectrum ranging from the low end of $49.00 no frill-models (not discussed here) up to the Schlage models above being in the $100-120 price range (less if you are lucky and happen to find them on sale or at discontinued pricing), many people are now opting to replace their traditional ‘keyed’ door locks with the dazzling array of these locks on the market. For one thing, it gives the buyer one less key to worry about–and sometimes that is a big deal, if you happen to carry a great many keys (of course, there is usually a key by-pass as mentioned in the above section), and they are surprisingly quite easy to use–once you get used to it. No worries on cost as there is usually a nice selections of these electronic locks that will fit almost any budget.
Remember to keep the by-pass key in a safe place, outside the home where you can gain access to it if you have the need to use it. Take it from me, nothing is more unsettling than being locked out of your residence. By knowing the combination, this alleviates most of the worry of locking ones keys inside.
The relative ease of installation for the battery-operated electronic locks is also a big plus, but there are more costly hard-wired ones available on the market (these will usually be equipped with battery back-ups in case of power outages, and unfortunately may also require a professional electrician or locksmith to install).
On newer homes, installation is almost akin to plug-and-play in electronics–there should be no modifications required, and in most cases, depending on the brand purchased–no additional holes to drill. It is important to make certain that you pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions to assure a trouble-free installation (this is especially true for you guys out there who, like me, in most cases only believe that instructions serve as a guideline and should only be consulted if there is a problem with the installation, and all else fails to solve it!)