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Safes and locking: What’s better: A key or an electronic lock?

Home   /   Safes and locking: What’s better: A key or an electronic lock?

Safes come with so many options that it can feel like there’s too much choice. When we’re faced with so many things to choose from it’s hard to decide which safe to go for. You should always seek the advice of a safe expert when you buy a new safe. That’s where Precision Safes come in.

One of the main questions that we’re asked is about the type of lock. Which safe lock is best? Is a key lock more secure? Should I have an electronic lock? What happens if I lose the key or the code? These are valid questions, and we answer them every day.

So which is best? A key lock or an electronic lock?

Most of this all comes down to a simple choice – which do you prefer? Some people like to have a key as they feel it’s more secure. But more people now prefer an electronic lock in this ever-digital world that we live in.

But of course, the way you use your safe and who uses it will have a bearing on it too.

Key locks – the traditional locking option.

Key locks are a more traditional and more robust option. A well looked-after key lock will outlive an electronic lock. Quality key locks can also be more reliable over some of the cheaper key locks in the lower end of the market. Cheap electronic locks can fail (although it’s not common) and the reliability of a key lock will out perform the new electronic version.

But keys are breakable and probably more importantly – losable!

One area where the key lock will be a hindrance is of course damaging it in the lock. We’ve been to many ‘lock-outs,’ where the key has been bent or snapped in the lock. This will lead to a potentially expensive lock picking or drilling.

Keys can be lost too. If you’re a forgetful person or you’re always leaving your keys at home then you may not want another key to worry about. You can have spare keys made, and most safes come with two keys. Replacements can be expensive but are readily available from a registered safe engineer.

The one thing to remember is that if you lose your safe’s keys, your security is left wide open. Safe keys are small but are easily identified as keys to a safe. If you loose your safe’s key somewhere that’s easy to work out where it belongs, you’ll need to change your lock immediately – and that’s an expensive call-out and repair.

Electronic locks – the modern option for safe entry

In this ever-increasingly digital world we’re not surprised that the electronic lock is so popular. The simple to use and change digital codes are more commonplace now than ever before. Electronic locks are ideal for safes that have access given to more than a few people (safes at schools, restaurants or shops for example). With the ability to change your code instantly, the electronic lock lends itself well to places of work with a high turnover of staff or changes in levels of authority. With an electronic lock you can really take control of the access to your safe.

The downside of electronic locks though are the costs.

Electronic locks are more expensive to buy. Because of this, the budget end of the market is affected, as the price is the mitigating factor when choosing your new safe. The extra cost on some of the small safes compared to the key locking version can often be too much for some shoppers.

Also, if you ever forget the code to your electronic lock it can be pricey. Unless you have an override key it’s more expensive than a key lock to open your safe when you’re locked out.

Key locks can be picked open by a safe engineer – electronic locks just stay shut! Forgetting your keys is one thing. Forgetting your code is a whole other problem entirely. Drilling is expensive and the repairs are more so. That said, you could of course just save the code somewhere safe like in a secure mobile phone app or a double access password system on your computer.

So what do you choose? Key or electronic?

Well now it’s really over to you. If you’re someone who forgets codes and passwords then maybe a key lock is for you. If you’re on a budget a key lock is certainly fairer on your pocket too.

If you have to allow access to your safe to a few people and you want full control over who has access in the future then an electronic lock is for you. Electronic locks are fantastic for user control and simple to change when situations do.

Electronic locks can be unreliable compared to key locks but pound for pound we probably sell more electronic locking safes online. They seem to suit the modern world of digital access and of course you can change it whenever you like… just don’t forget the code!

For more advice on choosing your safe, Contact us today on 0409 860 011.